Korean Skincare is a huge part of my skincare regimen. It really has helped transform my skin to be more healthy and glowing. Check out my last post on why the Korean skincare routine works as well as it does. This post is about how to properly layer your skincare products so your hard earned cash isn’t going to waste and your skin gets every bit of nutrition it needs!
Why Sequence Matters
Applying your skin care products in the proper order ensures that your skin receives the full benefits of each product. For example, applying cream-based products before a serum would prevent the serum from reaching the skin due to the emollience of the cream. Many moisturizers also contain water, so if you apply a moisturizer over a sunscreen for example, you would ultimately be watering down your sunscreen and diluting its efficacy. In sum, pay attention to your products so you can be sure where to place them in your skincare regimen.
Aside from the order of application, it is also important to consider the time it takes for your skin to absorb your products. Order is important, but timing is more crucial. Waiting for your products to absorb allows all of the nutrients to soak into your skin, ultimately encouraging the easy application of your subsequent products. If you don’t wait, your products will most likely pill and then none of the nutrients will be able to absorb.
The Correct Order
So which product goes on top of what, you ask? An easy rule of thumb to follow is to apply your products with the thinnest consistency to thickest, or from liquid to oil. During the day, keep it simple. A cleanser-toner-moisturizer/day cream-sunscreen routine is all you need. At night, that is when you can load up on skin care actives. Here’s what experts recommend:
1. Tone, Tone, Tone: People tend to discount the importance of a good toner. After cleansing this is an important step because it adds a layer of protection to your skin by tightening pores and closing cell gaps opened from cleansing, thus reducing the ability of impurities to contaminate your skin. It moisturizes, refreshes, and even balances your skin’s pH levels. Our skin is naturally acidic with a pH of around 5 or 6. Due to the alkalinity of soaps, this disturbs your skin’s natural environment, so it has to work overtime to restore that balance, typically resulting in extra oil production, but a toner quickly restores that balance.
2. Start Light: Serums (the thinnest products) go first because they deliver active ingredients into the skin most efficiently. Plus, they’re easy to customize. Pick two or three serums at most that treat each one of your personalized skin concerns. For example, formulas with peptides for wrinkles, salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide for oily/acne-prone skin, and licorice or aloe to calm redness.
4. Take a Break: If you give each product time to dry, it won’t pill. You can incorporate the rest of your morning/evening routine into your skincare routine. For example, put on a product, have some tea, then put on a second product, then brush your teeth.
5. Easy on the Eyes: This is a step in the skincare routine surrounded by much debate. When should you start using eye creams? Are they even necessary? Well, yes they are! And I suggest starting early to aid in the prevention of wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. Prevention is way easier than repair. The eyelid is the thinnest skin on the body and since it’s constantly active because of how often we blink, rub our eyes, etc. it is the first area to show age. Eye creams are designed to be lighter than facial moisturizers which is important because heavy creams tend to increase fluid retention and exacerbate puffiness. No one wants that. Ideal creams include caffeine to decrease puffiness, peptides to stimulate collagen production, and antioxidants to prevent free radical damage and discoloration. Apply very gently in a tapping motion and you’re set!
6. Know When to go in Reverse: If your sensitive skin flares up even at the thought of using treatment products, try putting on a simple, fragrance-free moisturizer first and then serums on top. The cream will reduce the potency of the serums and will be less likely to cause irritation. Check out my skincare routine to get some ideas of what I use.
This is the order in which the Korean skincare routine follows:
If you need a good visual, here is a link to Soko Glam! and their explanation of the 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine.
A Few More Things to Consider
While following this routine allows for maximum nutrient absorption and best results, it is still best to listen to your skin to find out what really works for you. What may work well for your best friend may not work best for you. Experiment, try new products, and find your perfect routine. Be kind to your skin! Check out my post on less is more with skincare for more on that topic. Lastly, your skin changes over time so don’t be afraid to switch up your products when you feel like they aren’t working anymore!
I hope this post helped you figure out a routine that works for you!