So Just What The Hell is a Serum? An Intro into Korean Skincare

This post is long as fuck. Grab a snack and get settled.

Given all of the cosmetic stores and endless options for skincare in Korea, is it any surprise that many Korean women typically use up to 14-18 different products DAILY on their skin? When it comes to skincare, less is definitely not more. It’s none of this, “I just use a face wipe and that’s it.” business. So what are all the different products that women use? How do they use them? What do they do?! And how do I apply them? Well, I’m here to give you the biz-nass.


A typical Korean (and now my) skincare routine goes a bit like this (and yes, night and day usually require different products):

1. Cleanse: Remove makeup and cleanse the skin. In Korea, double cleansing is the key. First, you have to remove your makeup with a cream/oil based cleanser, then cleanse again with a gentle cream/foaming cleanser.  I actually use coconut oil to remove my makeup, and Aesop’s Amazing Face Cleanser for my second cleansing. I just changed my cleanser in anticipation for the warmer months ahead. Double cleansing is especially important if you wear makeup and BB cream, as both are stubborn to remove with just one wash. If you’re looking for a Korean brand, I recommend Innisfree Real Olive Cleansing Oil, followed by Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Cleansing Foam.

1.5: Exfoliate: Exfoliation is typically not done everyday, hence the 1.5. I’m a huge, HUGE, HUGEEEE fan of exfoliating. There’s really nothing more rewarding than scrubbing away dead skin…or maybe that’s just me. A classic Korean favorite is SkinFood’s Black Sugar Scrub. I currently use Aesop’s Tea Tree exfoliant. It’s a dry powder that you can mix into your regular cleanser and it’s a miracle. My skin was been shining bright like a diamond since I’ve started using it. Most people recommend exfoliating 3 times a week, but I usually do it 4 times. I’ve found that with regular exfoliation, my skin stays super soft, my pores are less visible, and my makeup looks smoother. Wins all around.

2. Tone: Using a toner is incredibly important. Some people think it’s not necessary, but given all of the pollution and the less than stellar air quality in Seoul (and the surrounding areas), it’s pretty much a necessity. Not only does it remove the remaining dirt, grime, makeup, and pollution from your skin, it also preps your face so your serums and moisturizers can be better penetrated into your skin. They also tighten pores and leave your skin nice and refreshed. I recommend (as always) the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner. I switch between that and my Lush Eau Roma Water, depending on how I feel.

2.5 Mask: After toning your skin, you may opt to use a paper/hydro gel face mask. I’ve talked about Korean face masks here. Face masks provide intense active ingredients that can solve a host of problems, including large pores, discoloration, acne, and dry skin. If you don’t want to use a mask, you can skip to step 3.

3. Serum and/or Essence: After your skin is nice and clean, you apply a serum and or an essence. These DO NOT replace your moisturizer. The easiest way to tell the difference between an essence and a serum is that an essence is typically used in the day, as it is a lighter consistency, and a serum is used at night, as it is usually a heavier consistency. So exactly what IS a serum? On a basic level, a serum addresses very specific problems that your normal moisturizer can’t. This may be anti-aging, brightening, skin discoloration, firming, etc. There is a higher concentration of active ingredients in a serum, and this is why they are typically more expensive than moisturizer. The molecules in a serum are smaller than the ones in a moisturizer, which allow the product to sink into the skin more efficiently. A popular serum is the SkinFood Peach Sake Pore Serum.

4. Moisturizer: So now that you’ve cleansed, exfoliated, possibly used a face mask, or used your serum, it’s finally time to moisturize your skin. I cannot tell you how important it is to properly moisturize your skin. Every single skin type benefits from moisturizing. If you have oily skin that is properly moisturized, your skin actually produces LESS oil over time. So, just go ahead and splurge on a great moisturizer that really works for your skin. You’ll thank me later. Personally, I’ve found that using oil free moisturizers are incredibly drying for my skin. I definitely have combo skin (dry forehead, oily nose and cheeks, oily chin), and I’ve found that legit using OIL on my skin at night is the best thing in the entire world. When I bought my cleanser at the Aesop counter, the saleswoman gave me a 2 week supply of Aesop’s Fabulous Face Oil and my whole life has changed. I produce significantly less oil, and when I wake up in the morning, my skin is baby soft and looks like I’ve been asleep for at least 30 hours. Like the article says, it’s expensive as fuck, but since you only use maybe 3/4 drops at a time, it can easily last at least a year. I can get 2 uses out of one sample packet! Those looking for cheaper option can use a a bit of coconut oil. And if you’re still scared to convert to oil (just do it, trust me), I still really love the Etude House Shea Butter Sleeping Pack.

