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10 Korean Skin Care Secrets and Tips for Flawless Skin

10 Korean Skin Care Secrets

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d know that artists and actors from Korean bands, movies, and series have impeccable skin.

You’ve probably seen some popular Korean beauty bloggers on YouTube too!

This isn’t even exclusive to Korean women! Korean skincare is so renowned that it even has its term: K-beauty.

Do you want to know what their beauty secret is? Hold on to your seats because we’ve got them all right here.

Table of Contents

1. Adjust Your Lifestyle

Adjust Your Lifestyle

Korean beauty products aren’t the only reason why Korean women have such good skin.

They also follow Korean beauty hacks and best practices to achieve their skin  and their lifestyle plays a big part in that! 

And the thing is, these beauty secrets WON’T COST a lot of time or money! Treat yourself like an investment and you will thank us later.

Pay Attention to Your Hydration

This tip isn’t limited to Koreans, and it’s not exactly a “best kept secret” of South Korea.

Whether you consult with Japanese or Korean skincare experts, any skincare expert worth their salt will tell you that you must stay hydrated.

  • Men need to drink at least 15.5 cups or 3.7 liters of water, while
  • Women should drink 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters PER DAY.

Yes, you read that right.

We recommend keeping track by having a big tumbler of water with hourly markers with you so you drink water BEFORE you start feeling thirsty.

For extra nutrients, throw in some lemon or cucumber.

Rest, Relax, and Sleep

One of the BIGGEST culprits for bad skin is lack of rest and sleep.

Getting enough rest and sleep is essential for your skin’s wellbeing, hormonal levels, anxiety, mental health, and body too!

During the restorative stage of your sleep, your blood pressure drops, breathing slows down, and your blood moves to your muscles and tissue to repair them. Your body also releases growth hormones that are essential for your development.

When you wake up, not only will you notice that you have better focus, but you’ll also be in a better mood and be less likely to get sick!

Eat the Right Food

It’s no secret that the Korean diet is one of the HEALTHIEST you can find in the world. Plus, it’s delicious! Find great tips for incorporating this into your daily life below.

Go Herbal

Most Korean women and mothers often turn to ancient medicine, such as botanicals, roots, herbs, and fruits for healing and their various other properties.

Many times, they turn to botanical-based teas.

The benefits of drinking herbal teas will vary depending on what products you consume, but they often include:

  • Increased antioxidants
  • Better blood circulation and pressure
  • Faster metabolism
  • Increased focus
  • Relaxation
  • Reduced acne
  • Clearer and more radiant skin

Plus, they’re tasty and for some, addicting! You can try barley tea, green tea, or other premium flavors!

Eat Healthy

A typical Korean meal consists of rice, protein, and tons of vegetables. They prioritize having a variety of dishes, which almost always include kimchi.

If you don’t already know, kimchi is their national dish.

It’s typically made of fermented, pickled cabbage that is rich in minerals, vitamins, and probiotics for gut and skin health. They can also be made with cucumbers or green onions.

Koreans also love eating fish, fruits, and other vegetables.

The great part about their diet is that it’s SUPER EASY to meal prep on weekends! Just make a bunch of side dishes or banchan on the weekend, store it in the fridge, and take small portions out every meal!

Also, prioritize eating fruits OVER sugary desserts like cakes, bread, or ice cream. They make a great ending to any meal and will load you up with tons of nutrients.

2. Steam It Up

Steam It Up

Steam showers are INCREDIBLY RELAXING Plus, the steam helps unclog your pores and get rid of any impurities that may be in your skin.

Before starting your Korean skincare routine, take a steamy shower and massage your face in a circular motion and upward direction for 5 to 7 minutes each time.

3. Deep Cleanse

Deep Cleanse

Before applying any makeup, Korean women incorporate deep cleansing or double cleansing, in their Korean skincare routine. If you’re looking for a guide, try these 3 steps:

  • Use a cleansing tissue to gently get rid of stubborn impurities, especially in the areas around your eyes and on your neck.
  • Next, massage your favorite oil cleanser product onto your skin to remove oil-based impurities. This should also help prevent acne.
  • Lastly, wet your face then add a cleansing foam product or face wash to remove water-based impurities. Massage in a circular motion, then rinse and pat dry.

HOT TIP: Powder cleansers are a big deal today in Korea. They’re great for traveling even on flights and won’t spill anywhere.

4. Protect Yourself From the Sun

Protect Yourself From the Sun

Take it from Korean women who have been dealing with pigmentation for generations. The sun may feel nice, but it isn’t 100% good for you.

So what do they do, you ask?

Well, Koreans take EXTRA CARE to protect their skin from those damaging UV rays, so always make sure you apply sunscreen every day.

