The Korean Skin-Care Routine: The Secret to a Beautifully Glowing Complexion

There is no denying how South Korean culture is making itself known to the rest of the world. Known as hallyu wave, this phenomenon refers to the rising global popularity of South Korean culture through these main cultural exports: music, movies, TV shows, food, and interestingly, beauty products.

South Korea is dubbed as the beauty capital of the world and is one of the biggest in terms of market share. Mintel, a London-based market research company, says that the South Korean skin-care industry raked in $13.1 billion in sales in 2018. In fact, selling Korean beauty products online is such a lucrative venture.

Fans of these commodities shouldn’t be surprised, though. Everywhere on social media, influencers, beauty gurus, and the average skin-care fan all rave about how one can achieve that coveted dewy, bright skin—and the secret begins with a routine. Some sources say the famous Korean skin-care routine has ten steps; others say it has more. Whichever you follow, make sure you include the basics listed below.

Step 1: Makeup Cleaner

Those who wear makeup should use a makeup remover that can thoroughly remove the gunk and oil that may have been piling up on their faces as the day went by. When that’s done, apply oil cleanser on your face, using either a cotton pad or just bare hands as applicators. Use gentle strokes, and don’t tug too hard. You don’t want your skin to wrinkle. Rinse your face with warm water.

Step 2: Double Cleanser

 Sometimes, oil cleansers are not enough to remove the dirt on the face. That is why double cleansing is highly encouraged. Use a foam cleanser that matches your skin type.

Step 3: Exfoliant

This step is done only once or twice a week. Be careful when you do this step because you don’t want your skin peeling off too many layers. Exfoliants may come in various forms (e.g., clay masks and peeling gels), but they all do the same thing: remove dead skin cells. They can even help lessen the appearance of blackheads.

Step 3: Toner/Softener/Refiner

 Toners prep your skin for the other products you are about to layer, helping it become more absorbent. The main function of a toner is to tighten your pores, although it may also help restore the pH balance of your skin. As with an oil cleanser, you may use your bare hands (pat your skin gently, of course, and work outward) or cotton pads to apply the toner.

Step 4: Essence

 The essence is a thin and watery solution that will keep your skin supple, firm, and elastic. Its role is to aid in repairing your skin and facilitating the replacement of dead skin cells with new ones. This process is called cell turnover.

Steps 5 and 6: Serums and Ampoules

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These treatments help nourish your skin by focusing on specific issues, like wrinkles, hydration, or acne. Serums and ampoules have higher concentrations of active ingredients as opposed to essences. As such, these treatments may also be thicker. The general rule on layering skin-care products is to apply the lighter products first, and you should gently tap the serum or ampoule on your face.

Step 7: Sheet Mask

This soft, gauzelike cloth is soaked in a solution filled with enzymes, and it helps hydrate your skin. You can put it on your face for fifteen to thirty minutes. The usual advice is to use sheet masks twice or thrice weekly, but there’s no rule against using it every day or whenever you feel like freshening up your face.

Step 8: Eye Cream

Dark circles and puffy eyes need not be your problem as long as you use an eye cream. This product hydrates the skin around the orbital area. Tap the eye cream gently on the said area—do not rub the skin, as that may cause wrinkles and crow’s feet. Start with the inner part of the skin around the orbital-bone area, and then work your way outward, avoiding the water line. It would also be helpful if you maintain a healthy looking, attractive eyelashes to make your eyes look lively ang glowing.

Step 9: Moisturizer

This step helps reinforce the hydrating and nourishing processes done by the previously mentioned products. Emulsions and creams seal the moisture, ensuring that your skin stays hydrated and beautifully glowing.

Apply moisturizer on your face and on your neck. You may use the moisturizer at night too, but you can add a sleeping pack to your routine as an extra measure to maintain your skin’s hydration. 

Step 10: Sunscreen or Night Cream

Never leave home without putting sunscreen. This product is important in helping you avoid wrinkles caused by premature aging and other damaging effects caused by sun exposure. The sunscreen is applied last so your skin can maximize the effect of this product and the components in the other products don’t overpower it. For your evening routine, use a night cream instead to achieve the same sealing effect that your sunscreen has.

Get That Dream Glow You Want 

Remember that it may take some time before you can see your effort to follow a skin-care routine pay off. That is why you need to be consistent in doing that. Take note too that skin care is just one part of the equation. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also key to finally getting that glasslike skin.

Moreover, people may have different skin-care needs, so it’s possible that some products may be unsuitable for your skin type. In that case, see a dermatologist for expert advice. Stop using a product if you experience any allergic reaction or adverse effect.

What does your skin-care routine consist of, and which products do you swear by? Tell us in the comments section.