The steps of the Korean skincare routine inspire everything from curiosity to fear and even downright incredulity – namely that anyone could spend that much time on their daily skincare routine!
Curious about where to start? Here’s how to apply Korean skincare products.
Some of the steps you’ll commonly see mentioned as part of the Korean Beauty Routine include:
If you wear makeup or sunscreen you’ll need to take it off at night. An oil cleanser is the most effective way to do this, as it breaks down the particles in makeup and sunscreen. Don’t be scared to use oil on oily skin.
Banila’s Clean It Zero is one of the most popular K-Beauty first cleansers.
At night, follow up your first cleanse with a water-based cleanser.
This takes away the impurities left over from your oil cleanse. It’ll thoroughly cleanse your skin, making sure nothing’s left over. Try B-LAB I Am Sorry Just Cleansing Foam.
Once you’ve got a clean base, you’re ready to prep your skin for the hydrating layers.
Exfoliating twice a week is a great way to give your face a buff and polish and get rid of dead skin. K-Beauty exfoliators include manual exfoliants like Skinfood’s Black Sugar Wash Off Mask and chemical exfoliants like BHAs and AHAs.
If you have sensitive skin, this may be one step to skip, as exfoliating can aggravate irritated skin.
This may not seem like an important step, but if you’re experiencing skin issues like dry, dull or dehydrated skin don’t skip toner.
Toners balance the skin’s pH levels and dampen skin so it can properly receive your next layers of skincare. If skin is not properly prepped, the next products you apply won’t absorb properly.
Try PACKage Woljoengli Bada Toner, which blends 5 types of hyaluronic acid in a gentle formula for all skin types.
Essences are quintessentially Korean – a kind of hybrid serum / toner made for repairing, hydrating and promoting cell turnover.
Pop your essence on straight after your toner and pat it in to aid absorption.
One of most recognisable parts of the Korean Beauty routine are sheet masks. The current trend in Korea is “a pack a day” (a mask pack, that is!).
Despite appearances, sheet masks aren’t time consuming to use – whack one on for 15 minutes and you’re good to go.
Serums and oils are more highly concentrated than other skincare products, so they’re perfect to use to target specific skin issues like pigmentation, sun spots, wrinkles and blemishes.
How many and which ones you use will depend on the issues you’re trying to tackle.
For brightening, we love Tosowoong Propolis Sparkle Ampoule, for blemishes we love COSRX Centella Blemish Ampoule, for mature skin we love Missha Borabit Ampoule, and for dry skin try Mizon Collagen 100 Serum.
Korean moisturisers come in a variety of forms – lotions, gels, creams. Choose one that suits your skin type and use it morning and night.
There are also special purpose overnight moisturisers (known as “sleeping creams”) that are especially hydrating for nighttime use – STYLE STORY loves APLB Derma Daily Repair Cream.
If you’re still confused about how to apply Korean skincare products, just remember one simple trick – start with the product that has the thinnest, most watery consistency and work your way up to the one with the thickest!
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