What it is and why it works

As tempting the all-in-one product concept may sound, there is no such thing on earth that will hydrate, exfoliate, protect and rejuvenate your skin and eventually even clean the house for you. Korean women are known for their marvelous glowy skin and that doesn't only come by coincidence.

Skin care is part of the Korean culture and therefore starts at an early age and is also part of your life while in the west skin care is not really something you worry about until you suddenly hit the 30ies and the first fine lines start showing up. This is mostly a result of the UV damage and yes, that's the receipt for all those times you skipped the sun screen. This is when many women starting buying all those expensive anti-age creams and serums to reverse the damage though the results are often not delivered and your skin still doesn't look as radiant as you hoped.

The Korean skin care routine consists of various steps to target your individual skin concerns, which is what makes it so great and suitable for anyone. The key factor in this routine is layering the products the right way and getting the best out of them.

There are 10 steps, which may sound extreme if you're a cleansing wipes and moisturizer type but it isn't in fact that time consuming as you may think. The steps are basically double-cleansing, exfoliating, treating the problem areas, intense moisture and sun protection meaning that you can also end up with 5 steps and are still doing more than enough to bring out the best of your skin. 5 steps might still sound like a lot but you wont need more than 10 minutes for these 5 - we promise. As mentioned before, you can't treat the various needs of your skin with only one wonder potion. There is a day time and a night time routine, where the night time routine is the one where it's recommended to add the extra steps to help your skin with its regenerating process and there is of course no sun protection in the night routine. The sequence is simply put: after the cleansing, you begin with the lightest most watery consistency and layer it towards the thickest.

In the following two pictures, you can see every possible form of a skin care product. Don't worry, you're not going to use all of them, this is simply a guide line, so you know when to apply which product.

How it works


If you're an oily skin type person, this may sound like something you want to avoid at any cost, but oil cleansers are actually something that may help with the sebum secretion of your skin and definitely wont clog your pores or make your skin oily. The reason why Oil Cleansers are the first step is because oil dissolves oil. Meaning: the oil cleanser will stick to the sebum on your skin and help remove all that gunk, foundation, lipstick, and heavy eye makeup and especially the mascara. Drier skin types will also benefit from this step as it will thoroughly cleanse your face without stripping your skin from moisture and necessary lipids or destroy your skin balance and its pH level.

Simply put some cleansing oil on your dry palm and massage it on your entire dry (this is very important!) face, including the eye lids and lips and watch your make-up melt. Massaging your face will improve the circulation, which is an additional step you're doing without even noticing. Rinse with warm water.

Water-based cleanser

Even if it's not visible, you will still have stuff left on your face (like sweat for example) and this is why a water-based cleanser comes next. You can pick any cleanser you like. We recommend choosing a cleanser with a low pH level and avoiding anything higher than pH 6, because it is way too harsh and will damage your acid mantle.

Cleanse your face as usual.


So, your skin is free from any impurities now. What's next? Well... time for the next question: is your skin also free from dead skin cells? No. But it will be. Dead skin cells are one of the main reasons for acne, breakouts and dull complexion. This step is what truly brings the best out of your skin. You don't have to do it daily and the days of harsh peelings are long gone, so even sensitive skin girls and boys can exfoliate now.

If you're the lazy type, we highly recommend the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze pads, because they are already soaked and you can use the side with the gauze for a gentle exfoliation. After you're done, simply flip the cotton pad and use the soft side on your face. This peeling is ideal for dry and/or sensitive skin types. Peeling is a step you don't need to do on a daily basis, 2-3 a week is perfectly fine.


This might be a step you usually skip but here is why you shouldn't. After the cleansing and peeling your skin is in a fragile state and it's time to hydrate and especially prep your skin for a better absorption of the following steps. After trying many many toners, we came to the conclusion that Korean toners are generally less harsh. Another big difference is that Asian toners in general aren't made to dry your skin out or cover it with grease. They are actually skin softeners which is why using them to prep your skin is so important and will change your view on toners forever after you tried them. You will be surprised as some of them come in the spray bottle and can be sprayed and patted to the skin while others can be applied on a cotton pad like you already know and use it. Another function of the toner is bringing back the balance to your skin and adjusting your pH level.


This is the most important part of the Korean Beauty Routine, you can also say that it's the heart of it. The essence is what you use to treat you very own skin concerns. Dull skin, blackheads, acne, dryness, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles... in this step you combat those concerns and the essence is your weapon. In order to work on those needs, you will have to work with special acids. You can also vary your essence. If you are fighting acne, enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation at the same time, it is wise to use essences that contain BHA. However, daily BHA may be a little too much for your skin, so you can use a galactomyces based essence the other day, which will help your hyperpigmentation. The great thing about this step is that you can really vary and switch it. We created a little guide line which things for look for if you have the following skin issues. This doesn't only affect the essences but also serums and ampoules. You can also stick to a hydrating essence only and add a serum what focuses on your skin concern.

Blackheads:  BHA

Breakouts: BHA / AHA

Enlarged pores: BHA

Fine lines: Vitamin C / AHA

Hyperpigmentation: Vitamin C / Galactomyces

UV – damage:  Vitamin C / AHA

Wrinkles Vitamin: C / AHA

Serums & Ampoules

Think of your skin as of a sponge... the more hydrated it is, the better is absorbs the moisture. After you've cleansed, prepped and applied the essence, it's time to work further on the treatments. However, if you don't have any skin concerns, you can also skip this step. But first of all: what is the difference between a serum and an ampoule?

The ampoule is like a big sister of the essence - it's a super concentrated version of it. This is why you only need a few drops and why it comes in a small amount. The serum has a thicker consistency and is more viscous. This is a step you should apply in the evening only.

Sheet Mask (optional)

This is not a necessary step and if you feel like doing it, once a week is enough. You can use hydrating, brightening vitamin c, anti-age, antioxidant or nourishing masks. Sheet masks are a very fun aspect, as there are many cool masks to try out and applying them generally feels therapeutic. Applying a mask in the morning before your moisturizer and make-up is a true pick-me-up. Your skin will absorb the ingredients from a sheet mask much better than from a cream because the mask is laying very close on your skin and the ingredients can't evaporate.

Eye Cream

The area around your eyes is the most sensitive, easily dehydrated and very prone to fine lines, so make sure you never rub or tug your skin or you may end up with premature wrinkles. Wearing an eye cream during the day will also keep your concealer from looking blotchy.


The moisturizer acts like a barrier and will lock the moisture. And moisture is the key for glowy skin. If you feel like creams are too thick for you, stick to emulsions, as they are much lighter.

Night Cream

You can obviously skip this during the day and yes, we know what you're thinking. “Seriously? Another layer?” But think about it this way: you will be sleeping for 7-9 hours and you wont drink during this time and you want your skin to stay hydrated.

SPF (day time only)

Now... we may sound like a mother, but we can't tell you enough how important SPF is. Every. Single. Day. Even. In. Winter. You can also skip the sun cream and jump to a BB cream, since all of them have a high SPF.

Having a wtf-moment?

We promise, this wont take you longer than 10 to 15 minutes.

You are creating a ritual and it's almost like a form of meditation. As we already mentioned, you don't need to follow every single step. Even only including double-cleansing, toning, essence, eye-cream and moisturizer/SPF will make a big impact on your skin. There is a reason why this routine has been around for so long: because it works. And the odd thing is that even if this may sound expensive, it's still cheaper than your all-in-one anti-wrinkle serum and the cosmetic treatments.

Release your glow!