How to achieve glowing skin with a natural skin care routine for day or night.
We’ve all heard about the mythical Korean skincare routine, a multi-step beauty routine based on layering and combining products in an order that protects your skin and then seals in the good stuff that you’re applying. Korean skincare has trail-blazed this idea of product layering, and has combined it with a philosophy of ritualizing beauty. The key is to get your formula down, then do it every night. Slapping on a few products once in awhile won’t get you results, but sticking to a practice of wellness and skincare over a longer period of time will get you dewy faced and radiant.
This all said, we’re the first to acknowledge that skincare is super personal, and that there’s no catch-all routine that will work for everyone. What we love about the Korean Skincare routine is that it’s structured with this in mind. Depending on your skin concerns, you can tailor the method to really focus on certain details, like clarifying, anti-aging, or radiance boosting.
Here we’ve put together the scaffolding of a 10 step Korean skincare routine that you can play and experiment with until you find your perfect and unique formula. Try it out (might we suggest the long holiday weekend when you are a little less frazzled and have more time?) and see what works for you.
Step 1: Oil Cleanse
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Blood Orange Cleansing Balm
The first step is a gentle oil cleanse to remove makeup and impurities. This step is super key for all skin types, even naturally oily ones. The basic concept behind the oil cleansing method is that oil is the most effective carrier to dissolve sebum, oil-based makeups, and hardened impurities in your pores. Remember when your chemistry teacher taught you that like dissolves like? Plus oil cleansing is super healing, and simultaneously cleanses and lightens discoloration. Our Blood Orange Cleansing Balm is an ideal product for this first step: simply massage the balm onto your face and wipe away with a clean damp towel. Keep things gentle (no tugging or harsh rubbing).
PRO TIP: Make sure the water is very warm to hot to help take the balm off your face. Otherwise cold water will make the process more difficult.
Step 2: Water-Based Cleanse
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Organic Cucumber Juice: Cleansing Foam
Now comes the “double” part of your double cleanse: the water-based cleanse, which picks up any lingering residue from your oil cleanse, and any final impurities from your day. It’s important to sneak this step in after the oil cleanse and not before, because pre-cleansed, makeup free skin allows this product to gently tone, while boosting hydration into pre-cleansed pores. Our Organic Cucumber Juice: Cleansing Foam is a really detoxifying and anti-inflammatory product that works for all skin types. Our formula contains organic seaweed tincture and organic chamomile, both super antioxidant rich ingredients that increase the penetration and effectiveness of other skincare topicals.
PRO TIP: For an extra benefit, use our Konjac Sponge to gently cleanse your face during this step.
Step 3: Exfoliate
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Organic Matcha Anti-Aging: Antioxidant Smoothing Scrub
Up next: exfoliation. This step is totally crucial for sloughing away dead skin cells and encouraging cell renewal, for a super even complexion sans flakiness or roughness. Depending on your skin’s needs, you can incorporate this step into your routine twice a week, or as infrequently as twice a month (if your skin is fragile or sensitive). Exfoliating with a non-synthetic scrub leaves your pores totally receptive to any hydrators or serums you’re going to follow up with – concentrate on your T zone and think buffing, not harshly rubbing. Our Organic Matcha Anti-Aging: Antioxidant Smoothing Scrub will leave you with a super soft dermis primed for product application, plus it’s highly caffeinated. Read: increased circulation for a serious glow.
PRO TIP: Leave the scrub on for a few minutes as a mask, while taking the time to gently massage your face (in upwards motions) for extra self care and stress reduction.
Step 4: Toner
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Next you move onto toner, a product you probably associate with highly astringent formulas from beauty eras past, but that we’ve given a total makeover as a gentle formula that hydrates and balances your skin’s PH levels. Our Brightening Tonique ditches harsh skin lighteners in favor of natural ingredients like bearberry, kojic acid, sake, fruit acids, licorice, vitamin c, lemon juice and strawberries. These stellar ingredients plus organic rose hydrosol and aloe juice provide your skin with gentle moisture, and create a soothed, prepped base. This step leaves you with softened, “pre-moisturized” skin that’s ready to absorb more heavy duty skin quenchers. Gently pat your toner onto your skin and let it absorb.
