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Lately, we’ve been seeing Korean skin care brands pop up all over our favorite stores and e-commerce sites with brands like TonyMoly, Dr. Jart+, Skinfood, Hanacure, Missha, and as fashion continues to move from east to west, we have some catching up to do. If there is one thing I’ve always noticed about Korean girls, it is their skin. K-beauty is becoming the next big thing and we’ve laid out a 10-step guide to achieving that impeccable, makeup free skincare look.

  1. Make Up Remover/Oil Cleanser – Oil based cleansers work very well to melt off your makeup, even the waterproof kind, by breaking up make up and giving your skin a good base to work with. Just like a makeup remover or cleansing wipe, apply oil based cleansers to dry skin and use luke-warm water to wash off the impurities and cosmetic residue.
  2. Water Based Cleanser – Another cleanser? Yes! A second, water based cleanser is more than likely how we all wash our faces, but by washing twice, you are removing any make up or residue that might have been left behind with the oil cleanser.
  3. Exfoliate – Polish your skin, as if it were a brand new car. Exfoliate at least twice a week with your finger or a gentle brush so you can remove all dirt, oils, and impurities that have nested in the layers of your skin. By removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores, and promoting cell renewal, exfoliating sparingly throughout the week is good for your skin but don’t over do it or scrub too hard. When buying this product, make sure to purchase only exfoliators with natural beads and not plastic which are harmful to the environment.
  4. Toners – This step preps your skin for what is to come next and is essential in removing any remaining dirt or oils from the last three steps. Toners help balance your pH levels and provide hydration that allows your skin to better absorb other skin care products. Apply using a soft towel or cotton pad.
  5. Essence – A step most of us aren’t too familiar with, but Korean women swear by and often confuses us. It is like a toner and serum, so it falls between the two steps. Essences are concentrated mixtures like serums that focus on specific skin problems like elasticity, moisture, or overall tone. You apply an essence to a freshly toned face with either your hands or a cotton pad.
  6. Serums – Serums, boosters, and ampules are powerful concoctions that will treat everything from acne to pores to brightening to wrinkles. This is the step where you really perfect the routine to match your needs and you don’t need a lot of product to see results, just place a few droplets on your face and voilà!
  7. Sheet Masks – Sheet masks were some of the first Korean items on shelves in stores like Sephora and ULTA Beauty, and they came in all different shapes, colors, patterns, designs, and even animals. Masquing has even become a pastime for couples who don masks and get nutrient-rich minerals and ingredients like collagen, donkey milk, aloe leaf extract, and more. Fifteen to twemty minutes is all you need for a quick mask fix-it. (It’s also enough time to squeeze in a Netflix show!)
  8. Eye Cream  – An essential item that most ladies with dark spots swear by, but this just isn’t for those of us who have trouble covering up our tired eyes. Eye cream moisturizes areas around the eye where the skin is thinner and more delicate than other areas of the face. Circle in eye cream to hydrate and protect.
  9. Moisturizer – Most of us love to moisturize during the winter months, but as soon as the weather begins to warm up, we skip this step as our faces start sweating and getting oily. But moisturizing is more than just keeping our outer layers hydrated, it locks in all the other products that you have applied to your skin and serves as a barrier that will keep the face looking and feeling flawless.
  10. SPF/Night Cream – The original anti-aging defense system is none other than a sun protector, and though you may not use it, even on the occasional beach trip, it is important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and is great at preventing premature aging. Apply and re-apply, your skin will thank you for it. If you’re off to bed, a good night cream will provide the nutrients and supplements your skin needs to rest and rejuvenate overnight.