The Secret To Korean Celebrity Skin

It's no secret that Korean celebrities have the most beautiful skin -- dare I say -- in the world?  It's becoming even more apparent as "Korean Fever" or "The Hallyu Wave" are hitting the globe by storm!  Korean concerts are selling out in every country and dramas are being aired all over Asia as well as Europe and the US, causing Korean pop stars and actresses to gain more recognition and drawing attention to their flawless skin.  I can't help but be in awe every time I watch Korean dramas in high def and can barely see so much as a pore on 30-something Korean actresses.

 Kim Tae Hee

Lee Min Jung

Park Min Young

Shin Minah

What about the pop stars who've been in training since elementary school?  How can they maintain flawless skin as they go through adolecesnse and debut?  It's not like companies can predict their future skin when they're still kids.  So how on earth do they control breakouts even with hours of training and practicing, barely sleeping, and wearing tons of make-up?


Ham Eun Jung



Obviously there's lasers and botox involved, as well as genetics, but there must be some sort of skin regimen for maintenance, right?  A quick google search will bring up several articles regarding the multi-step Korean skin care system -- some with 5 steps and others up to 18 steps.   Many Korean cosmetics actually come in large gift sets containing 5-8 products.  My mom uses a ridiculous $500 skin care system that actually has all the steps numbered.  For instance, the cleanser is referred to as "Number 1" and a serum is "Number 7."

Here in the States, harsh exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels are popular.  But in Korea, being gentle is key and tons of moisturizing is encouraged.  Many women apply daily moisture masks and carry around facial spritzes to keep skin hydrated throughout the day.  Cosmetics ads are everywhere and often endorsed by celebrities -- a commercial featuring an especially popular pop star has even caused certain products to sell out instantly.  It's not uncommon for Korean women to spend $100-200 a month on skincare.

So here it is -- 11 steps to celebrity skin.  Or at least make you feel like a celebrity.  Or maybe just burn a hole in your wallet haha.

Step 1 & 2 : Double Cleansing

1: Make-up removal
An absolute staple in Asian skin care -- if you haven't jumped on the cleansing oil bandwagon then you don't know what you're missing!  These amazing "oils" literally melt away make-up and provide a wonderful massage for your face.  Rinses off clean with water while leaving your face moist and supple.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil
Amore Pacific Cleansing Oil
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
2: Cleanser
If you have tried Korean/Japanese/Asian cleansers, you know they are big on super luxurious foam.  The tiniest blob quickly lathers up and removes any remaining trace of make-up.

Shiseido Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam
Dior Purifying Foaming Cleanser
Kracie Naive Peach Cleansing Foam
The History of Whoo Gong Jinh Yang Foam Cleanser

3: Massage/Pack
This is a critical step which most of us in the US hardly ever practice.  Koreans SWEAR by facial massage -- similar to what you might experience while getting a facial at a spa.  Spending a few minutes massaging a cream or mask into your face increases circulation and stimulates the flow of oxygen.  Any wet mask will work for this -- slowly massage into skin, let sit for alotted time, then rinse off.


Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Massage Pack
Boscia Intensifying Moisture Pack
Dior Hydra Life Beauty Awakening Mask
Cellnique Intensive Soothing & Hydrating Masque

4: Exfoliation (1-2 times per week)  
Going along with the "gentle is better" idea, instead of harsh scrubs, peeling gels or grommages are popular in Asia.  These gels are massaged into the skin until dead skin cells form into balls and are gently buffed away.

Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Etude Magic Bubble Peeling Mousse
Sana Salon De Porejo Peeling Gel
Missha Super Aqua Detoxifying Peeling Gel

5: Toner
You'll notice that Asian toners (also called refiners, softeners, and lotions) are thicker in consistency than those found in Europe or the U.S.  They are almost gel-like and instead of using a cotton ball to wipe off your face, these toners are poured onto the fingers and patted onto the face -- this is to promote adding moisture rather than stripping skin of it.

Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener
Sana Hadanomy Collagen Lotion
Kose Sekkisei Supreme Refining Lotion II
Laneige White Plus Renew Skin Refiner

6. Emulsion
Emulsion is a concentrated moisturizing gel that penetrates deeply into the skin, containing super hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.  These gels are essentially moisturizers that are just lighter in texture and are "emulsfied" or warmed up in between fingers, then patted into the skin.

