The Intro Guide to Korean Skin Care + GIVEAWAY

korean skincare

Photo by sean Kong on Unsplash

Hello my dears! This month I got to experience KCon for the second year in a row and while it was a bit crazy (there may or may not be a post about it) it was a great opportunity to see some Korean Skin Care and beauty brands that don’t have a US flagship store. Incidentally I also walked away with way too many sheet masks. I’ll get into that later but this prompted me to want to make a different kind of post.

If you aren’t aware of Korean skincare, I highly recommend you get acquainted. I’ll argue up and down that it’s one of the best out there and while it can be a bit daunting with the number of brands and products, once you get the hang of it you’ll be on your way to better skin in no time.

I sound like an infomercial, but these products have helped with my skin conditions as well. With the winter coming around soon, you’ll want to keep your skin nourished.

But I am no expert, so I will only do the basics or pretty much what goes into my personal routine which is a simpler version than some of the methods out there.

Cleanser and the Double Cleansing Method…

Now the double cleansing method. This is a method that’s extremely popular in Korea and since I’ve started it I kind of swear by it. What you do is take an oil or sherbet based cleanser before the traditional cleanser where you prep your face with some hot water, cleanse it up, and then wash off. I use a cleansing oil because I have acne prone and combination skin, but I’ve found great results with both. This method takes off all makeup, dirt, and other debris we encounter throughout the day and gets it prepped for the second cleansing which is your traditional cleanser. I really go ham with the cleansing oil and make sure I have all of my makeup off before washing it off. Many oil based cleansers will fog up and wash off when contacted with water.

The process is simple for cleansing oils, usually you take a couple of pumps and I like to rub it between my finger tips to warm it up some. Then I massage it over my face thoroughly. You gotta really get in there especially if you’re like me and have a face full of makeup for a two hour show. Then get some warm water and wash it off. I like to do this with a circular massaging motion too.

Cleansing Oils will be where your skin care starts to get a bit pricey. Since the job is to take off all of that nastiness you get through your daily life and sleep, it’s good to have a quality cleansing oil that works for you.

What I use is a Re:cipe Rose Petal Cleansing Oil. This ran me for about $14, but I still have a bit more to go and I got back in the earlier part of the year. Unfortunately I can’t find a link domestically in the US for it, but you can get the I’m MEME I’m Cleansing Oil #01 or #02. 01 is for dry skin and 02 is for oily/combination skin. You can get #01 here and #02 here. These both run for $14. They work just as well and almost the exact same way. I just like roses (I’d like to note that Rose and Rose Hip Oil has been known to have some great benefits for the skin, but we’re only at the basics here).

Cleanser is probably the least costly part of your routine. I took this from a series of videos that spoke about whether or not we should spend a ton of money on cleansers. You can check out the video here. Essentially the answer is no. Cleansers go on and right off, so you shouldn’t spend too much money on cleansers that have outrageous claims. Plus there are a ton of affordable Korean skin care brands that carry great cleansers.

I use the Nature Republic Snail cleanser. This runs for about $7. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have this product on their online store. However, another cleanser I’ve used that worked well was the Jeju Sparkling Mud Foam Cleanser. That is listed as $10.90 and you can get it from their online store here. Other great brands to try is CosRX. Their Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser goes for about $10-11.

To use a cleanser just get some hot water to open up the pores of your lovely face, lather up the cleanser, massage your face in circular motions, and wash off with some lukewarm or cold water.


American or Western based toners tend to have a lot of alcohol in them which is really awfully bad for your skin. It dries it out like crazy and when you have dry skin, that’s the last thing you want in your skincare products. There are also some toners in Korean or Asian brands that have a ton of alcohol and I tend to stay away from those. Instead I use a watery toner. These have a similar consistency to aftershave but just a little thicker. Instead of rubbing it on your face with a cotton pad, you dab/pat it on your face with your hands or a cotton pad. This prevents from stretching out your skin and ruining the elasticity of it.

After you pat your face dry, toss some product on your hands like it’s a bottle of hot sauce and pat it on your face lightly until the product is all gone.

And from the cleansing oil to the toners, the price tag just slowly escalates… I use the Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Watery Toner. This lovely thing costs $18.90 on their website (here). I really enjoy the Aqua Max series from Nature Republic and if I could afford it, I would use their entire line. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and I don’t feel like I’m wearing a ton of product. I haven’t used many toners since they tend to last a long time, so unfortunately I’m not too familiar with them.

Serums, Essence, and Ampoules Oh My!

Now if you’re a Korean skincare veteran you’ll most likely use any and all of these. These are probably the most expensive part of your skincare routine. Essences and Serums tend to be very specific to their jobs. For instance you can get a brightening serum or a vitamin B serum. There’s a ton of them out there and they’re all pretty expensive. Unfortunately because they’re very specific, there’s not really an all in one essence or serum. I would advise either skipping this step if you’re just starting out on your skincare journey or starting with something you really need. For instance, I have a lot of red spots and general redness so I like to go with something that has a brightening effect or helps reduce redness.

