Maintaining good skin is a thing of hard work and time. The famous gazillion step Korean skin care regimen especially consists of a rigorous routine that just seems long, exhausting and, let’s be totally honest here, too tedious for the lazy in you to implement so far. However, thanks to the roaring popularity of Korean cosmetics, it’s hard not to get a bit curious or intrigued by all the new and weird products that supposedly do this and that, or wonder if any of the steps are actually necessary. Yet, Korean women seem to be doing something right because they’ve gotten that flawless, porcelain-looking skin down to perfection. So, we've put together a cheatsheet to help you try out that beauty routine!
- Makeup removal/pre-cleanse: As the first step of the routine, it’s important to start by removing any substantial makeup, especially eye makeup, and impurities like sebum and buildup. Doing this will ensure that any makeup residue is properly and effectively cleared away by the end of the routine. Oil based cleansers or makeup removers are great for this first step as they provide gentle removal of makeup without drying the skin.
Check out: Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser
Check out: Skinfood Black Sugar Cleansing Oil
- Cleanser: Now that most of the heavy makeup is out of the way, it’s time to give your face another serious cleansing (aka the double-cleanse step). This is to remove additional impurities such as dirt and debris that’s bound to have accumulated on your face from the day, not to mention any BB cream or foundation. Give your face a proper cleansing using gentle, massaging circular motions for clean and refreshed skin.
Check out: TonyMoly Egg Pore Deep Cleansing Foam
Check out: Mizon Snail Repairing Foam Cleanser
- Exfoliate: A great way to get that super soft, supple skin is to exfoliate! Buffing or sloughing off a layer of dead skin cells and buildup aids in renewing and refining the skin to get smooth, even texture. However, this step is somewhat optional because exfoliation may only be needed a few times a month, a couple times a week, or perhaps even daily, but only on certain parts such as the nose or other porous/oily areas. Excessive exfoliation or overly abrasive products are not recommended because obviously, you don’t want to be feeling like you rubbed your face with sandpaper or received a full facial grooming by a very affectionate cat (have you seen what a cat’s tongue looks like??).
Check out: Mizon Honey Black Sugar Scrub
- Toner: Now that you’re done with the cleansing, it’s time to refresh! Toners help remove any leftover residue from the previous cleansings and help restore the pH balance in your skin. Korean toners tend to not only help clarify and soothe, but they also aid in hydrating and softening the skin while preparing it for better absorption of serums and essences.
Check out: Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner
Check out: Mizon Camomile 90% Toner
- Essence: What’s the deal with this step being one of the most essential parts of the routine? It turns out, essence is important because it’s a nourishing liquid concentrate that boosts skin regeneration. Say what? These suckers aid in enhancing and optimizing your skin cell’s turnover rate or renewal process, which ultimately help bring about smooth, bright, and firm skin.
Check out: TonyMoly Galactomyces Lite Essence
Check out: SecretKey Starting Treatment Essence
- Ampoule/Serum: Think super essences. Ampoules and serums are like essences, except they are more richly concentrated (ampoules are even more concentrated than serums), usually has a thicker consistency, and address target issues such as anti-aging, whitening, firming, etc. Thanks to its potent effects, even just a thin layer should be enough!
Check out: Mizon Ampoule Line
- Sheet mask: Typically packed with all sorts of nourishing goodies, facial sheet masks are great for brightening, hydrating, and refreshing the face like no other. Not to mention, the mask itself acts as an occlusion on the skin, reducing water evaporation and boosting its moisturizing power. Like exfoliators, though, they should be applied sparingly; roughly two to three times a week should be enough to maximize the effectiveness on the skin!
Check out: Too Cool for School Egg Cream Mask
Check out: TonyMoly Intense Care Snail Hydro-Gel Mask
- Eye cream: Take good care of your eyes! Eye creams, as one may have guessed, usually aid in hydrating, refreshing, and reducing the amount of puffiness, lines/wrinkles, and dark circles around your eyes. However, the key here is to utilize the tapping technique to gently tap the product onto the area to optimize product absorption instead of tugging and pulling on the delicate skin around the eyes. Hydrating and protecting your eye area may ultimately help you and your skin see eye to eye. Sorry, was that too cornea?
Check out: Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream
Check out: Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Cream Pack
Check out: Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
- Moisturizer: “Moisturize me!” Now’s the time to channel your inner Cassandra from Doctor Who and, well, moisturize. Even after all those previous steps, make sure you apply a moisturizer to keep your skin nice and hydrated! Emulsions, or lightweight moisturizers, are excellent for the job, especially when applied using gentle, circular motions that not only massage the skin, but also stimulate circulation as well.
Check out: Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid
10. Night cream: For the last step of the routine, slather on a night cream or sleeping pack while you catch up on some Z’s. Smoothing on a layer of rich, moisturizing cream before you go to bed will give your skin plenty to work with as it recharges and rejuvenates throughout the night. This will help lock in the moisturizer and keep your skin well hydrated as you snooze. Wake up feeling and looking better than Sleeping Beauty!
Note: If it’s the start of the day, make sure to apply plenty of sun protection or a product with SPF!
Check out: Too Cool for School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack
Check out: Dr.Jart+ Time Returning Cream