My 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine

12:27 PM

So here I am finally sharing with y'all my updated skin care routine. I follow the 10-step Korean skin care routine because I just find that my skin absolutely adores the products from the Land of the Morning Calm.

Just so you know, I have extremely sensitive skin that it annoys the hell out of me most of the time. Having pointed that fact out, I really struggled a lot (read: break outs, rashes, etc) before finally curating the perfect skin care routine that didn't just make my skin go all psycho, but also improved the appearance and texture of it as well. 

Presenting my skin care stash!


But before we jump into my 10-step Korean skin care list, I just want to point out my current skin condition. My problem areas are blackheads, sun spots and occasional hormonal break outs. I love keeping my skin hydrated and preventing premature aging (I'm in my early thirties as well) so most of the products that I use target my skin's needs. I'm also no way a dermatologist, so I'm just sharing products that worked on my skin. As always, what worked for me might be a dud for you.

Now that that little disclaimer is out of the way, here we go!

1st Step: Oil Based Cleanser

Before hitting the bed, I always cleanse my face. To make sure that every trace of my make up and sunscreen is thoroughly removed, I do the double cleansing method. This means that you use an oil-based cleanser first, and then follow up with a water based cleanser afterwards. 

For this step, I love the Banila Co Clean It Zero (Purity) Cleansing Balm which caters people with sensitive skin (uhm ME!). Most cleansing oils break me out (e.g Mac) but this one takes away all of my make up without irritating my eyes or causing my skin to flare. I just use a pea size amount and then I massage it on my dry skin. Once it melts like oil on my skin, I rinse it with water and then I follow up with my regular cleanser.



2nd Step: Water-based Cleanser

If you ask me, I'd say Innisfree makes one of the best face cleansers in K-Beautyland. I've used almost all of their cleansers and not one disappointed me (so far). I've used up my Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Foam last year (highly recommend that) and now, I'm using the Innisfree Green Tea Cleansing Foam which is a very mild cleanser that takes away all the impurities on my skin without leaving it dry. It creates a very smooth foam that lathers beautifully on the skin.



The only down side (atleast for me) about this cleanser is the scent. It smells quite masculine (like a mild after shave) for my taste. Once I finish this tube, I'll be switching to the Innisfree White Pore Cleanser because I sampled it and it felt amazing on the skin.

3rd Step: Exfoliate

I exfoliate my face at night twice a week. I'm still doing manual exfoliation but I think I would try chemical exfoliation soon (thinking of purchasing the NeoGen ones). For this step, I adore using the Skinfood Rice Wash Off because it leaves my skin really smooth and soft afterwards. I even asked my husband to touch my face right after I used it and he was also amused to find how bouncy my skin felt. After cleansing, I pat my skin dry and then I apply a generous amount of this product on my skin. I let it sit on my skin for around 10-15 minutes. And then before rinsing it off with water, I massage it gently on my skin.



On days when I feel that my blackheads are getting out-of -control and I need a quick fix, I use my Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Scrub Foam instead. This has micro grains that really help unclog those nasty pores. This is a very gentle scrub - totally not too abrasive in any way. It gets the job done and it smells so good too!


4th Step: Toner

Korean toners are very different from the toners that we have here. I love how Korean toners do not contain alcohol and are very moisturizing as well. To tone my skin, I am using Mamonde Rose Water Toner which balances my skin's pH while keeping it moist and all prep up for the next steps of my skin care routine. I just saturate a cotton pad with this and then I gently apply it over my face. I use this morning and night. The only down side of this toner is the scent (again, at least for me). I'm not really a massive fan of rose scents and this one is a little bit overpowering for me.



If for some weird reason that my skin is breaking out, I use the CosRx One Step Pimple Clear Pad instead. This also goes with me every time I travel because it works great as a toner (using the soft side of the pad) and an exfoliator (using the rough side of the pad) as the same time. I love this so much that I have a dedicated post about it HERE


5th Step: Essence

Essence is a unique step in the K-beauty world. Based on my understanding, essence is something that you put on your skin after toning for an additional layer of hydration. It is normally thinner in consistency compared to serums. It is also loaded with skin-loving ingredients that plumps the skin. For this step, I'm a big believer of the hype over Missha The First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist which is said to be a great dupe for the infamous SKII Essence for a fraction of the latter's price. I just pour an adequate amount of this essence on my skin and then I pat it all over my face. My skin feels incredibly hydrated just after this step that I feel like I can already get away without putting another layer of moisturizer. But since the heart of Korean skin care is layering, why stop now?



