I always thought I took good care of my skin. I followed Clinique’s 3-step method–cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing–but when I began my Korean skincare routine, a new world opened before me.
Thankfully, Kerry Thompson and Coco Park, authors of “Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup” put their collective wisdom into print, which taught me that skincare can be empowering and exhilarating.
9-Step K-Beauty Morning Skin Care Routine
If you’re hung up on the idea that a 9-step routine will be too much work, let me assure you that it won’t be. Some days, I do all nine steps; others, I only need five. That’s the beauty of it. I only do what my skin needs.
Double Cleanse (daily) – It’s best to start with a fresh canvas, and this step ensures that each additional product does its job effectively. The first cleanser is a balm cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, and oil, the second cleanser should be a non-foaming cleanser for a deeper cleanse
Exfoliate (2-3 times per week) – Physical exfoliation can leave micro tears on the skin. This can leave the skin vulnerable to environmental damage which can then cause premature aging. (I wouldn't suggest a scrub for the face.)
Chemical exfoliation is the way to go for the face. You can use mild AHA's or BHA's. Some products have a little of both. And if you're going to use an acid start off slowly and let your skin get used to it. Otherwise, you could cause a lot of redness and damage.AHA - Alpha Hydroxy AcidsBHA - Beta hydroxy acid
- Sheet mask (as desired) – If you have time to relax for 15-20 minutes, then slip on a sheet mask and let the hydration begin. I especially enjoy masks with ingredients that soothe, hydrate, calm and brighten my skin.
- Toner (daily) – My morning toner provides hydration and helps my other products sink in more effectively. Some people skip this step, but daily toning can really improve your skin.
- Essence (daily) – These watery liquids were completely missing from my old routine. When I began using them, I noticed that my skin was brighter; my fine lines were less obvious, and the added hydration plumped up my skin.
- Face Oil – Face oils are very skin-specific. They penetrate the skin at a deep level and tend to be very concentrated. I various face oils for various purposes. Some of my favorites include niacinamide (to reduce hyperpigmentation and strengthen the lipid barrier) or propolis (to improve overall skin health and glow).
- Eye cream (as needed, but recommended daily) – I use an eye cream twice a day and have since I was 20 (thanks, Mom). The skin under the eye is very fragile, and daily moisture can keep fine lines and even dark circles at bay.
- Moisturizer (as needed) – Before I fell down the K-beauty rabbit hole, I had never heard the word “emulsion.” Honestly, it’s a thin moisturizing lotion, and you probably already own one. Its lightweight texture absorbs easily and will help your skin stay hydrated.
- Sunscreen (if going outdoors) – This is the best anti-aging product on the market. Since preventing sun damage means avoiding sun exposure, be diligent about your sunscreen and apply it generously to every inch of skin that will be exposed to sunlight. An ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.
The Takeaway – Nourished, Radiant Skin
The beauty of this routine is that it can easily be modified. You can even finish other morning tasks, such as brushing your teeth, having breakfast, picking out your clothes, getting the kids ready for school, while you’re waiting for products to dry.
While your experience will be different from mine, these steps share one goal common: to work collectively to help you achieve healthy skin.
By Tracy Ann Teel