So, in my previous post, I wrote about the first 5 steps of the universal 10-step Korean skincare and my abridged version of the routine. I also listed the products mentioned in my post. Now, let’s move on to the remaining 5 steps of the 10-step Korean skincare, and, of course, my abridged version of it.
If I put ***M on a certain step, that means it is a step that you definitely can NOT miss in your MORNING skincare routine; where as ***N means it is a step that you definitely can NOT miss in your NIGHT skincare routine. If it has both M & N next to the stars, that means you can NOT miss this step in BOTH skincare routines.
Step 6: Serum/Ampoule
Serums and ampoules are a highly-concentrated treatment for your specific skin problem. Let me back up, what is the difference between a serum and an ampoule? Long story short, both are concentrated treatment, but an ampoule is usually even more concentrated and more potent than a serum.
I have some stubborn post-acne hyperpigmentation spots, and so I am always looking for serums and ampoules that aim to fade these hyperpigmentation spots. So far, the serums/ampoules that I have found to be effective in fading hyperpigmentation spots are COSRX Mela 14 White Ampoule, Cellnco Vitamin Solution Radiant Whitening Ampoule (click here for my full blog post on this), and COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid (click here for my full blog post).
I also get clogged pores so easily. According to my research, clogged pores are basically the skin’s overproduced sebum that gets clogged within the pores. The skin overproduces the sebum because the skin is not hydrated enough, so the skin compensates for the dehydration by over-producing sebum. One way to prevent sebum over-producing is by hydrating the skin more. Of course, drinking more water would help hydrate the skin, but I can’t seem to drink enough water, so I’ve been looking for serums/ ampoules that provides hydration to my skin too. So far, I’ve been liking the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum. Let me know in the comments if anyone has another recommendation for a serum/ampoule that helps prevent or treat clogged pores!
Step 7: Eye Cream ***MN
Eye Cream- this is the first thing about skincare that my mom taught me to do. The purpose of eye creams is to hydrate the skin under the eye and/or prevent/treat wrinkles in that area. The skin under the eyes are thinner than the skin on the rest of the face, so that’s why the eyes require a whole separate product from other facial skincare products.
I used to think that eye creams are only for “old” people, and I used to think “I’m still young- I have no wrinkles under my eyes yet, so I don’t need to use eye creams everyday!”…well, wrong! Even if you have no wrinkles under the eyes yet, you should still use eye creams to slow down the appearance of wrinkles. To be completely honest, I am still guilty of forgetting this step most of the times I do my skincare routine, but yes…this is actually an important step to include in a skincare routine!
I have not found my holy grail eye cream yet, so I would love to know what your holy grail eye creams are in the comment section below!
Step 8: Sheet Mask
This is probably the step that most people are familiar with, and to be honest, this is the most fun of all 10 steps! I think a lot of people like sheet masks, compared to other kinds of face masks, because sheet masks are relatively more convenient and faster than other types of face masks. You just put these babies on our face for 15-20 minutes, and that’s it! Sheet masks are usually soaked in essence and there is usually so much essence that when you’re done with the sheet mask, you still have a ton of the essence remaining in the packaging. I, like a lot of people I know, usually use the remaining essence on my neck, shoulders, arms, and legs- so no wasting product!
Because this step requires having the mask on my face for 15-20 minutes, I only do this at night- no time in the morning. Also, even though it is ideal to do this step everyday, I don’t think it’s necessary to do this every day.
I think every Asian skincare brand has some sheet masks, but some of my favorite brands of sheet masks are Leaders, Annie’s Way Gallery, Unitouch, and The Faceshop.
Step 9: Moisturizer ***MN
Moisturizer is the one of the common steps in western skincare routine, so do I still need to explain what this is? haha…For my combo/oily skin, I like moisturizers that balance my oil production. I have tried numerous moisturizers, and here are my favorite moisturizers so far:
– COSRX All-in-One Snail Cream: This is one of my holy grail moisturizers! Even though it contains 92% snail secretion and so it has a sticky-looking consistency, it is NOT sticky at all! Even though the consistency looks pretty thick, it’s actually pretty light on the skin, so those with oily skin can still use this without feeling like their skin is suffocated by it. Also, no snail is killed in the process of making this cream! Learn more about this cream in my full review here
– Asis-Tobe Fresh Relief Moisturizer: very good in balancing my sebum! I bought this product as a special-request purchase from Beauty in Hanguk, a reseller of Korean beauty products in Korea. Quite honestly, I don’t know where else to purchase this product.
– Hanyul Pure Artemisia Water Calming Gel: this one is not as good as Asis-Tobe Fresh Relief Moisturizer in regards to balancing, but this product is very light (gel-based) and very calming/soothing. It also smells amazing! I also purchased this product from Beauty in Hanguk as a special request purchase, but it’s also in Amazon (I think the Beauty in Hanguk website is currently down).
Step 10: SPF (For morning routine) ***M or Sleeping Mask (for night routine)
Suncare- I think this is another concept that is not uncommon in the western world. I’m sure you already know that we need to apply SPF to protect the skin from skin cancer. Not only that, SPF also helps fade any hyperpigmentation…or at least not make it even darker. The SPF products that used to be applied on me when I was a little girl were all greasy and thick in consistency, so I never liked wearing SPF on my face or on my body. Over a year ago, Soko Glam’s Best of K-Beauty Award Winner Missha Mild Essence Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA +++ completely turned me around! Click here to read my full review on this product that answers how this product turned me from a non-spf-wearer to an spf-wearer. Another favorite SPF of mine, that I still use to this day, is the Missha All Around Safe Block Sebum Zero SPF 50 PA ++, which you can also see my review here.
Sleeping Mask- Sleeping masks, in my opinion, are basically a thicker version of a moisturizer. Some popular sleeping masks include the Laneige Sleeping Mask and E-Nature Birch Juice Hydro Sleeping Pack. If you want something more affordable, the Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel can also make a good sleeping mask.
In terms of necessity, I think in the morning it is CRUCIAL to wear SPF, but at night, I don’t think using a sleeping mask is essential. Of course, if you feel like your skin needs the extra hydration that you’re not getting from your moisturizer and if you have time, you can use a sleeping mask on top of your moisturizer. I just don’t think it’s an absolute must, especially if your moisturizer already does the job well.
Ok, so let’s recap:
The universal 10-step Korean skincare routine:
- Oil Cleansing
- Water-based/Foam/Gel Cleanser
- Eye Cream
- Sheet Mask
- SPF (for morning)/ Sleeping Mask (for night)
My Abridged version- the version that I HAVE TO do EVERYDAY (steps that I do only once or twice a week, like exfoliation, is not part of my Abridged version here)
- Foam/Water/gel-based Cleanser
- Eye Cream
- Oil-based Cleanser
- Foam/Water/Gel-Based Cleanser
- Eye Cream
For those products mentioned that I have NOT written a blog post about, let me know if you would like me to write about them!
I hope that I have helped simplify for you the overwhelming 10-step Korean skincare routine. I have to put a disclaimer here though: everyone’s skin is different; What works for me may or may not work for you. The abridged version of the skincare routine that I have suggested in this post and the prior post is just a suggestion. The most important thing is still to listen to your own skin. If the 5 steps in my abridged version works for you, then that’s awesome! If your skin prefers fewer steps, then that’s awesome too!
Let me know what your skincare routine looks like and whether there are any products that you would recommend that I try!