5 Game-Changing Korean Skincare Strategies That Have Transformed My Skincare Routine

5 Game-Changing Korean Skincare Strategies That Have Transformed My Skincare Routine. K-beauty skincare secrets that really worked for me

K-beauty has definitely boomed worldwide in recent years. A decade ago I couldn’t get any Korean skincare products in stores and even online it was pretty difficult, while today I can order even one item from a K-beauty store based in Seoul and it’ll be delivered to my doorstep within 2 weeks and get a bunch of free samples on top of that (see my Jolse K-beauty store unboxing & review #1, #2). Btw, my blog doesn’t contain any sponsored posts/affiliate links – all of my content is just me sharing my experience & thoughts.

When I first got curious about K-beauty, I’ve read a lot of different reviews, starting from ones that praised the ususual yet miracle-making ingredients like snail slime and ending with horror stories about how Korean skincare is truly only good long-term for Asian skin because different ethnicities have different skin processes (the proof that this is a goofy idea is what I see in the mirror every day).

Long story short, as K-beauty grew immensely popular and easily accesible, I’ve discovered a lot of different skincare strategies that have completely transformed my own skincare routine. I can’t say with 100% confidence that these strategies are inherently Korean, but K-beauty information universe is where I found them. Now without further ado, let’s get right into it!

*featured image for this post can be found on Pixabay.com

Right off the bat, I need to say that I don’t follow the 12-step Korean skincare routine. The main reason is that I have very sensitive skin, so piling up so many products puts me in an awkward position of not being able to determine the abuser if I start breaking out. Besides, after trying it for a while I started noticing that my skin moisture/oil balance was thrown off a lot because the skin received too much nourishment and couldn’t deal with that many foreign stuff forced into it.

As of now, my skincare routine is as follows: cleansing oil-foam cleanser-toner-essence (I often skip it tho)-eye cream-moisturizer+SPF if I’m going outside. During the day I sometimes use moisturizing mists & sprays, but nothing fancy.

In my experience, it’s not only the products I’m using that make a difference – it’s how I’m using them. And this is precisely what this post is about!

5 Skincare Strategies I’ve Learned From K-Beauty That’s Been Game-Changing

1.3-second rule. This is a pretty simple one – applying toner or serum within 3 seconds after cleansing. This has legit made a huge difference for me, because apparently skincare products applied on damp skin are absorbed much better and help seal the moisture in. Before learning about this strategy, I’ve always lingered a while before applying any skincare product, letting the face dry completely, and then wondered why the moisturizer ended up sitting on top of the skin. Well, problem solved now and my skin couldn’t be happier!

2.Toner is an absolute essential. European and American skincare lines include toners as well, but, as L’Oreal says on their website, toner is ‘known for removing dirt, excess oil, leftover facial cleanser, and any other impurities from your skin’s surface after cleansing’ which is why these toners are applied on a cotton round and then swiped on the skin. I’ve tried many of them and none of them really helped moisturize and remove impurities – instead they left a film on my skin and caused irritation. I am sure that I just didn’t happen to try a good toner because I gave up on this kind of product after a while – if you know a good one, please comment below!

Given my overall unsatisfactory experience with toners, I was at first suspicious of K-beauty toners until I learned that those toners aren’t like what I’ve tried. K-beauty toners are like conductors in skincare – they help channel moisture and all the good ingredients into the skin (same principle as with the 3-second rule). Now it’s a must in my skincare routine.

3.Pat dry instead of rubbing. It’s only logical that skin loses its elasticity as we age and the more it’s stretched in certain areas, the more likely it’s going to lose its shape over the years (e.g. hence the smile lines). Now, I don’t have problem with aging – to me beauty is in who the person is, not the amount of wrinkles they’ve got. However, I dread the fact that I am damaging my own skin by rubbing the towel aggressively all over my face. I’m sure that people who take their skincare seriously didn’t need K-beauty articles to tell them not to abuse their skin (duh), but before I really got into K-beauty it never occured to me that I should have (and could have) taken a bit more time taking care of my skin. Now I do – better late than never!