Holika Holika Bulgarian Rose Emulsion
Laneige White Plus Renew Emulsion
Sulwhasoo Basic Balancing Emulsion
Skinfood Tomato Whitening Emulsion

7: Essence
Choose an essence with the benefit of your choice -- many include whitening or brightening properties.  A popular way to apply essence is in the form of sheet masks.

Hadalabo Shirojyun Arbutin Whitening Essence
Kiehl's Ultimate White Intensive Whitening Essence
Laniege White Plus Renew Essence
Holika Holika Secret Source Hydro Essence

8: Serum
Following a  essence, you'll want an anti-aging serum to keep the wrinkles away.  Again you can choose what problems you want to target -- there are whitening serums, spot reducing serums, anti-oxident serums, and wrinkle serums. These serums are super concentrated and wildly expensive -- averaging $50-150 per tiny bottle.

Amore Pacific Line Modifier Intensive Wrinkle Treatment
Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Serum
L'Occitane Immortelle Dvine Extract Ultimate Youth Serum
Lancome Genefique Youth Activating Cream Serum

9. Eye Serum
Another concentrated serum for the eye area to go under the eye cream.  A bit of overkill if you ask me and another added expense.  But hey -- if you're going all out!  Eye serums will contain stronger doses of ingredients and will penetrate more deeply than creams.

Clarins Advanced Extra-Firming Eye Contour Serum
Dior Anti-Fatigue Firming Eye Serum
Innisfree White Tone-up Eye Serum
Loreal Skin Genesis Eye Serum

10: Eye Cream
After your serum pat on an eye cream of your choice.  A thick cream is preferred to moisturize the eye area and compliment the eye serum.

Skin Food Salmon Brightening Eye Cream
Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream
Kabebo Sensai Silk Moisture Supply Eye Cream
Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream

11: Moisturizer/Night Cream
Seal everything in with your favorite moisturizer!


Whew!  I know it sounds absolutely insane.  I don't know if I could follow this regimen religiously, nor do I think product overload works.  But at the same time, it doesn't necessarily seem to hurt?  I guess prevention is key.  As for the whole essence/emulsion/serum -- I think they are pretty much interchangeable and it doesn't matter which order you use them -- in fact I think using just one of these products should suffice.

Do any of you follow a skin regimen with this many products?  What are some of your favorite items in the categories listed?


Amyboo said...

Thinking about Asian skincare gives me quite a headache. I idolize their skin because they're all quite gorgeous, but it's just so so so much work and so so so much money spent!

Bee Hakchareun said...

Nice review:)
and thank you, now I know what a emulsion is, lol now I can order one online to complete my skin care routine ^__^<3

MariaAndrea van der wall arneman said...

U sure did catch my eye with this 11 step regimen. I hardly can cope on cleanser and tone and my moisturizer which i do daily. The brands recommended or most high end which can be impossible for some of us, without mentioning that those brands are not available in every country, I'm really looking for a serum in a friendly price am just graduated from my bachelor . so i have to start little.

littlelucy said...

I think in the end though, it all comes down to going to your dermatologist. I'm Korean/Canadian and some of my friends who are more Korean than myself go nuts dropping hundreds of dollars at their dermatologist. Even guys :S. As far as I'm concerned they do all the harsh treatments there too. I was shocked to see my friends face after her facial. It was beet red and she had band aids all over her face. If we all spent thousands of dollars at the dermatologist just like the celebrities, who wouldn't have flawless skin. Western culture just doesn't emphasize physical appearance as much. Koreans are super picky and will comment on your appearance as soon as they say hi. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience.

Arianne Cruz said...

can u suggest drugstore brands?

Lina said...

First of all, I need to win the lottery to buy all the products needed!Not to mention that you have to try different brands to conclude which one fits your skin the best and gives you the best results!
I only use cleanser, toner and bb cream.
But if you want a goddess' skin...go for it!
Also I would need at least one hour every morning & evening for all the routine, but that would be my last problem -_-

MEOW said...

i envy korean people's skin!! its so perfect~~~ when i went to korea last year... the tour guide told us that koreans actually get money each year to do 'skin' related treatments.. its part of their benefits! thats probably also why they have such wonderful skin!!!

