One common misconception in K-beauty: you need to follow the 10-step skin care routine to make a difference on your skin. The truth is, it’s not always true. Korean skin care is designed to be flexible, so the number of steps isn’t that important. What’s important is that you are using the right products and be consistent with them.

If you find yourself a little intimidated by the intense Korean skin care routine or have a busy schedule like me, don't worry. I've got you! I've condensed the 10-step K-beauty routine into 5 essential steps below, which saves time and still yields amazing results, to help you cut through all the K-confusion.

Step 1: Double Cleanse

I do believe double-cleanse is a must as it’s the backbone of any Korean skin care routine. Removes sebum, makeup and sunscreen with the oil-based cleanser like heimish’s All Clean Balm, but if you stop there, you haven’t removed other things like dirt, pollution and sweat. That’s why you must double-cleanse with gel formula/foaming cleanser like the Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser from COSRX for the best results.

Step 2: Restore Your Skin’s pH level & Pack in Moisture

Korean skin care is all about intense hydration! I feel like it’s my favorite step as my skin care drinks up the essence and I really feel like it’s adding layer of hydration and leave my skin feeling plump. For those with oily skin or combo skin, driving in moisture can leafs to less sebum production and clogging pores throughout the day. Plus, several varieties come packed with nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and Birch Sap to treat your skin while it moisturizes. I like the whisper-light lotion, Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Lotion with the superstar active, Snail slime; it packs a powerful antioxidant punch.

Step 3: Time To Treat

Here comes to the most personal part and you have to ask yourself a question - “What is your most critical skin care concern right now? Dryness, wrinkles, acne, dullness, dark spots or uneven skin tone?”. Knowing the answer of which skin concerns you are dealing with allows you to step in the treatment and choose products that target those individual concerns specifically. Here are some examples:

If acne or breakouts is your vice, an ultra-hydrating serum like the Mentholatum’s Rohto Melano CC Concentration Measures Essence should be your go-to. It contains Vitamins C and E derivatives to help fade and prevent dark spots and acne scars.

If you are struggling with dryness, dullness or uneven skin tone, you should consider a treatment that evens and hydrates your complexion. My fav is primera’s Miracle Seed Essence, a best seller in Korea - it's a bit pricey, but so hydrating, delivering a blast of lotus seed extract rich in amino acids and linoleic acid. The watery texture also helps tone skin for a refined complexion.

Step 4: Seal it All in with a Moisturizer

Now seal in all that dewy goodness you just applied as your second last step. Everyone needs a moisturizer to hydrate, lock in previous applied layers and give you the "Chok Chok effect", which is that dewy, bouncy, and almost wet look to the skin that Korean ladies love. Don’t be put it off if you have oily skin, a lot of the time at least part of the oil production is commonly due to dehydration. A good moisturizer like Tonymoly’s The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily or sticky - rather, it gives you a protective barrier on your skin that allows your sunscreen and makeup to apply well. Another example from innisfree, this rich moisturizing cream is infused with Jeju Orchids to promote your skin’s elasticity and hydration all in one go.

Step 5: Guard your Glow with SPF

Last but not least, never ever miss this step, wear sunscreen on! There’s no point in following the above 4 steps continuously if you’re not properly protecting your skin from the damaging rays and keep the signs of aging at bay. And YES, even if it’s winter and overcast. Put your best defense on and you won’t make a botch of your skin. One of the best out there, Kao’s Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ forms an invisible waterproof shield on skin without feeling greasy at all and applies as a primer smoothly under makeup. A blend of Hyaluronic acid, royal jelly and other moisturizing ingredients in this sunscreen keep skin comfortable and hydrated. If you would like to learn more about how to pick the right sunscreen for your skin type, check out our previous article.

So, here you go: the express Korean Skin care routine! Although it includes five, the results are impressive and long-lasting. And of course, it can be highly personalized to suit your time requirements and skin types.

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