4.Double cleansing. This is a freaking game changer right here. Before discovering Korean BB-creams I used regular makeup removers and then cleansers. Before I bought my very first Korean BB-cream, I’ve done a ton of research and found out that Korean BB-creams penetrate the skin in a different way than our regular foundations, which is why there’s a need for deep cleansing and double cleansing. I’m not a chemist to say if it’s true or not, but I wasn’t going to take any chances, so I invested in cleansing oil alongside that BB-cream.

Since then I’ve followed double-cleansing routine for years now and found my absolute favorite products to do it with. I found that it leaves my skin squeaky clean, but moisturized and plump at the same time. My favorite cleansing oil is Holika Holika Soda Oil and favorite foam cleanser is Holika Holika Rice Foam (links lead to my posts about these products).

5.Physical exfoliants aren’t the best choice at all. I grew up believing in the claims that scrubs with exfoliating particles in them are the best product to gain bright and even complexion. Today, I want to roll up into a ball and cry over all the times I literally abused my skin by rubbing all kinds of physical exfoliants on it (maybe I have to thank myself for making my skin so sensitive after all 😭). Last year, when I heard about the controversy surrounding Kylie Jenner’s walnut scrub, I thought ‘darn it, are physical exfoliants still a thing?’ For sure, they can be used, but not every day!

For my skin, physical exofliants caused my skin to flare up, my pores looked clogged, and my skin got oilier and dull-looking, but I’ve tried a whole bunch of different ones before giving up on them.

In K-beauty, chemical exfoliants are the way to go and they aren’t used that often either. My first experience with a chemical exfoliant was like a revelation – my skin was bright and healthy-looking, while dead cells just peeled off without any issues. At the moment I’m using Heimish Refresh Water – can be a bit harsh on the whole face, but 👌 as spot treatment (but then again, my skin is so sensitive that I’ll start to refer to it as ‘drama queen’ any moment now).

And Final Thoughts

There you have it – 5 awesome skincare strategies that K-beauty has taught me. When I think about it, the most important lesson that I’ve learned from K-beauty is that my skin deserves to be pampered a bit every day.

After all, spending one additional minute to tap the product into the skin instead of rubbing it in isn’t that much of time to spend on yourself, but a huge investment in the long run.

Have you tried any of K-beauty skincare strategies or K-beauty in general? I’m very curious to know your thoughts on it, so – as always – I anticipate reading & responding to your comments!



Author: Alexandra @YouAndMeAndCupOfCoffee.com

Passionate researcher and writer. Coffee maniac. Pilates enthusiast. Makeup and skincare junkie. Occasionally - movie and book reviewer. Come join me on my quest!

11 thoughts on “5 Game-Changing Korean Skincare Strategies That Have Transformed My Skincare Routine”

      1. I think also one of the reason behind my love for K beauty is proper hydration thing. I have super dry skin and I live in a dry kind of climate too. Ac etc also increases this problem. Using toner serum sheet mask (though I have stopped using it now), double cleansing etc hydrate my skin well

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s the exact reason why I got into K-beauty in the first place – their obsession with hydration. I have combination skin that can get oily in the T-zone and a bit dry on the cheeks, but overall it was quite dry. I just couldn’t find anything in the European and U.S. brands (even drugstore like Vichy) anything that would deeply hydrate my skin – not just cause oiliness. After years of using K-beauty my skin has become more even and always hydrated – it just never feels really dry anymore, even in winter! Of course it takes a while to find good products that suit my skin, but oh my! in the end it makes all the difference! I’ve found that over time my skin has become much healthier and hydrated, so I don’t even feel the need to use serums so much anymore – is it the case for you too?


  1. Quite interesting Madam. I follow some of the steps like patting the skin instead of a vigorous rubbing and applying toner post a bath or face cleanup.
    Thank you for sharing.. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can personally attest to double cleansing. It changed my life forever. However I still use exfoliants, it somehow helps to minimize the oil my skin produces through the day. I still have the glow but my skin remains matte (for most of the day) I have very oily skin so I use a gentle exfoliant that doesn’t even seem to have grains.

    Liked by 1 person

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