For some American men, their skincare routine consists of nothing more than washing their face in the shower, shaving, and then maybe an after-shave balm or lotion.
Most guys will only turn to other products when they have a specific problem they want to fix, like acne, wrinkles, or dryness. Following a skin care regimen can actually prevent all of these problems, and many more, before they even start.
In fact, American men are beginning to gravitate toward a Korean skincare routine because of the amazing results that can be achieved.
In Korea, both boys and girls are taught to take care of their skin at a very young age.
They focus on skincare that prevents problems before they become noticeable issues. Both Korean men and women are known for their smooth, youthful complexions, and their extensive skincare routines get the credit.
Taking care of your skin is just as important as working out for men who want to look younger, healthier, and more energetic. Following a consistent, targeted skincare routine can help to achieve just that.
A Korean skincare routine consists of 10 or more steps, accomplishing noticeable results that get more and more dramatic over time.
The entire routine can be completed in just minutes each morning and night, and not every step will need to be done every day.
Here’s a summary of all of the steps involved, why they work, and how to use them in your daily routine.
The Double Cleanse
The double cleanse is at the core of the Korean skincare routine. It involves cleansing your face morning and night with two separate cleansers.
The first cleanser used is an oil-based cleanser that is intended to deep cleanse the skin. Oil dissolves oil, so an oil cleanser will dissolve all the dirt, grime and oil from the surface of your skin.
The next cleanser used is a water-based cleanser that removes anything left behind by the oil cleanser. Water cleansers usually come in foaming liquid or gel form.
They are intended to leave the skin super clean without stripping it of moisture or natural oils.
Effectively and thoroughly cleansing your skin every day is probably the most important step and is almost guaranteed to give the most noticeable results.
If you need some motivation to get going, try starting out just doing the double cleanse twice a day. The amazing results are sure to convince you that a skin care regimen is worth the effort!
An exfoliator follows the double cleanse; however, this is one of those steps that you don’t need to do every day. In fact, it’s better to start slowly with exfoliating, especially if you’ve never done it before.
Exfoliating once or twice a week is usually sufficient. When applying your exfoliator, you should focus on the areas where you have dry patches or clogged pores.
Exfoliators are intended to unclog the pores and remove dead skin cells and build up from the surface of your skin. This process gives you a brighter, smoother complexion.
Gommage peels made of fruit and botanical extracts are very popular in Korean skincare. Harsh scrubs that scratch at the skin should be avoided. This step is essential for prepping your skin to absorb the other products you’re going to use next, so don’t skip it!
If you are going to shave your face, do it now, before moving on to the next step.
Toning balances the skin’s pH and brings some of the moisture back after all of that cleansing and exfoliating. Unlike American companies, Korean beauty companies make toners that focus on natural ingredients with no harsh chemicals to strip the skin and dry it out.
Korean toners not only balance and hydrate, they also prep your skin for the treatments to follow and even shrink the pores and tighten the skin.
Toners should be chosen according to skin type. Use them each day, both morning and night, after cleansing or exfoliating.
They can be applied with a cotton pad or your fingertips. Be sure to give them time to soak in before moving on to the next step.
This is another one of those steps that don’t have to be used daily. Sheet masks are used when your skin needs an extra boost.
Sheet masks are generally a mask that’s made of either gel or paper that has been soaked in powerful, concentrated ingredients. They are made to be very specific with benefits like deep hydration, brightening, and repairing damaged skin.
Sheet masks are left on the face for anywhere from 15-25 minutes, after your toner and before treatments. Use them as often as every day or as little as once a month.
Essences are unique to Korean skincare. Use them in between your toner and serum steps to aid in cell turnover and rejuvenation. Cell turnover is an essential part of having youthful-looking, healthy skin.
Essences also add moisture to the skin, plumping it up and preparing it to absorb your serum.
Customize your skin care routine by choosing an essence that is formulated to address any issues you may be having with your skin, such as dark spots or acne scars.
