It’s not surprising that everyone strives for clear and glowing skin. American beauty
standards are geared towards creating a perfect complexion by focusing on which
makeup products are the hot topic. Within Korean beauty standards, skincare is
emphasized early in one’s lifetime. Women start taking preventative measures to avoid
aging as young teenagers, known as a “skin first” philosophy. Personally, I started
learning about skincare later in adolescence, as opposed to when I started using
makeup in early adolescence.
Korean skincare has majorly grown in popularity in recent years. I consistently see the
trend of achieving “glass skin” on social media, the goal of a clear complexion while also
having a natural healthy glow to your skin. Within Korean skincare, “there’s an
emphasis on gently nurturing the skin towards your desired results.” The key is to have
consistency within your routine by using products that are individualized to your needs.
This also includes choosing several products you can sustain using daily.
Even though this number of steps is not necessary, the trending “Korean skincare
routine” consists of 10 steps:
- Eye makeup remover/first cleanse – this could include a cleansing balm or eye-
makeup remover (or both).
- Second cleanse – this is your main cleanse to ensure that your skin is clear of
any leftover makeup, dirt, and/or sunscreen.
- Exfoliate – either a physical or chemical one.
- Toner – to balance the PH levels on your skin and remove any remaining
- Essence – a very popular product within Korean skincare. It’s used to hydrate
your skin, like a serum (compared to a toner that ensures no impurities are left on
- Treatment – any serums you want to use. This is where your routine can become
very customized by choosing treatments that align with your skin needs!
- Sheet mask – to add an extra layer of treatment after you apply your serums…
again a sheet mask can be chosen based on your skin concerns.
- Eye cream – my current personal favorite is Glow Recipes Avocado Melt Retinol
- Moisturizer – chosen based on your skin type.
- SPF – in the morning… so important to use sunscreen always!
Yes, this is a super overwhelming list of products. Especially for someone just starting
out in the world of skincare, I would highly advise not to use these many products. It will
only make having a skincare routine seem unattainable and stressful. I would suggest
using this list as a guide to which steps you want to implement and in what order you
should perform them. The order you use products can be crucial to their effectiveness
(for example, it won’t make a difference to your skin if you decide to put on your serums
before your toner).
A simple routine that implements the Korean skincare methodology and trending brands
- Starting out with a gentle cleanser/double cleansing method.
- Using an essence to add nourishment back to your skin.
- Applying a serum, like Glow Recipes Watermelon Dew Drops or Peach and Lilys
Glass Skin Refining Serum (two of my favorite serums at the moment!
- Finishing off with a moisturizer that fits your skin type (possibly a gel for oily skin
or a thicker cream for dry skin).
- In the morning, end the routine with an SPF. Mineral sunscreens are an excellent
choice for those who don’t want a white cast/want to apply makeup on top. My
favorite is Elta MD’s UV Clear sunscreen.
- Applying the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask for hydrated lips.
Korean skincare brands will continue to influence the beauty industry uniquely. I predict
future generations will start learning about the benefits of taking care of your skin at a
younger age, becoming a crucial part of one’s self-care routine. Hopefully, brands will
continue to be innovative with their ingredients of choice and aim to create user-friendly
products for anyone who wants them.
Featured Image via Marie Claire.