If you have ever envied Korean and Japanese women for their beautiful skin, then you are not alone. I mean, who does not want buttery soft, translucent looking skin that Korean women seem to be born with? While these women are genetically blessed with gorgeous skin, it also takes effort and diligence to help maintain it.
For this very reason, the Korean skin care routine has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. Although the 10-step routine seems extremely cumbersome and time-consuming, the resulting flawless skin makes the effort seem totally worth it. This skincare routine is all about layering the products in the correct order according to their consistency. This is what determines their effectiveness.
We know the Korean skincare routine can be a little overwhelming, thanks to the sheer number of them. But once you know in detail what they do and how they improve your skin, who knows, you maybe tempted to try them out too. Read on to find out more...
- Step 01: Oil cleansing
- Step 02: Foam cleanser
- Step 03: Exfoliate
- Step 04: Toner
- Step 05: Essence
- Step 06: Serum or ampoule
- Step 07: Sheet masks
- Step 08: Eye cream
- Step 09: Moisturiser
- Step 10: Sunscreen (AM routine)
- Step 10: Sleeping mask (PM routine)
Step 01: Oil cleansing
The first and most important step for any skincare routine has to be cleansing. This step helps get rid of dirt, impurities, and makeup. It prevents your skin from breaking out and looking dull and lackluster. The Korean skin care steps believe in a two-step cleansing routine for a thorough cleansing effect. This double cleansing routine is loved by a lot of women in Korea and they consider it to be the secret to their flawless looking skin.
This step starts by using oil to eliminate dirt and impurities. This step rests on the premise that an oil cleanser will pull the oily gunk out of your skin, effectively removing sunscreen, sebum, and pollutants, but isn’t really effective against dirt and sweat.
Step 02: Foam cleanser
Part two of the double cleanse is using a foam cleanse. After you’ve removed all your makeup and sunscreen with the oil cleanser, it is now time to deep cleanse using a foam cleanser. It helps effectively eliminate dirt, sweat and any other impurities that the oil cleanser may have left behind. This step is meant to deep cleanse your pores and leave your skin squeaky clean.
Facial massages form an integral part of the Korean skincare routine. They believe that it taking a few minutes to massage your face helps stimulate the surface of the skin and prepares it for the products you’re about to apply. It also helps calm the lymphatic glands on your face and neck that are responsible for causing puffiness. It’s best to splash your cleansers off with lukewarm water and dry it with muslin cloth instead of a towel, as the surface of the skin is sensitive.
Step 03: Exfoliate
Exfoliation is one of the pillars of a solid Korean skincare routine. You can choose a physical or chemical exfoliator depending on your skin type, but ensure that it is gentle and meant for your skin type. Exfoliators slough away dead skin and this is what brings brighter, younger cells to the surface making it a great anti-ageing practice. But don’t over exfoliate as this can sensitise and irritate your skin. Stay on the safe side and exfoliate approximately 2-3 times a week.
Step 04: Toner
After cleansing and exfoliating, the next most obvious step of the 10 step Korean skincare routine is toning. Post cleansing, your skin’s pH levels goes for a toss and this is why it is important to use a toner. Toners are typically a thin layer of moisture meant to regulate your pH and soften your skin, preparing it for the skincare steps that will follow. They lovingly plump your skin with lots of hydration so that products will be absorbed more effectively. You can use toners with ingredients like AHAs and BHAs if you want some visible results against acne damage and fine lines.
Step 05: Essence
An essence is neither a toner nor a serum, but a beautiful hybrid of both. It captures some of the prepping properties of a toner mixed with some treating and healing properties of the serum. Korean skincare routine swears by this step as it helps with cell turnover and brightening the skin. For this step, take a little bit of the essence on your palm and gently pat it into your skin.
Step 06: Serum or ampoule
Most of your skin treatment action happens at this stage, this is therefore one of the most important steps of the Korean skincare routine. Whatever your skin concern, there is a serum meant specifically to handle it. Whether you’re trying to get rid of fine lines, acne or hyper-pigmentation, nothing works better than a serum or ampoule. This is because serums are packed with active ingredients that provide targeted action. Dab these gently into your skin to increase blood circulation and help absorption.
Step 07: Sheet masks
A Korean skincare routine remains utterly incomplete without a sheet mask. Korean women use a sheet mask between two to seven times a week. Trust us, 15 minutes of sheet masking and chill every few times a week is really going to transform your skin. But be careful to not leave it on longer than the prescribed time as the sheet mask will begin to try and suck the moisture from your skin.
Step 08: Eye cream
The skin around your eyes is a lot thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face and this is why it deserves special care and attention. This area is also extra prone to forming fine lines and wrinkles. As the Korean skincare routine is ever devoted to youthful looking skin, an eye cream forms an important part of this skincare. They recommend that you start applying an eye cream from a young age. Always use your ring finger as this minimises any tugging or pulling.
Step 09: Moisturiser
A moisturizer is usually the final step of the Korean skincare routine. You can use a moisturizing cream, gel or oil, but remember to use upward stroking motion as it helps prevent jowls and improves skin elasticity. If you are using an oil, then using a gentle pressing motion with your palm will warm your skin, open its pores and allow the nutrients to really sink in.
Step 10: Sunscreen (AM routine)
Sun exposure causes a lot of damage, and therefore the Korean skincare routine emphasizes on using a sunscreen every day, 365 days of the year. Every morning, finish off your skincare routine with a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 PA+++ or above.
Step 10: Sleeping mask (PM routine)
We understand that following a skincare regimen as extensive as the Korean one can be quite exhausting. But since your body goes into mega repair mode at night, the Korean skincare routine urges you to help with the process by using a sleeping mask. A sleeping mask is like a night cream or a special treatment that is specially designed to work while your body is at rest.