Korean skincare routine: see what it is, how to make and adapt

There are several surveys that show how the skincare (facial care) market has grown in recent years, both in our country and abroad. Therefore, more and more products, beauty and care rituals are appearing that were not previously known.

Among the novelties, Asian traditions stood out due to the fame in relation to perfect skins. In the last two or three years, in Brazil, from social media and mainly due to digital influencers in the beauty universe, the “Korean skincare routine” became famous .

Thinking about it, we will explain to you today what this routine is, what its characteristics are and for whom it is indicated:

What is the Korean skincare routine ?

The Korean skincare routine is, as the name suggests, a tradition that comes from Asian countries with regard to facial care – in order to maintain perfect skin and, especially, with a youthful appearance.

It is basically a set of daily steps (to be carried out both during the day and at night) that does not focus on the products themselves, but rather on the completion of each step. That is, you can adapt and / or change the product you are going to use for each step, what matters is to carry them out.

But, first of all, remember: the skin of Asian women is different from Brazilian skin, as well as the climate and other personal characteristics. That is, this routine will not necessarily be good for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to have the help of a dermatologist.

It is also important to keep in mind that – unlike many sites or videos – there are not really a certain number of steps. However, the average is usually 10 steps, performed to clean, care for and protect the skin.

Yes, there are some steps that are considered indispensable, but in contrast there are those that are mostly optional. Therefore, see the following topic for some tips to reproduce the Korean skincare routine :

Steps: how to do the Korean routine for skin care?

As mentioned in the previous topic, there is not necessarily a certain number of steps to compose your Korean skincare routine . But in general, 10 steps are quite popular. Check out what they are (they are presented in your order of application) and how they work:

Oil-based cleaning

This step consists of using a cleansing oil to remove makeup and impurities from the skin. But be careful, it is a specific type of oil, with emulsifying properties (that is, it melts when in contact with water), leaving no trace.

The cleansing oil should be applied to dry skin , making circular movements and massaging the entire face for a few minutes. This is important as it will help to remove impurities that are in the pores, and can – even – help in the removal of blackheads .

After that, just rinse and the oil should come out completely from the skin (when it comes into contact with water, it becomes a milky liquid).

Finally, it is worth mentioning that not all people perform this step in the morning, considering that it is at night that the skin needs more cleaning to remove the impurities of the day (pollution, makeup, etc.). But, if you want to do it in the morning, there is no problem.

Water-based cleaning

The name “water-based” only means that the product has no oil in its composition. In this stage, a soap, cleansing gel or foam is used to wash the face normally.

With this, when performing oil-based and water-based cleaning, the so-called double cleansing is characterized .

Tonic

The facial tonic is a fundamental step in the Korean routine, because in addition to preparing the skin to receive the next steps, many have moisturizing properties. Another important function is to balance the skin’s pH.

When performing this routine, Asians generally use their hands, depositing a little product and tapping (with their fingers) on the face. However, it is also possible to use the tonic with a cotton (very moist), passing lightly on the face.

Exfoliation

Exfoliation is performed only once a week, and can be of the common type (with soaps or creams with exfoliating particles) or chemical type (creams that cause dead cells to come off).

Regardless of the type, the purpose of exfoliation is to renew the skin. In some cases, it can even help lighten small spots, as it stimulates collagen production and cell renewal.

Essence 

The essences are “miracle water”, similar to the tonic, but with texture like that of serums – however, less concentrated.

They are rich in ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid (both have properties that moisturize and fill the skin). To apply, you must put a little on the palm of your hands and press on the face.

Unfortunately, in Brazil there is still no essence. But, to perform the Korean routine, it is possible to replace it with the so-called “beauty water” or even with a thermal water – always waiting for the skin to absorb naturally, without rubbing.

Serum

Serums have a texture, usually liquid or similar to a very light gel. This characteristic allows a quick and deep absorption by the skin.

Because of this, they fall into the category of skin nutrition (since they penetrate the deeper layers of the dermis). Some examples of products that can be used in this stage are: vitamin C, acids, anti-aging serums, etc.

Mask

The face mask is a very important step for any skin routine, but beware: everything in excess is bad. The ideal is to use the mask of your choice only once a week.

There are different types and with different purposes (light, purify, moisturize, matify, detox effect, soothing, etc.).

So, just choose if you prefer cream-type masks, which need to be applied with a brush on the face, or the cotton ones (dear to Asian women) that just need to be positioned on the face and then are discarded.

Regardless of the mask, always respect its action time (on average 15-20min) and, if it is a cotton mask – which is soaked in product -, after removing it, wait for the skin to absorb all the rest of the product. That is, do not rinse.

Eye cream

This is a step that many people forget and end up making use of the same face creams in the eye region.

However, it is important to note that eye creams need to have smaller molecules, due to the thinner skin in the region. This facilitates a full absorption of the product and allows you to reach the desired result: preventing wrinkles and avoiding dark circles.

Moisturizer

This is, in general, the most popular stage of facial care. Just choose a cream of your choice (always observing if it is for day or night use) and apply a thin and uniform layer on the skin.

The only recommendation is to look for one that suits your skin type. For example, for skins with a greater tendency to oiliness, it is ideal to opt for creams with a gel texture (as they have fast absorption). On the other hand, people with dry skin can opt for denser and more potent creams.

Sunscreen

After so many steps, you just need to apply the sunscreen of your choice – you can choose between those with color, without color, for oily skin, moisturizers, etc.

