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The Korean skincare routine seems to be trending lately, and with good reason! This skin regimen incorporates much of what, as an esthetician, I would consider to be logical skincare! It is good for you skin and involves a skin regimen that will help you have healthy, youthful, amazing skin.
You should do the Korean skincare routine day and night for great results and very happy skin!
So what is the Korean skincare routine and what are the Korean skincare products that are best?
Our listing of recommended products, organized by step, can be found at the end of the article!
Step 1 – Oil Cleanse
You want to remove makeup and dirt so you want to cleanse with an oil-based cleanser. This may be scary for those of you with oily skin, but trust me! Nothing sends your oil glands into panic mode more than a lack of good, healthy oils.
Your skin will think it is lacking oil and produce more! So good, healthy oil in small doses is not going to cause an oil slick on your skin! Drying it out too much might!
Step 2 – Foam Cleanse
After you oil cleanse you want to cleanse with a foam cleanser or a water-based cleanser. You simply rub the foam onto your face with gentle, circular motions to remove any other dirt or impurities on your skin.
Step 3 – Exfoliate
This step helps remove dead skin cells that can prevent needed moisture from getting through, drying out your skin. You can use a gentle exfoliant or a brush/sponge for this step.
Step 4 – Toner
Using a good toner will help restore your skin’s pH levels, hydrate your skin and prep it for the remaining steps. Apply with a cotton ball!
Step 5 – Essence
Essences are the heart of Korean skincare. They are light-weight, water-based products. Some people describe it as a serum but the reality is this product is more a booster and is meant to hydrate the skin and protect and repair it. It typically contains more water than a serum would.
Step 6 – Serum/Ampoule
Now THIS is where the serum or ampoule comes in. They help repair skin issues like acne, and can help minimize the appearance (and future) fine lines and wrinkles. If you have really oily skin or if you really don’t have any skin issues, you can just bypass this step.
Step 7 – Sheet Mask
Sheet masks have become extremely popular parts of a skin regimen these days and are easy to find! In fact, my teen has been using them for a few years now! You can find them in pretty much any price range and they are quick and easy to use.
Their purpose is to increase hydration, which is really important as your skin ages! They are typically soaked in serum, so yes you are getting yet another layer of serum (as well as other excellent ingredients) on your skin and your skin will love you for it!
It is a one-time use product and you can get them to meet your specific skin-care needs and your skin type!
Step 8 – Eye Cream
No skin regimen would be complete without taking great care of the eyes.
The skin around your eyes is not the same as the skin on the remainder of your face. For one, it lacks the sebaceous glands (oil glands) that provide oil to the rest of your face.
The skin around your eyes is very sensitive, so be sure to never pull or tug on it.
When applying any cream to the area around your eyes, you want to use your ring finger and use it gently. Your ring finger is the weakest one so it applies the least amount of pressure.
Step 9 – Moisturizer
A cream moisturizer is a staple of the traditional Korean skincare routine and it forms what is known as an occlusive layer, sealing in all the ingredients you just applied and adding additional moisture to your skin.
Step 10 – Sunscreen (When Doing Routine in the Morning) or Sleep Mask (When Doing Routine in the Evening)
Protecting your skin is a key step to ANY skin regimen! This one is no different.
The sun can cause irreversible damage to your skin and can even affect your DNA and can cause your cell membranes to become distorted.
Balance + refine skin with this pH-balanced gel cleanser from Korean skincare brand, COSRX. Protects skin’s natural moisture barrier while removing makeup, dirt and oil without stripping sensitive skin. Antibacterial tea tree oil prevents blemishes while BHAs exfoliate + soften skin with a balanced formula. Ideal for all skin types with a mild, effective formula that leaves skin clear and glowing.
Erborian's Black Cleansing Oil is enriched with purifying charcoal that gently removes impurities and any traces of makeup leaving skin looking radiant. It leaves skin enveloped in a non-oily veil of protection, making it suitable for dry skin.
This Black Cleansing Oil combines the Korean cleansing technique with charcoal, known for its purifying properties, to offer radiance and comfort. On contact with warm water, its silky texture transforms into a light, gentle emulsion, and provides a delicate yet effective cleansing action. It gently removes impurities, excess sebum, and stubborn traces of makeup.
