My Korean Skin Care Regimen: Nighttime

So at this point you know what a Korean skin care routine is and maybe you’ve sprung for some sheet masks. If you’re ready to add on another product or two, here are some products I recommend. I’ve been using most of these for 2-3 months and they’re all really great – but depending on the night I will drop off or add here and there if I’m feeling extra oily or extra dry or sensitive/irritated etc. Everyone seems to have a different order for all these but I just go by thinnest/wateriest to thickest/creamiest.

korean skin care routine

1. Oil-based cleanser: Banila Co Clean It Zero $21
This stuff just melts into your skin and whisks away make up, dirt, and grime without leaving behind a greasy residue. And it smells great!

2. Foaming Cleanser: Skinfood Tea Tree Bubble Foam $14.30
If your skin is acne prone, this cleanser is a really good buy. It’s not overly drying, and has healing tea tree oil to boot, which I’ve found soothes angry red spots or blemishes.

3. Essence: Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence $45
This “essence” is really more like a toner, so I use it as such – but there’s good reason it’s on the “holy grail” list for many a Korean skin care devotee. The active ingredient is fermented yeast extract, which (according to SokoGlam guru Charlotte Cho) helps boost skin cell renewal. It leaves skin soothed, even, smooth and glowy. Yep.

4. Toner: Benton Aloe BHA Toner $17
This is another soothing toner that I use to help prep for the rest of the steps to come. It’s relatively no frills, but has a great price tag and absorbs quickly without leaving any tightness like the toners we think of in the US (eg witch hazel).

5. Exfoliant: Paula’s Choice 2% Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid $26
This stuff is a pretty strong acne treatment so I don’t use it every night. But it’s great to help tighten up pores and treat any breakouts early on before they get out of hand.

6. Essence/Serum: Benton High Snail Bee High Content Essence $15.99
This is a great, inexpensive essence that’s the consistency of a waterier gel. It leaves skin super soft and even, keeping it supple and bouncy. Get some.

7. Serum: MUN No. 1 Aknari Prickly Pear Serum $95
Full disclosure, I have a professional relationship with this brand, but this stuff works. Its active ingredient is prickly pear seed oil, and it visibly faded the fine lines/wrinkles on my forehead and in between my eyebrows in days. It’s expensive but a single pump of the product is enough to cover my entire face, so I think the bottle will last me a while.

8. Eye Cream: Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Firming Eye Cream $65
I don’t know that there’s really anything too special about this eye cream, but it’s rich and creamy. I’ve seen good results with it!

9. Cream: Benton Snail Bee Steam Cream $15.99
This is the lotion to beat all other lotions forever. It’s the only product I ran out of after about 2 months because I use it so much, and waiting for a replacement tube to arrive was torture. It’s extremely nourishing, but absorbs well and does not leave a greasy residue – I even use it in the morning under make up. Buy a tube now and thank me later.


Skinfood Black Sugar Mask looks like…


In addition to all those, here are the products I use 1x – 2x per week:

Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off $14.70
This scrub isn’t reinventing the wheel but it’s a really nice product. I like this one a lot more than the St. Ives Apricot scrub that I used for so many years, it’s a little bit gentler and the base is less drying.

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask $23
To know it is to love it. More on this mask here!

Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack $15 for 10pcs; or My Beauty Diary Imperial Bird’s Nest Mask $14 for 10pcs
Not all sheet masks are created equal, but there are so many great ones on the market to try. These are just a couple of my faves.

WHEW! There you have it. What questions do you have about Korean products etc? What else should I post about?


Where to Start With Korean Skin Care: Cleansers

If you’re going to start integrating Korean skin care products into your routine, I recommend starting with one of the following categories: cleansers, essences, or masks. These are some of the most unique and impactful products that the Korean market offers, and they are available in a delightful array. Here are some of the most beloved/well-reviewed, and my favorites.

In Korean skin care, cleansing is a two-step process that starts with an oil-based cleanser. The idea is is that you’re restoring some moisture to the skin while washing away makeup and grime, and then your foaming cleanser does the rest of the job for you.


Banila Co. Clean It Zero $21

This stuff is delightful. It’s a pale pink, sorbet-looking balm that melts into a luxurious oil on the skin, removing all makeup (even the oh-so-stubborn Makeup Forever Brow Gel) and the wear of the day without leaving any oily film or slickness behind. Be careful not to use too much – which can be tempting but is not neccessary – a small amount goes a long ways and at $21 you’ll want to make it last.

Sum37 Rose Cleansing Stick

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick $37

If I had to choose just one Korean skin care product to keep forever, it would be this. It’s that great. You roll this little cleansing stick up like a deodorant (the comparison is regretable but must be made), smear it across your face, and massage warm water in to create a foamy lather that leaves your skin smelling great and feeling soft and clean but not overly dry. I use it every morning and in the evenings when I skip my oil-based cleanser, and it’s a dream to travel with. Normally I would balk at this pricetag for a cleanser, but this stick goes a long way and is worth it.

Discover Korean essences and masks to add to your routine.