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Korean Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin: 10 Simple Steps

Korean Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin

We just can’t get enough of the K-beauty skincare routine craze! Those dewy glowing skin and flawless looks sported by Koreans leave a lot of us green-eyed with envy.

But, what’s a girl to do if she has oily skin?

This is the reason why for a very long time, we were hesitant with Korean skincare products. It’s not that we’re unbelievers, but back then, we didn’t think it was very suitable for oily skin.

However, we were WRONG.

A good Korean skincare routine does help control oil production. This article will tell you how in 10 steps. So, better hang around.

Table of Contents

The Best 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin

Korean beauty secrets are no longer a secret. You can get rid of oily skin and achieve that dewy natural glow with these 10 steps.

Note: This beauty regimen is meant as a night routine.

Step 1: Makeup Remover

Step 1

A vital step of the entire skincare routine is having clean skin. It’s the key to controlling this particular skin type.

Because makeup, dirt, and oil can pile up and build up on the surface for the entire day, it can clog pores.

When this happens, it becomes difficult for hydration to seep in. As a result, the skin produces excess oil in order to make up for the lack of water.

In order to properly cleanse our face, we start by removing makeup. For this, you will need to use an oil cleanser.  Yes, an oil-based one.

Purpose of Oil Cleansers

Although it sounds very questionable, Korean cleansing oil products are good at melting the makeup off our face.

Oil dissolves oil” by:

  • Getting rid of excess sebum produced by the glands of the skin
  • Clean out clogged pores such as blackheads and whiteheads
  • Remove dead skin and pollutants

Step 2: Water-Based Cleanser/ Gel Cleanser

Step 2

Once makeup is out of the way, it’s time to double cleanse using a water-based cleanser or a gel-based cleanser. The second step of the cleansing process goes deeper into the skin.

A water-based cleanser injects oxygen into the skin that pushes out the gunks of leftover makeup and dirt out from the pores.

In short, water-based face washes cleanse and make sure no makeup residues or even a speck of dirt is left.

You can check out our reviews of the best Korean face wash products if you don’t have one yet.

Types of Gel Cleanser

There are special types of gel cleansers to look out for:

  • Acne Fighting Water-Based Cleanser: These cleansers’ specialty is to remove bacterias and sebum build-up. It contains salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide that does the job. Take note concentration for the face acids should only be between 0.5-0.02%, otherwise, it can cause irritation and inflammation.
  • Gentle Skin Foaming Cleanser: On the hand, a gentle cleanser is lighter on the skin, but is just as effective.

So, which one should you use?

Either option is fine. If you’re anticipating an acne breakout, then you might want to use the acne fighting cleanser products instead.  It has stronger ingredients.

Step 3: Exfoliator

Step 3

Dealing with skin types that produce a lot of that grease can be especially frustrating.

As someone who has an oily face, I have had it with all these miracle skincare products. They never work. I remained looking like a walking oil stick.

Luckily, using the BEST Korean exfoliators did the trick. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells in order for new skin to emerge, and it’s an essential step in this skin care routine for oily skin.

Because these zombie-like cells build up, it becomes thick and clogs the pores. When this happens, the skin will produce that greasy effect.

Damn those oily genes, right? If you have oily skin, then the extra grease is a problem YOU DON’T WANT to linger.

AHA and BHAs

Among exfoliators, those beauty products containing AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) are angel workers for those with oily skin or with acne-prone skin.

These chemical exfoliants make use of face acids in sloughing dead skin, so it’s able to reach deeper underneath the skin. They’re perfect for:

  • Removing dirt and sebum build-ups
  • Unclogging pores
  • Hydrating the skin
  • Improve skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone

Products with AHAs are composed of the following chemical ingredients: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid.

When Should You Exfoliate?

Exfoliating is an essential step in the Korean skincare routine, however, it should only be done twice to thrice a week.

The reason for this is that we’ve already double cleansed. This means that more or less daily dirt and grim is being taken care of. The purpose of an exfoliant is to get rid of sebum to avoid a build up.

