In India the national beauty secret is something called turmeric. Not only is turmeric used externally but internally it is also very healthy. Our eastern neighbours the Korean women also have their secrets. Nearly all Korean women have beautiful smooth skin!

Korean women use a different approach to what we may be used to here in the west, they take more time for their facial care and use a lot of product on top of each other. Korean and Asian women have been known for centuries for their porcelain faces. So in the last few weeks I decided to try the skincare routine outlined below, and the results were quite pleasing.

I started in the evening as at this time your skin needs the most cleaning opposed to the mornings.

Step 1 Pre Cleansing

Rinse your skin with some oil (jojoba/cocos/almond) to clear it from any make-up or day cream, massage the oil into your skin for around 3 minutes. I then made my skin wet with warm water and used the oil to remove any make-up or cream. After this I used some wet kitchen towels and carefully removed the oil and in doing so also removing the foundation/cream.

Step 2 Cleansing

After the cleansing of the skin don’t let the oil stay on your skin, wipe it away with a good cleanser for around 2 minutes. Afterwards wash your face with some lukewarm water for 2 minutes. Now your skin is truly clean thanks to the pre cleansing process and the cleansing after that.

Step 3 Toner

Immediately after drying your face, apply the toner with your fingers and NOT with a ear bud. Koreans are of the opinion that you should treat your face with the utmost care, a device such as this Clarisonic is something they would never consider to use.

TIP: It is said that in the first minute after you have washed and dried your face your skin contains a lot of moisture. After 1 minute your skin will stop retaining this moisture. So take care to apply the toner and moisturiser when your skin is at its moist. By doing this you are effectively sealing the moisture in your skin.

A toner is used to keep the PH value of your skin in balance and to prepare your skin for the application of the moisturiser. Thanks to the toner the cream or serum will easily be absorbed.

Step 4 Nourishing Serum

Koreans believe in the practice of layering products. So first a nourishing hydrating serum and then a day/night cream (step5). The objective is still to retain enough moisture in your skin, the day/night cream will make sure that the hydrating serum penetrates the skin.

Step 5 Moisturizing or Ampoule

A moisturiser or ampoule is applied on top of the serum. As you progress through this routing on a daily basis, every evening you can check if you want to use a night cream or a ampoule. A ampoule is enriched with vitamins.

Step 6 Massaging and Masking

It is important to massage the products into your skin. But if you want to give your skin just that bit of an extra something, then you can seal your skin with a sheet mask. Sheet masks exist for every part of your face. It is intended that you apply the mask (with the toner, serum, moisturiser or cream) and go to bed with it still on! Yep, you sleep with it on! How ingenious is that!? This is in my opinion the best way to keep your products on your skin instead of on your pillow! I haven’t tried it myself as of yet, are these sheet masks even available in the Netherlands?

Korean women also go to the beauty salon at least once a week to have their faces massaged as this generates collagen’s which can combat the effects of skin drooping as time progresses.

Facial spray8007_bigger

During the day a lot of Korean women use facial sprays, to keep their skin as hydrated as possible.


Korean women religiously use a spf for their skin. Not even a single ray of sunshine may hit their face in the fear of pigmentation or rimples. Often next to spf a umbrella is used for extra protection. As far as I know due to this Korean women also suffer from a shortage of vitamin D (food for thought).

Not only do they take great care of their skin, but the Korean women eat very healthy and this of course contributes to a smooth skin. Considering the steps above, I really am busy for 10 to 15 minutes, but it does really pay off! Here in the west we spend a lot of time applying make-up, but the cleansing of it has to be done within a minute using “special” facial wipes (we do keep falling for the marketing tricks).

In Conclusion

All this has sparked a new curiosity in regards to the Japanese skincare routine and in how many ways it may differ from the Korean routine.

Thanks to the tips of Serina Hwang a American Korean that has moved back to Korea and is sharing Korean beauty tips and secrets I got inspired to write this article and of course to improve my own skincare routine. A super fun video to check out with a nice cup of tea. I just feel like watching it again!

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