Hi, K-Beauty Fans!
We have provided steps for your K-Beauty routine, but always check your product's directions for exact instructions! Your skin is unique, and it is important to find what exactly your skin needs, so have fun with it and try something new every day!
If you are new to the K-Beauty skin care routine, you can easily start with just three steps! Use a water-based cleanser as your cleansing step, a toner as your treatment step, and a moisturizer (emulsion, lotion, or cream) for your final step.
Our suggested order of products is listed below!
1. Makeup Remover & Oil-based Cleanser
The start of the 10 step K-Beauty routine is to remove oil impurities and/or debris with an oil-based cleanser. These cleansers are specifically geared towards removing makeup by emulsifying. Because makeup tends to be oil-based, oil cleansers mix well with them and practically melt makeup.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: Oil-based cleansers are best used with water-based cleansers. Double cleansing is the best way to remove all the impurities that come with makeup. Oil cleansers can also be good for dry skin types that need helpful oils that protect the skin from dryness and irritation.
2. Water-based Cleanser
A cleansing step that removes all debris from the skin. Oily skin can break out if excess oil blocks the pores, and this step helps control and eliminate oils. This step is core to the routine and the start of your treatment steps. It’s important to find the right cleanser for your skin type!
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: If your cleanser has a grainy feel, it could possibly have light exfoliants in it! Take care of using this kind of product in the morning, because you will be exposing your new skin to the sun. Remember if you do a night routine and depending on how oily you feel in the mornings, a light wash with just water may be good enough.
Removes dead skin cells and cleans out clogged pores. This exfoliating step also increases cell turnover rate to keep the skin youthful. There are different types of exfoliants to choose from that can be better for you depending on your skin’s needs. The most well-known type is a scrub, which uses a grainy consistency to aid in abrasively removing dead skin cells. Another type that we would particularly like to highlight is chemical exfoliation. Although the name can be scary, it is a milder form of exfoliation which involves targeting the top layer of dead skin cells specifically. AHAs are typically used in this, and in application of rubbing the peel solution, dead skin cells will “ball up” and rinse easily off. Other types of exfoliation can be seen with variation on applicators, like rough stitched pads that have been doused in enzymatic peel solution.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: This step should be only used 2-3 times a week max. Over exfoliating can be tough on the skin, and it can lead to a lot of problems, such as redness, enlarged pores, skin irritation, and scarring. With exfoliation, sunscreen use in the morning is highly recommended as you will need to protect your new skin from the sun! While applying exfoliants or any skincare, it is best to use circular motions!
This step balances your skin’s pH and adds a base layer of hydration back to the skin. Cleansers can change the skin’s pH level and strip the skin of its natural barrier and basic level of hydration. This step is also vital as the preparation step; it will help open your skin cells up to receiving nutrients (increasing cell membrane permeability) in the following steps.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE: Depending on your skin type, some toners can aid with excessively oily skin type. These toners will be focusing on oil control. BHAs and AHAs are common place for these oil control toners and typically with Korean toners, they are also formulated with soothing and hydrating ingredients that work to control the dehydrating problems that often come with astringent toners. If you have dry skin type, you should be looking instead for simple ingredient lists that focus on hydration and nutrition.
7 Skin Method: This is an interesting variation of K-Beauty skincare routines. It involves the earlier cleansing steps, but also using a hydrating, non-astringent toner 6 times followed by an ample amount of sunscreen. This type of routine is best used when you know you will be outside doing a lot of activities that produce sweat and oil on your skin. This will help with keeping your pores unclogged and skin feeling light and refreshed. Layering your toner with give you the base hydration you need to start your day off. It is also suggested to bring a mist with you if you have dry skin concerns!
This is a lightweight step that hydrates and moisturizes the skin while using active ingredients to treat specific skin concerns. Essences are typically ingredient-rich and packed with vitamins to treat the skin. Speaking in importance, we believe that this step, and the following two steps, are the key components to truly enriching your skin. You will find the specificity of treatment your skin needs in these steps. For example, if you are trying to even out your skin tone or lighten dark spots caused by old acne wounds, your essence to look for should have vitamin C or niacinamide in it. If you are looking for anti-aging, the ingredients to look for could be antioxidants to repair sun damage or collagen to help reinforce your skin’s elasticity. Essences are particularly less viscous than serums/ampoules and more likely to be watery.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE: Some essences will specify that they are first care products. This means that the essence would most effectively be used after cleansing. This is due to the way they are formulated as they penetrate deep into the skin without the need of a toner and prepare the skin like a toner. It is important always read the directions on products, as they can help you properly use the product. You can then follow up with your toner and then your serum if you are using one!
