Diana Kelly Levey

Improve Your Skin with a Korean Skin Care Routine


August 22, 2018 | Categories:

You’ve probably heard your friends and coworkers talking about their Korean skin-care routine for months now. That’s because it’s a beauty trend that’s worked for generations of South Koreans and is here to stay in America. The Korean skin-care routine is so popular because the Korean culture is focused on building the healthiest skin through scientific improvements that often produce gorgeous, hydrated, younger-looking skin. (Learn what happens to your skin while you sleep)

With summer quickly approaching, you’ll want to put your best makeup-free face forward at the beach and pool. Korean skin care can help deliver that glowing, flawlessly natural look you seek. Start a K-beauty routine now so your skin is ready for its au naturel reveal in a few weeks.

One of the signature elements of a K-beauty is an intensive multi-step practice. Here’s a detailed list of the different steps you can follow, or pick and choose the elements of Korean skincare that will work best for you.

1. Join the Double-Cleansing Craze

Start with makeup remover and an oil cleanser to make sure you get all of the day’s makeup off. Massage the oil cleanser into your skin, then wash it off with lukewarm water. After that, use a water-based cleanser. This will remove any remaining residue and impurities from your oil cleanser.

2. Exfoliate Regularly

You knew exfoliation had to be part of this Asian skin-care routine, right? Exfoliation removes those dead skin cells that could lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Exfoliate twice a week with an exfoliating scrub or a manual exfoliant, such as a cleansing cloth or loofah. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to skip this step, or try it once a week and evaluate how your skin reacts to the process.

3. Tone Your Skin

Toners balance your skin’s pH levels and remove any leftover dirt and grime that was on your face. If you have acne-prone skin or oily skin, you may want to use a toner with glycolic and salicylic acid to clean out your pores. If you have sensitive or dry skin, use a gentle, alcohol-free toner. Apply with a cotton ball to your face and neck.

4. Apply Essence

This signature Korean skin-care routine step is one you might not have tried before. Essence is a serum/toner hybrid that’s made for hydrating and promoting skin repair and cell turnover. Essence has higher doses of active ingredients, and it’s meant to deliver those deep into your skin after you’ve cleansed your skin.

5. Use Treatments

This is where you can really personalize your routine for your skin type. You might use treatments that specialize in collagen production or anti-aging treatment products if you’re concerned about aging skin. For dry skin, aim for extra moisturizing treatments that contain a serum. If acne is your concern, you could use clear patch treatments with salicylic acid, which helps with acne.

6. Mask It Up

Once you apply a hydrating sheet mask to nourish your skin, the only other job you have is to let it sit there on your face and relax for about 15 to 20 minutes. This is a great time to listen to a meditation, your favorite podcast, or even an audiobook. Just chill and let the mask do its job!

7. Dab on Eye Cream

If you’ve been concerned about your skin’s health, you’ve probably been doing this step already. Applying eye cream helps hydrate the delicate skin around your eyes, protecting it and helping it to look healthier and less sallow. Tap eye cream on with your ring finger, going from underneath your eye along the bone line to the outer edges of your eye.

8. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Hydration is one of the most important steps in this beautifying skin-care routine. You should apply a moisturizer on your face in the morning and at night daily, even if you have oily skin. Again, if you’re prone to breakouts, use a moisturizer with glycolic acid and salicylic acid. For anti-aging benefits, look for a night cream with the ingredient niacinamide, which helps keep your skin healthy, according to the National Library of Medicine.

If your skin feels extra dry, apply a Korean sleeping pack at night: this is basically a night cream with extra oomph. In the morning, wash the mask off with water and you’ll have hydrated, glowing skin.

9. Protect from Sun Damage

This is one of the most important steps in any skin-care routine, especially if you want to minimize sun damage, prevent skin cancer, and reduce the signs of aging. Make sure you’re using a sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays (called broad spectrum), and apply it even on cloudy days since the sun can still wreak havoc on your skin through the clouds.

Follow these steps to achieve your healthiest-looking skin so you can rock that no-makeup look with confidence.


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