korean skin care, simplified

you don't need a 10-step routine to get the benefits

Skin-care junkies all over the world are fascinated by accounts of Korean women using upwards of ten, even up to 20, products—morning and night. This is, at the very least, intimidating. Frightening, maybe.

If you’re interested in upping the Korean influence in your skin-care routine without that heroic level of commitment, look to this “Korean-American regimen,” a simplified routine by yours truly. After all, Korean-Americans like myself grew up watching Neutrogena face wash ads. At the same time, like our overseas counterparts, we make skin care a huge priority and apply the wisdom from our sage mothers and grandmothers. 

First, the good news: The 10-step routine is not a hard rule and actually somewhat of a myth. The quantity of products is really up to you. Christine Chang, founder of Glow Recipe, says, “While there's no 'set' amount of steps that women use, Korean women are very open to layering products, especially as they believe each step achieves different results on skin.” This is why you’ll meet Korean-Americans with three steps, and others with twelve. It’s personal.

But still, consider allotting a bit more time if you’re really trying to implement Korean principles. One main reason is Koreans emphasize taking their sweet time to nurture the skin, something many Korean-Americans have also known since their teen years. Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily, says, “Serums might be massaged on with a vibrating tool for deeper penetration. Mini facial massages might be given when applying essences to help with circulation and work the muscles. Patting things in and waiting it to be absorbed is not lost on skin-care-savvy Korean women.”

With all that that in mind, let’s break it down.