WHEW. So, you’re finally finished with your nighttime routine. And yes, it is a bit intense, but it really only takes maximum 30 minutes, and that’s if you’re including a 15/20 minute face mask. It’s really therapeutic for me to go through all of these steps at night. It’s my little ritual. Taking the time to really and truly take care of your skin makes all the difference in the world.

So, what do you do in the daytime? A daytime routine is typically the same as your nighttime routine, just using different, lighter products.

1. Cleanse using a gentle foaming or cream cleanser.

2. Tone

3. Apply essence (optional)

4. Apply sunscreen. EVERYONE should be applying sunscreen. If you don’t apply a separate sunscreen, make sure that your BB cream or moisturizer contains some SPF. There’s a myth that dark skinned people don’t need sunscreen and that is a lie. If you don’t want to look like a wrinkled carrot when you are forty, use sunscreen. Most of the facial sunscreens in Korea are tinted, so sadly I can’t use them, but, I make sure that my moisturizer contains SPF.

EDIT: So, I received an email from one of my lovely readers asking for sources on why you should apply sunscreen before moisturizer, as SkinCancer.Org recommends that it goes on after. This source is a great position for why it should go on before. I’m not a skincare professional or a doctor, so make whatever decision you’d like based on your research!

4. Apply moisturizer. Your daytime moisturizer is usually lighter than your nighttime moisturizer. I used to use Avene, but they stopped carrying it with SPF, so I’ve been using Uriage Aqua Precis Protective Fluid with SPF 20. I also use Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. Both are really light, yet moisturizing, and great for use under makeup as they dry quickly.

5. Apply primer: If you don’t want your makeup sliding off of your face by noon, a primer is a must. I love Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Primer.

6. Apply BB cream or foundation

7. Apply the rest of your makeup


As you can see, you easily can use up to 18 different products a day. It’s so important to take the time to really care for your skin. I saw vast improvements in my skin when I actually took the time to cleanse and moisturize properly. For me, face wipes just don’t cut it.  Even if you don’t use a bajillion different products, making sure that you are cleansing your face at night EVERYDAY and applying moisturizer is just something that is absolutely necessary. If you aren’t sure where you should start/what type of products to use, remember that in Korea there is a sample for just about everything, even in department stores. Don’t be shy! For example, I’ll go into Innisfree or whatever store, find something that sounds interesting, write it down, and go home to read reviews. If it sounds promising, I ask for a sample. If I like it, I buy the full product. Easy-peasy!

Do you have anything to add? Any questions? Ask away in the comments!

80 Comments on So Just What The Hell is a Serum? An Intro into Korean Skincare

  1. Tiza Haris
    May 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing this!
    I always put moisturizer first then sunscreen every morning, maybe that’s why I still get sunburn in my face. Now that I’ve read your post I’ll change my routine!
    Anyway, I have an oily skin. Do you think I can use Etude House Shea Butter Sleeping pack? I think I may take a chance to have sleeping pact.

    Thanks again :)

    • Sheryll
      May 8, 2013 at 8:45 am (2 years ago)

      I have oily skin and I LOVE the Etude House Shea Butter sleeping pack. Don’t be afraid to moisturize your skin! Plus, you’re wearing it at night, when it has time to really work it’s magic.

  2. Jane
    May 7, 2013 at 10:04 pm (2 years ago)

    awesome post as always, and i’m glad you like innis free’s oil cleanser. it’s my GO TO. it’s also interesting that you do the 2-part cleansing. i only do this about 2-3x a week and i exfoliate with my sugar scrub 2 a wk tops. i really love these posts. nice job!

    • Sheryll
      May 8, 2013 at 8:45 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much Jane! I wear a lot of makeup everyday, so the double cleansing thing is a must! If I don’t, I still have tons of makeup left on. GROSSSSSSSS!

