The 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine

Applying 10 different products might sound daunting, but in reality, you only apply 6-7 of these daily and the rest is about once every few weeks.  The routine is based on “layering”, which means applying in order, from the lesser to thicker product.  A toner is less thicker than an Essence so you would apply the toner first. And an essence is less thicker than a serum or ampoule so the essence would be applied first.  Also, just because it says 10 doesn’t mean its the magical number.  Many Korean women keep different toners, exfoliators, serums, and moisturizers depending on the current skin concern or weather.  Hopefully, the below will break down the steps for you.  If you have any questions, you can always let me know by clicking here!

  1. Cleanser

    Cleansers come either as oil or water based.  Oil cleanser are great for sensitive, dry, or oily skin.  I know it might sound weird for oily skin to use oil cleansers but going back to science class, like attracts like.  The oil from the oil cleansers bind to the oils on the face and gently pulls them away.  Also, makeup is heavily oil based so an oil cleanser does a great job in emulsifying with the makeup and basically melting away the makeup. The double-cleanse process is to first use an oil cleanser to remove makeup and oils on the face and second, use a water-based cleanser for a deeper clean.  This leaves the skin clean and pure, ready to absorb the goodies in the next steps.  Cleansers should generally be used twice a day as the first step in a skin care routine.  If you have really dry or sensitive skin, skipping the morning might be ok, maybe better.  But if you are acne prone, oily, or sleep in a hot or humid climate, a morning cleanser is recommended to remove the perspiration, sebum, and bacteria accumulated by the humidity.
    Check out our cleanser line here.

  2. Exfoliator

    Exfoliating is good for many reasons.  They increase the cell turnover rate to rejuvenate the skin, stimulate collagen production, unclog pores, tone complexion, and smooth skin texture.  Exfoliators remove dead skin cells and use either mechanical or chemical ingredients to exfoliate.  Mechanical exfoliating includes ingredients that physically scrub dead cells away from the skin’s surface.  Chemical exfoliators use mild chemicals such as AHAs (Alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) to slew away dead skin cells.  Salicylic acid is a commonly used BHA while lactic and citric acids are common AHAs. One tip on using them. Sun protection is necessary when using chemical exfoliants. Check them out here.

  3. Toner

    Toners are used to remove residue left behind by cleansers, restore the skin’s natural pH after cleansing, and additionally, some address special concerns such as oil control, mild exfoliation, or hydration.  It’s important to use a toner to restore the skin’s natural pH after cleansing.  Toner tip: Use a small mist bottle to spray the toner evenly on your skin and pat gently. Check them out here.

  4. Essence

    Essences are a staple in Korean skin care routine and an multi-role skin conditioner that will most noticeably improve your skin condition.  An essence should be evenly applied across the entire face (works great for your neck also).  Working on a cellular level, most Korean essences optimize the skin’s natural turnover rate (skin regeneration) for a smoother, brighter and a noticeably revitalized skin.  As a multi-functional product, they also address hydration, wrinkles, fine lines, dull/uneven skin tones and can be formulated to include many other beneficial properties. Check them out here.

  5. Serums & Ampoules

    Serums are concentrated ingredients that target specific skin concerns and are therefore a lot thicker.  Chemically formulated with smaller molecules to penetrate deep into the skin for maximum absorption, they include performance ingredients such as vitamins, lipids, and antioxidants.  Ampoules are a highly concentrated extract of a primary ingredient in an oil or water base.  They differ with serums in that instead of small molecular formulations, they rely on high concentrations of a primary ingredient to powerfully deliver the absorption into the skin.  In a sense, serums and ampoules are essentially the same type of products containing concentrated and specialized ingredients designed for effective penetration into the skin. They are applied under a moisturizer, mask or cream. Check them out here.

  6. Sheet Masks

    Sheet masks main purpose is to deliver the maximum amount of ingredients in a short amount of time.  Because of this, sheet masks can really charge your skin up when you need a quick boost.  Whether you are looking to tighten pores, brighten complexion, clear blemishes, hydrate, soothe, rejuvenate, and more, you can always find a sheet mask designed for the cause. Sheet masks are usually infused with serums, ampoules, or essences and provide a quick and effective way to absorb them into the skin. Our tip: Use them right after exfoliating and let the skin soak it up. Also, set a timer/alarm.  Sheet masks will dry if left on overtime and reabsorb the hydration from your skin.  Leaving it on too long to a point where the mask dries up (unless its supposed to as per instruction) is not good.  Usually, the instructions state 15-20 minutes. Check them out here.

  7. Face Masks

    Face masks, also know as a pack or masque, nourish and/or condition the skin.  Gel, collagen, cream, and natural plant based masks allow excellent absorption of beneficial ingredients and are great to revitalize tired, dull, or dry skin.  Clay masks draw impurities and oil to the surface of the skin as the mask dries and tightens.  They also stimulate circulation and are used for their pore tightening and sebum-absorbing effects. Our tip: Setting an alarm helps to not leave the mask on for too long. Leave on for as long as instructed (usually 10-15 minutes).  Leaving a mask on for too long may become too harsh for your skin. Check them out here.

  8. Moisturizers

    Moisturizers are usually the last step in a skincare regiment used to lock in moisture and all the precious products layered onto the skin.  Think of them like saran wraps for the skin (that’s why you should use a cleanser first if you decide to apply moisturizer).  It not only protects against the outer environment but can also be formulated to address various skin concerns.  Moisturizer tip: Moisturizers are important even for oily skin.  Dry skin will overcompensate the dryness by producing more oil thus more problems.  Creams are usually applied for heavy hydration or repair.  Night creams are designed to nourish and repair the skin during sleep when normal tissue repair takes place. Check them out here.

  9. Eye Treatments

    The skin around the eye is thinner and more delicate than the area of the face.  That’s why its easier to see dark circles when tired and noticeably puffier in the morning.  Eye treatments protect and nourish this thin area around the eye and can include ingredients to firm, reduce lines, and decrease puffiness. Check them out here.

  10. Sun Protection
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    Sunscreens play an important role in skin care as they protect against harmful UV radiation that can lead to skin cancer, premature skin aging, hyper-pigmentation, capillary damage, free radical damage, and collagen (elasticity) deterioration. Daily sunscreen use is recommended even for people whose sun exposure is limited to driving or being near windows.  One thing to point out is some people use only cushions as their sun protection as most cushion compacts come with a fair amount of UV protection.  But because of the way sunscreen works, it’s always better to apply a dedicated sunscreen when venturing outdoors.  Check out our BB, CC, and sunscreens here.

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