The Comprehensive Korean Skincare Routine, Explained in 5 Steps

Many people marvel at the delicate skin and glowing appearance of individuals following the Korean skincare routine. It makes them wonder how they, too, could get there.

This would explain the growing interest in Korean skincare brands, like COSRX. As it is, there are products to suit any condition imaginable. If you want to jump into the world of beautiful skin using the steps that form the pillars of Korean skincare, keep in mind the following.


Your beauty routine must begin with cleansing. Cleansing removes impurities, dirt and pollutants that accumulate on the skin as you go about your day-to-day activities. 

Koreans have mastered cleansing. Their two-step cleanse includes the use of an oil first. The oil breaks down any impurities, sunscreen and makeup. The second step uses a cleansing balm that boosts the production of collagen and soothes the skin. The ointment is typically water-based, and it aims to clean the pores. People with acne-prone skin can try foam cleansers that are designed to prevent blemishes.


After cleansing, you must exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. Dead skin on the face will reduce cell turnover, so your face will not produce fresh skin fast. Consequently, your face can begin looking dull and old. 

Koreans exfoliate in two ways. Chemicals, mostly gentle acids, push the dead skin cells away, leaving you with clearer and brighter skin. Physical exfoliation, meanwhile, uses harsh ingredients such as sugar. Physical exfoliating products need to be infused with nourishing ingredients so that they do not harm the skin.

Sheet Mask

During this stage, the goal is to hydrate the skin. Leave the sheet mask on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes. It will help deliver moisture and nutrients to your face. 

Different masks will achieve different specific tasks besides hydration. Some balance the skin while others reduce irritation and redness. Others remove wrinkles and draw impurities from pores while some improve the elasticity of the skin.

The Treatment

In this fourth step, the idea is to address the concerns that are specific to one’s skin. For instance, if you are prone to having dark spots, or you have a dull or uneven skin tone, you can brighten your skin at this point. 

Vitamin C is often used to deal with issues of pigmentation on the skin. Someone with dry skin can use products that will nourish and tone the skin. Another person who deals with breakouts may use treatments for eliminating dark spots and blemishes.


a woman putting face cream

Moisture forms the backbone of any Korean skincare routine. Moisturizers can either be a cream, oil or night mask. Oils regulate the production of sebum in your skin. Night masks and creams work in the night to make sure your skin regenerates as you sleep. You should always rinse them off in the morning.

While these steps are essential to any Korean care routine, they have nuances, as well. For example, sometimes a professional may recommend that you jump to one step, depending on your skin type and condition. The idea is to nurture your skin to be the best it can be.  

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