  3. Audrey
    May 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi there. This post is great.

    Question. Where have you found coconut oil in Korea? Immigration made me throw mine away, so I am coconut-less here in Seoul! It is a miracle-worker for the hair, but I never knew it could be used as a makeup remover =]

    -Audrey R

    • Sheryll
      May 8, 2013 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

      Hey Audrey! I actually order my coconut oil online from Shipping is cheap and super fast. It’s much cheaper than trying to find it in Korea. I know that some foreign markets in Itaewon sell it, and I’ve definitely seen it at hifg street market, but the price is such a rip off. If you can’t find coconut oil, olive oil does the same thing!

      • Audrey
        May 9, 2013 at 10:57 am (2 years ago)

        Cool. Thanks!

  4. PA
    May 8, 2013 at 12:39 am (2 years ago)

    Oh my God I always thought I have to put sunscreen after moisturizer! Now I know better….. Thanks Sherryl!

    • n.harv
      May 8, 2013 at 5:02 am (2 years ago)


    • Sheryll
      May 8, 2013 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

      You’re welcome!!!! I’m here to spread the news! Saving skin one post at a time.

      • Shraddha
        March 18, 2015 at 3:54 pm (2 months ago)

        I have a question. As per the Korean skincare routine, you layer products, right? So when you have toner, essence and serum on your skin, you have kinda moisturized your skin in a way. So wouldn’t that interfere with your SPF cream, which you would put on next, even if you choose to put the moisturizer after the SPF? I hope I didn’t confuse you. :)

  5. Melissa @ Suitcase and Heels
    May 8, 2013 at 1:06 am (2 years ago)

    I feel like I’m such a slow starter since I just turned 34 and am only now getting into a proper regimen. I never used to wear make-up much unless I was going out at night and because I had oily skin in my younger days figured that moisturizer would only make it worse. But I’ve since learned. If I could go back in time and give my 16-year old self some advice, it would be to cleanse and moisturize properly…and drink more water.

    My nighttime routine is currently lacking and mostly just consists of me cleaning off my make-up with a face wipe. So sad. Sometimes I follow it up with Lush’s Tea Tree Water (I have acne prone skin and love tea tree products) but it hasn’t been very common.

    Daytime I alternate between Skinfood’s black sugar scrub, their tea tree oil cream cleanser (love!) and Kiehl’s Acai Damage-Minimizing foam cleanser. Then it’s my Olay Touch-of-Sun moisturizer. I like it but I’m currently auditioning new products for this role. I don’t always remember the primer when I wear BB cream but when I do it’s Goodbye Pore-Ever primer from Etude House. This might be a no-no but if I’m wearing foundation and I’m in a rush I mix the primer and foundation together. Seems to work to keep it put.

    I love your make-up and skin care posts. Except now that I’m back in Canada I can’t easily get the Korean products. There’s always online shopping and experimenting with local brands. :)

    • Sheryll
      May 8, 2013 at 8:49 am (2 years ago)

      I had such oily skin as a teen too, and I never used moisturizer too because I thought it would make my skin worse. SOOOO WRONG.

      And I love Korean brands, but lately I’ve been expanding my horizons and trying out stuff that’s a bit higher end. I’m in LOVE with Aesop. It’s sold at Shinsegae here, but I’m pretty sure they have stores all over.

  6. Arielle
    May 8, 2013 at 10:32 am (2 years ago)

    I always enjoy your Beauty articles!
    So do you buy your Aesop products in Korea? If so, where do you obtain them?
    I’m interested in trying them

    • Sheryll
      May 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much! I buy my Aesop products from Shinsegae in Jukjeon. I’m pretty sure there is a counter at most major, upscale department stores. I’ve fallen in love. So far, I’ve bought the cleanser, tea tree exfoliatant, hand balm, body balm, and the rinse free hand wash. All of the products have my seal of approval!

  7. atiqah
    May 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm (2 years ago)

    your post encourage me to take care my skin better..thanks for the infos

  8. Jenna
    May 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm (2 years ago)

    This was so useful! I’ve been terrified to use any of the Korean products that have “oil” in the name (oil cleansers have totally freaked me out) because I have really oily skin, but now I just may give them a try! Have you found any inexpensive moisturizers that are helpful with oily skin??