6. Serum / Ampoule
This step is a highly concentrated treatment step packed with nutrients and active ingredients that rapidly treats specific skin concerns while moisturizing the skin. As said with the previous step, ampoules and serums are packed with the ingredients to make a change in your skin. However, unlike essences, you will find that serums and ampoules tend to have a more viscous and oily texture to them. Because of high concentrations of ingredients, these products tend to be more moisturizing that hydrating, as they help bind water to the skin rather than directly injecting water into the skin.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: Because serums are highly packed with active ingredients, it’s best to investigate the product and see if it is better used at night. If you are unsure, it is always a good idea to wear sunscreen to keep your skin protected.
DIY Mask: Serums, ampoules, and essences can be used to make DIY masks or patches. All you have to do apply the solution to a cotton thin pad and place over the desired area. Sometimes you can find masks sold in bulk that do not have any solution.
7. Sheet Mask
The sheet mask step is your spa, relaxation step. Besides all the wonderful points of enjoying a sheet mask, this step is essentially a prolonged serum/ampoule step. Simply, the sheet mask prevents the evaporation of the serum with a cotton or gel physical barrier. Your skin will have a longer time to absorb all the nutrients in the sheet mask serum. As mentioned earlier, this step is crucial for treating specific skin concerns.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: You can use a sheet mask as often you like, but you should keep in mind of your skin’s reaction. Sheet masks are highly concentrated with active ingredients, and that is why the recommend frequency of use is 2-3 times a week. When putting on a mask, it’s always easier to start from the nose and eyes area and work your way to your cheeks, chin, and forehead. Also, extra serum in the mask pack can be used on the neck area or saved as a serum the following day.
8. Eye Cream
Skin around the eye is more sensitive, and extra care is needed. Eye creams are formulated to give the moisturization and hydration your eye areas need. They are also often formulated with brightening and anti-aging ingredients to help combat with discoloration and wrinkles. Firming and elasticity promoting ingredients such as collagen can also combat with swelling and puffiness.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: Eye creams are packed with a lot of humectants and thick moisturizers. Using too much eye cream daily can be a problem and at worst can lead to the formation of milia. Milia can be removed with exfoliation, but that is a problem with the area around the eye. It is best to use a very small pea sized amount of eye cream.
9. Emulsion, Lotion, or/and Cream
K-beauty fans value that dewy look on their skin. Moisturizers help protect against dryness and help retain nutrients and hydration gained from previous skin treatment steps. There are many kinds of moisturizers, which can be emulsions, lotions, gels, and creams. You can choose from many different moisturizers to target a specific skin issue. For example, you are looking for a light amount of moisturizing effect during the summer to prevent clogging pores, just apply one light emulsion for this step. The same concept works with applying multiple moisturizers, an emulsion and cream, during the winter to combat dryness!
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW: A more recent trend in K-Beauty is honey skin. You may have heard about dewy or glass skin, and this basically is the same thing, however, the way it is achieved is different. It is through the double layering of a light cream (not one that is heavy with oils) and topped off at night with a sleeping mask. With a light rinse of water in the morning, you will have a glowing honey skin look!
10. Sunscreen / Sleeping Mask
This last step is vital in protecting your skin, whether at night or in the morning.
At night, those who have problem skin type dry or irritated will love the effect that a sleeping pack achieves. A thick gel, moisturizer consistency will help lock in the hydration from the steps before at night giving you a supple, full feel in the morning. Furthermore, if you have problem skin type, such as redness from dryness or acne, you can find that some sleeping masks target these problems by reducing inflammation. Regardless of the cause, the anti-inflammatory response in your skin when using these kinds of sleeping masks will aid in curing your skin of the original cause.
In the morning, topping off your skin care regimen with a sunscreen is vital. Often when using K-Beauty products, your skin will be more exposed to the sun due to increased cell turnover rate (often achieved with active ingredients). Furthermore, when your skin is healing from an annoying pimple for example, discoloration of the skin is due to it being exposed to sunlight. The only real way to prevent as much damage as possible is to reduce the amount of UV radiation the skin is irradiated. It is important to lastly note that with sensitive skin types it is suggested to find mineral sunscreens, formulated with metal oxides such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These ingredients do not penetrate the skin and remove some of the possibility of skin irritation.