Everything You Need to Know About the Korean Skincare Routine…

Korean skincare and K-beauty have been becoming increasingly popular over recent years, as more and more Korean skincare brands become available in the UK. Whilst we’re all loving brands like Laneige, Innisfree, and Beauty of Joesen, are we using them like the Korean skincare experts intended? 

We’ve pulled together a simple step-by-step guide to the definitive Korean skincare routine, so you can make sure you get the most out of your favourite products…

Korean Skincare Routine Steps

The Korean skincare routine, similar to the glass skin routine (also Korean in origin), is made up of 10 steps all focusing on being gentle to your skin and pumping it with hydration. 10 steps may seem like a lot, but we promise it’s super easy to follow and the happy, hydrated skin results are worth it…

Step 1: Oil Cleansing

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If you already incorporate double cleansing into your routine – congrats, you’re already doing the first couple of steps of a Korean skincare routine. Oil cleansing should always be step one, both AM and PM. There are many reasons to use an oil cleanser – they’re gentle to your skin, remove makeup and SPF well, and keep your skin balanced, amongst other benefits.

Apply oil cleansers to dry skin and gently massage, then add water and continue to massage to transform the oil into a milkier consistency. Once done, rinse away the oil cleanser before moving onto step two.

Step 2: Use a Water-Based Cleanser

Double cleansing is essential to the Korean skincare routine, and you should always follow your oil cleanser with a gentle water-based cleanser. Cleansing twice ensures you’ll remove all build-up, impurities, and bacteria from your skin, keeping it feeling happy and less likely to breakout. 

Some water-based cleansers can dry your skin, so make sure you look for low pH formulas, as they’ll keep your skin balanced and hydrated whilst still thoroughly cleansing.

Step 3: Exfoliate

This step of the routine doesn’t need to be done every day, and instead should be carried out around twice a week. Remembering to do this is still important though, as exfoliating will clear pores and help remove dead skin cells, leaving you with brighter, smoother skin. What’s more, including exfoliation in your routine will actually help your other skincare products absorb into your skin better, too.

You can use either physical exfoliants like face scrubs, or chemical liquid exfoliants like BHAs and AHAs for this step.

Step 4: Use a Toner

Toners are very important to the Korean skincare routine, but you need to choose the right type.  Korean toners are designed to balance the pH and moisture of your skin, and are typically much gentler than those from European and American beauty brands, so look out for hydrating ingredients, and avoid anything with alcohol content.

The purpose of this step of the routine is to remove any residue from the cleansers or exfoliators used, as well as to dampen your skin, so it’s ready to absorb all the moisture you’ll pump it with in the next steps.

Step 5: Add Essences into Your Routine

Essences aren’t common outside of Korean skincare, which is a real shame because of the incredible impact they can have on your skin. An essence is a lightweight but very concentrated formula of essential hydrating and complexion-boosting ingredients. They flood your skin with moisture, ensuring your skin absorbs all the benefits of the next steps – as hydrated skin absorbs products far better than dry skin.

To use one, simply pat it onto your face and neck, before progressing to the next step…

Step 6: Serums and Treatments

For step six, you’ll want to apply your favourite face serum. Opt for ones that target your specific skin concerns – breakouts can be targeted with niacinamide serums, and dull skin could be treated with vitamin C serums. If you really want to give your skin a boost of essential ingredients you could try an ampoule instead, which is a more concentrated type of serum.

Step 7: Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are our favourite step of the Korean skincare routine as they feel so luxurious, encouraging you to sit back and relax whilst you pamper. Although you might not be able to use a sheet mask every day, to enjoy the full results of the routine, it’s recommended to use one a few times a week.

The masks ensure that skin fully absorbs the ingredients and moisture imbued in your chosen mask – the longer you leave it on, the better!

Step 8: Eye Creams

Even if you don’t struggle with dark circles and eye bags, eye creams are still an essential step in this routine. They’ll help to keep dark circles, puffiness and eye bags at bay, further contributing to healthy, glowing skin. 

When applying eye creams only use a little and ensure you’re gentle, as the skin around your eyes is very delicate. 

Step 9: Moisturise

It’s important to apply moisturiser last in your routine as it will help to seal in all the moisture you fed your skin with. After doing so, you’ll have visibly plumper skin, for longer. 

Apply your favourite moisturiser and don’t forget your neck! If it’s the PM, this will be the last step in your routine. To add even more moisture, you could also apply a lip mask or lip balm at this stage.

Step 10: Don’t forget SPF

There are so many reasons to wear SPF – which is why we’re glad it’s an essential part of the Korean skincare routine. The purpose of the routine is all about protecting your skin, hydrating it, and boosting it with glowy and anti-ageing ingredients. This is why sun protection is so important – as it will keep your skin protected from sun damage, which in turn speeds up the visible signs of ageing. 

Ensure SPF is always applied last in your routine in the AM, so as to avoid diluting it with various serums and moisturisers layered above. You don’t need to follow this step in the PM.

There you have it – a simple breakdown of the 10-step Korean skincare routine. Try it out using some of the Korean skincare products we stock and enjoy the results of super-hydrated, well cared for skin.