We strongly believe in personal skincare. Your skincare should be focused on your personal needs, current concerns and also skin type. As the Korean skincare routine consists of the famous 10 steps, we suggest that your focus should remain on your current skin condition and the effect you wish to achieve rather than the number of steps you will firmly stick to. No matter what, beautiful skin is achieved through commitment and flexibility in addressing your needs.
Here are the details. Our what, why, when and how of the 10 step Korean beauty routine.
Steps 1 and 2 of Korean skincare routine
Makeup remover, oil cleanser and water based cleanser
Cleansing is the first step in each skin care routine and a foundation for next steps. To remove all makeup, dirt and pollution that accumulated on your face during the day, we recommend using an oil cleanser. Massage it gently over your dry face and neck to break up makeup. When you massage your face, work with the direction of the muscles and not against it. This will improve blood circulation. Then add a splash of lukewarm water to emulsify the cleanser. Massage again and rinse it off. This step is very beneficial, especially for oily skin. The oily texture of the cleanser will absorb sebum from oily skin making the cleansing process much more effective. The golden rule is not to be scared of fighting oil with oil!
When it comes to water-based cleansers, you may think it is an exaggeration to use another cleanser as you have already washed your face. However, how many times did you find dark stains on your towel from the makeup that remained on your face just after you washed it ‘thoroughly’? This is perfect confirmation that your skin may not be as clean as you would have expected.
Double cleansing has its name for a reason. Wash your face with a water-based cleanser, in a form of gel or foam, to wash away any remaining residue and impurities from your oil cleanse. This step will guarantee that your skin is prepared for next steps and will be able to absorb all the beneficial ingredients of your skin products. When you finish the cleansing stage, always pat dry your face with a towel. Do not rub your face in an up-and-down motion as it has a negative impact on the firmness of your skin. Shop our range of cleansers here
Texture of a foam cleanser
Step 3 of Korean skincare routine
Depending on your skin type, use an exfoliator once or twice a week to keep your skin free from dead cells and impurities. This will guarantee that your skin will be clear and polished. Incorporating exfoliator into your skincare routine will keep your pores clear and visually smaller.
When using an exfoliator massage your skin gently or tap the exfoliator into your skin.
Keep an eye on your skin to make sure an exfoliator is being used too frequently or whether its texture should be changed. If you have sensitive skin, consider using enzyme exfoliators to avoid any irritation.
If you have dry skin, it is even more important to use exfoliators to ensure that any dead cells are removed on a frequent basis to eliminate dullness.
Texture of an exfoliator
Step 4 of Korean skincare routine
After cleansing, your skin may be slightly dry and tight as cleansers have different pH than the natural pH of your skin. Generally cleansers are slightly alkaline to ensure that dirt is being dissolved effectively. The toner applied on your skin will balance its pH levels and create a barrier to keep your skin smooth and protected.
It is also the last step to ensure that any remaining makeup and dirt is completely removed.
Toners come in the form of a mist or liquid. Spray your face with a mist and tap it gently onto your skin or dispense on a cotton pad and gently swipe over your face working outwards.
They can be also used in the 7 Skin Method.
Texture of a hydrating toner
Step 5 of Korean skincare routine
The heart of the Korean skin care routine! Essence is a unique type of a product made to hydrate, and repair skin and cell turnover. It will make your skin softer, brighter and firmer as it will reduce the visibility of wrinkles. Due to it’s watery consistency it tends to be lighter in texture than a serum.
Apply an essence to freshly toned skin and pat it in.
Texture of an essence in a form of a mist
Step 6 of Korean skincare routine
Serum and ampoule treatments
Serums and ampoules, also known as boosters, are concentrated essences that directly treat the skin condition that you’re mainly concerned with. Korean women call this step a skin-perfecting step.
Whether your issue is dull skin, acne, pigmentation, large pores or wrinkles, serums contain a high concentration of ingredients targeting one or a few skin concerns. They are often used for spot treatment.
