If you live in an area that experiences cold, dry winters, you probably use a thick, hydrating cream to keep your skin in good shape. When summer hits, though, such creams are far too heavy. Humidity, heat and sweat make it run down your face, which can ruin your makeup too. Fortunately, there’s a solution: emulsions. Long popular in Korea, they’ve been taking the U.S. skincare world by storm lately – and for good reason too. Lightweight, intensely hydrating and typically loaded with specialized ingredients that combat various skin problems, emulsions work well with makeup, other creams and lotions and just about anything else you use in your daily skincare regimen.
What is an Emulsion?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, an emulsion is “a mixture of liquids.” In the context of skincare, however, the term takes on a slightly different meaning. It is, indeed, a mixture, however. A skincare emulsion contains oil and water in various proportions. Some emulsions contain more water, and they’re known as oil-in-water emulsions. Others contain more oil, and they’re known as water-in-oil emulsions. In either case, they’re quite similar to serums and essences because their main purpose is also to moisturize the skin.
Watch the explanation about emulsion in Chemistry
Benefits of Using Emulsions
So, why have emulsions become so popular lately? Over in Korea, people have long recognized their benefits, which include:
- Lightweight – Ultra lightweight in nature, emulsions practically disappear into the skin, so you don’t have to worry about ending up with a shiny, greasy face.
- Moisturizing – Thanks to their lightweight properties, emulsions are readily absorbed by the skin, where they don’t just add moisture but also lock it in.
- Non-Comedogenic – Oil alone tends to be comedogenic, which means it clogs pores. Emulsions combine oil with water, however, so they are actually non-comedogenic and can be used daily without increasing the risk of breakouts.
- Anti-Aging – When used regularly, emulsions help keep skin looking fresh, radiant and youthful.
- Doubles as Primer – Many people use emulsions in place of primers. When used under makeup or other creams and lotions, they hold everything in place while keeping the skin smooth, soft, moisturized and supple.
Types of Emulsions
Emulsions contain three main ingredients: oil, water and an emulsifier that helps them stick together. They also typically contain additional ingredients that help tackle various issues. For example, emulsions for oily skin may contain witch hazel or rice starch. Emulsions for hyperpigmentation, including age spots, may contain niacinamide or glycerin. Emulsions that fight fine lines and wrinkles often contain peptides that help boost collagen and elastin production.
How to Use Emulsions
There are no set-in-stone rules for using emulsions. What works for one person may not quite work for the next. However, most people apply their skincare products in the following order: cleanser, toner, emulsion, serum and then moisturizer. In other words, the emulsion should be the first layer applied to the skin. When applied in this order, it can more easily penetrate the skin. It pulls double-duty too by helping the other layers stay in place.
The Korean skincare routine
When choosing an emulsion, consider your skin type. If it’s prone to oiliness, an oil-in-water emulsion is probably best. If it’s prone to dryness, a water-in-oil emulsion is probably ideal. Emulsions can be used alone to keep skin moisturized during hot, humid weather, but they can and should be used all year too.
It’s never too late to give emulsion skin care a try. For best results, use an emulsion that’s developed and designed by a reputable, respected brand. Remember too that it may take a little time to see noticeable effects. Once you do, though, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.