Skin Care Essentials

Your 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine

It’s no secret that Korean skin care has been picking up traction over the last few years, and it’s seemingly here to stay. With K-beauty trends like honey skin, glass skin, and cloudless skin, there are plenty of ways to approach a Korean skin care routine—all equally trendy. But, with so many unique takes on using Korean skin care products, how are you supposed to create a single routine that encapsulates all the essential Korean skin care steps? Well, that’s where we come in! Below, we’re sharing the ultimate 10-step Korean skin care routine to give you healthy and radiant skin. First step, coming up. 

STEP 1: CLEANSE

First things first, always start with clean skin. Use micellar water, like the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser for All Skin Types, to remove your makeup. Simply saturate a cotton pad with the cleansing liquid and wipe the pad across your face.

STEP 2: DOUBLE CLEANSE

To truly have a fresh canvas, according to Korean skin care guidelines, double cleansing is a must. Try a clay cleanser as the second step in the cleansing portion of your routine. Either of the following two cleansers should do the trick:

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser: Charcoal is a beauty trend for good reason! Immediately after using this clay facial cleanser, which is enhanced with charcoal, skin is purified of dirt, oil, and pollution and left with a clean, clear look. It’s also suitable for all skin types.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate & Refine Cleanser: What do you get when you pair cleansing with exfoliation? That would be this facial cleanser! The formula, which is enhanced with red algae, goes beyond daily cleansing to help exfoliate the surface of your skin. Immediately, skin is purified of dirt, oil, and pollution and is left with a healthy and refined texture. It’s suitable for oily to combination skin.

Editor’s tip: Not feeling clay cleansers? No need to fret. Double cleanse with the L’Oréal Paris Ideal Clean All Skin Types Foaming Cleanser. This oil-free foam cleanser gently removes makeup, buffs away dirt and impurities, and minimizes pores for a refreshed and rejuvenated feel. Best of all, this foaming cleanser works for all skin types. 

STEP 3: EXFOLIATE

It’s time for dead skin cells to take a hike. You don’t have to exfoliate every night, but a little scrubbing action two to three times a week should do the trick. To get the job done, stock up on a sugar scrub that suits your skin type. Consider one from the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar line—each of which doubles as a lip scrub.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Purify & Unclog Kiwi Scrub: Get your green on by using this face scrub formulated with kiwi and three types of sugar. The scrub gently yet effectively exfoliates the surface of skin. Immediately, skin looks smooth and glowing.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Nourish & Soften Cocoa Scrub: In addition to a combo of three sugars, this face scrub is formulated with finely crushed cocoa, luxurious coconut oil, and rich cocoa butter. After using, skin looks more refined and feels softer and smoother for a comfortable feel. With continued use over time, skin looks smoother and has a visible glow.

L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Smooth & Glow Grapeseed Scrub: This face scrub provides gentle yet effective exfoliation for glowing, baby-soft skin. It’s formulated with finely ground acai and nutrient-rich grapeseed and monoi oils, along with three sugars. As a result, skin feels smoother and glows. With continued use over time, skin looks rebalanced with a more refined texture.

Whichever you choose, smooth a small amount of the face scrub onto clean, dry skin, avoiding your eye area. Massage the face scrub over your skin with wet fingers, then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

STEP 4: APPLY A FACE MASK

There’s always space for a little pampering in your skin care routine, and masking falls right in line. Depending on your skin care concerns, choose a face mask from the list below. Even better, get the most out of your face mask session by multi-masking. Two to three times a week, apply an even layer of your face masks to clean, dry skin, leave them on for 10-15 minutes, and rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry.

If you’re concerned about rough skin and clogged pores…use the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate & Refining Face Mask. Formulated with three clays and red algae extract, the mask helps exfoliate dead skin cells from the skin’s surface and lifts away dirt and oil from clogged pores. The result? A polished and smooth-looking complexion. After you’re finished masking, your skin texture will appear refined, and pores will look minimized.

Where to apply it: Use on any areas with a buildup of dead skin cells.

If you’re concerned about dull, tired skin…use the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask. This face mask formulated with three clays and charcoal acts like a magnet to unclog pores, drawing out impurities like dirt, oil, and pollution from the skin’s surface. The creamy, non-drying formula helps leave your skin looking noticeably brighter and feeling clean and velvety-smooth. Your complexion will also look more even.

Where to apply it: Use on any areas where you are bothered by clogged pores.