6th Step: Serum

Serum is more potent compared to an essence. The former contains higher concentration of ingredients and is designed to cater to a specific skin issue like anti aging, etc. Most serums are also more viscous in texture compared to essences. My holy-grail serum is The Face Shop The Therapy First Serum (full review HERE). I think this is the product that sparked my interest with Korean skin care because ever since I incorporated this to my routine, my skin looked immensely better than ever. I just received a bunch of samples of this serum in Korea years ago. I loved it so much that when I finished all my samples, I immediately purchased the big bottle. And now, I'm on my second full-size bottle!



For starters, I like that it is housed in a pump bottle because I find dispensing the product a tad easier and more hygienic. I just do two pumps on my palms and then I pat it on my skin just like how I apply my essence. I also love the consistency of this serum. It is not gooey in any way. It is very lightweight and it sinks right into my skin.

7th Step: Mask

For this step, I use both traditional clay (rinse off) masks and sheet masks depending on what particular skin issue that I would like to remedy. If I feel that my pores needs to be unclogged, I use my beloved Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (full review HERE). I just apply this all over my face and then I let it sit for around 15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. This is such a joy to use. It feels refreshing on the skin and then once you rinse it off, it leaves the skin purified without drying it out. 



For sheet masks, I use them every now and then. Sheet Masks are infused with essences that either hydrate, brighten or correct other skin issues depending on the kind of sheet mask that you're using. I love the Innisfree, Nature Republic and The Face Shop sheet masks. One of my faves is the Nature Republic Real Nature Mask Sheet in Orange because I can really see a difference with my skin right after I use it. My skin looks brighter and it feels softer as well. I even used this the night before my wedding day. It's that good and it's relatively inexpensive as well.



8th Step: Eye Cream

In order to prevent those wrinkly eyes and smile lines, I always take time to apply my eye cream twice a day. I've been using the Laura Mercier Tone Perfecting Eye Gel and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Cream for years but ever since I switched to Korean skin care, I fell in love with the Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb. 



It still amazes me how an eye cream with this very lightweight consistency feels incredibly hydrating on the skin. It also has a very subtle cooling effect which perks up my always tired under eye area. This behaves even under make up as well (no creasing).

9th Step: Moisturizer

 I may have combination skin but I don't slack with applying my moisturizer - day and night. I am currently obsessed with the Belif The True Cream - Moisturing Bomb. The texture of this is heavenly - not too rich to clog my pores and not too thin as well. It has the perfect consistency and it makes my skin feel outstanding every time. I also use this to prep my skin before applying my make up and it did not make me look greasy in any way.



To seal all the hydration on my skin during night time, I also apply a sleeping pack after my moisturizer before hitting the bed. A sleeping pack is an ultra moisturizing product that you apply all over the face and then you rinse it off in the morning. For this step, I have been loving the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. I like how my skin feels incredible the morning after. It feels very nourishing on the skin and it feels refreshing as well. Definitely worth the hype!



Sometimes, I use my CosRx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask instead because I'm trying to empty this out. It's a nice product, but it smells no way like honey that's why I mostly reach for my Laneige one. You can read my full review about this product HERE. 


Also, I have the driest lips in the planet so I always moisturize them using my Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask before bedtime. I like how I wake up to highly moisturized lips every time I use this. It really soothes my lips and it smells super yummy (raspberry). Also, a little goes a long way. This pot will probably last me eons to use up despite applying it every night. It also has a lip applicator which makes it easy and hygienic to use despite being in a pot form.


10th Step: SPF

Truth be told, I used to skip on sunblock big time. But then I noticed a few sun spots on the bridge of my nose and that made me want to kick myself. Now, I always wear sunscreen every day because this helps prevent skin pigmentation and premature aging. My current fave is this Innisfree Perfect UV protection Cream with SPF 50+. I normally stir away from sunscreens with higher SPF's (unless I'm going to the beach) because those tend to break me out. But to my delight, despite having SPF 50, this did not irritate my skin. The texture is not sticky at all and the scent is not overpowering too. It sinks right into my skin and leaves a satin finish. It has a little bit of flash back though.



And that my dolls, is the end of my 10 step skin care routine. I know that it may look a little excessive for others, but what floats your boat, right? Also, I don't do the 10-step every single day (since I don't exfoliate or wear sheet masks all the time). But if you're like me and you are also into Korean beauty and skin care, I hope this little post helped you. Also, let me know your fave Korean skin care products as well.

Thoughts?

Kiss Kiss,
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