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When it comes to skin care trends, nothing seems trendier than the famous Korean skin care routine. And with other K-beauty trends like glass skin, honey skin, and cloudless skin, there are a multitude of ways to incorporate Korean skin care techniques into your own routine. While the original is the 10-step Korean skin care routine, these days, people are branching out to create more individualized takes on the traditional method. Some are adding more steps, while others are taking some away for a more streamlined routine. Not sure which direction to take? Uncertain about what your options even are? Here, we’re walking you through two takes on the traditional Korean skin care routine. On days you want to pamper yourself, take the high maintenance route, which includes 12 steps. On days you’re feeling more low-key, go with the five-step option. Keep reading to learn more about both.
It’s understandable that on some days, you just don’t have the time (or the energy) to devote to the full ten, or even 12, different steps. For those occasions, try out this easy 5 step Korean skin care routine instead.
First things first, wipe everything off with a cotton pad that’s saturated in a gentle micellar water, such as the L'Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof – All Skin Types. This step is for taking off the day, i.e. removing your makeup and wiping away any built-up oil and debris.
It wouldn’t be a Korean skin care routine without (at least) two cleansing methods. For your second round of cleansing, grab a gentle face wash, like the L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate & Refine Cleanser. This facial cleanser is formulated with three pure clays and helps unclog and minimize the appearance of pores. Since your makeup and surface layer of oil have already been removed, the second cleansing is meant to really clean out your pores.
Every good skin care routine, regardless of how many steps it contains, needs a quality eye cream. Your eye area is the most delicate skin on your entire complexion, so it needs extra TLC. Use a moisturizing eye cream, like the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel, for this step.
If you want to keep your complexion hydrated and supple, using a facial serum is a must. We particularly love serums formulated with hyaluronic acid, which is a super-hydrating ingredient that can hold as much as 1,000 times its weight in water! To apply your serum, simply coat your entire complexion in a light layer of product, then wait about one minute before moving on to the final step in your routine.
The last step of just about any skin care routine is applying a good moisturizer, like the L'Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care – Normal/Dry Skin. Smooth yours on and then you’re free to move onto makeup application or rock your beautiful, bare skin.
Really want to show your skin some love? Well, a 12 step Korean skin care routine is perfect for giving your complexion the TLC it deserves. Whether you want to take this route every day or save it for special occasions, here’s how to do it:
The high maintenance routine starts off the same as your low maintenance option, with a gentle cleansing using a cotton pad saturated with micellar water. Once again, this first step is about removing any makeup you might be wearing, including eye makeup, as well as the top layer of oil and debris that could be lurking on your skin.
Your second cleansing should be with a daily cleanser, like the L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser. This cleanser is formulated with charcoal and helps to detoxify and leave skin looking bright.
After two rounds of cleansing, it’s time to exfoliate your complexion to really slough away dead skin cells, debris, and any excess oil that may still be lingering on your skin. Reach for a face scrub that’s gentle yet still effective at smoothing and exfoliating the skin, such as the L'Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Smooth & Glow Grapeseed Scrub.
Once you’re finished exfoliating, apply a face mask that’s formulated to address your most prevalent skin care concerns, like dryness, dullness, and clogged pores. Take your pick from the following options, or combine them for a multi-masking experience. Aim to use your face mask(s) of choice two to three times per week, and leave each mask on for 10-15 minutes.
L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask: This clay-based mask is also formulated with charcoal. It helps detoxify skin and draw out impurities such as dirt, oil, and pollution—all without over-drying the skin. This mask is a great choice for acne-prone areas, such as the chin and T-zone.
L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clear & Comfort Face Mask: Formulated with seaweed, this mask will comfort stressed skin while also purifying it of pore-clogging impurities.
L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clarify & Smooth Face Mask: If uneven skin tone and texture is what you’re hoping to help, reach for this face mask, which contains yuzu lemon and three pure clays.
An often-overlooked step, using a facial toner can help to hydrate your skin after all that cleansing. Choose one that’s formulated without alcohol, then saturate a cotton pad with the liquid formula and swipe gently over your entire complexion.
Although still relatively new in the U.S., facial essences are popular products in the world of Korean skin care. A sort of cross between a toner and a serum, essences are applied between these two steps for an extra boost of hydration.
Is there anything more refreshing than a few spritzes of facial mist? We think not. Choose a facial mist that’s formulated with soothing ingredients like aloe vera.
For your first layer of facial serum, we recommend choosing one that’s formulated with hyaluronic acid, such as the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. To use, apply two to three drops onto your fingers, then smooth it over your entire face and neck area. Let it absorb for about a minute before moving on to the next step.
This is a high-maintenance routine, after all, so one facial serum just won’t cut it. With potent ingredients in concentrated formulas, serums can help refresh, hydrate, and tone skin for a healthy and renewed complexion. The right ones, like the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Golden Serum, can also help stave off fine lines and wrinkles. Apply this serum the same as the one prior, and let it soak in completely before moving to step number ten.
Eye cream is always an essential. If your eye area is feeling puffy, use an eye cream that’s packaged with a rollerball applicator. If preventing signs of aging, such as crow’s feet, is your primary concern, choose an eye cream infused with antioxidants, such as the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Eye Cream.
Finally, you’ve made it to face moisturizer! Since you’ve already layered on a couple of serums, choose a face moisturizer that’s lightweight yet still hydrating and protective, such as the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Honey Day Cream. To use, all you need is a light, even layer on your entire face and neck.
The last step in any morning skin care routine should always be SPF, and that’s because it’s important to protect your skin against UVA and UVB damage. Use a sunscreen that’s formulated for facial application and has an SPF value of at least 15 or higher.
In the evenings, you obviously don’t need protection from the sun. Instead, layer on an overnight mask, such as the L'Oréal Paris RevitaLift Triple Power Intensive Overnight Mask, to receive anti-aging, beauty-boosting benefits while you sleep. And that’s it—your 12-step routine is complete.
Next: What is J-Beauty?