Korean Skin Care Routine: Choose your Steps

In the early 2010s, Korean skin care arrived in the U.S.; by 2018 the market grew by 300%. It is now worth more than $10 billion globally.

It consists of 10 steps, which can be pared down to five or built up to 12. Think of this as a skin care menu: choose what works for you. For dry skin focus on hydration, for acne-prone stick to oil-free.

Choose a consistent skin care routine and your complexion will be healthy and beautiful for years.

Step 1: Oil cleanse

The first of a two-step double-cleansing. Apply gently to remove makeup; rinse and pat dry.

Step 2: Water-based cleanse

Finish the double-cleanse with a water-based face wash. Use cream for dry skin, foam for oily or gel for combo. Use lukewarm or cool water only, hot water is drying.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Use an exfoliating cream, gel or mask to remove dead skin. Charcoal or clay masks work well or beta hydroxy acids for oily skin and alpha hydroxy acid for dry skin. Be careful, exfoliators like scrubs or facial brushes can be harsh.

Step 4: Toner

Washing your face can leave skin stripped of its natural oils. To quickly lock in moisture, follow your cleanse with a hydrating toner.

Step 5: Essence

Essences contain concentrated ingredients for anti-aging, brightening and plumping. Use in lieu of a toner or supplement with a mist of essence all over for super hydration.

Step 6: Sheet mask

Sheet masks come in many styles, but the main purpose continues to be hydration. They also aid relaxation because you wear it for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep it in the fridge for an extra treat, and if this is not practical every night, try to hit at least two nights a week.

Step 7: Serum/ampoule

A serum has concentrated ingredients for dark spots, fine lines, etc., and an ampoule has a higher concentration for special needs like a bad night’s sleep. Apply lightly.

Step 8: Eye cream

Apply it all around your eyes; pat gently into skin.

Step 9: Moisturizer

This step is nonnegotiable. Find one for your skin type with antioxidants or vitamins. Slather on morning and evening.

Step 10: Sunscreen

Another nonnegotiable. Skin cancer is scary and dark spots, hyperpigmentation and early aging aren’t fun either. And don’t forget your neck and décolletage area, they crave attention just as badly.