Looking for a Korean skin care routine for men? My name is Courtland, and I’m the digital marketing and analytics guy at Soko Glam. Let me walk you through my complete routine. Or in other words, how Korean skin care cured my dry and oily skin.
After puberty hit me at 13, I started to use drugstore blackhead scrubs and acne removers to remove the occasional adolescent breakout. This continued into my twenties, when after moving to New York City I started to experience dry skin and an oily T-zone. The new city climate, combined with a busy schedule, made it difficult to manage my skin.
But shortly after joining Soko Glam, I tried the Klairs Supple Preparation Toner on a whim, and realized I had been approaching skincare all wrong. Cue angelic choir.
After one week of using the Klairs toner, I saw my skin immediately banish its dry flakes and I no longer needed to smuggle a Burt’s Bees moisturizer in the pocket of my Zara bomber every time I went to the bathroom. I realized—instead of needing moisturizer—my skin was craving hydration. And toner was exactly what it needed.
Contrary to popular shows on The CW and HBO, living in New York City is more hectic than haute. Most of my days are spent inside of an office space where temperatures can vary from Siberian tundra to a humid microwave.
Immediately after work, I’ll rush to a tech event or to meet friends for drinks—and oftentimes, I’ll choose to walk through the crowded urban streets of Manhattan.
Without realizing it, I’ll expose my skin to so many environmental forces—harsh UV rays, dirty city pollution, cigarette smoke from the 6’1” French girl walking in front of me, the list goes on. And while I can’t turn New York into a environmentally-friendly city overnight, I can fight the effects of environmental stressors by taking the utmost care of my skin every morning and night.
My morning routine:
You’ll be hardpressed to find me out of bed any earlier than absolutely necessary. But ever since I started using K-beauty (and frankly giving a crap about my skin), I now have something more than just coffee to look forward to every morning. Here’s my AM routine:
I liken this product to modern art—you look at its simplicity in awe and wonder why no one else had made something so original prior to its existence. With just a splash of water and three rubs, I already know the green tea is sloughing off post-sleep oil and those crusty bits of dried silvia (yes, I cringe slightly as I write this).
Immediately after, I’ll follow up with my beloved toner. I’ll always remain loyal to the Klairs toner for being my gateway into K-skinosophy. I used to use American cotton pads, but I realized so much of the product was soaking into the cotton, so in recent weeks, I’ve applied my toner by pouring it into the palm of my hands and softly patting it into my skin with my fingertips.
By now, I’ve probably spent 3.5 minutes in the bathroom and I realize the chances of a meteorite hitting Earth so I don’t have to go into work that day are getting slimmer. I apply my essence using the same patting method.
With just a few minutes to spare, I’ll eject three pumps of whichever moisturizer I’m testing onto the back of my hand.
On some days, I’ll use the COSRX Emulsion. This guy plumps moisture into my skin while also mattifying so I don’t shine like a disco ball by my 2pm marketing meeting. Other days, I’ll use the Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion. I watched Nathalie’s Transformation video and saw Diana explain how the 70% birch juice in this lotion is similar to coconut water for your skin. I would always rather be on a beach sipping juice from a coconut, so I was sold.
Because I have sensitive skin, I’ll mix one drop of this serum with my moisturizer on the palm of my hand before applying. Angela—who works in our office as one of our skin care experts—complimented on how bright my skin looked one day, and it was the day I started applying the Vitamin C serum. I couldn’t have been happier to see immediate results from this guy.
Since my K-beauty baptism, I’ve mastered the application of sunscreen while making my breakfast. Three microscopic drops on the back of my hand, eat some of the fruit I cut the night prior, apply each drop to a corner of my face, eat a second piece, pat, and done.
By 8:58am, I stride out my building door in the direction of the subway, Wayfarers in hand.
My evening routine:
Because I have more time, my evening routine is more extensive and includes more products to target specific concerns. Here we go:
I’ve continued using these cleansers after months of testing different ones. From clay to foam, Korean to American, these two work the best in tandem for my skin to make it feel squeaky clean and protected. I chose the Banila solid balm oil cleanser over liquid strictly on the feel—immediately after emulsifying the cleanser with water, my skin feels clearer and I know I’ve removed a lot of environmental dirt that’s been resting in my pores since 9am. And as for the Marshmallow Foam Cleanser… it smells like marshmallows—need I say more?
Three nights out of the week, I’ll exfoliate to scrape off dead skin cells. I pay particular attention to my chin, which will have the occasional residue of dryness. I’ll use the Neogen Peel because I’ve seen my skin react better to the physical exfoliation and—despite how gross it may seem at first—I feel so satisfied seeing the last residue of my skin’s dirt on a pad that I can toss. If only all life problems were solved this easily, amirite?
Surprise! Or not. These guys are staples for all of my routines. If I had to choose three products to live with for the rest of my life, these two would be up there with a cleansing stick.
Because most days feel like an express train hurdling at 50mph, I’m usually too tired to do a sheet mask. But on the few days I do have time, I like to make it a full chill session—20 minutes, no phone, red wine, and a few songs from French electronic band Paradis. There’s no easier way to relax than with some French, some wine, and a whole lot of essence.
I always end with the Missha Snail Cream. My relationship with this guy is similar to a lot of the guys I’ve dated IRL – at first glance, I wasn’t that impressed. But after I saw Kelly rave accolades in her Soko Glam Transformation video, I shrugged, whispered ‘yolo,’ and thought we could go on just one date. Who knew the first moment I put on that snail, sleeky goodness would be the moment I started to believe in love at first pat?
Wait…so you do ALL of this?
Surprisingly, yes! I’ll admit: Tracing and describing each step in my full routine is seemingly exhaustive, and it reminds me of my first few K-beauty days where I would need to attach Charlotte’s 10 Steps to my bathroom mirror to remember them. But now, all of the steps in my Korean skincare routine for men are second nature.
More importantly, I know exactly which product to use when a specific concern like dry skin or even the occasional acne pop up. I finally feel like I’m working with my skin rather than against it.