If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of steps in the Korean beauty routine, sit back and relax – we’re breaking down the steps and guiding you through each in order for you to find the best routine for your skin – yep, you read that right. Not everyone needs to do all of the steps all the time.

1 & 2. Double Cleanse 

Korean skincare regimen begins with double cleanse – meaning, beginning with cleansing oil followed by a water-based face wash. These are your first two steps if you decide to do both. The oil-based cleanser removes all oil-based impurities as well as makeup while the water-based cleanser provides gentle, non-stripping cleansing action.

If you have oily skin, you may want to skip the first step and start from a face wash.

3. Exfoliator

This is step three and it can be optional as well, depending on your skin type and how much time you have in the morning. For most people, exfoliating twice a week is plenty enough to get dead skin cells removed and keep the skin surface smooth. If you want to exfoliate every morning or evening, make sure your chosen exfoliating product is gentle enough for everyday use.

4. Hydrating Water

Try not to skip this step if possible especially if you have dry, prematurely aging, or mature skin. Good hydrating water will balance your skin’s pH and prepare it for deeper hydration (in the next steps) by laying a light first layer of it.

5. Essence

A facial essence feels thicker or creamier than hydrating water. It primes the skin and works to amp up hydration on a cellular level. There are countless facial essence formulas in the market – make sure to look around before you settle on one. Identify your main skin concern and find an essence that addresses that concern and provides ample hydration.

6. Serum or Ampoule

Perhaps the most personalized step in the Korean beauty routine, the serum/ampoule step is all about targeting a specific skin concern you have. If you experience redness, oiliness, acne, inflammation, premature aging, extreme dryness, or any other concern that bothers you on a daily basis, this is the step where you address that. If, on the other hand, you generally have soft, acne-free, smooth skin, you may skip this step.

7. Sheet, hydrogel or rubber masks

Like the exfoliator, this step is completely optional (yet completely worth incorporating into your routine!) Use a mask two or three times a week to give your skin the intense nourishment and moisture it needs. To find the best Korean sheet mask or any other type of mask, try masks from a few different brands.

8. Eye cream

Using an eye cream is a must for everyone every day – whether it’s for prevention purposes or damage reversal.

9. Moisturizer

Another unskippable, non-negotiable step. Make sure the formula addresses your main skin concern – oil-free, anti-aging, etc.

10. Sun protection

The last step – whether you live in a cold climate or a tropical one, Korean beauty enthusiasts do not ever miss this step – this is how they maintain a porcelain-like glassy skin. Apply a high SPF product and stay away from the sun as much as you can.

Pro tip: multitasking products

If you’re short on time or want quick solutions to your multifaceted problems, many companies offer multitasking products, for example, a moisturizer with SPF or an essence that addresses inflammation.

Always be open to trying new products – that’s how you find the ones that work best for you.