If you have dry, sensitive skin, you know the struggle is real. Flakiness, irritation, tightness—the list of discomforts goes on and on. But there's good news. The Korean skincare routine, with its focus on hydration, gentle ingredients and pampering treatments, is a dry skin savior. Follow this 10-step Korean skincare routine for dry skin and you'll be on your way to soft, supple, hydrated skin in no time.
The first step in the Korean skincare routine for dry skin is an oil cleanser. Oil cleansers melt away makeup and oil-based impurities while hydrating the skin. For dry skin, look for an oil cleanser with nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, olive oil or sweet almond oil. Gently massage the oil cleanser into dry skin and then rinse with water. The oil cleanser will remove surface oil and grime without stripping the skin.
After the oil cleanser, use a creamy foaming cleanser to gently cleanse the skin. Look for a cleanser free from harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate that can strip and irritate dry skin. A creamy cleanser with hydrating ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid and ceramides is ideal for dry skin. Massage the cleanser into damp skin and then rinse with water. The foaming cleanser will remove any remaining impurities while keeping skin soft and hydrated.
Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and unclogs pores, allowing your skincare products to absorb better. For dry skin, limit exfoliation to 1-2 times a week and choose a gentle chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid or lactic acid. These exfoliants loosen the bonds between dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover without irritating the skin. Apply the exfoliant after cleansing and before the rest of your skincare routine.
A hydrating toner preps dry skin by adding an extra layer of moisture and soothing the skin. Look for a toner containing hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera or chamomile. Gently pat the toner into your skin with your hands after cleansing. The hydrating toner will soften skin, reduce tightness and create the perfect base for your other skincare products to absorb fully.
For an extra boost of hydration, use a hydrating essence. Essences are highly concentrated with hydrating and skin-softening ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and ceramides. Gently pat the essence into your skin after the toner. The essence will help plump up dry skin cells, reduce fine lines and leave your skin dewy soft. For the most hydrating results, look for an essence specially formulated for dry skin.
If needed, apply a hydrating serum to target specific skin concerns like anti-aging. Hydrating serums for dry skin contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and dimethicone to soften skin and fill in fine lines. Gently pat the serum into your skin before applying moisturizer. The serum, used with the other hydrating steps, will provide intensive hydration and leave your skin glowing.
For an instant boost of hydration, apply a sheet mask 1-3 times a week. Sheet masks deliver concentrated doses of hydrating ingredients to the skin. Look for sheet masks formulated specifically for dry skin and containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera and shea butter. Apply the sheet mask after toner and essence and leave on for 10-20 minutes. Remove and gently pat excess serum into your skin. Your skin will feel plump and dewy soft after just one use.
The delicate skin around the eyes is prone to dryness and fine lines, so don't forget eye cream. Gently pat a rich, hydrating eye cream around the eye area, especially under eyes and in the outer corners. Look for an eye cream containing hydrating hyaluronic acid, glycerin, jojoba oil or shea butter. The eye cream will moisturize, soften and protect the thin skin around the eyes.
The final step is a thick, creamy moisturizer or sleeping mask to lock in hydration overnight. For daytime, use a moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF to protect skin from sun damage. At night, apply a sleeping mask 2-3 times a week for intensive overnight hydration. Look for formulas containing shea butter, jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Your skin will feel soft and supple by morning.
Following a comprehensive Korean skincare routine for dry skin can be a total game changer. By incorporating hydrating ingredients, gentle exfoliation and moisturizing treatments, you'll be well on your way to soft, glowing skin. Use the products and techniques outlined here—like oil cleansing, essences, sheet masks and sleeping masks—to give your dry skin the hydration it craves. While it may seem like a lot of steps, this routine has been perfected to provide maximum hydration and nourishment for dry, sensitive skin. Stick with it and you'll start to see noticeable results like smoother, softer skin, less flakiness and irritation and a dewy glow. Your dry skin will thank you for the extra TLC!