Actually serums and essences are so expensive, I really don’t get them at all. They start usually around $10 and can go up to about $70. The only times I’ve really used an essence or a serum is if I got it on sale and was curious or I got a sample.

Right now I’m using the Real Nature Honey Ampoule from Nature Republic (can you guess what one of my favorite brands is by now?) This runs for $16.90 and lasts forever. I’m not joking. I got this from Black Friday of last year and I’m barely starting to run out of it now. You only need one or two drops of this during your skincare routine and you’re golden. There are times I skip out on it like when my skin is feeling like it’s already at it’s max from my toner, but usually I keep up with it. Honey is great for a lot of things including your skin, but they have a whole series for the ampoules.

Ampoules are similar to serums and essences, but they’re a lot more concentrated. I think the general rule of thumb for concentration and thickness goes essence > serum > ampoule. Ampoules I’ve seen are probably the most expensive of the three but they also last the longest. If you would like to try a serum, I recommend the Innisfree Green Tea Seed SerumThis runs for $15.84 and is a great light product for those just starting out.


Moisturizing is essential to any skincare routine. After washing off all that nasty, you need to give it some love! Moisturizers can get hella expensive if you want it to, but if you find a cheap simple one that works–hey better for you! I just advise you stay away from products that have a ton of filler or unnecessary chemicals in them.

After cleansing, toning, and putting on a serum if you’d like take a nice portion of this and pat it on your face. I don’t use a ton because I risk clogging my pores, I just dip my fingers into the container a little bit and give and even layer to my face.

Right now I’m using the *sigh* Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Creamthat’s a mouthful. I’ve already propped up the Aqua Max series, so you know. This product goes for $16.90 and is great to add for your skincare routine. It’s light and leaves your skin nice and soft.

But We’re Not Done…

There are a ton of other things to do after or before you moisturize. All of the above goes into my general skincare routine. I don’t deviate from it very often. However, there are a few things that happen once in a while or every other day.

Sheet masks are one of them. Now people either go two different ways with sheet masks, they either use this to replace the serum, essence, ampoule portion of their routine or they use it with that section of the routine. It’s really determined by how your skin takes it. Sheet masks are a pretty cost effective way to combat spending a large amount of money on serums. They’re all pretty specific in their nature and can start around $1 per mask. Some people do this daily, but when I tried that my skin got a bit confused and overloaded so now I do it every few days or when I feel the need to treat myself.

Almost every brand of Korean skin care makes sheet masks. I like Nature Republics (of course), The Face Shop, and Innisfree.

If you want to invest a little more, you can get pack masks. These are masks that are usually sold in pots. I tend to buy these for clay masks or charcoal masks. These are great for after a shower or your cleansing portion of the skincare routine before you move on. Great brands for packs are Skinfood, ELIZAVECCA, and Innisfree.


Wow this was a monster of a post, but it was fun to do! I hope you guys liked this and enjoyed this. Like I said before, I walked away from Kcon with WAY TOO MANY sheet masks so I’m doing a giveaway for a pack of 5 masks! All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog about what else you would like to see whether it’s beauty, lifestyle, etc. etc. and you’ll be entered into the giveaway!


*This is open internationally as long as the USPS ships to you and it is allowable through customs.

*You must be 18 years or have a parent’s permission to give out an address.

*You can only use ONE account to enter.

*This giveaway is not affiliated with Nature Republic or MEME Box.

*This giveaway will go from August 26, 2017 at 12:00AM to September 8, 2017 at 11:59 PM.

*The winner will have 48 hours to respond or else the prize will go to the next winner.




Thank you guys so much for reading this post! I want to do more posts like these in the future because it was a lot of fun to do! If you’d like to see more posts like these please consider donating to my Ko-fi.

12 thoughts on “The Intro Guide to Korean Skin Care + GIVEAWAY

  1. I love learning about the Korean skin care method! The amount of serums and essences can be overwhelming so I stay away from them !


  2. I am so SO glad you wrote this post! I’ve been forever confused about what Korean skin care really involves; especially since there seems to be so many steps involved? I’m so happy you broke it down in easy words for me AHH ❤ THANK YOU.
    I might try Korean skincare some day? I'm a bit traumatised from when I tried a Lush cleanser (it did not work for me at all and made my skin so much worse), and am really paranoid about trying new things for now…but I'll try it out when I research more for sure! 😀 THANK YOUUUU


    1. Oh I really don’t go to Lush for any skincare. Their ocean scrub literally has rock salt and that is so bad for your skin because you’re created lacerations which can harm the skin instead of helping it. I definitely recommend trying out Nature Republic, Innisfree, or companies that really hone on natural products.


    1. Ooh ok! I’ll see about making a more specific post in the future. This was so much fun, so I would love to delve more into it. I like doing sheet masks when I need to wind down and am too lazy to do my full routine hehe.


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