Trying to get into Korean skincare is a bit daunting because of their fabled multi-step routine, which usually involves products like “emulsions,” “boosters,” and “essences,” and I had no idea what to do with them or what the order of application was. The general rule is to go from light to heavy, so water-based products first before moving on to the lotions.
Charlotte Cho shared her 10-step skin care routine adopted from her stay in Korea on both Elle and Into the Gloss. Sheryll from The Wanderlust Project shared her version, using different types of products from all kinds of brands and ranges. This is allowed, by the way. Whatever works for you.
The most extensive guide I’ve found, however, is from Hope in a Blog, where the general purpose of each step is explained, as well as day- and night- routines.
I received three boxes containing products from Beyond’s True Eco Line* so I thought I’d get into the multi-step Korean skin care routine using these. Please take note that though I have 7 products in the True Eco line in my possession… this range is still not complete. It’s important to remember that although there are several different steps and products involved in this seemingly complicated routine, you can always opt out or add in products you feel like you need or don’t. 🙂
I received the Beyond True Eco Skin Care Special Kit* which includes 5 sample sizes of some of their products:
— Facial Foam: The organic vegetable oils and natural moisturizers in this organic facial foam keep skin hydrated while eliminating dirt and serum.
— Organic Toner: High quality, fresh organic ingredients in this anti-wrinkle toner provide moisture to skin and get rid of oil. Also evens out the skin tone.
— Facial Emulsion: provide intensive care that leaves the skin feeling baby soft.
— Wrinkle Essence: Provides moisture and makes skin fresh, anti-wrinkle essence
— Eye Cream: brightens and enhances elasticity in the areas around the eyes.
The next kit I received was the Beyond True Eco Organic Face Butter Special Set*, which had 3 samples including the Organic Toner and Facial Emulsion. The new item in this set is the Organic Face Butter, which is a face cream that creates a natural moisture barrier.
Last up is a full-size product—the Charm Organic First Essence, which addresses five main skin concerns with organic ingredients.
OK, so how do we use these in order? According to Hope in a Blog, this is the main guide for the Korean routine, adapted from this one on Hope in a Blog:
Now, before you say “AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT SHIT,” please humor me. Ahem. Based on this method, I use the Beyond True Eco products in this order:
- Facial Foam — this is your standard, light cleanser. At night, use a makeup remover or cleansing oil, then follow-up with a foaming cleanser or something similar. Beyond’s Facial Foam is a great lightweight cleanser that is refreshing.
- Organic Toner — there is a “3 second rule” when it comes to toner, apparently, in that you have to apply it three seconds after cleansing to prevent the skin from drying too fast. Toners are usually dismissed as useless, added steps, but for Korean skin care, it is necessary to prep the skin so that the absorption of the following treatments is optimized. Toners are usually applied using hands. Beyond’s Organic Toner is lightweight and watery with no sticky residue.
- Charm Organic First Essence — Essence is used for treatment, to target specific concerns, as are ampules and serums. They usually have smaller molecules and more concentrated than moisturizers, so they are usually applied first. This one is quite nice and a little cloudy but applies really easily, with or without a cotton pad. It’s supposed to address “five main skin concerns.” I enjoyed using this a lot.
- Wrinkle Essence — this is designed to target wrinkles and fine lines. I don’t have much of those yet, so I’m not heavy handed with this and I don’t use it every time I do my layered skin routine. This smelled a little bit like alcohol, the first time I used it.
- Facial Emulsion — emulsions and creams are used for moisture! This has a thicker and more lotion- or cream-like consistency. I only needed a small amount to cover my entire face with moisture. Koreans tend to warm this up with their fingers before applying and tap-tap-tap on their face with their fingers. The heat is supposed to deliver the ingredients more quickly, to the skin, and makes absorption easier.
- Organic Face Butter — another cream/moisture product. I apply this after the emulsion, going by the “thinner formulas first” general rule. This smells more “buttery” than the rest of the products in this range, which all smell quite fresh.
- Eye Cream — I usually add eye cream last, and this one has a pleasant consistency.
Phew! OK, so for my multi-layer experiment, I have to say that I’ve seen quite a difference in my skin! Can you believe it? I use this method only at night, though, because it’s way too heavy for day time use in Manila. Sun protection and makeup both come AFTER all of this, so I really don’t think it’s wise for me to do in this humidity.
I also don’t really have all that time to spend on skin care every night, so even if I won’t be sticking to this layered routine, I will definitely be dipping into it from time to time, if I feel like pampering myself. Some routines stretch to forty minutes and I DEFINITELY don’t have time for that.
This has been an excellent experiment, however, and I am so glad that there is a Korean skin care line I like that is cruelty-free!
Do you have a layered skin routine like this one? Would you ever want to try it?
* PR Sample. Product was sampled and reviewed as part of the terms outlined for the BNT Girls.
Other BNT Girls: Joanne, Kine, Doris, Bella.
Beyond is cruelty-free.
It’s the first time I’ve heard that toners are applied with the hands. Do they have a different way of applying it? Isn’t it going to be too runny?
PS This is a very informative post! I’ve read about a lot of x-step routines but this is nice because you have specific products that you tested and shared with us.
Oh, really? You just don’t put a lot. If I pour too much, I bring it down my neck. If you have trouble applying it using your hands, you can also spray it on.
PS Yay, I’m glad you think so!
You beat me to it! I was going to post my own Korean-ish routine. I still will, but maybe much much much later when I’m feeling diligent.
My routine kind of has one more product in it: the booster. It comes after cleansing and before the toner/softener. I think some refer to it as “first treatment”. You use it right after cleansing to increase hydration. I currently use the Missha First Treatment Essence.
Haha yeah, this was a little taxing just because you have to write out everything.
Oh, there’s a first treatment here! 🙂 I guess that’s a booster~
It sounds weird, but I’m really liking the packaging for those products. It looks so organic and fresh. Very nice. Sounds like a fairly decent line of products. 🙂
Not weird at all! x
Great informative review! I prefer to keep the steps at a minimum for daytime and go all out at night (though that depends on how tired I am). If all the products are on the lighter side, I’m fine with multiple steps, but if they’re thick, then I can’t handle too many layers.
I’m actually trying to follow the Korean skincare routine now including using sheet masks. It’s been a few weeks since I started and I’ve noticed some nice changes on my face. I’m taking it one step at a time so I can get used to a new step before adding another.
Yeah, sheet masks are great but I don’t use them very often! Which ones do you use? I really like Dermal and Beauty Buffet. 🙂
I’ve tried both but I prefer Beauty Buffet because they’re cheaper. Haha
Dude, I’m totally all into all this layering and crap (and have all the jars/potions to prove it), but I find it very difficult (bc. the lazy) to do this consistently every single day. Even just for night I don’t have the energy to do this as consistently as I should. Have to say when I do stick with it, my skin looks great. 🙂
Ugh, I am the laziest bean, so I get you. But I also agree hahaha
Yay!! This was the skincare product that I was telling you about via twitter I think 🙂
I think that was Belif! 🙂
The multi step skin care routine is so daunting. It’s complicated and easy to forget what comes first and next. I only adapt the 2, and sometimes, 3 step routine which is the toner, serum/essence (which I usually leave out unless I’m just trying to finish up a product) and a cream.
Hope you didn’t have a hard time reviewing these products. That’s a lot of product to try out.
I reviewed the items as a system, so it wasn’t so hard. 🙂 I find it so daunting and complicated also, but I think that if you’re dedicated, it’s worth the results!