Apply your serum after toner or essence depending on your skin condition. Gently tap it into your skin and wait a few minutes before you apply a moisturiser.
If you are using a treatment that increases sun sensitivity, we recommend using a serum during your night routine.
Texture of a serum
Step 7 of Korean skincare routine
Sheet masks are one of the most popular K-beauty products. They are very often used to quickly pamper your skin.
Shaped to fit your face, they are drenched in an active ingredient that normally you would find in an essence. Why use sheets masks despite having an essence in your bathroom cupboard? The answer is simple, sheet masks are more effective as they lock the nutrients close to the face and prevent the active ingredients from evaporating. Your face will be brighter and softer, and the appearance of fine lines will be reduced as your skin will be hydrated and glowing.
Apply a sheet mask to your cleansed and toned skin for 20-30 minutes. You may use extra essence or serum before wearing a mask. Use it at least once or twice a week unless your skin requires daily support.
During hot, summer days, keep a sheet mask in the fridge before applying it so it will give an extra cooling effect. If you need more on tips and techniques, read our blog on sheet masking.
Texture of a cotton sheet mask
Step 8 of Korean skincare routine
Your eyes are the windows to your soul, and as such need special care. Especially the thin and delicate skin that is around the eye, where you should use products specifically designed to care for this area of your face.
Use your ring finger to gently tap eye cream around the entire orbital bone, avoiding the water line.
Texture of an eye cream
Step 9 of Korean skincare routine
The main purpose of a moisturiser is hydration. A moisturiser matched correctly to your skin type will guarantee a glowing and youthful look. It will seal in moisture to plump up your skin and smooth away any fine lines and wrinkles.
Moisturisers come in many forms:
– Emulsion – with a light texture, this is recommended for oily and combination skin
– Lotion – slightly heavier than emulsion but lighter than a cream, this will be suitable for all skin types. Applied usually during spring and summer season
– Gel – as it is water based and has a lightweight texture, gels will absorb quickly. A gel will also reduce the risk of clogging pores and is recommended for oily skin prone to acne and breakouts
– Cream – with its richer texture, a cream will contain more oil than water. It will usually have skin repairing ingredients and is great for a night routine and perfect for dry and ageing skin during the day.
– Facial oil – used either directly on skin or added to regular lotion will improve very dry and dull skin. These should not be used on oily skin.
Pat a moisturiser into your face and neck twice a day.
If your skin feels extra parched, swap your regular moisturiser for a sleeping pack.
Sleeping pack – with a texture resembling gel, can be used once or twice a week in the evening. It is a great alternative to a cream, and, depending on the product type, it will hydrate or firm your skin. Apply instead of a standard moisturiser. Do not pat it, just leave it to be slowly absorbed by your skin and wash it off in the morning. Read more on the amazing benefits of the sleeping masks here.
Texture of a deep moisturising cream
Step 10 of Korean skincare routine
Sun protection is the last and probably the most crucial step in the Korean beauty routine. It prevents premature ageing, pigmentation issues and protects your skin from developing cancerous cells.
Apply sunscreen every morning as the last product to ensure your skin is fully protected from UV rays (both UVA responsible for ageing and UVB responsible for sunburns). Give yourself up to 15 minutes before you apply makeup. This will allow your skin to absorb the sun cream effectively. Reapply throughout the day as needed.
If you are looking for an alternative we suggest you look at BB creams and CC cushion. BB creams have the perfection power of a foundation and the moisturising power of a skincare product. They also provide a sunblock and have an anti-ageing formula. We have selected a special set of beauty balms that address different skin concerns. Instead of offering multiple shades for different skin colours, we offer you products whose formulae are designed to oxidise to match the user’s skin tone. As an alternative, if you want to focus on colour correction, we suggest a CC cushion. It will perfectly correct redness or dullness of your skin.
Enjoy your journey to achieving dewy skin!
Texture of a sun cream