In addition to catchy pop music and heartwarming TV drama series, South Korea is making a mark on the international market with its skincare products. First, it was the BB cream that made its way to the western market in 2011. Then, the world discovered a wealth of formulas that go beyond hiding flaws, focusing instead on preventing blemishes and perfecting the quality of one’s skin.

Check out these Korean skincare products and the famed routine so you can look forward to years of enjoying your soft, dewy, and supple skin.


Oil cleanser and makeup remover
The first order of things is to remove the makeup and dirt that have accumulated during the day. Best used for dry or sensitive skin, an oil-based cleanser cleans without drying. This type of cleanser is used to maintain the skin’s moisture balance.  Massage the oil to your face using a cotton ball or the tips of your fingers, then use makeup remover to clean up stubborn spots and smudges.

Foaming facial wash
While an oil cleanser is enough to remove pollution and dirt from your face, some people are not comfortable with how it leaves the skin feeling a bit oily. Get rid of the excess oil by using a foaming facial wash or cleansing gel, then rinse the suds using lukewarm water.

Exfoliation, or the removal of the dead surface skin cells, is something that should only be done every week or every 2 weeks. Doing it too often can irritate your skin. There are 2 types of exfoliators: manual and chemical. Examples of manual exfoliants are loofahs, pumice stones, and brushes, while chemical scrubs include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and citric acid.

Skin toners are dual purpose: to cleanse the skin and to minimize pore size. In addition to these, toners also prepare your skin to absorb essential nutrients from essences and serums. You can use a cotton ball, spray, or your fingers to apply the toner to your face. Choose a non-alcohol based toner to keep your skin from drying.


Now that you’re done with the cleansing part of the routine, it’s time to get to the nourishing part. The first in this section is the essence: a watery solution that’s meant to deliver natural extracts to your skin. After undergoing numerous cleansing, the application of this thin liquid solution will leave your skin feeling hydrated. Use your fingers to apply the essence, starting from your chin and sweeping upward as you go.

Now, with both having vague names, how are serums different from essences? A tricky question, since a lot of it has to do with the marketing of the product. Serums are quite similar to essences, except that they typically come in smaller vials at higher concentrations. Also, serums are thicker and are applied to the face using a cotton pad.

Sheet masks
Sheet masks are another way of applying nutrients to the face. Soaked in extracts and collagen, face masks are designed to allow the skin to absorb beneficial substances that help keep it taut and supple.

Eye cream
Special attention is also given to the areas around the eyes. Night creams are especially formulated to keep away crow’s feet and other creases and marks for the longest time.


After applying serums, essences, and creams, seal the deal with a layer of moisture and protection. Aside from keeping your skin hydrated, moisturizers also give it a soft, dewy appearance – a quality highly prized by the Koreans.

Night cream
Now, the Korean skincare routine features a few follow-up steps, and applying night cream is one of those. The purpose of night cream is to make sure that your skin is hydrated throughout the night. When doing your morning routine, replace this product with sunblock.