We know you may be thinking, “Wait, there’s a Korean skincare routine?” The answer is yes, and the difference between a Korean skincare routine and other types lies in the sheer number of steps. It consists of more than just cleansing, moisturizing your skin and so on!
If you have not already noticed, Koreans put in a lot more effort into their skincare routine than their makeup. They believe that beauty comes naturally with good skin and it is very common for them to start visiting the dermatologist from a young age just to get that perfect skin.
Some people are just blessed with effortlessly good skin, but for those who aren’t, it is never too late to start on skincare. We reported on the Korean skincare trends in 2020, and glowing complexion is one of the most sought after looks. In this tutorial, we will guide you through a typical Korean skincare routine that will give you the glowing skin that everyone desire.
1. Removing makeup
If you think removing makeup only once is enough, think again. Koreans would do two rounds of makeup removal, and this method is called double-cleansing.
The first round of makeup removal in a Korean skincare routine usually uses either makeup removal wipes or liquids. Just remember to be more patient with your eyes! Rubbing them too hard over a long period of time may also cause fine lines and wrinkles, so try to avoid that.
After you are done with the first round of makeup removal, it is time to go for the second round. Korean skincare routines usually feature an an oil-based remover, which is rinsed gently with lukewarm water.
Oil-based makeup removers can better dissolve makeup, most of which are oil-based as well. The temperature of lukewarm water will then emulsify the oil-based cleaner and get rid of the remaining impurities left behind on your skin.
The next step is to gently wash your face with cleanser. Cleansing your face will make sure that none of the impurities are left behind on your skin which may result in clogging your pores. With clean skin, there is a lower chance that your skin may break out due to residual makeup on your face.
Yes, Korean skincare routines call for two steps of makeup removal and a regular facial cleansing after that – so that’s three steps in total just getting the gunk off your face so it’s thoroughly clean and ready to absorb in the goodness of your skincare products.
Exfoliation may be a hassle for some people but think of it as an extra something that will help you to achieve smooth and glowing skin. If your skin is acne-prone or you suffer from clogged pores, you could even consider making exfoliation your main focus.
There are many kinds of exfoliating products in the market and depending on your skin condition, it is recommended to exfoliate your face once or twice per week. Check out our guide on how to exfoliate your skin the right way to make sure you’re doing the best for your skin!
DV Tip: When choosing an exfoliator, test the product first on the back of your hand. If you find the exfoliator too gritty and rough for your liking, search for one that is finer and gentler on your skin. It is better to start with a lighter exfoliator if you’re new to exfoliation.
Toners are sometimes considered the final step of facial cleansing because they not only refresh and hydrate your skin, but can also remove makeup residues that haven’t already been cleaned off before.
Some toners can also help to re-balance your skin’s pH, which may also help to prime your skin for better absorption in the upcoming skincare steps. Whatever the case, Koreans rarely leave toners out of their skincare routines.
We are now truly done with cleaning the skin, and can now start on nourishing it. This step in Korean skincare routines revolves around essences, and they can be treated as the ‘appetizer’ of the course.
Difference essences will consist of different ingredients, so choose one that targets your biggest skincare concern. Most essences can also work as a hydrating booster, and also help in repairing damaged skin.
Simply pat the essence lightly onto your face to ensure full absorbance.
6. Serum/ Ampoule
Korean skincare routines don’t just stop at a single essence. If an essence is a catch-all blanket skincare that helps to generally repair your skin, serums and ampoules are the intense treatment to really target specific skincare concerns.
If you are not sure what the difference between ampoule and serum is, never fear, we are here to explain.
A serum is a concentration form of targeted ingredients that aids in reducing dark spots, acne scars, improving skin discolouration and so on. You typically apply this to your entire face.
An ampoule, meanwhile, is considered to be even more concentrated than a serum. It usually comes in small vials, and you’re only supposed to use a tiny amount at the specific spot that needs it.
To give your skin the extra boost with targeted ingredients, try either a serum or ampoule to feel the difference.
7. Sheet mask
Another beauty product Korea is famous for is their sheet masks, and we’re sure nobody would disagree. There are different types of sheet masks available for different skincare needs. Brightening, hydrating, tightening… You name it, they’ll have it.
The traditional sheet masks are just sheets of tissue or cotton soaked in some form of skincare essence, and all you have to do is position it on your face and let it sit. More recently, Korean sheet masks have evolved – you can even decide to have different essences for different skincare concerns on each half of your sheet mask!
Apply the mask, then relax and unwind for about 15 to 20 minutes, letting your skin soak in the goodness. After removing the mask, gently tap in any remaining essence in to your skin. It is recommended to use about one to two masks per week to ensure that your skin is well nourished and pampered.
As for the remaining essence that is left in the pack (and there can be quite a lot left), you can consider storing them in smaller bottles for future use, or just pour it out and apply it all over your neck, collarbone, arms, and legs!
8. Eye cream
Fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness – those are just a few common concerns for under eyes. To combat these issues, the Korean skincare routine recommends gently patting on some eye cream below your eyes and slowly make your way up to your temples.
Try not to put it too close to your eyes, though! You certainly don’t want any eye cream to accidentally get into your eyes.
DV Tip: Use your ring finger to tap on the eye cream. Your ring finger is proven to have less muscle and so it will create less pressure on the sensitive skin underneath the eyes when you apply eye cream.
Whether you use a regular moisturiser, a night cream, or a sleeping pack, you absolutely can’t miss out on this step. Considering Korea’s climate can get really dry and cold, moisturising is an especially crucial part of any Korean skincare routine. Skin will always look better and healthier when moisturised than when dry.
Our climate may be polar opposite to Korea’s, but it doesn’t mean that we can afford to skip this step. Many of us work in air-conditioned offices, and sleep in air-conditioned rooms at night, which means our skin can still get dried out from cold, dry air all throughout the day.
Your skin will also tend to get drier as you age, and dry skin leads to fine lines and wrinkles. Whether it’s a light, water-based moisturiser, a night cream, or a sleeping pack, regularly make sure your skin is well moisturised and you won’t regret it.
DV Tip: Don’t forget to moisturise your neck! As the common saying goes, your neck is the true indicator of your age, and keeping it well moisturised will go a long way to looking younger for longer. Your neck is the extension of your face, after all!
Last but definitely not the least: sun protection. UV rays are one of the top factors for causing signs of ageing to appear on our skin. A good sunscreen (of at least SPF30 if you’re indoors, and SPF50 if you’re outdoors) will help you shield off UV rays so your skin will be protected their damage.
With the increased usage of electronic devices, blue light (emitted from these devices) is another element that skincare enthusiasts are looking to avoid. If you’re exposed to devices like the laptop, phones, and TV screens, look out for sunscreens that also provide protection against blue light.