Step 4: Clay Masks

Step 4

If you’re familiar with the 10 step Korean skin care routine, then you’d know that we’re veering away from the traditional practice.

Normally, after exfoliators, we use a toner. But when it comes to oily skin, we’ve added a little extra to the skincare routine.

Using clay masks. They serve a number of purpose:

  • Treat blackheads, acne, and other trouble spots
  • Protect skin from toxins
  • Improve dermatitis and psoriasis
  • Reduce excessive moisture

Clay masks have oil-absorbing properties that are perfect for the oily skin type. The product targets the “oiliness” inside the pores by sucking out impurities and controlling sebum production.

Step 5: Toner

Step 5

After you’re done with all these cleansing steps (clay masks included!), it’s time to get a cotton pad and bring your skin’s PH level back to normal at 7.

Chemical exfoliants and face acids can increase the face’s acidity, that’s why we use a toner.

Effective Korean toners do the dirty job of balancing out PH levels to keep skin blemish free. Besides that, it also acts as a skin barrier when it’s time to apply the essences, serums, and ampoules.

When it comes to oily, acne prone skin, toners are especially helpful since it shrinks pores, adds another layer of protection to the skin, and prevents the growth of ingrown hair.

Ingredients to Look for in a Toner

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Hyaluronic Acid

If you’ve noticed these are the same chemicals found in AHAs products. Any toner with AHAs and BHAs are suitable for oily skin because they are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.

Step 6: Essence

Step 6

Whether you have oily skin or dry and sensitive skin, essences should be incorporated into your skincare routine.

An essence treats all skin types and gives it the extra nourishment it needs. It goes beyond a toner that only gives back hydration.

No. An essence is more than that.

The purpose of an essence is to treat the skin and its different trouble spots. Therefore, it can be a brightener, softener, and a plumper. It helps fix certain skin problems such as hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tones, acne breakout, and etc.

When it comes to oily skin, the BEST Korean essences are very helpful when it comes to hydrating.

The best essences for oily skin include active hydrating and bacteria-fighting ingredients. Products containing snail mucin does the job of fighting breakouts and controlling oily production.

Step 7: Serum & Ampoules

Step 7

Serums and ampoules are highly concentrated formulas. They are game-changers in the skincare industry.

What we mean by this is it acts as boosters to cater to specific needs.

Serums vs. Ampoules

Essentially, these two are similar. They both target specific skin issues such as dark spots, wrinkles, stubborn acne, dullness, redness, and uneven skin tones.

All kinds of ingredients are packed into it, which makes it an effective skin booster. The only difference is that Korean ampoule products use a stronger formula. They are serums “on steroids.”

When Should I Use a Serum and an Ampoule?

Because of strong chemicals, ampoules should only be used in a limited period or if you’re undergoing a skin crisis.

For a weekly or daily basis, Korean serums are much better.

Step 8: Eye Cream

Step 8

The 10 step Korean skin care routine does not overlook anything. Even the fine lines of your eyes are taken care of.

An eye cream slows down the signs of aging by lifting the eye area and preventing wrinkles.

You know gym rats say to never skip leg day? Well, flawless skin also says: Don’t skip eye cream.

Eye cream can deeply hydrate your eyes to make them look bigger and more well-rested.

Now, here, unlike all the other skin care products, we don’t have to be conscious of the skin types when choosing a product.

Tip: Apply your favorite Korean eye cream to the surrounding eye area. Be sure to smear cream on the sides and lines near the eye. That’s where wrinkles start to show. 

Step 9: Moisturizer

Step 9

“But I have oily skin!” You’re probably thinking.

Well, once upon a time, we used to think like that too. There’s this myth or belief that’s going around that people with the oily skin type age slower because they produce more natural oils.

That’s completely wrong.

Having oily skin doesn’t slow down aging. But, do you want to know what does? A moisturizer.

Every skin needs a good old moisturizer. There are many good reasons to moisturize even if you have oily skin. It’s only a matter of choosing the right moisturizer for your skin.