  9. Sara Pinto da Silva
    May 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm (2 years ago)

    I love your posts so much! Mostly because of the korean brands… I’m obsessed too!
    As all the others, I thought moisturizer was before sunscreen…now the only thing I have to do is remember it before I aply it.

    Best regards from a portuguese girl living in Spain who follows you :)

  10. Adrie
    May 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! This post was really helpful, I have combination skin like yours.
    I’ve heard about the miracles of facial oils, but I was a bit scared. Since my skin gets pretty oily at times, it did’t really make sense to put more oil on my face. But I got a sample of the Innisfree Green Tea Facial Oil, and IT IS AWESOME. I don;t know why I didn’t try this as soon as it came out!
    Oh, and as for sunscreen, I recommend the All-around safe block essence sun milk from Missha. It’s really watery, like a toner, and it’s really light and not so oily on your face!!! If you don’t like the runny kind,
    the Innisfree Aqua Sun Gel is great too! It’s exactly what it name says it is-a light, moisturizing gel sunscreen.
    Both of them are my favorites, and they aren’t tinted!

    • Sheryll
      May 9, 2013 at 11:07 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Adrie! Seriously, using oil on my face has changed everything. It doesn’t make much sense, but somehow it really does work. And thank you so much for the sunscreen recommendations! I really appreciate it!

  11. Anna@TastyShoots
    May 10, 2013 at 3:30 am (2 years ago)

    As a world culture nut AND beauty junkie, I love your blog so much! I’m 35 and my skin has just now gone haywire i.e. dry, red, itchy (enviro allergies), heinous blackheads and patches of cystic acne. Your reviews/recommendations have helped me choose some really excellent products that are slowly helping my skin look and feel good again. (Skinfood Black Sugar mask FTW!!)

    • Sheryll
      May 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Anna! Thanks so much for your comment. I change my products so often (why I’m always doing reviews), but the Black Sugar Scrub is the one thing I keep going back to. I’m glad you like it!

  12. Lissette
    May 11, 2013 at 11:35 am (2 years ago)

    i absolutely love this post! now that the warmer months are coming and summer is approaching quicker than i thought… my face starts to sweat a lot (i had to get those crappy genes). therefore, my face tends to break out a bit more, i get red, and my makeup likes to slide off. trying to look for the perfect face wash and makeup primer. i might give aesop a try cause i believe high end feels better on my skin… between aesop and keihls is there any preference or favorite for my skin?

    • Sheryll
      May 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Lisette! I’m a firm believer in high quality/high end skincare. Aesop is AMAZING. To be honest, I like Aesop more than Kiehl’s, but that’s a personal preference. Aesop’s products are botanical based, so a lot of them are strongly scented, which may or may not be something you’re in to. Kiehl’s is mostly all scent free. I tried the Kiehl’s oil free cleanser and it was WAY too drying on my face, but Aesop’s Amazing Face cleanser is perfect. It’s a very low foam, and it doesn’t dry out my skin at all. I’ve seen Aesop in most high end department stores in Korea.

  13. Pauline
    May 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Just wondering have you ever tried Dr.Jart+ products? I am finding the weather change has given me bad skin but I gave Dr.Jart+ a try and now my skin is getting better and better everyday. I ? it so much now and now I am converted to that brand. Hope one day you can test this brand out. ^^
    bTw, only just started reading your blog stuff, keep up the wonderful blog posts! As they say in Korea ???!

    • Sheryll
      May 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm (2 years ago)

      I haven’t tried Dr. Jart+, but I do LOVE their face masks. The moisturizing one is FANTASTIC!

  14. JU
    May 13, 2013 at 1:11 pm (2 years ago)

    i love your blog! it definitely brings me back to my teaching days in Korea! i totally agree with number of products i end up using daily. Koreans definitely love to layer up on skin care!

  15. Hogga
    May 14, 2013 at 12:48 am (2 years ago)

    wowzas, quite the process!~

  16. wendy
    May 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Sheryll! Came by your blog by pure chance and I am so glad that I found it!!! 😀 😀 😀
    Love this post about skincare routine. XD It’s so true! Caring for your face is crazy tough work. (I think many Korean girls might just use a lot more than 4 or 6 per time, but that’s just a guess…)
    Anyway, I wanted to ask a little bit about Korean cosmetics/ skincare. I know K-anything is all the rage internationally, and I LOVE Etude House. It’s the packaging and all… AND THE PRICE.