With moisture-laden sea salt and pure essential oils, Zum Scrub naturally exfoliates for softer, healthier, and glowing skin. It tunes your body into improved circulation, ushers in the next generation of skin, and provides some ballad-worthy relaxation. Turn your shower into an aromatherapy spa, sans toxins or harsh chemicals.
ARCONA Cranberry Gommage is a purifying cranberry exfoliant that cleanses, tones and decongests enlarged pores, leaving skin visibly clearer, smoother and more refined. Brighten and resurface skin with Zeolite and Blueberry enzymes. Unclog and minimize the appearance of pores with Cranberry and Raspberry enzymes. Leaves skin purely polished and glowing.
Gentle enough for daily exfoliation (on even the most sensitive skin), The Good Acids Pore Toner helps gently slough away dead skin cells and get you prepped for the rest of your skincare routine. The perfect pre-treatment formula, this pH-adjusting toner works harmoniously with other acids and more intensive treatments.
This updated version of Biore’s most loved UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++ is powered by the innovative Micro Defense formula to prevent uneven application. The colorless essence forms an invisible waterproof shield on skin without feeling sticky. Hyaluronic acid, royal jelly and other moisturizing ingredients keep skin comfortable and hydrated. Excellent as a primer!
Keep sebum at bay and control excessive oil with Banila Co's Hi Bye Clean Up Sebum Control Essence that harnesses the power of ingredients like witch hazel, peppermint, and green tea to control oil, prevent breakouts, and balance the skin. The cooling formula dries quickly and creates a smooth canvas for makeup.
Banila Co's Hi Bye Vita-Peel Essence is enriched with a blend of 14 vitamins and AHA's to create a silky, bright and healthy complexion. Non-irritant peeling essence you can use alone or under moisturizer. This facial essence protects against environmental damage, free radicals and prevents signs of aging. Follow with SPF protection.
Enhance your skin's natural glow with nutrient-dense Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence from COSRX. This highly concentrated essence contains 96% snail mucin, a powerful ingredient known to aid in skin repair, hydration, brightness, and tone. Like a multivitamin for your skin, this replenishing essence contains nutrients to repair skin damage, boost elasticity, and maintain skin moisture.
The Glow Bi-Phase Ampoules are effective, bi-phase ampoules containing a combination of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Seabuckthorn Extract, and Bistorta Root Extract. When the active ingredients combine the natural plant oils and active concentrate absorb fast and leave the skin feeling incredibly smooth and velvety, with no shine.
Harnessing the natural antibacterial benefits of pure black propolis, COSRX Propolis Light Ampoule heals damaged skin while nourishing it with moisture and nutrients. Ideal for dry and rough skin types, this silky hydrator increases skin softness and suppleness, leaving skin radiant, plump, and dewy.
The luxury of a brighter, firmer complexion on demand. This targeted treatment contains a high-performance blend of vitamin C, an essential antioxidant for effective anti-aging, to transform dull, lackluster skin and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Microsponge technology enables a controlled release of actives for long-acting protection, and single-dose capsules protect the potency and efficacy of the active ingredients within, ensuring maximum results from just a small amount of product. Get ready to glow.
This potent concentrate is an anti-aging cocktail, packed with active antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients that nourish the skin while visibly reducing the depth of fine lines and wrinkles. Super Anti-Aging Serum diminishes inflammation- a primary cause of aging and skin aberrations, while replacing the skin’s moisture reservoirs using a high-quality complex of long- and short-chain Hyaluronic Acid
A fresh serum that instantly smoothes skin's surface after just one application. After three-days, pores appear less visible and uneven texture appears reduced. After four-weeks, fine lines and wrinkles appear visibly corrected.
The iconic first-step booster serum that balances skin for a youthful and healthy glow--now available in a new aromatic experience. Embrace the sweet and abundant energy of Korean Raspberry and Apricot.
G9 is a cruelty free Korean beauty brand, helping you achieve radiant and moisturized skin with its White In Milk capsule serum. Designed for use either day or night and even suitable for wearing under makeup, it contains 9 kinds of cleansing and soothing ingredients to leave you with glowing skin.