You can also choose to use Korean skincare products that include SPF protection within their ingredients like a moisturizer + sunscreen combination.

Always have additional protection like hats, umbrellas, and hats with you or at least in your car.

For options, you can take a look at our reviews of the Best Korean Sunscreens for Extra Sun Protection.

5. Exfoliate Regularly

Exfoliate Regularly

Your skin creates new skin every single day, even if you don’t notice it. That’s why you need to get rid of dead skin cells regularly.

Give your ENTIRE body a good scrub and exfoliation 3 times a week. You can use gloves, products, or even brushes for this. Whatever your preference, it’s all about regularity.

Note that if you have SENSITIVE SKIN, you may need to reduce this to 2x or 1x a week to not risk skin irritation.

It’s important that you DON’T over-exfoliate! Also, don’t scrub too hard! You’re only removing the top layer of skin, not rub yourself raw.

For a list of the some of the best choices, you can take a look at our review of the Best Korean Exfoliators to Smoothen Skin Texture.

6. Fight Off Blemishes

Fight Off Blemishes

Everyone gets acne and other blemishes.

Numerous Korean skincare products have promised to deal with this, but no one size fits all. When it comes to this problem, you should always incorporate a TWO-PRONGED ATTACK into your Korean beauty process.

  • First, if you have ongoing acne or pimples, use pimple patches like the COSRX Pimple Patches to help with those particular spots on your face. They work extremely well. You can just wear them at night then take them off before you start your day.
  • Second, you need to deal with the spots and scarring on your face. One of the best Korean beauty secrets includes the use of skin brighteners, like rice extracts, vitamin C, and licorice.

If you have stubborn spots, go to your dermatologist and see if they can remove them using lasers.

7. Use Masks

Use Masks

There are 2 types of masks you should try out: the sheet mask and the sleeping mask. Each has its benefits for bringing out your beauty.

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are an amazing way to relax while taking care of your face. The Korean beauty industry is most well-known for making the best masks, and they come in a HUGE VARIETY.

Try sheet masks with charcoal to detoxify and exfoliate your skin. Or try masks with tea and collagen from Korea to keep your skin youthful and supple.

Our favorite is any face mask with snail mucin. It’s great for removing any irritation and hydrating your skin. Trust us, you’ll immediately see that glow afterward!

You can take a look at our review of the Best Korean Face and Sheet Masks for a Healthy Glow to find the best option for you!

Overnight/Sleeping Mask

Your skin cells do their hardest work and recovery when you sleep, so this is the best time to hyper-moisturize and work on your complexion.

Try applying an intensive sleeping mask. It’s easy and takes almost no additional time.

8. How to Get That Dewy Look

How to Get That Dewy Look

To get that dewy skin all beauty influencers are raving about, you need lots of hydration to prevent dry skin.

  • Use a radiance-boosting primer.
  • Then, use BB cream, BB cushion, or any other lightweight foundation with your makeup to keep your complexion looking natural and to bring out its glow.

Incorporate a light liquid highlight in your layering, then add shimmery highlight to your eyelids and cheeks.

You can read more on our Guide to Getting Korean Glass Skin to achieve this vibrant look!

9. Pay Attention to Other Areas

Pay Attention to Other Areas (1)

The other parts of your face are just as important as the rest of your skin, and Korean skincare knows this by heart.

Your Lips

Use a nutrient-rich lip oil treatment like BUTTER.

When putting on your makeup, enhance your lip color using the right lip balm. Some lip balms can even adjust to the unique chemistry of your lips while giving them that extra bit of hydration!

You can also take a look at our review of the Best Korean Lip Tints for an Effortless Look for some options.

Your Eyes

Take care of your eye area to prevent dark bags under them. In Korea, girls go as far as to double their eye masks to target those crow’s feet and fine lines. You can try eye patches that also act as a moisturizer, or make use of an eye cream.

We have a review of the best Korean eye creams to get lighter under-eyes if you’re interested.

10. Layer on Essences

Layer on Essences

Many women in Korea use layers of products as a way of sealing in all the nutrients after cleansing.

To do this, use a mild, nutrient-filled essence (not a toner) that hydrates your skin.

Then, add a serum and another layer of moisturizer.

If you don’t have an essence product yet, you can take a look at our review of the Best Korean Essences for More Nourishment for some options.

Final Thoughts on Korean Skin Care Beauty Secrets

As a final note, treat your face with care. Whether you’re cleaning or applying an essence, use your fingers, especially the tips. Remember to pat and NOT rub your skin.

This also applies to all the men reading this! These Korean skincare secrets aren’t limited to women, so for the guys who want to start revitalizing their skin, you can read up on our Korean Skincare Guide for Men to get started.


September 1, 2021 – Improved article formatting, reviewed and updated overall content

July 13, 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.