    But I just heard from my boyfriend that Etude House is considered cheap, and “not-so-good” in Korea… (Like only elementary and middle high students use it.)
    Is it true? Cos I’m totally devastated. T.T

    As a side note though, paper masks are pretty awesome stuff. Where I come from (SG), we feel that overloading the face may do more harm than good (sometimes, cos you’re skin gets irritated), and masks are like a once to twice a week thing… But I digress. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! Am totally gonna be watching you from now on 😀 <3

    • Sheryll
      May 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Wendy! Thanks so much for your kind comment.

      And your boyfriend is sort of right…I mean, I love Etude House, but I definitely think it’s marketed towards a slightly younger crowd. I live near a University and a high school, and it’s mostly that age group (17-22ish?) using their products. I personally don’t like Etude House Skincare (minus a free items), but I really love their lip glosses and lip sticks.

  17. Linh
    May 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing, I love your blog so much.
    I’m Linh from Vietnam, my friend will go to Seoul next week so I have asked him to buy some Korean cosmetics for me. I have a very oily skin with big pores while my country is really hot (so sad), luckily that my skin tone is light. I want to have a pact that is suitable for my skin and so confused of choosing Skinfood Green Grape Light Pact or Innisfree no sebum pact. Can you suggest me which one I should choose?
    I’m also considering of buying Etude House Goodbye pore primer or Skinfood Peach Sake BB Cream.
    Thanks so much and I’m looking forward to your response.
    Nice day :X

    • Sheryll
      May 19, 2013 at 6:55 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Linh! I’ve never tried a pact as they don’t come in my color, so sadly I can’t recommend either of them. Although, I have to say that I do like Innisfree better than skinfood, if that helps!

  18. Tara
    May 21, 2013 at 3:51 am (2 years ago)

    You’re hilarious, and this post was so informative! I got into the whole Asian skincare routine last year even though I’ve lived in Japan for 16 years! I’m 20 now, and I know that this routine is going to help my skin in the long run. Anyway, thanks a lot for this super helpful post! BTW, do you have any recommendations for places to shop for skin care products in LA? That’s where I’m living for the summer. I recently discovered a Skinfood store in the mall (yay!) but I know its going to be sooo expensive since its imported, and I’m a broke college kid lol.

    • Sheryll
      May 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm (2 years ago)

      Hey Tara!

      To be completely honest, I only got into Korean skincare once I moved to Korea, so I have NO clue where to buy it in LA. A good guess would be one of the two huge Korean shopping malls in Korea Town. One is called Koreatown Plaza, and the other is Koreatown Galleria. I’d bet that at least one of those places would have something! Let me know!!!

      • Tara
        June 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm (2 years ago)

        Hey! Thanks for the recommendations! I checked them both out, and they are EXPENSIVE. My dad recently went to Korea for a business trip and got me a few skin care things and I compared the prices, and the prices here in the states are double (even triple!). For example, my dad got me the Black Sugar Scrub for 7700 won (which I think is about $6.30) and here in the states its almost $20-$30. I saved myself so much money haha. But there’s a Face Shop in Koreatown and Skin Food in every mall I’ve been to, so if I ever run out and happen to have enough money, I guess I could go there to stock up again.

        • Sheryll
          June 25, 2013 at 9:16 pm (2 years ago)

          UGGGGHHH that makes me SO sad. I’m seriously going to ship boxes of cosmetics home when I leave. NO SHAME!

  19. Chloe
    May 22, 2013 at 8:00 pm (2 years ago)

    Would the skin food avocado oil do the job just as well do you think?

  20. Annika
    May 23, 2013 at 1:50 am (2 years ago)

    Wonder why I haven’t ran into your blog before – it’s just way too great !

    I actually visited my friend in Korea about two months back and it was just my luck for my luggage to get lost while flying and stuff. So my Korean friend borrowed me some of her skin care thing thingies and it was quite shocking to listen her introducing her products to me just before going to sleep: “Use this first, then wipe with this, this is very good you really have to use this one next and then you can wash your face. Oh and remember to use these two after properly drying your skin…” “Ehhhm what?”