If you’re concerned about congested pores and stressed skin…use the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clear & Comfort Face Mask. Formulated with three clays and seaweed, this face mask helps draw out the buildup of impurities, dirt, and oils to visibly reduce the appearance of imperfections, clear the look of congested pores, and gently cleanse skin. After using, skin is not only clean but refreshed and comfortable.

Where to apply it: Use on any areas that are stressed and uncomfortable.

If you’re concerned about rough texture and uneven tone…use the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clarify & Smooth Face Mask. This face mask formula, which includes three clays and yuzu lemon extract, helps shed rough, dead skin cells from skin’s surface, clarify tone, and improve skin texture. Rinse off to reveal skin that’s left with a fresh glow.

Where to apply it: Use on uneven areas.

Editor’s note: Want something that leads to a little less mess than a clay mask? If you need to be quick with your masking session, try another Korean skin care favorite: sheet masks.

STEP 5: USE A HYDRATING TONER

Think all toners dry out your skin? Wrong. If you avoid formulas with alcohol, toner can actually hydrate and help restore skin’s pH balance, which is why they’re considered a staple Korean skin care step. Simply soak a cotton pad with the formula and dab it onto your skin.

STEP 6: ALWAYS KEEP A SKIN ESSENCE ON HAND

The lightweight, moisturizing formulas of essences are two-fold. On the one hand, they refresh skin for a dewier, more hydrated visage, and on the other, they prep the skin and allow for better absorption of any hydrating products you apply afterward. Now you see why Korean women always keep a skin essence handy.

STEP 7: ADD A SERUM TO YOUR ROUTINE

Concentrated, nutrient-rich serums and ampoules provide another layer of moisture and create the perfect opportunity to target your skin concerns. Choose a serum that suits your skin’s needs, from skin brightening to anti-aging, paying attention to the active ingredients.

If you’re looking to boost radiance…try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum. This serum, which contains 10% pure vitamin C in its formula, restores radiance and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

How to use it: Apply a dime-sized amount to your face and neck every morning and evening.

If you’re looking to even your skin tone…try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum. Formulated with glycolic acid and aloe, the daily resurfacing serum leaves skin clarified to reveal radiant skin and a renewed complexion. With daily use after two weeks, dark spots are visibly improved, and within four weeks, fine lines and wrinkles are visibly reduced.

How to use it: Apply four to five drops on clean skin every evening. Be sure to follow with broad-spectrum sunscreen and other sun protection measures in the morning, as AHAs like glycolic acid may increase sun sensitivity.

If you’re looking to replenish moisture…try the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. The formula of this serum is intensely hydrating and contains 1.5% hyaluronic acid. After using, you’ll have visibly plumped, more youthful-looking skin.

How to use it: Apply two to three drops to your face and neck every morning and evening, gently smoothing the serum onto your skin.

STEP 8: DAB ON EYE CREAM

The skin around your eyes is thin and delicate, and eye cream helps keep it in proper shape. Typically, eye creams are formulated with extra oils and have thicker consistencies than moisturizers that you may use for your entire face. This formula will address the most common concerns that affect the eye area. To begin your eye care routine, grab the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Eye Cream. Formulated with a powerful antioxidant, it targets five common aging concerns at once, including dark circles, puffiness, under-eye bags, crow’s feet, and crepiness. 

STEP 9: MOISTURIZE

While you’ve already applied toner, serum, and eye cream to help achieve more hydrated skin, a moisturizer seals the deal. Try the L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal/Oily SkinL’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Normal/Dry Skin, or L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care - Extra Dry Skin, all of which are formulated with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera water. Be sure to apply one of the above to your face, neck, and chest both morning and night. Rub the extra moisturizer onto your hands to give them a little bonus TLC.

STEP 10: APPLY A SLEEPING MASK

Top off your 10-step routine each day with one more layer of hydration. Sleeping masks are essentially creamier, richer moisturizers that are formulated to give your skin an extra boost of hydration and anti-aging benefits while you sleep. Try  applying the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Triple Power™ Intensive Overnight Face Mask before bed to enhance your beauty sleep. 

Editor’s note: Not bedtime? Skip this step until nightfall, and move on to applying your makeup post-moisturizer—even opting to try a few Korean makeup trends.

While this particular skin care routine may take longer than 10 minutes, the minute you see how gorgeous your complexion looks, we have a feeling you’ll think it was all worth it. And if you’re a fan of this extra-long skin routine, consider reading up on how to show your skin some love with A High Maintenance Skin Care Routine next.