While it may sound like an intricate beauty process, the Korean skin care regimen is gaining interest in other parts of the world beyond Asia as people become more aware of their skin’s health and look up to a culture which places a large value on the clear appearance of skin. The regimen typically consists of anywhere between 10-17 steps involving an array of different products. The order of the products is chosen based on their consistency and absorbability: more watery products are placed first, while thicker creams go on last.

12 steps Korean beauty

The first step of the Korean beauty routine usually begins with the application of two cleansers to remove makeup and other impurities – first an oil-based cleanser, then a water-based one.

The “layering” method of the Korean beauty regimen

involves the use of a large variety of products

The second step is the application of a toner, followed by the application of an essence used to moisturize the skin before a serum is applied, which is typically more concentrated. In the Korean skin care process, the serum is chosen based on the type of skin to which it is applied. Women of different skin types and age may choose serums containing concentrations of different active ingredients.

After applying a serum, the fifth step of the routine includes the application of a moisturizer which is meant to seal in the ingredients previously applied in the process. Typically, the skin around the eyes is treated with an eye cream while the rest of the face is covered with a moisturizer.

UV protection is considered an important step of the intricate Korean beauty regimen. Upon completion of the fifth step, a sunscreen or BB cream with SPF is applied before the skin receives sun exposure.

The rest of the regimen includes steps which aren’t used daily but rather in accordance to the person’s skin type, the status of their skin on a particular day or the product’s recommended frequency of use. Exfoliators are typically used 2-3 times per week. “Sheet masks” which contain the same active ingredients as serums are often incorporated into the routine as well when the person feels the need to add an additional moisturizer to their face. Before going to sleep, many Korean women apply a sleeping mask containing active ingredients and wear it overnight.

It is not uncommon to see Korean women continue their regimen throughout the day with the spritz of mist on their skin to maintain constant moisture, as well as a weekly facial which includes a massage.

The “layering” method of the Korean beauty regimen involves the use of a large variety of products. The emphasis is placed on choosing products which contain healthy ingredients and avoid products which are corrosive or cause drying of the skin. The products used in this beauty regimen may now be found worldwide, with a wide variety for different skin types.