    She was quite surprised to hear that I only wash my face once before going to sleep haha. Of course the morning routine was a completely different story ~ Next night I had to ask about all those bottles again cause there’s no way I could have remembered all of it :——–D

    • Sheryll
      May 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Annika! Thanks so much for your comment! Isn’t it amazing just how many products Koreans use per day? I totally 100% believe all the hype though because my skin has seriously never looked better. Using a bajillion products a day really does work hahaha!

  21. Yuliya
    May 24, 2013 at 7:45 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you so much for your informative posts! After reading your section regarding Korean cosmetics, I was inspired to completely transform my skin care regimen and buy a lot of Korean products. After only five days I can already see the difference in my skin. Again, thank you for your explanations and good luck!

    • Sheryll
      May 28, 2013 at 12:51 pm (2 years ago)

      Yaaaaaay~~ What did you end up buying?

      • Yuliya
        July 2, 2013 at 5:18 am (2 years ago)

        I bought Innisfree Real Olive Cleansing Oil, Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner, Skin79 Sweet Honey Sugar scrub, a million sheet masks, and a few of Naruko products. I really liked Naruko for oily skin. Have you ever used that brand?

  22. Audrey
    May 27, 2013 at 7:48 am (2 years ago)

    Korean stuff is really awesome..,flying back there to stock up. Anyway anyone tried out cc cream yet? The latest n supposedly better than bb cream.. Can’t wait to try one.
    I was one of the lazy ones that once in awhile sleep with my make up on.. But never since now.

    • Sheryll
      May 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Audrey! I haven’t tried any CC Creams because nothing is in my color here. SADNESS. I have heard of a few people liking them. Apparently the CC stands for Color Corrector so CC creams are like BB Creams but they correct the color of your skin tone. if anyone has tried one and wants to share, reply in the comments!

  23. Rin
    June 7, 2013 at 2:09 am (2 years ago)

    Hello! First time visitor to your blog and I must say, it wasn’t a very good choice…

    The more I read your posts, the more products I’m adding into my shopping cart! >__> You really don’t want to know how many products I bought in a single sitting. You are totally enabling the skincare freak in me! Stop it!

    Ok, that was my wallet speaking.

    Seriously though, I love reading all your reviews, as well as your non-beauty posts! I have also taught English to elementary school children (in Japan) previously, so I understand what you’re going through. But with your supportive colleagues (plus, elementary school children are really a joy to be around), I’m sure you’ll do great :) Fighting! (or hwaiting, as the locals say it?)

    Looking forward to reading your future posts!

    • Sheryll
      June 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Rin! Thanks so much for your comment. It’s so hard living in Korea. A lot of people complain about the beauty standards here, but I really love how everyone takes care of themselves and tries to look their best. I’ve always been obsessed with cosmetics and beauty products, but now it’s even worse! lol!

  24. sherry
    June 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m so embarrassed to say that I have never EVER done any of this to my face. I’m 19 and I don’t know the first thing about about skincare. This post was amazing and very informative! I don’t feel as lost as I was before.

  25. Ty Mullen
    June 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm (2 years ago)

    Hey :) love the blog, have you ever heard of a product called Skincerity? Its a Nightly Breathable masque which cleanses, rehydrates, nourishes, exfoliates the skin, and enhances the attributes of products applied under it by a factor of four. It is truly amazing and it worked wonders for me. Check out my distributor site @

  26. Shamima
    July 2, 2013 at 2:00 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you for this post, I have been fascinated in Korean skincare this year and it is so difficult to find a comprehensive guide as there is so much more to their skincare than what we have in the UK. This has been super helpful, I will definitely be linking back to your blog, please visit me at


  27. Meigen
    July 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Hey Sheryll

    I LOVE your post and since I am new to Korean skincare I wonder if I could ask you would you mind posting a list of all the products you use. I too have oily skin and I honestly have no idea where to start.It would be a great help and thank-you for such an informative post it was awesome and your skin looks AMAZING! :)

  28. Maggie
    July 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm (2 years ago)

    What exact products do you use in your day routine (1-3), if you don’t mind me asking?
    Thank you!(:
    Ps. I just absolutely love your blog. I’m going to visit Korea myself soon! Keep it up! ( Fighting!!)

