Your Intro to Good Skin: A 10-Step Skin Care Routine for Every Budget!

Step 5: Hydration Part 1 – Essence/Ampoule + Emulsion

No one knows exactly what the difference between an essence and an ampoule is, but basically, they’re like serums but lighter. Emulsions, on the other hand, are often labeled as “lotions”. They’re somewhere in between a cream and a liquid but not as heavy as a serum, at least not usually. You can use either in this step. Either way, this is a good step to adapt if you have extremely dry skin (again, that’s me). It adds an extra layer of hydration to your skin and will help you get that mochi softness.

BUDGET: Nature Republic Fresh Green Tea 70 Emulsion, Nella Multi Toning Essence

MID-RANGE: Etude House Moistfull Collage Emulsion, Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion Ex, Tosowoong Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Ampoule

LUXE: CosRX Centella Blemish Ampule, Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule, Sulwhasoo Essential Balancing Emulsion Ex

Step 6: Hydration Part 2 – Serums

I firmly believe that there’s a serum out there for everybody. Serums are concentrated drops of goodness that target whatever it is that you want to target, whether it be wrinkles, dark spots, or dryness. You need to take these in small doses not only because there’s little product in exchange for the cash you’re spending, but because you don’t want to overwhelm your skin, especially if your serum of choice has acidic components.

BUDGET: Skinpotions Unicorn Daydream, It’s Skin Power 10 Formula CO Effector, Rire Skinny Blackhead Closing Serum

MID-RANGE: Purito Centella Green Level Buffet Serum, Skin & Lab Red Serum, Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence

LUXE: Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Youth Activating Drop, Huxley Secret of Sahara Oil Essence, By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum

Step 7: Hydration Part 3 – Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are probably people’s gateway drug into Korean skincare. They’re relatively cheap, easy to understand, and pack a lot of punches. There’s a sheet mask out there for any skin concern, mood, occasion. You name it, and there’s a sheet mask out there for you! A lot of people make a mistake of leaving this on while they sleep and I’m here to remind all of you to please don’t do that. It’ll defeat its purpose and just dry out your skin. It’s okay to remove it still dripping in your hands. Your face is supposed to absorb that essence anyway!

For this portion, it’s really hard to gauge the effectiveness of sheet masks because it depends from person to person, so I’m only going to mention a couple of brands’ mask lines that make A+ reliable masks.

BUDGET (Under Php100): TonyMoly New Pureness 100 Mask Sheet, Mizon Joyful Time Mask, Nature Republic Real Nature Sheet Mask, Leaders Ex Solution Cotton Mask

MID-RANGE (Over Php100): Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Sheet Mask, Tosowoong Mask Pack, JayJun Sheet Mask, Innisfree Skin Clinic Mask, Leaders Insolution Skin Clinic Masks

Step 8: Hydration Part 4 – Eye Creams

Every self-respecting twenty-something needs an eye cream. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have lines under your eyes or if you think you’re too young for it. The truth is, you’re never too young for eye cream. Aging starts showing in the eye area and if you want to slow that process down, getting a good eye cream is a worthy investment.

Ever wonder what those white spots under your eyes are? They’re fat deposits from putting moisturizers on the eye area. The skin under the eyes is different in that it doesn’t have pores, so putting regular moisturizers on that are won’t do anything for you.

BUDGET: Hello Gorgeous Caffeine Eye Serum, Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream, Neutra Organics Coffee Balm

MID-RANGE: The Face Shop Moisture Eye Cream, Innisfree Green Tea Seed Eye Cream, Esfolio Black Pearl Hydrogel Eye Patch

LUXE: Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel Ex, Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream

Step 9: Moisturize

I know what you’re thinking. Is there a difference between hydrating and moisturizing? Well, the answer to that my friends is yes! When your face is dehydrated, it needs water but when your face is dry it needs oil. The difference is that dehydration targets a deeper layer of your skin while dryness is only a surface level issue. It’s important to hydrate well because just moisturizing would really do nothing to your skin, especially if it’s the dry type. Think of moisturizers as toppers for your skincare. It’s the thing that would seal in the hydration that you just packed onto your skin to keep it feeling supple and bouncy when you wake up in the morning!

BUDGET: Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel, Human Nature Sunflower Beauty Oil, Etude House Soon Jung Moist Relief All-In-One Gel

MID-RANGE: The Face Shop Chia Seed No Shine Hydrating Cream, Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream, Village 11 Factory Cream

LUXE: CosRX Snail 92 All In One Cream, Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream, Pyunkang Yul Balancing Gel

Step 10: Sun Protection

If you want to fight aging, please manage your sun protection. A lot of people overlook sunscreen or rely on the sunscreen on their make-up products but you still need to put sunscreen on your face before your base make-up because the little SPF companies put in those products won’t protect you for a whole day! It’s better to invest on this than to suffer the consequences of sun spots and wrinkles earlier down the road.

BUDGET: Etude House Sunprise Must Daily SPF 50+/PA+++, Althea Petal Velvet Sunaway, Ra & Gwoori Real Kill 9.9 Sun Screen

MID-RANGE: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel, Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care SPF50+/PA+++, CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream

LUXE: Heimish Artless Glow Base SPF50+/PA+++, Banila Co. Hello Sunny Hydrating Sun Essence, Dear Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence

And there you have it! Your Korean skincare routine. Like I said earlier, a product being more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more effective. Everyone’s skin is different and there’s a lot of experimentation involved in finding your perfect, holy grail, skincare items. Of course, you need to drink a lot of water and do something about your diet in order for your skin to bloom from within.

Extra tips:

  • You don’t have to double cleanse in the morning. In fact, ditch the cleanser completely and just rinse your face with water to get rid of the dust on the surface of your face.
  • This is quite obvious, but you can skip the sunblock at night.
  • Avoid toners with alcohol content in them because alcohol dries out the skin. That tight feeling shouldn’t be there after you use one!

ALSO READ: 5 Korean Cosmetics and Beauty Brands You Need To Try

What about you? Have you tried doing the 10-step Korean skincare routine?

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