A brightening eye serum that works to improve dark circles, visibly reduce eye bags and visibly fortify eyelashes. Light Pearl has been formulated to reduce the appearance of under eye wrinkles and eye puffiness and increase hydration for more luminous, youthful-looking eyes.0.67 oz. Made in France.
Sheet masks made of 100% natural cotton help in the absorption of powerful ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, catechins, madecassoside, collagen, BHA, peptides and Vitamin C. Regular use restores moisture, clarifies complexion, brightens skin tone and firms skin.
H2Overdose pairs with UFO to instantly soothe and replenish dry, dehydrated skin, leaving you with a soft, supple complexion. Active ingredient hyaluronic acid helps the mask replenish the skin's natural moisture barrier to prevent hydration loss.
Ginseng Infusion Total Eye Cream from Erborian is a complete energising and anti-fatigue treatment for eyes containing high concentrations of Ginseng and Korean herbs which help support the delicate skin around the eyes. The unique formula helps to rapidly decrease puffiness and reduce dark circles, fine wrinkles and all signs of fatigue. The result? Your eyes are radiant and full of energy; all signs of aging are diminished.
Selfridges says: Tired of looking tired? Korean beauty brand Shangpree may just have the answer. This Marine Energy eye mask has been designed specifically for the delicate skin around your eyes. Enriched with antioxidant-rich algae, spirulina and chondrus crispus, the anti-ageing formula soothes with herbal and botanical extracts to keep skin hydrated and plumped up. Use this regularly and notice brighter, more soothed skin with a youthful complexion. Magic!
This premium total anti-aging eye cream formulated with highly concentrated Korean Red Pine coupled with poria cocos helps fortify the eye area for firmer-looking skin.All skin types, especially dry and/or mature skin.
Stay hydrated throughout your next travel plans with COSRX's One Step Moisture Up Kit. This ultra-convenient 3-in-1 set features some of the Korean brand's best-selling formulas including a cleanser, hydrating toning pad, and healing mask all in one sleek package. Specifically formulated for dry and depleted skin, this ultra-quenching trio will keep your skin looking fresh and hydrated for hours
The fluid lotion infuses skin with moisture, offering comfort and relief. Yehwadam Revitalizing Moisturizing line is a traditional herbal moisturizing line that restores dehydrated skin with continuous long-lasting fresh moisture with its fresh flower water formula Formulated with ‘Fresh Flower Water’ which is a secret formula that consists of 5 types of traditional herb flowers with moisturizing properties that re-energize and cool skin with fresh surge of moisture
Level up your skincare routine with Tonymoly's Panda's Dream Rose Hyaluronic Moisture Cream. The brand's coveted - and adorably packaged - skincare line gets a pink upgrade formulated with Rose Water and Rosehip Extract that soothes the skin while conditioning with Vitamin C. With a lightweight texture and light floral fragrance, this gel cream hybrid moisturizes without a tacky feeling.
An Award-Winning* formulation packed with more than 80% of pure concentrated Marine collagen, this night treatment is completed with a natural emollient to penetrate into the skin readily like a serum for deep nourishment.
Laced with Korean red ginseng, this luxe cream offers long-term hydration, minimizes visible signs of aging, and helps replenish skin's moisture, delivering a healthy, youthful complexion. Teaming with a powerful blend of Compound K and Ginsenoside Re extracted from Korean red ginseng, this intensive cream addresses multiple signs of aging and uneven texture by enhancing moisture. As part of a daily ritual, skin feels bouncier, plumper and more even.
Infused with moisture, your skin will glow with vibrant health.Containing a unique moisture complex of 16 essential elements found in young skin at its very best, this formula is an ultra-charged drink for your skin.
Recharge your skin with moisture every night with Lancôme’s moisturising night cream, Hydra Zen Nuit NeuroCalm™. The hydrating silky smooth night cream will leave your skin feeling moisturised, refreshed and soothed.
Say goodbye to sunscreen's infamous white residue with Tonymoly's My Sunny Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA+++. Doubling as a hydrating, lightweight essence and a powerful sun protectant, this UV-blocking, water-based essence is formulated to sink deep into the skin for maximum hydration - without a sticky, greasy or discolored debris.
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