  29. Rana
    August 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for writing this!
    When I use toner, should I apply it with a cotton ball or just pat it on my face?

  30. Bianca
    August 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm (2 years ago)

    Nice article. just one question. When should I apply Emulsion?

    • Sheryll
      August 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi! Thank you so much for your recommendation. I haven’t seen a place that sells Skin79 here…but then again I haven’t actually looked.

      I’m so glad that the Korean skincare routine is working for you. Any particular products that you are using?!

  31. joanna
    September 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi! Thanks for ur post! I super duper love ur blog and thanks for sharing all the awesome beauty reviews which have helped me alot! :) I live in singapore which is hot & humid all year long. What korean products/brands would you recommend for middle-aged women around 47 yrs old?T hanks in advanced for your help!

    • Sheryll
      September 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Joanna! Well, I asked my older co-workers what brands they liked, and surprisingly a lot of them said non-Korean brands like Chanel and Estee Lauder lol! But they raved about Amore Pacific products, as well as Sulwasoo (crazy expensive though). Another co-worker said that she loves Missha.

  32. Mira
    September 25, 2013 at 3:58 am (2 years ago)

    Hi! OMG I love your post! Totally covers the whole thing on Korean beauty regimen! I just started this regimen so I was blogwalking and stumbled upon this. Thanks so much for sharing! Do keep on posting great reviews on products as I’d love to read them!


    • Sheryll
      September 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Mira! Thanks so much for your comment. I have a ton of reviews in the works so be on the lookout!

  33. elif
    October 2, 2013 at 1:51 am (2 years ago)

    Hi!I have been using JNH halal skin products for almost a month..before this ,I used many brands but none of them worked..but this differs forom the ones I used before..I am wondering if you have heard about this product?

    • Sheryll
      October 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Elif! Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of JNH skin products. How is it working for you?

  34. Martian
    October 2, 2013 at 3:51 am (2 years ago)

    Nice post! I just have a question.

    So after toning, should I put serum first and let it dry for 5 minutes before putting on a mask?
    I know on your post it says mask is on 2.5, which comes first before serum, but I’m just confused because after the mask, there’s some sticky liquid leftover. Should I let it dry before putting on the serum? And I’ve read on some articles that I should use emulsion as well before moisturizer. It’s so confusing! I need your help! LOL. I don’t wear make up, maybe twice a year only haha. Can I skip the any of the steps?

    Thanks in advance! ^_^

    • Sheryll
      October 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Martian! So, after your toner, you should apply serum. If you use a mask, I typically let the essence from the mask dry, and then apply my serum. I don’t really use emulsions, but yes, emulsions would be applied before moisturizers. When in doubt, always apply from the lightest product to the heaviest one!

  35. elif
    October 9, 2013 at 9:06 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi again Sheryl.It has worked well for me..None of the products I have used so far had given me enough moisture until I used this one…but there is one thing,which in the first place I used the moustrizing essence four times a day to get rid of dry skin but later I realised that it resulted a couple of whiteheads in certain parts of my face..I am not sure it caused them though..Because they didn’t put on market some of their products,I haven’t got a suitable moustrizer yet. .moustrizing essence and cell generation essence are the two products I bought at the fair held in I said I dont have a moustrizer, I use the cell generation to keep my skin moustrised…In fact,what Iam wondering about ?f they cause whiteheads or blackheads..on the list,it says essence is all skin types.

  36. elif
    October 20, 2013 at 1:58 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Sheryl..I realized that the essence I have been using since last month gave me a couple of whiteheads.another friend of mine said no matter what essence she used,they gave her pimples,too …I like korean cosmetics maybe essence isnt a right product for the ones with combination skins..what do you think?

    • Sheryll
      October 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Elif,

      Personally, I’ve never had any trouble with using essences, especially the Missha First Treatment Essence. But if you find yourself breaking out from them, I think it’s perfectly okay to stop using them!

  37. elif
    October 23, 2013 at 2:08 am (2 years ago)

    How about emulsion forms?they are lighter than essences,right?thanks for your interest by the way..

