Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the Korean skincare routine, you might be left with a few questions. One of the most common concerns for beginners is the order in which to apply skincare products.
“Should vitamin C come after my toner?”
“I have two ampoules in my routine, which one should I apply first?”
Don’t get overwhelmed, we’re here to end the confusion once and for all. Here, we present a nifty guide in how to order your products to make the most out of ‘em.
When it comes to cleansing (including actives)…
Double cleansing is straightforward — use an oil-based cleanser before a water-based one. Most of the confusion has to do with layering your actives/exfoliators. The rule of thumb here is to apply in order of lowest to highest pH, which means applying vitamin C first, then BHA, and then AHA. Doing so allows the ingredients to work their best magic on your skin. HOWEVER, we generally do not recommend using all three in a single routine because over-exfoliation is a pain to deal with. If you really want to use both vitamin C and AHA, for example, what you can do is to apply one in the morning and the other in the evening. Fairly simple, huh?
(Note: There are some products that you can use together, such as the By Wishtrend Acid-Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser and By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water. Both of them contain actives, but very gentle ones and at relatively low concentrations. The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop and the Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is a popular combination too. We know, we know — it gets a little complicated at this point, but the most important thing to remember is that mixing actives depends on two things — the concentrations of the actives and your skin’s sensitivity. If you’re a beginner, best to stick to one first, and then gradually add more actives to your routine.)
When it comes to toners, essences, serums, ampoules…
Now comes the fun part! The pampering category is where we say you go crazy — in a good way, of course! Depending on what your skin needs, you can have multiple essences, serums, or ampoules in your skincare shelf, each for a specific skin concern. The guideline here is to apply in order of thinnest to thickest consistency — no matter what the product is called! ‘Cause frankly, you can have a “serum” that’s thicker than an “ampoule”. Applying from thinnest to thickest allows the skin to fully absorb each and every product. Really, it doesn’t make sense to apply a thick cream first, because doing so makes it difficult for toners and essences to absorb into skin.
And that’s it! If you have more questions, leave ‘em down below so we can answer them in a blog post.