The protector is an indispensable step in the Korean routine. But, much more than taking care of the skin, it also takes care of our health (considering that high exposure to light can cause diseases such as skin cancer ).

It is used mainly during the day (with SPF from 30). But it can be used at night too, if you are exposed to too much artificial light (television, cell phone, lamps, computer, etc.). Therefore, it is important to have a filter that protects against UVA and UVB rays.

Finally, it is worth stressing that you do not necessarily have to perform all these steps. But, whatever your choice of routine, it is essential to follow up with a dermatologist in order to select products and steps appropriate for your skin.

Are there any right products for the Korean routine?

No . Contrary to what many people imagine, the Korean routine does not necessarily have to be done with Asian products.

Of course, there are some products that are still more difficult to find in Brazil and some are not available here even in similar versions, despite that, just adapt with what we can find.

Fortunately, the national market already offers several options for skincare items – from the most basic to the most modern.

So, as the name suggests, the goal of the “Korean routine” is to literally create a daily care routine. Thus, the main point is to follow the steps, regardless of the product used.

Thinking about it, check out some tips on how to adapt some steps of this routine with Brazilian or natural products:

How to adapt with Brazilian products or sold in Brazil

Some options of products sold nationally and that can be used in the Korean skincare routine are:

  • Oil-based cleaning : Cleansing Oil The Body Shop;
  • Cleaning water-based : Cleansing Gel CeraVe , Mousse Nivea cleaning ;
  • Tonic : Vichy Normaderm Astringent Tonic , Vult Moisturizing Tonic ;
  • Exfoliation : Neutrogena Deep Clean Energizing Exfoliator for normal exfoliation or The Body Shop Liquid Peeling for chemical exfoliation;
  • Serum : Improve C 10 Dermage Antioxidant Serum , Cicatricure Whitening Serum ;
  • Mask : Kiss NY Cotton Facial Mask , L’Oréal Pure Illuminating Clay Detox Facial Mask ;
  • Eye cream : Cicatricure Cream Eye Contour Blur & Filler , Nivea Q10 Plus Antisignals Roll On Eyes ;
  • Hydration : Revitalift L’Oréal Day or Night Moisturizer ;
  • Sunscreen : Sunmax Sensitive Sunscreen , Anthelios XL La Roche-Posay Sunscreen .

The only product that does not have a version officially marketed in Brazil is “ Essence ”, but it is possible to replace it with products such as Água da Beleza or moisturizing mists.

How to adapt with natural products

Despite the huge range of cosmetics available and the apparent complexity of the Korean skin care routine, you can simplify this whole process.

Many people choose, based on different reasons, to use natural products in their daily care. Thinking about it, we have separated some tips that you can apply to carry out this routine in a healthier, cheaper and sustainable way:

  • Use vegetable oils as cleansing oil – as we have seen, the first step is oil-based cleaning. Then, you can apply vegetable oils for this, in the end, just remove the excess with cotton and wash with water and soap / gel;
  • Rice tonic – tonic is a fundamental part of the routine. In this case, you can prepare yours at home: soak the rice in the water for several hours and then it will be milky (this water will be used as a tonic). For best results, store the product in the refrigerator and in its own packaging;
  • Eye cream – just moisten two sachets of chamomile tea, leave in the refrigerator for 40 minutes and then put them on your eyes closed (let it act for 15-20min);
  • Treatment / Serum – a good option is to use rosehip oil, it is a fine oil (which allows it to be used by people with different skin types) and has antioxidant and even lightening action;
  • Mask – it is possible to use natural clays. There are different types, so you can choose the one that best suits your skin and needs;
  • Exfoliation – Some exfoliation options with natural products include the use of ingredients such as coffee grounds or powdered oats. Just mix it a little with coconut oil or honey and apply it on your face.

Of course, not all steps can be replaced with natural ingredients. But you can adapt the routine. In addition, organic or vegan cosmetics can also be a good alternative.

Is the Korean routine good for oily, combination or acne-prone skin?

-Yeah . Contrary to what many people imagine, those who have oily / mixed / acneic skin must use products that aim to treat, nourish or moisturize the skin. That is, one should not use only products with a matte effect or that remove the oil from the dermis.

This is because excessively removing the natural oil from the skin and not replenishing it, can cause a rebound effect – causing the skin to produce even more sebum.

Of course, people with skin in these characteristics do not need to use super moisturizing products or coarse texture. For example, they can replace a moisturizing tonic with an astringent.

Or, still, replace the moisturizer in cream with one with a gel texture (quick absorption and a more dry appearance on the skin).

In addition, keeping your skin very clean and cared for is important for all people, which can prevent problems such as acne or blemishes. However, as mentioned in a previous topic, the Korean routine may not work for everyone.

Above all, her goal is to take care of the appearance and health of the skin – it does not focus on helping acne or oil problems, for example. In that case, the person can follow orders for cleaning and care, but this does not dispense with the need to carry out specific treatments for the problem in question.

In other words, you should always have a dermatological follow-up to ensure that you are using products that are appropriate for your skin type and your needs.


The world of skincare is growing more and more every day. Thus, rituals like the Korean routine become more and more popular and win the hearts of many people who love this universe.

Is it your case? Do you have any other facial care secrets that you won’t let go of? Tell us here in the comments and keep following the Healthy Minute for more content like this!

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