Hi everyone! As you all know, I have been practicing the popular multi-step Korean skin-care routine that typically consists of 6+ steps and 4 to 12 different products applied twice a day.
I know what you’re thinking, this all sounds like wayyy too much work.
What convinced me to start this routine, and hopefully you as well, was a photo a Redditor shared of their 65-year-old mom who had been practicing this exact Korean skin-care routine her entire life:
Amazing, am I right? Trust me when I say that this is all worth it.
If you’re willing to stick to this routine day in and day out, I guarantee that you’ll start looking just as banging as this mom.
Today, I’ll be summarizing exactly what the multi-step Korean skin-care routine is, as well as, sharing my personal daily routine and valuable tips. Are you ready? Then, read on!
What is the Korean Skin-Care Routine?
It can be broken down into these 6 simple steps:
1. Emulsifying oil cleanser 💦
Oil cleansers, aka the first cleanser, are a great way to remove makeup after a long day. It’s a very gentle process that helps break up and lift sunscreen and makeup from your skin so that your second cleanser can wash it away and get your skin nice and clean.
Be aware that if your skin is sensitive to oils, always patch test first! Oil cleansers can clog pores and cause break outs.
Note: You can learn how to patch test your products here: https://www.reddit.com/r/AsianBeauty/comments/6ange1/discussion_how_do_you_patch_test/
2. Foaming, milk, gel, powder, or soaping cleanser 🚿
There are many types of second cleansers to choose from, but most cleansers work the same way—remove dirt and oil.
Each cleanser has a different look and feel—from foaming bubbles to a dry powder that you add water to. Some even have lightly added fragrances. Choosing the best cleanser for your skin really depends on what you prefer.
Note: Some cleansers can be more drying than others, so it’s always best to purchase sample sizes and test before grabbing a full bottle.
3. Chemical exfoliators and toners ✨
Depending on your skin type and needs, ingredients contained in chemical exfoliators and toners (such as AHAs, BHAs, and many others) can help:
・Reduce the appearance of large pores
・Reduce redness of skin
・and much, much more!
When applying toners, be careful not to over-exfoliate your skin. Many users have reported irritated skin and break outs when they apply too many times a week.
The rule of thumb is to start application once a week, and from there, slowly increase your frequency to a max of four times a week.
4. Essence, serums and ampoules 🐌
Copypasta from Reddit:
“Serums, essences and ampoules are actually quite similar in nature in that they are light and watery (but thicker than toners), and are meant to deliver specific ingredients at a higher concentration than moisturizers.
Essences are the lightest of the three and are meant to go immediately after a toner. Essences often have fermented ingredients in them and are useful for brightening and hydrating.
Serums often contain a few targeted ingredients such as niacinamide, plant extracts, propolis etc. and can vary widely in their thickness and ingredient profile.
Ampoules are highly concentrated essences/serums and can be used as a spot or area treatment due to their potency. Depending on the ampoule, it can go either before your serums and essences or after.”
5. Moisturizing face lotion 💆
If you are just starting off, I highly recommend moisturizers that contain Ceramide and/or Cetearyl Alcohol. These two ingredients are key to locking moisture in your skin.
In addition, any type of moisturizing face lotion that does not contain harsh ingredients, such as high amounts of alcohol or strong fragrances, are great choices to add to your routine.
6. Sunscreen ☀
Many Asian beauty experts highly recommend a sunscreen that has a rating of PA+++ or more for your daily routine. I personally think that any sunscreen with an SPF of 50 will do the job. Just make sure you’re willing to wear it all day 🙂
My Daily Skin-Care Routine
Step 1: Because my skin is super dry, simply rinsing my face with warm water in the morning is more than enough to strip away last nights’ routine and leave my face with a fresh start.
Step 2: After rinsing my face, I dispense one full pump of SK-II FTE onto my hands and carefully pat the product into my face and neck. This popular facial treatment essence has dramatically helped even out my skin tone and reduce the appearance of acne scars in just one month!
Due to its insane pricing, users have found cheaper alternatives with similar ingredients. But, if you must have it, you can find a good price online at Costco and sometimes Nordstrom (Note: Costco restocks randomly throughout the year + they sell out quick!).
Step 3 & 4: If you’re looking to reduce the appearance of acne scars, I highly recommend the Whamisa Flowers Toner and Mizon Snail Gel as great cheap alternatives. I usually apply these two products on top of my FTE. The aloe from the Whamisa Toner helps heal my skin, and the snail mucin from the Mizon Snail Gel, helps to calm and reduce redness and inflammation (some even use the Mizon as a light daily moisturizer). Thanks to these two products, my acne scars seem to disappear after only a few days (thanks for sharing, Miranda! 😉).
Step 5: Next, I lock all of my applications in with my Skin & Good Cera Super moisturizer. I also like to use this as an under eye cream before adding concealer. During the summer, I change my moisturizer up and use the Cerave Hydrating Moisturizer as it is much lighter on my combo, oily skin during this season.
Step 6: If you’re like me, then you probably also hate wearing sunscreen, which is why I opt for the Biore UV Aqua Rich. Although you should be avoiding bad alcohols on your face, the Biore UV is an exception. Despite its’ high alcohol content, this sunscreen does not irritate or dry out your skin. The Biore UV feels like water and dries on almost immediately after application. This sure beats most sunscreens that have a tendency to leave your face oily halfway through the day.
Step 7: Finally, if I have any sudden break outs, I apply a tiny amount of Epiduo onto my blemishes and this usually gets rid of my pimples within a few days
(Note: This is a prescription product and will need a doctors note to attain).
At night I wash off my daytime routine to prepare my face for my night-time routine.
Step 1: While in the shower, I start with a single pump of my Kose oil cleanser. This cleanser is light and surprisingly very inexpensive compared to other popular oil cleansers. Due to my oil sensitivities, I don’t use this as often as I should and prefer to only use this during winter when the weather is a lot drier.
Step 2: Next, I lather a pea-sized amount of the Hada Labo Goku face wash into my hands and then apply it to my face in small circular movements . This cleanser is extremely gentle and helps trap moisture on my face while applying.
Step 3: If my face looks dry or is super flakey, I exfoliate with my Konjac sponge. I simply soak the sponge in water for a few minutes, squeeze the water out, and then gently scrub my face in a circular motion as I move about my face.
You can find great quality sponges at Daiso for just $1. I used to purchase these on Amazon for $10 each, but I found that the Daiso sponges are almost exactly the same for a cheaper price.
Step 5: Finally, after applying my daytime routine, I sometimes like to relax and finish my routine off with a face mask. My favorite? My Diary Black Pearl mask!
There has been much controversy as to just how many steps/products one needs in their skin-care routine. I personally think that you should go for whatever feels best and works for your skin. Whether it be four, five, or even twelve steps—as long as it works, stick with it!
My skin isn’t perfect, but I’m well on my way towards it thanks to this skin-care routine!
What’s your skin-care routine? What do you do differently? Do you have a favorite face mask? Share your thoughts in the comments 🙂