Step 5: Essence
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Organic Rose Water Sensitive Skin: Emulsion Tonique
Essence is a multi-purpose product that’s considered to be one of the most essential steps in the Korean skincare regime. It’s a toner-serum hybrid that speeds up cell turnover and aids in skin repair. It’s also an important step for hydration: its liquid consistency drenches the skin and allows for better absorption of subsequent products, and a brighter and more supple look when used over time. For crazy softness and elasticity, hit this step with our Organic Rose Water Sensitive Skin: Emulsion Tonique, an essence that features rooibos tea and rose essential oil to replenish your skin with minerals and antioxidants.
Step 6 is all about concentrated treatments. Up to this point you’ve cleansed and prepped your skin thoroughly, so you’re ready to go in on it with concern specific treatments to target things like redness, wrinkles or acne (and your skin will actually be prepped to absorb and activate ingredients). Serums are all about brightening and smoothing discoloration and sunspots: think of it as the allover tone-evening step. Try our Vitamin C Serum, if you are prepping your skin for the evening. We’ve formulated with vitamin C and green apple extract for serious brightening and enhanced collagen production. If you are starting this routine in the morning, use our Organic Rose Water Sensitive Skin: Calming Serum for a deeply soothing, nutrient-rich formula with a face plumping rose hydrosol base.
Step 7: Hydrogel Mask
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Green Tea Water Bomb Mask
If you’re a beauty nerd like us, you’ve probably already tried a korean sheet mask, which are having their moment in the skincare spotlight right now. And for good reason: they’re incredibly effective hydrators, which literally soak their ingredients into your skin. Leave your sheet mask on for 15 - 20 minutes to let it fully activate, and take some mindful or meditative time while you wait. The secret behind this powerful beauty tool is that it avoids the pitfall of product evaporation, which can happen with other products that you apply in non-mask form. Our Green Tea Water Bomb Mask injects your pores with hyaluronic acid, which hydrates skin cells, and green tea extract, for increased circulation and reduced inflammation. The hydrogel formula is composed of intensely nourishing organic aloe water and plant cellulose: think seriously absorbable hydration.
PRO TIP: Make adjustments to the mask to help it lay flat on your face for maximum benefits. You might need to gently tear slits on the sides of the eye or mouth holes.
Step 8: Eye Cream
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Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
Paying special attention to your eye area is a really important step to focus on, because the fragile skin around your eyes has a totally different set of needs and concerns than the rest of your visage. Whatever your skin type, chances are your eye area needs specific ingredients to depuff, lock in moisture, and brighten darkness. For application of product in this step, always use gentle upward tapping motions. Our Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream comes in big here, with its highly caffeinated formula (an ingredient with proven results for de-puffing), and rose hydrol for a concentrated shot of PH restoration and anti-inflammation.
PRO TIP: We love to apply this eye cream like a star on our face, hitting 5 points: under each eye, between our eyebrows, and either side of our mouth for the smile lines.
Step 9: Moisturizer
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Organic Cucumber Juice: Hydrating Moisturizer
Hydration is everything in the Korean skincare routine, and the layering and combining of products allows your moisturizer to give you its all. This is your chance to seal in the ingredients you’ve applied up to this point: think nourishing and also providing yourself with a protective layer. To pump the brakes on aging, skin discoloration and dullness, religious application of your moisturizer (on your face and neck) is key. Try our Organic Cucumber Juice: Hydrating Moisturizer for intense product penetration and skin conditioning. The formula incorporates one of our favorite super ingredients – seaweed – which is proven to work as a skin lubricant and a regenerator that can penetrate into our skin’s deeper layers.
You made it this far: congratulations. When going through your routine in the morning, always finish with SPF in order to maintain and protect the work you’ve put into your skin. UVB and UVA rays put your skin on the fast track to sagging and wrinkles, so take care to apply – and reapply – throughout the day. Our Yerba Mate Mist SPF 30 will give you full protection, plus we snuck in yerba mate extract, which is a natural hydrator and protector against free radicals (key for anti-aging).
If you are at your last step and it’s the evening, top off your multi-layered skin care goodness with our Retinol Restorative Overnight Balm. This rich, buttery balm will nourish, brighten and smooth your skin while you are off in dreamland. The natural retinol from carrots will promote even skin tone and elasticity. You’ll wake up to a perfectly replenished while all the hard work was done while you were sleeping. Remember to ALWAYS wear sunscreen the next day after using this overnight balm.
Put the time in, play around with a routine that fits your face and your life, then stick to it. The Korean skincare regime is a lot less scary then it seems, we promise: make it your own and nip skincare woes in the bud.