Why the Korean Skincare Routine Works

In Eastern cultures, skincare is a huge part of everyday life. While the American approach to skincare is more reactive, Korean women are proactive from a young age and treat their skin like an investment. It is not just financial but a time investment as well. Although you might be following a strict cleansing and moisturizing regimen every night, you are still not coming close to some important steps that other women use to help them achieve beautiful skin.

The Korean skincare routine and layering technique has become a staple part of my skin care routine for around the past 4 years, but not until recently have I put effort into figuring out what works best for my skin. Check out my own personal skincare routine for an idea of how I keep my skin healthy!

So what is the Korean skincare routine? In total, it consists of up to about 12 steps. You may be asking yourself, why would I EVER put that much product on my skin at one time? Trust me, I thought it was crazy at first too. But, once you actually try it and tailor it to your own skin’s specific needs, your skin will make such a positive transformation.

Why It Works

Strong Focus on Hydration:

In many Korean skincare brands, you will find that their products typically focus on hydration. Four key products in the routine – toner, essence, sheet mask, and sleeping mask – are mostly tailored to infuse skin with hydration. This focus on the use of hydrating products are not at the forefront of most Western skincare brands, and in many cases they still are not.

Hydration really is the secret to better skin. Even if you do not have dry skin, hydration is necessary. Throughout the day your skin experiences transepidermal water loss, meaning your skin loses water through a process similar to evaporation. Because of this phenomenon, you must make sure your skin is properly hydrated, and not just the skin on your face. Hydration is necessary because it plumps up your skin making it look younger, clearer, more dewy, and more healthy. Get hydration right and everything else will follow suit.



The key to using Korean skincare is layering. Starting with a toner (after cleansing properly), followed by an essence, emulsion, and perhaps a sleeping mask, you are advised to apply thin layers of each on your skin. Layering products in thin layers, from light to heavier textured lotions or creams – while also making sure each product absorbs before moving on to the next – actually makes them more effective. It allows each layer of product to penetrate the skin and absorb more easily.

skincare_full 2.png

Products are Lighter in Texture to Facilitate Layering:

For the most part, Korean skincare products tend to have lighter textures, featuring emulsions instead of heavy lotions and creams. This more airy, liquid texture makes it easier and more comfortable to carry out the extra 4 or 5 steps of the hydration routine, as opposed to trying it with 4 to 5 layers of thick, silicone-filled product.

Below is a photo demonstration I found of the differences in texture of each type of product:

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 1.00.10 PM

Not all products under each description are exactly alike, but this photo gives you a general idea of their weight and how they will feel on your skin.

Focus on Essences and Serums:

Often, Korean skincare will require the use of at least one essence product. This essence or serum is usually the most potent product. It is infused with the most effective and active ingredients, charging your skin with necessary nutrition. Essences are game-changers.

Another perk of the Korean skincare routine is that you can replicate it without necessarily using Korean-made products. If you have certain products you’ve found that you love and work well for your skin, continue using these products! If you want to try this routine, substitute your staple products in each step.

Thank you guys for reading, I hope you learned a lot! If any of you have tried this routine before, let me know your thoughts! And check out my post on how to properly layer skincare products for more in depth information.

xoxo, Arielle


life style blogger

6 thoughts on “Why the Korean Skincare Routine Works

  1. This is such a great article! I love using serums on my skin. I often wondered if layering several products really work. Now I know it’s ok to do that in the right order and waiting until they are fully absorbed! Thanks Arielle!

  2. Great information. Thanks for keeping us informed on good skin care. We can all use it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.