The Korean routine for dry skin requires products that not only layer moisturizing ingredients on top of the skin but also penetrate deep into cells and plump them full of hydration. Check out the full routine below.
First, a little about me and why this routine works for me: I’m in my late twenties and all my life I’ve suffered with pigmentation and sensitive skin. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my skin gets drier faster and easier, and this leads to more prominent fine lines and dark circles. My goals when it comes to the ten step routine are to infuse as much moisture as possible into my skin and “plump” it up without irritating my easily-reactive skin. These are the products that work for my dry skin:
Oil cleanser: Klavuu Pure Pearlsation Divine Pearl Cleansing Oil
I’ve been addicted to this cleanser ever since I first tried it
back in February. Here’s why it’s a great oil cleanser for dry skin: It’s super rich, which means it envelopes your skin in a nice thick layer of oil. It also removes makeup easily without needing to scrub too hard, and once you wash it off, it doesn’t leave you with that tight feeling. Plus, thanks to pearl extract, your skin feels soft and looks brighter after using it.
Water-based cleanser: Neogen Cereal Fresh Foam Cleanser
If you couldn’t tell, not only am I searching for products that hydrate, I’m looking for brightening ones too. That’s because when you have chronic dryness, you’re more likely to have dull-looking skin that shows more fine lines. This Neogen cleanser emits such a soft, luxurious foam that deeply cleans and leaves my skin feeling super soft. It also contains oryza saliva (rice) seed extract to help brighten up dark spots from previous acne scars.
Exfoliator: Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon
FYI: If you have really dry skin, you don’t need to exfoliate every single day (you’ll want to hold onto as many natural oils in your skin as possible). But that doesn’t mean you should never exfoliate. It’s extremely important for dry skin types to exfoliate every other day (or at least three times a week) so you get rid of dead skin cells that could actually be making your skin drier and look even flakier (and make wrinkles more visible). If you’re nervous about washing your face again with a harsh manual exfoliator, do what I do and only use chemical exfoliators.
I love using these Neogen pads before I’m about to put a full face of makeup on to create an extra smooth canvas that prevents any dry patches or flakes from ruining my foundation. The pads use lemon extract to gently chemically exfoliate by sweeping away dead skin cells. They also use lactic acid to dig deep into pores and rid them of dirt and debris that’s causing lackluster skin. My face never feels tight after using these; it feels bright and extra clean.
Klairs Supple Preparation Toner
After cleansing twice (and possible exfoliating), your skin will most likely be craving some serious moisture. I always reach for this toner after my cleansing ritual because it instantly plumps up my skin and infuses intense hydration right into my pores. It’s filled with amino acids and fruit extracts to tighten up pores, calm irritation, and adequately prepare your skin to absorb any treatments you put on after. I seriously cannot go a day without using this toner in my routine. If I don’t use it, my skin tightens back up and my other products won’t absorb nearly half as well as they would after putting this on.
Essence: Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence
This is the number one essence I would recommend for extremely dry skin. Why? It’s full of one of the highest percentages of sodium hyaluronate (an ingredient that holds 1,000 times more moisture than water). The sodium hyaluronate in this essence is comprised of smaller molecules than regular hyaluronic acid, making sure that the moisture from the essence is absorbed faster and deeper into your pores.
Putting this essence on feels like dipping your face into a cooling pool of water (this is not an exaggeration). It seeps into skin slowly, leaving it plump and bouncy. Charlotte has even scientifically tested the moisture level in her skin after wearing this essence and found that it kept her moisture level at a high point all day long.
Serum: Erborian Elixir Au Ginseng
In the Korean routine for dry skin, you need to find a serum that shows serious results while also keeping the moisture you’ve worked so hard to infuse into your skin at the beginning of your routine intact. The Erborian Elixir Au Ginseng is the product that will do both of these things. It’s an elixir, which means it goes on like a heavy serum (it has the consistency of a light milk) and it doesn’t feel sticky like some other serums.
It contains a rare Korean ginseng that smoothes out fine lines and licorice root extract to even out skin tone and brighten. It’s the best bet for aging dry skin (hello!) because it contains strong actives you’ll find in a potent serum but it keeps everything hydrated and plumped like a good essence.
Sheet mask: Skinfood Real Tea Gel Mask – Rose
There are people who either love the smell of rose or absolutely hate it—I’m clearly part of the former club. This sheet mask is steeped in rose essence so it submerges your face with the ultra-hydrating benefits of rose extract. Even better, it’s a hydrogel mask, which means the actual mask is made out of hydrating and skin-boosting ingredients. This mask in particular is made of a variety of fruit extracts and brightening niacinamide with rose petal extracts suspended inside the hydrogel.
Whenever I have 20 minutes to spare in my routine, I’m always happy to give this mask a go. Once I remove it, my skin is extra plump, even-toned, and lifted.
Eye cream: Goodal Moisture Barrier Eye Cream
Since the area around your eyes is the most delicate and thin, I find that dryness is always the most obvious in my eye area. I need a heavy duty, thick eye cream to help bring back to life to my sunken eyes and banish my crow’s feet. This Goodal eye cream has been my savior for the past few months. It’s nice and thick and full of peptides to brighten my dark circles and it has collagen to amp up my moisture level and fill out my fine lines.
Pro tip: On most nights when my skin is feeling extra dry, I take some of this Goodal eye cream and pat it into the fine lines on my forehead, in between my nose, and around my mouth after I put on my nighttime moisturizer. It adds an extra dose of hydration and seals in my moisturizer. I swear I wake up with no visible lines!
I take my moisturizers very seriously. Since I’m in my late twenties, I need one that goes beyond just sealing my skin in hydration—it also needs to help get rid of dullness and lines. This Hanskin moisturizer is one of the more luxe products I’ve tried and it’s become my new favorite nighttime product. I only need a little to completely coat my face in a rich cream that soaks into every crevice on my face.
This Hanskin cream is like a body butter for your face so I would only suggest it for skin that’s constantly parched. It doesn’t skimp on results, either. It contains adenosine, an ingredient that’s naturally found in your body, that works to bring energy back into lifeless skin and smooth out wrinkles. I use this every single night and I wake up with refreshed, soft, and dewy skin.
Sunscreen: Missha Mild Essence Sun Milk
Other than exfoliators, the scariest product for people with dry skin is sunscreen. There’s just been too many times when I’ve tried someone’s “holy grail” sunscreen only to discover that it leaves my skin tight, patchy, and extra flaky.
But I am here for the Missha Mild Essence Sun Milk. This stuff goes on smooth—like a light liquid—and instantly blends into skin with no vigorous rubbing required. It simply sits over your other skin care products and actually helps moisturize and soothe your skin, thanks to the rose bud extract and aloe leaf extract that gives this product its “essence” feature. With SPF 50, this sunscreen provides superior protection without the white cast and heavy chemical smell of other sunscreens of this caliber. It feels like air on skin and keeps that dewiness you’ve worked so hard to create sealed in.