  38. Keira
    October 26, 2013 at 2:34 pm (2 years ago)

    Hey, this is really helpful since I’m trying to make the switch to the Korean skin care system. One question, I read somewhere that because primer acts also a bit like a block that when you use a primer under your BB ream that the BB cream doesn’t get to deliver all of its benefits to your skin… do you know anything about this?

    • Sheryll
      November 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Keira! I’ve actually never heard of that before. I’ve never used a BB cream, so sadly I wouldn’t know if it makes a difference or not. I’ll look it up though, because I’m curious!

  39. Amie
    December 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm (1 year ago)

    Thanks for the info!!!! So is there a way you’d recommend going around and buying all these products? Is it easier to just ask around and see if they sell them at stores in the US instead of buying the majority of them online? I want to follow your routine because I pretty much have the exact same skin type as you haha

    • Sheryll
      December 30, 2013 at 9:58 pm (1 year ago)

      Hey Amie! It depends on where you live. I know LA has a huge Korean population, so a lot of products are available there. Check in your area to see if there’s a local Korean store, and maybe you can ask one of the store clerks if they carry anything, and if they don’t, where to get it. I do think that most of the products are sadly available only online though :( :(

  40. Michael
    February 28, 2014 at 9:32 pm (1 year ago)

    Thank you for sharing this, I adopted the Korean skin care philosophy and my life changed. My friends would ask me if it’s not too tiring to apply so many products, but I find it really therapeutic.! And by the way, you are SO beautiful! :-)

    • Sheryll
      March 2, 2014 at 10:52 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks Michael!! And yes, it’s a lot of products, but like you, I find it really therapeutic and soothing. It’s like a spa day everyday!

  41. Gracie
    April 9, 2014 at 1:03 am (1 year ago)

    Hi, Sheryll! I’ve just started converting to a Korean skincare routine after reading about it from blogs such as yours and it’s doing wonders for my parched, combination, sensitive, acne-prone skin! Thanks so much for your very informative posts! I’m currently using most of the Iope Brightgen (Whitegen) line (toner, emulsion, ampoule and cream) while also using the Christian Dior purifying foaming cleanser (it’s thankfully very gentle to my sensitive skin!) and I also use the Iope Bio Essence after toner and before emulsion. This new routine really improved my skin from being riddled with never-ending breakouts to a bright, fresh face. Although, there’s still room for a lot of improvements so I’ll be on the lookout for better products after I use out the current ones I’m using. Thanks again, I really appreciate your blog.

  42. Namahottie
    July 29, 2014 at 10:22 am (10 months ago)

    Hi Sheryll,

    Just found your blog. And it has been helpful and a trip down memory lane (I lived a couple of Asia countries too). I came here by way of your Missha vs SK-II post as I used to use SK-II religiously when I was abroad. Now, I’m looking to get back to it but wanted a cheap solution. Thank you for taking the time to review the Time Essence!!!!

    Also, thank you for this post. I really understand the Korean skin care regime much MUCH better now. Keep traveling and following your heart!!!


  43. Natalie
    November 15, 2014 at 8:58 am (7 months ago)

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve just embarked on a Korean skincare ritual myself (I’m even using eyecream, eck), but I’m still lacking the essence and serum step. You really clarified the difference between the two for me!

    • Sheryll
      November 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm (6 months ago)


  44. Cherie
    December 29, 2014 at 10:09 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Sheryl! Your blog has been nothing but helpful for me! Got a lot of products which you recommended during my recent trip to Seoul. Just one question which I can’t seem to find an answer to.. Can we apply both essence and serum together? or either one is enough? Thanks in advance!

  45. Angela
    February 9, 2015 at 12:52 pm (4 months ago)

    Wow, thanks for this! I’ve been in Korea for several years and am so overwhelmed by the product options! I have a question about toning. I was using the Étude House Wonder Pore too, but found it a little much on the long run for my dry as a desert skin. Any ideas for another good (affordable) exfoliating toner? Thanks!!

  46. Christine
    May 22, 2015 at 12:00 am (1 week ago)

    Great post! Very informative. I do a lot of what you do starting a month ago when I discovered r/asianbeauty. I put sunscreen after everything but I will put it on before now.


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