The Korean Skin Care Routine: Every Step Explained

We know - there are so many steps and products of the famous Korean skincare routine. It can get pretty intimidating when you are meeting with this regime for the first time. But you know what? This article will explain every step that you need to take to have that porcelain skin. 


Consistency and dedication are the main things Koreans apply to their products as well. You shouldn’t only buy expensive skincare products. You need to practice a healthy lifestyle, drink a lot of water, and take ingestibles like collagen, or probiotics. 


Korean skin care routine has roughly 10 steps, but it can be more or less. Depending on your time, wishes, and of course - skin type. Ultimately, it is not about following the exact number of steps but creating the routine that suits you. 


Step 1: Oil-Based Cleanser

Korean skin care is famous for the double-cleansing method. With this, you will, not only clean your skin but also your deepest pores. However, this cleaning method does it so gently, without using harsh chemicals. Meaning, your skin barrier won’t be damaged or your natural oils stripped off. Korean like to clean their skin thoroughly but also keep it hydrated at the same time. 


An oil-based cleanser is the first step in the Korean skin care routine. It is perfect for removing all oil-based impurities, like makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum. The good thing is that they do it without damaging your skin barrier. 


These cleansers remove even the hardest waterproof makeup from your face. It doesn’t only clean the face, though. It also hydrates it, making it look soft, and prepared for the next step. 


Step 2: Water-Based Cleansers 

Step 2 is crucial since it represents the second step of double cleansing. Water-based, foam or liquid cleansers will remove anything that is left after the oil-based cleanser, as well as oily residues. 


These two cleaners combined will leave your skin perfectly clean. You can use foam as the single cleanser, but if you are bringing it into the Korean beauty routine, then you should definitely try both. 


The key is to choose gentle and low pH water-based foam or liquid cleanser. Especially if your skin is extremely dry. 


Step 3: Exfoliator

Exfoliating skin is the process of eliminating dead skin cells, residues, and build-up in pores and skin surfaces. After using an exfoliator, your skin will appear brighter and softer, without clogged pores, and with the less visible fine lines. 


Exfoliation is not a step that you should repeat daily. You can start slowly, by doing it once or twice a week. Choose the exfoliation products according to your skin type.

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Step 4: Toner

Toning skin is a very important step of the Korean beauty routine. The toners made in Korea are not heavy. On the contrary, they are made to hydrate the skin, prepare it for all next steps with mild ingredients. 

 

Consider toner as the last step of your cleansing routine. K-beauty toners are made of lightweight and moisturizing ingredients that hydrate and soothe the skin. They are not astrigen and alchol-laden. 

 

Ingredients such as glycolic acid, niacinamide, amino acid, and other calming agents in toners should maintain and balance the pH level on the skin. Toner should also help skincare ingredients sink deeper into your skin. It does that by drenching skin with hydration. 

 

If you use toner, you can be sure your skin is well prepared for all the next steps. 

 

Step 5: Essence

Essences have been a product that brought much confusion among women and skincare addicts. Why are we even using it? To all non-K-beauty followers, essence might seem like an unnecessary step. However, essence’s role is more than crucial. 

 

If you were wondering what does the essence does, the answer is - it prepares your skin for even better absorption than serum. When you first prep skin by using an essence, you allow the essence to drench the skin hydration, and maximize the ability of absorption. 

 

The good essence will also protect your skin from water loss. By using it, you make skin look plumper and bright, protecting it from drying out.

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Step 6: Serum or Ampoule

Serums are highly-concentrated skin lotions that have a more viscous texture than essences. They are a gold standard of all skin care routines, regardless of the skin type you have. Serums are meant to target certain skin problems, such as acne, dark spots, wrinkles, and dullness. 

Ampoules are also serums, yet packed in single-use packaging. They are more concentrated versions of serums, so some use them as booster shots. They are not necessary for daily use. 

 

Step 7: Sheet Mask

Believe it or not, some women are placing sheet masks on their faces no matter what, every day, while doing their skin care routine. Sheet masks have a double effect on your skin. They will hydrate it, while other active ingredients will create a barrier over your skin. This is how all other ingredients can sink into your skin. 

 

These masks are usually drowned in essence, but this time because of the barrier their ingredients go deep into the skin. Sheet masks create a feeling of at-home-spa and that is mostly why women adore them. 

 

Step 8: Eye Cream

Eye creams have a different consistency than a moisturizer. Their main role is moisturizing and as well as sealing effect, including targeting certain concerns in the under-eye area. They serve to reduce the wrinkles, puffiness, and of course the dark circles under our eyes. 

 

You can apply eye cream before or after the moisturizer. When applying make sure to tap the cream and not to pull the under-eye area, since it is delicate and thin.

 

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Step 9: Moisturizer

We often make a mistake by thinking that the only purpose of the moisturizer is to moisturize. However, it has an even more crucial role and that is creating a barrier that prevents water from evaporating out of your skin. Moisturizers contain occlusives that create that kind of seal or hydrophobic film that protects the skin from the environment. 

 

Step 10: SPF or Night Cream

SPF is a cornerstone of healthy skin and shouldn’t be skipped, no matter how long or short your skin care routine is. If you like to spend your time outside, you can pick between three sunscreen formulations - mineral, chemical, and hybrid. No matter which you choose, it is important to be waterproof and that it protects you from the pollutants as well. 

 

If you are doing this same routine before your bedtime, then you need to apply a night cream. They work while our skin and whole metabolism are sleeping, without any interruptions, pollutants, and makeup.