You will find that essences contain a multitude of natural ingredients, like fruit, herbal and floral extracts or even green tea. There are formulations to address almost any skin concern.
Treatment with Serums and Ampoules
Serums are highly concentrated formulations that focus on a specific problem, such as dullness, fine lines, wrinkles, or acne. Some formulations will even address hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars.
Certain serums are even designed to control oil and keep skin looking fresh all day. These formulations are made with powerful active ingredients, and a few drops is all you need.
This is the step that really allows you to customize your routine, and it is common for followers of a Korean skin care regimen to use more than one serum or ampoule, adding or taking away treatments depending on how your skin looks and feels on a particular day.
Treatments are applied both morning and night following your toner and before moisturizing. When applying more than one treatment, start with the thinnest product first, working your way up to the thickest.
Because the skin around the eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face, the skin around the eyes tends to show age sooner. This area requires special care and nourishment to prevent it from becoming dehydrated and to keep fine lines and dark circles at bay.
Eye creams are also designed to reduce puffiness while tightening and brightening up the eye area, making you look more awake and youthful. The most powerful eye creams can even improve crow’s feet and laugh lines.
These products are typically found in gel, cream, or even oil formulations. Choose one that’s suited for your skin type and that addresses your individual concerns. Eye creams should be applied both morning and night following your serums and ampoules.
Be sure to pat it on very gently, starting at the outer corner working your way in toward the bridge of the nose. Use the tip of your ring finger and be very careful not to pull or tug at the skin, which can lead to premature fine lines and wrinkles.
The key ingredient to having youthful skin is moisture, so this step should never be skipped. Moisturizer will also lock in all the other ingredients previously applied, preventing them from just evaporating away.
Facial moisturizers are found in cream formulations for dry skin or thinner, more gel-like formulations for oily or combination skin.
Korean skincare companies are constantly developing new technologies and products at a fast pace, and this is particularly evident with facial moisturizers. Trendy ingredients might include things like snail extract which is said to improve fine lines and scarring while improving hydration.
Lightweight ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe-vera gel are often included to hydrate the skin with feeling heavy or greasy. Essential oils targeted to specific skin issues and vitamins to protect from environmental damage are also commonly included.
Apply facial moisturizer both morning and night every day after your eye cream. Be sure to pat it on, without rubbing, until fully absorbed into the skin.
If you really want to kick your skincare routine up a notch, use a sleep mask in place of your regular moisturizer a couple times a week. Your skin heals and regenerates while you sleep, so your skin will receive maximum benefits from a no-rinse sleep mask.
These masks are loaded with intensive, active ingredients. There are even sleep masks intended for the special treatment of the lip or eye areas, too.
Nowadays, we are all aware of how important sunscreen is for preventing skin cancer and sun damage. Sun damage leads to premature ageing, fine lines and wrinkles, and dark spots on the skin.
For this reason, sunscreen is essential in the Korean skincare routine, and should never be skipped. There are lots of different formulations, from creams to gels and even CC creams that even out the skin tone and control oil.
Sunscreen is applied as the last step in your morning skincare regimen. If you want to save a little time, you can choose a daytime moisturizer that has sunscreen built right into the formula.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, it is critical to apply an SPF 15-30, broad-spectrum sunscreen, to all exposed skin every day. The SPF you choose will depend on your expected sun exposure that day. Skin cancer is no joke, so don’t be tempted to skip this step.
A Streamlined Approach to the Korean Skincare Routine
All of these steps might seem daunting to a guy who’s never really followed a skin care regimen before. You could start out with a 3-step routine of double-cleansing, toner, and then SPF during the day and moisturizer at night.
Add in the other steps on days that you have more time, or for special occasions when your skin needs to be at its best.
Following a Korean skincare routine makes especially good sense for men because they aren’t going to be using makeup to cover things up.
Remember consistency is key, so following even a few of these steps every single day is going to produce great results.