For us, oily gals, a lightweight formula does the trick. And we’re in luck! There are many Korean moisturizers available in the market to choose from.

Unlike the ordinary moisturizer, it’s not as heavy on the face and works the same way using similar ingredients. This type of light weight moisturizer is perfect for those with oily, acne prone skin to give you that hydrated and smooth skin texture.

Step 10: Sheet Mask

Step 10

You can’t go wrong with the ever-so-popular Korean sheet masks. It’s a Korean skin care & beauty classic.

It’s not only a cute trend, but sheet masks are actually pretty darn useful. Its purpose is to allow the skin to soak and drink up all the moisture and nutrients that we’ve put on.

It completes our 10 step Korean skincare routine by making sure that none of the skin care products go to waste.

A sheet mask comes in different forms and infused with a variety of ingredients:

  • Tea Tree Oil/ Tea Tree Leaf Water
  • Vitamin C
  • Ginseng extracts
  • Rose extracts

And possibly all-natural ingredients you can think of and are good for the skin.

Is It a Necessary Step?

No, it’s not. We can imagine that putting on sheet masks every night can be tedious and expensive.

You don’t need to do it daily. Instead, doing it twice or thrice a week would do, as long as you can incorporate it to your Korean skin care routine.

Trust me (and all those Korean beauty gurus), it makes all the difference.

Bonus Step: Spot Treatment

Since oily skin is prone to have problems with acne, a spot cream will help suit inflammation and heal your nightmare-ish red spot.

Tip: Only apply the product to the problem area.

Another Tip: You can also use COSRX’s pimple patches to temporarily take care of those pesky pimple spots

5 Signs You Have Oily Skin

5 Signs

Having oily skin is a huge pain. Acne breakouts, blackheads, large pores are not a pretty sight. Not to mention the grease that comes off whenever we wipe our face. It looks absolutely terrible!

Oily skin is one of the 5 kinds of skin types, and it’s also one of the most common skin problems there are. Oily skin is something many people are born with, but this doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.

After sharing with you the 10-step Korean beauty routine, it’s also vital that you know these 5 signs that you have oily skin. Some people might not even be aware they do!

#1 Shiny in the Day and Greasy at Night

A telltale sign of oily skin is obviously looking oily and greasy. Now, it might not always start off like that.

During the morning, we still look like we’re fresh out of the shower. However, throughout the day, our skin just gets greasier and greasier. Yikes!

That’s definitely a sign.

#2 Your Makeup Slides Off

Long-lasting makeup is a myth for those with oily skin.

My foundation can barely last all day with the amount of oil my skin produces, and it’s not only me. A lot of people with oily skin encounter this problem.

#3 Clogged Pores

Take a close look at your T-zone which is your nose, chin, and forehead. These are where many sweat glands are located and it’s easily the oiliest parts of a person’s face.

If the pores on your T-zones are visible, then it only means you have clogged pores and your skin has been overproducing sebum.

#4 Pimples, Blackheads, and Acne Outbreaks

With an overproduction of sebum, pores clog and pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and acne appear.

This is the reason why we have to cleanse thoroughly and why double cleansing is important in the 10 step Korean skincare routine that highlights cleansing your face.

#5 Oil Everywhere

If this isn’t screaming oily skin, then we don’t know what else would convince you.

Leaving behind a trail of oil wherever you go is a sign of oily skin. Try observing your phone after a phone call, is the screen oily? If yes, then you fall under this skin type.

The Bottomline


The 10-step Korean skin care routine for oily skin can be too much for most people, especially when one is in a rush.

Time is limited, but we promise you that with this skin care routine for oily skin, you won’t regret it. Oily skin won’t be a problem anymore if you follow these steps. Cleanse the grease away, ladies!

If acne is more of a concern, you can take a look at our similar Korean Skincare Routine Guide for Acne


August 26, 2021 – Improved article formatting, reviewed and updated overall content

July 15, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.