The Lazy Girl's Guide to the Korean Skin Care Routine
Like the rest of the Western world, our Skincare.com editors are obsessed with all things Korean beauty. From double cleansing to sheet masks to hydrating essence, we can’t get enough of the formulas and adorable packaging. But, let’s face it: sometimes we don’t have the time— or energy— to give to a 10-step routine, no matter how serious we are about our skin care routines. Ahead, we share how to get away with using just a few Korean skin care steps in your daily routine without sacrificing the entire regimen in our lazy girl’s guide to Korean skin care.
THE DOUBLE CLEANSE
For us, one of the most daunting steps in a Korean Skin Care routine is the double cleanse. We get that removing your makeup and oil-based debris from the skin with an oil cleanser, followed by a water-based cleanser can get us squeaky clean skin, but we also know that there are other, less time-consuming, ways that can give us similar results. As a lazy girl’s alternative to the double cleanse, we recommend using a multi-use micellar water, like Vichy’s Pureté Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Solution. Formulated to cleanse the skin, remove makeup, and soothe sensitivity, the micellar solution can gently remove blemish-causing impurities as easy as 1, 2, 3. In addition to its cleansing properties, the formula can help to balance the skin’s natural pH level— so if you wanted to, you could skip out on toner and essence, too!
Although a Korean skin care routine typically calls for skin exfoliation between 1-2 times per week and isn’t as time consuming as you may think, there are ways to speed up— and double up— on this step. One way that we swear by is to use a facial loofah in the cleansing step of your skin care routine. By using a facial loofah, like The Body Shop’s Smooth & Renew Face Loofah Pads, you are not just saving time by turning your cleanser into an exfoliator, you are also sloughing off dry, dead skin cells and prepping your skin for hydration. We love the Smooth & Renew Face Loofah Pads because they are small, easy to use, and can help us achieve a glowing complexion.
THE ESSENCE… AND THE TONER
In a proper ten-step Korean skin care routine, essence and toner are two separate steps. However, both can prepare the skin for hydration, which is why we believe that if you are in a hurry— or, too lazy to do both— it is better to pick one over none. If you go the essence route, we recommend trying Lancôme’s Énergie De Vie Intense Essence. The all-new energizing formula can rejuvenate the complexion and promote a healthy, natural-looking glow on the surface of the skin. Infused with lemon balm, goji berry, gentian, and vitamin E, the Énergie De Vie Intense Essence can wake up tired-looking skin and give it the strength it needs to defend itself against environmental aggressors like free radicals. If you’re more of a toner type of gal, peep our favorite toners, here.
THE SHEET MASK
If you ask us, sheet masks are the perfect match for us lazy girls. They require zero clean up and only take up about 10-15 minutes of your life. So, no need to skip out on— or find an alternative for— this fan-favorite Korean beauty step. Formulated to reduce the appearance of dark spots, the Intensive Brightening Sheet Mask from Decléor is the perfect face mask for lazy girls— who still want glowing skin. Both soothing and hydrating, this mask is infused with the brand’s “White Focus” plant complex. To use, simply apply the pre-cut sheet mask to your complexion (rubbing outwards to ensure that it is in place) and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Once the timer is up, remove and pat the leftover serum into your complexion with your fingertips.
THE SERUM… AND THE MOISTURIZER
Serums are highly concentrated elixirs that can target various concerns on the complexion. From dark spots to dull skin, when it comes to choosing which serums to include in your daily regimen, the choices seem to be endless. As far as creating a lax Korean skin care routine, we recommend looking for a moisturizer that can target specific skin concerns and may include ingredients that you would find in a serum. For example, if you are using an antioxidant-rich vitamin C serum and a moisturizer, switch them out for The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Glow-Protect Lotion SPF 30. Formulated to protect the skin from environmental aggressors and hydrate the complexion, this daily moisturizer can leave the skin with a well-nourished, glowing complexion.
No matter how lazy you may be, you should never skip out on SPF— even if your moisturizer or makeup is formulated with it and especially if you plan to spend the day in direct sunlight. Sunscreen is the most important step in a Korean beauty routine—and for good reason. All the hard work you put in on preserving your youthful complexions by hydrating the skin, reducing the appearance of dark spots, and so on can all go to waste if you skip out on the sunscreen. This is because the sun is one of the leading causes of premature signs of skin aging and in order to protect your skin from experiencing wrinkles, dark spots, fine lines, and more, you must wear sunscreen. We recommend using a lightweight broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen, like La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 45 Face. Formulated with Cell-Ox Shield (the brand’s antioxidant technology), this fast-absorbing, lightweight facial sunscreen can provide your complexion with a necessary shield to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. As always, you should reapply every two hours. And, if plan to spend time in direct sunlight, you may also want to throw in a wide-brimmed hat or baseball cap to your sun protection regimen, as this can help shade and protect your face from falling victim to the sun’s rays.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 45 Face, $29.99