A Beginners Guide to Korean Morning Skincare Routines

12 January 2021 by Kristine

Starting your day off with clean and glowing skin is essential. Not only does it give you a boost of confidence, it’s also a great way to practice self care. Savoring some well deserved “me time” before the hustle and bustle kicks in is always important. 

But the world of Korean skincare is vast. A deap sea of skincare products, steps, ingredients and trends can be intimidating to wade through. There are morning and night routines and they look a bit different with different skincare products. Honestly, even for a passionate skincare advocate like myself, it can be quite difficult to keep up with it all. For beginners, it can definitely feel overwhelming. It’s not impossible, though! Let’s start with the basics  and see what a typical korean morning skin care routine looks like.

Glowing skin is what korean skincare routines are all about

A little disclaimer to you my dear reader: your skin is naturally different from mine and from other people around you. Skin concerns, product effects, and skin types all vary from person to person. I would suggest you consider what type of skin you have (oily, dry, combination), what kind of climate you live in, and what skin concerns you have in order to create a personal skin care routine just for you!

The Ultimate Korean Morning Skincare Routine:

A good cleanser is a great way to wake up your skin and start the day!


Cleansing is absolutely necessary even in the mornings. Some people may argue: “I washed my face last night and all I did was lay in my bed and sleep”. But your enemy isn’t just visible dirt and grime. It is the microparticles—dust, bacteria, tiny things on your pillowcase, and your sweat (yes, your pores don’t stop regulating your temperature as you sleep. They work hard 24/7). 

You’ve also probably heard of double cleansing for evenings: but I would also suggest to try double cleansing in the morning. This is because oil based cleansers not only remove makeup effectively, but also oil-based impurities (body oil etc.) A gel or water based cleanser will be gentle enough to clean your skin completely, ridding your face of any dead skin cells left behind.


In the past toners used to be alcohol-based. They were notorious for stripping away your skin’s moisture rather than replenishing it. But nowadays there are hydrating, non-alcohol toners available on the market. While toners may feel like an unnecessary step to some, they are seriously important when it comes to balancing your skin’s pH levels. This will  prepare your face to maximize the effects of the products you’ll be building upon after this step, so don’t miss it!


Serums are the product that will help you combat a myriad of very specific skin concerns. Maybe it’s a much needed boost of hydration or brightness. Maybe you need to smooth out dark spots, redness, or you’re concerned with anti-aging, fine lines, etc. 

There are many serums that specifically target certain conditions, and some even include a super dose of some essential vitamins and minerals (like Vitamin C for example). This product stage may be the most expensive little bottle in your whole routine, but it is so worth the price for the desired effect it will bring to your skin.

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Eye Cream

It is common knowledge that the skin around your eyes is thinner than most in your face. It’s the most sensitive and it is very prone to darkening (those dark circles don’t lie). Considering this, applying eye cream is just as vital in the morning as it is in the evening. This product step reduces fine lines around the eye as well as darkening. In addition, it gives your eyes the necessary love, protection and moisture they need throughout the day.

Korean beauty places glowing skin above all else

Moisturizing Cream

Dry skin is probably one of, if not the most common concern of all. A lot of skincare products focus on keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized. Your moisturizing cream should compliment your unique skin type. 

For oily or acne prone skin, look for gel-based moisturizers to avoid adding even more oil to your skin. For dry skin, oil-based moisturizers might be what’s best for you. For normal and combination skin, it’s always a good idea to choose one of both and see which one works best for you and your skin. Ultimately, the goal of your moisturizing cream should be to keep your skin supple and. Keeping your skin barrier hydrated is really important, and a good moisturizing cream will ideally last throughout the day.

Sun Screen

Another important (and perhaps most slept on) part of your essential morning skincare routine is protection from the elements. Sun screen is a must. Repeat after me. You. Must. Not. Skip. This. Step. 

Sunscreen helps you keep an even skin tone and fight against the sun's UV rays that could cause fine lines and aging to skin over time. 

Ready to take your morning skincare routine to the next level? These are a few extra steps you can consider adding to your morning routine once you’re ready to make a little extra time for yourself.


Primer essentially provides a solid base for the rest of your beauty products. If you are faced with a long day ahead, or if you need to keep long lasting makeup on to survive those back to back zoom meetings and other engagements, a quality primer will always come in handy.

Korean face masks are perfect for hydrating your skin!

Sheet Mask

Probably the most iconic step of most korean skincare routines, a sheet mask is a  great way to spend your extra time in the morning! It’s so much fun to truly pamper yourself with your personal choice of sheet mask. After cleansing your face, rather than applying a toner, you can apply a korean face mask and spend as few as five minutes towards an extra boost for your skin. 

But wait, isn’t this too complicated? What if you’re pressed for time in the morning, and you need to strip your routine down to the absolute necessities? This seven-step skin care routine can actually be cut down to three core steps to accommodate for time restrictions.

The core products of a korean morning skincare routine are: cleanser, moisturizer, and sun protection (sun screen). As long as you have these three steps down, it’s totally sufficient enough to keep your skin hydrated and protected throughout the day.

So, what’s your morning skin routine? What products do you swear by? Do you have concerns or questions about the world of Korean skincare - or even Korean beauty? Any New Year resolutions or goals for upping your skin care game this year? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

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