The Two K-Beauty Steps You NEED to Add to Your Skincare Routine

Korean-style beauty has been busy taking the skincare world by storm, with a dizzying array of sheet masks, ampoules, and BB creams showing up everywhere you turn. The K-beauty routine typically involves ten meticulous steps, resulting in an envy-inspiring complexion. But let’s be real, if you’re short on time, money, or patience (or all three!), a twice-daily ten-step routine isn’t sustainable. Luckily, you can still achieve K-beauty perfect skin by simply incorporating two of its key steps into your routine: double cleansing and essence. Read our tips below and you’ll have the kkul-gwang (honey smooth) skin you’ve always dreamed of!

  1. Double Cleansing

The first step of any good skincare routine is proper cleansing, and because K-beauty is so extra, you cleanse twice. Korean double cleansing involves first removing your makeup and daily grime with an oil cleanser, and then following with a traditional foaming cleanser. This ensures that the skin is thoroughly cleansed, not stripped of its essential oils, and able to effectively absorb skincare products. That’s why this step is so crucial for the K-beauty routine, when eight products are being layered after cleansing. There’s no point investing in moisturizers or treatments if your skin is unable to properly absorb them due to a build up of dead skin cells, oil, and makeup residue.

If you already wash your face with a foaming/gel cleanser, simply add an oil cleanser beforehand to begin double cleansing. You’ll immediately see better absorption of products, fewer breakouts, and  tighter, more toned skin. Be sure to do what K-beauty girls do and incorporate a quick facial massage while using your oil cleanser. It will help to relieve tension, firm your skin, and help with lymphatic drainage.

Some great options for oil cleansers are Dermalogica’s Precleanse ($45), TATCHA’s Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil ($48.00), or NYAKIO’s Sweet Almond Cleansing Oil Balm ($28.00).

  1. Essence

Next up is essence, which is still something of an enigma to Western skincare. Understandably so, as on the surface it seems confusing and excessive — you apply it after toner and before serum, but…it is basically a combination of toner and serum. However, don’t write off this important step — trust me. After proper cleansing, deep hydration is the next major tenet of K-beauty skincare, and essence plays a vital role in that. Like double cleansing, essence helps balance your skin and makes it better able to absorb whatever products you apply after. If you have dry skin, a thin layer of essence will prep your skin to better absorb your moisturizer, and if you have oily skin, essence will help stabilize your skin’s oil production by keeping it properly hydrated.

Most essences have a consistency somewhere between a thick toner and a watery serum. When you apply your essence, do as K-beauty girls do and gently pat pat it onto your skin — not only does it push the product into your skin, but it helps invigorate blood flow.

Some great essence options are Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Serum Toner ($21.99), FARSÁLI’s Unicorn Essence ($54.00), or Soko Glam’s Real Ferment Micro Essence ($38.00).

Add these two steps to your routine, and I promise you’ll be on your way to the K-beauty complexion of your dreams. Get ready to glow, girl!


Written by: Mallory Huron

Media by: Mallory Huron

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  • Mos Ogunlana
    Posted at 04:22h, 01 September

    Was def looking for something like this after using Laniege!

  • michelle collins
    Posted at 00:23h, 30 August

    I have noticed such a difference since I incorporated an oil cleaner in my routine, even in just the way my second cleanser works afterward. I don’t wear foundation, but I apply sunscreen daily and it breaks it down much better than my normal cleanser. My normal cleanser thins out and feels less effective if I don’t use an oil cleanser first.

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