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Your Simple 5-Step Korean Skincare Routine for Poreless Skin

5 Step Korean Skin Care

You’re ready to go. You’ve been reading up on this whole K-beauty thing, you’ve saved all your favourite products and you’re finally ready to achieve glassy, poreless skin.

But you’ve hit a snag.

There is a 10-Step, 7-Step and 5-step Korean skincare routine. Not to mention a shorter 3-Step regimen. Er, which one should you start with?

Korean skincare is designed to be flexible, so the number of steps in your routine isn’t important. Instead, what’s important is that you’re consistent and that you apply each product from thinnest to thickest consistency for the best absorption. 

Before we unfold our 5-Step routine, let’s look at how it stacks up against others. 


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Why a 5-Step Korean Skincare Routine?


Ideal for beginners

If you’re just starting or if you find the 10 or 7-steps to be a bit overwhelming, which for many it is, a 5-step Korean skincare routine is a great place to begin as it will only include a few additional steps beyond washing off your makeup.

It’s also great if your on a tight budget and if you can’t see yourself cleansing twice a day, every day. Not to mention if you don’t have the time nor energy – but, convenience is just part of the appeal to the 5-step regimen.


Hydrates and protects

A 5-step Korean skincare routine covers enough steps – a double cleanse, toner, treatments, moisturizer, SPF – to ensure your skin is hydrated and protected from the sun, which are two foundational ideas to Korean skincare.  

There’s also a distinction between hydrating and moisturizing, which is why all Korean skincare routines (even the basic ones) involve replenishing your skin before applying moisturizing solutions. Applying each in this way will help form a protective barrier film on the skin’s surface to prevent further moisture loss.


5-steps or 10-steps?

In comparison, here’s the 10-step Korean skincare routine. With a lengthier routine, there are extra steps that use essences that add yet another layer of hydration to your face and neck, which in turn, also helps how your skin absorbs treatment products.

In 10 steps, you’re exfoliating (1–2 times a week) to help remove dead skin cells. There’s an eye cream that targets dark circles and wrinkles and lastly, a sheet mask is used to help nourish your skin with extra ingredients, while keeping it hydrated.

So, in other words, it’s all about your specific goals and how much you can invest in your personalized beauty journey!

With everything in mind, let’s breakdown the 5-step Korean skincare routine!


How To Do The 5-Step Korean Skincare Routine


Time: 10 minutes


Products Needed:

  • Oil-based cleanser
  • Water-based cleanser
  • Toner
  • Serum or Ampoule or Booster
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen


Step 1: Double cleanse to remove dirt, sebum and pollutants

Products: Oil and Water Based Cleansers

Directions: Start the routine by removing stubborn makeup and sunscreen in your pores with an oil cleanser.  

Follow up with a water-based cleanser to get rid of the dirt and sweat, lathering it in your hands and gently it into massaging your skin. Wash off with lukewarm water.

Why? The backbone of any Korean skincare routine is the double-cleanse. The oil-based cleanser removes sebum, makeup and sunscreen, but if you stop there, you haven’t removed other things like dirt, pollution and sweat. That’s what the water-based cleanser is for, so you must double-cleanse for the best results.


Step 2: Restore your skin’s pH levels

Product: Toner

Directions: Apply toner to a cotton pad and pat in gentle motions from the center of your face, moving outward to reveal clean skin.

Why? Restoring your skin’s pH levels will prepare it to hold moisture and absorb the following step’s solutions.


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Step 3: Tackle your specific skin issues

Product: Serum/Ampoule

Directions: Apply the treatment to the area of concern. Directions depend on the product you’re using so read the labels carefully. Treatments can be added if you’re worried about a specific issue, like dark spots, wrinkles, and so on.

Why? What is your most pressing skincare worry right now? Dryness, fine lines, acne, dullness? Treatments like serums and ampoules are formulated for these individual concerns, packed with powerful ingredients.

Tip: In the 10-step Korean skincare routine there’s room to pick multiple of these treatments, but for now, select one product to treat your specific concern.


Step 4: Hydrate and lock in layers with moisturizer

Product: Moisturizer

Directions: Apply as your second last step. Everyone needs a moisturizer, even for the oily skin types, to hydrate and lock in previous layers. If you’re worried about oily skin with moisturizer, a lot of the time at least part of the oil production is commonly due to dehydration (aka lack of moisture).

Why? A moisturizer will seal in all that dewy goodness you just applied. Don’t be put off if you have oily skin. You still need a good moisturizer because they hydrate your skin by increasing your skin’s water content (not oil content).

Tip: A proper moisturizer should feel like there’s a protective barrier on your skin that allows your sunscreen and makeup to apply well.


Step 5: Protect skin from the sun 

Product: SPF Sunscreen

Directions: Each morning, apply sunscreen as the last step in your routine, whether it’s overcast or sunny. Apply as your very last step. Thickest texture products are always applied after thin textured products (toners, cleansers).

Why?  Now to seal in all of your hard work. Sunscreen only needs to be applied for the morning, and should always be the last step of your Korean skincare routine. It’s really crucial to protect your skin from the UV rays all year round regardless of season, even if the sun’s hiding that day.

Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is vital in keeping your skin healthy, and more importantly, it’s your best defence against developing skin cancer.


Ready for the 5-step Korean Skincare Routine?

You’re probably wondering if all the steps are worth it. Although it may include five, the results are impressive and long-lasting.

Whether you have oily skin, dry skin or even normal skin, a simplified Korean skincare routine can be customized to suit your time requirements and skin type.

So in other words, it’s highly personalized. Enjoy! 

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