Korean Skincare Routine: Introduction

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Okay, so don’t get scared off from Korean Skincare just because you’ve heard of Koreans having a million steps to achieve that flawless, pore-less look.

Going through the 10-step Korean skincare routine surprisingly doesn’t take up too much time, considering most products absorb super fast. AND, I promise there will a blog post coming soon about which steps you can skip for those days you just want to jump straight into bed.

It is best to try this routine in the evening and to skip some steps in the morning. I will post a morning routine for those who don’t have enough time to complete the full routine.

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STEP 1: Eye Makeup Remover

It is always best to make sure all that stubborn waterproof makeup (especially eyes and lips) is thoroughly but gently removed. An oil-based cleanser works best. You can try Banila Co. Clean It Zero or Heimish All Clean Balm. The last thing you want is to use a normal cleanser and continuously tug at the delicate skin around your eyes.

STEP 2: Double Cleanse

Double cleansing may sound tedious but your skin will love you for it. And it makes sense that if you spend 30 minutes applying makeup, you should spend an equal amount of time removing it.

An oil-based cleanser (the products listed in STEP 1) helps break down makeup, SPF and excess sebum. A build-up of these on your skin will, over time, lead to breakouts and pigmentation issues. You should massage the cleanser gently in circular motions onto a dry face and then rinse off with lukewarm water.

The second step of the double cleanse is to follow with a water-based cleanser for a deeper cleanse to remove remaining impurities. If you have sensitive or dry skin, you should try Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser, while those with oily skin would benefit from Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.

STEP 3: Exfoliate

If you’re anything like me, every time I see a baby, I can’t help but admire how smooth and soft their skin is. Until they start to cry, and I back away slowly.

Well, it is possible to bring your skin back to those good ol’ days. Exfoliating, although essential, only needs to be done about twice a month. Concentrate on your t-zone or where you have frequent blackheads.

Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea, Lemon or Wine pads gently and chemically exfoliates. An added bonus; they smell amazing.

STEP 4: Toner

Korean toners are different than Western toners as they are less harsh and less drying on the skin. Toners help restore the skin’s natural pH balance. Korean toners tend to be more moisturising and helps soothe and prep the skin to better absorb the following skincare treatment steps.

Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner is more suitable for those with oilier skin types while if you have dry or sensitive skin, you may like to use PYUNKANG YUL Essence Toner.

Just pour a small amount onto a cotton pad and gently wipe your face and neck.

STEP 5: Essence

An essential step in a Korean Skincare Routine which a majority still find a mystery. Essences are intended to brighten and smooth skin tone by increasing skin cell turnover rate.

You will love Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Rx (Pro Ferment) which many say is comparable to SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, BUT at a fraction of the price.

STEP 6: Ampoule

I have noticed incredible changes to my skin after adding essences and ampoules to my skincare routine. Sunspots and fine lines are fading and my skin appears brighter.

Ampoules are super concentrated versions of essences and are also known as serums or boosters. You will most likely have heard of the cult favourite Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair and many have noticed the similarities with Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Probio Ampoule.

STEP 7: Sheet Mask

Sheet masks should be used as often as you can, minimum twice a week and more if you suffer from dry skin. They are soaked with beneficial ingredients and force your skin to absorb moisture and nutrients before they evaporate.

STEP 8: Eye Cream

Noticing more fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles around your eyes? It is never too late (or early) to start using eye cream. Prevention is the best cure.

Just dab a small amount of Benton Fermentation Eye Cream around the eye area. Don’t pull or drag the skin as you may cause more wrinkles and fine lines to develop. Pyunkang Yul Eye Cream also comes in separate sachets to maintain freshness of the product and minimise contact with the air.

For a little extra pampering, try Heimish Bulgarian Rose Water Hydrogel Eye Patch.

STEP 9: Moisturiser

As you know by now, hydration is key to your skin feeling smooth and plump. Apply a generous amount and massage gently into your skin for better absorption.

For those with oily skin, I’m currently loving Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturising Lotion with Birch Sap (especially during Australia’s 40 degree Summer months).

If you need that extra level of moisture, LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask is amazing and absorbs quickly.

STEP 10: Night Cream

Your skin should now look super dewy and shiny with all the layers of products. And to top it all off, night cream!

Night cream helps seal all the previous treatments to ensure your skin stays hydrated all night long.

Apply a generous amount of Cosrx Ultimate Moisturising Rice Overnight Spa Mask. If you’re looking for a product with even more hydration, try Cosrx Ultimate Moisturising Honey Overnight Mask.

In the morning, skip this step and apply your favourite sunscreen.

Finishing notes. You are ready to start your Korean Skincare Routine

Okay, so if you managed to read all the way down to here, congratulations. The Korean skincare routine really isn’t all that daunting. I take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete my night routine (excluding exfoliating and sheet masks) and it is a really great way to unwind after a long, tiring day at work.

This Korean skincare routine isn’t only for women, it is amazing for men too. 

Please comment below if you have any questions regarding the 10-step Korean Skincare routine and what other topics you want me to cover in following blog posts.



We absolutely admire Liah Yoo and Gothamista. If you want to check out Liah Yoo’s routine she tried for 10 days, click here. Have a read of Gothamista’s Summer morning skincare routine for glowing skin.

More blog posts with skincare tips can be found below

A full analysis of combating dry skin by Denise at CLAY + essence can be found here and here.

All you need to know about Acne can be found here.

Tips to reduce the recurrence of blackheads by Katrina at April & Ko can be found here.

How to achieve glass skin can be found here.

The importance of incorporating double cleansing into your skincare routine can be found here.

A review of the Neogen Green Tea Cleansing Stick can be found here.

3 thoughts on “Korean Skincare Routine: Introduction

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