(Photo: Stylenanda)

The 10-step (11? 12? A million?) Korean skincare routine has been covered here, here, here, here and here. So if you know beauty, you’ve definitely heard about the elaborate Korean skincare routine. Some of the skincare products in this gift guide are cult-faves that all Koreans know about, some of these are personal favorites and some of these have been featured on the insanely popular Korean TV show Get It Beauty. GET. EXCITED.

(Related: Skip Vs Buy: Your Guide To Which Korean Beauty Products From Urban Outfitters To Try)

1. Cleansing Oil

NatureRepublicOilCleanser Nature Republic Forest Garden Chamomile Cleansing Oil ($23.99)

If you use makeup on a regular basis, chances are you’re not going to remove all of it using just a cleanser. That’s where oil cleansers come in. Oil cleansers literally make your makeup melt off your face without all that tugging of the skin. Of course, some Korean women will do a triple cleanse with makeup removing sheets at the first step, but I find that unnecessary.

2. Cleansing Foam


AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Cleansing Foam ($50)

All you did with the oil cleanser is remove the makeup – in other words, you didn’t CLEAN your face. Foam cleansers thoroughly clean without drying out your skin. This is also a good time to massage your face to increase blood circulation.

3. Toner


Innisfree Green Tea Pure Skin Toner ($19.50)

Toners. Such a simple word, so much confusion. Think of toners as the last step of your cleansing process – it removes any residue left over from your cleanse. Different toners also target different things and most importantly, they help prep your skin for the the next steps.

4. Sheet Masks


Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Mask (10 masks, $130)

Many Koreans will apply sheet masks 2 or 3 times a week. It’s a fun way to add variety to your routine without changing the core of it, which is great if you’ve got a skincare routine that works for you.

Click to the next page for fermented skincare products, ginseng cream and anti-aging miracles.

5. Essence/Serum

Sum37essence SU:M37 Secret Programming Essence ($84)

Essential, essential, essential. Essence speeds up your skin’s natural cell turnover rate, leaving you with glowing, revitalized skin. Just pat, pat, pat and let the magic happen.

6. Ampoule


CNP Propolis Energy Ampule ($29)

Ampoule has yet to be incorporated into mainstream Western beauty vocab. All that you have to know is that it’s a super-concentrated version of an essence or serum. (If you were to list those three in order of highest to lowest concentration of ingredients, it would be ampoule then serum then essence.) Since you’ve already applied the essence or the serum by this step, you can narrow down your focus to target specific skin problems, such as aging or unevenness.

7. Eye cream

SU:M37 Water-full Timeless Water Gel Eye Filler ($85.80)

Some of us might not have crow’s feet yet, but I’m sure we’ve all been victims of puffy eyes or dark circles. Just remember not to tug the skin around your eyes when applying eye cream.

8. Anti-aging cream


Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream ($220)

Koreans start using anti-aging products in their early twenties. (Think about how your skin might be affected by all that pollution and dietary/lifestyle habits!) You could forego an anti-aging cream for a night cream, but just make sure not to skip this extra moisturizing step. Night creams keep your face moisturized and dewy all night long.

Do you have a favorite Korean skincare product? Tell us in the comments!