Jess said...

nice post!!! i can really never follow all those steps coz im that lazy! hahahah! koreans indeed have the best skin...i envy them!

Katherine Tealeaf said...

Doesn't anyone else feel like all these products and chemicals could exacerbate skin problems in the future. Not all korean celebrities have flawless skin either, especially in close up candid photos.

Supergirl said...

Nice post! Was really interesting!
I have to admit, all these ladies in your post has perfect skin! Im jealous!;D
What about these steps.. Well, maybe I could follow all these steps once in a two weeks;D But not more! Just too much for me;D

Rainy Days and Lattes said...

Great tips!!!!!!!! Wow, I must have the worst skin ever compared to these beautiful Korean stars!!!! Gees! That is a TON of stuff. Honestly, eye serum is crazy but whatever works :D haha It's hard to get all these products to penetrate into the skin without spending an hour to let it all set :p

coco said...

beautiful girls !..interesting post !

Jen said...

Nice! I remember googling it at the start of last year.. it made my head spin (the steps to having great asian skin - not the googling part).. my gosh, i saw a 5-step one & it already made me go WTF - I use to be the 'cleanse & go' type .. now I'm the 1,2,3 + 4 & maybe 5 if i have time every week type >.< Thanks for all the recommendations :D

MissFeelo said...

I find this to be too much. I like three/four steps but gah, this just seems to be too much. I've read about this before and tried it out and I don't think i can get the hang out of, though I will say facial massages are the best and we should do them daily!

Anonymous said...

i think most the korean celebs are surgery made. specially the double eyelids thing.

MissTwist said...

oooo nice! I love their skin! they always looks soo young!

Micheala said...

I do know that this but people have to also remember that your skin is never going to look like what the girls have in the pictures. They don't even have that great of skin in real life. This is because all of those photos are photo-shopped! Kind of sucks! But thank you for posting this list. I think I might check some of the eye creams out!


Iyah said...

Dang!! that's alot of steps. I guess I gotta have to.. I want their skin! So flawless :D I sleep so late and torture my skin all the time! Waaahh!! i need that cleansing oil! LOL!

Rinny said...

This is such a great post Kelly! I am so envious of Korean women and their nearly perfect skin. Even the regular, everyday Korean women I've seen seem to have perfect skin! I've tried to add more steps to my regimen but after awhile I start to get lazy haha. I could never do 7-8 items the most, maybe 4-5. Great product recommendations too! There are a lot of things you mentioned that I have been wanting to try for awhile :)

Alex Elkins said...

I do an eight step routine! Cleansing Oil. Cleanser. Massage. Exfoliate. Toner. Eczema Cream at night. Moisturizer and sunscreen in the morning. Sometimes sheet masks too! Also, can you do a post on your mother's routine? It sounds really interesting to have so many steps!!

MuiMui said...

Woah that is alot O_O! Thank you so much for the detailed post! I am envious of Korean skin but now I know they work hard for it >w<!


thanks for this post!! been looking for something like this :)

Skin Lightening Products said...

can i raeach this type ok skin easily?

Sweets said...

Oh Gawd! What a Process! Well lets just say for someone who doesn't do much for her skin, my skin looks pretty

Anonymous said...

Why does my face feels so sticky/oily in the morning after I apply this steps : facial wash, toner, eye-cream, cream/ moisturizer ???
As if the products didn't absorb well into my skin :(

SGWrites said...

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Twitter name : @Itsmesaannaa

Lindsey Bows And Arrow said...

all of those ladies are gorgeous!!

lindsey |

Boutique on Feet said...

LOVE reading about skincare tips! Found your blog through bloglovin and following from

yourstrulypam said...

I enjoyed reading this. I wish I had the time and patience to do this. I know my skin really needs this and I really want flawless skin.

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Honeydewsweat said...

Korean celebrities do have amazing, beautiful skin, and I love Asian beauty products. Although, I doubt I'd be dedicated enough to go through this whole routine! Plus the expenses these women have! Perhaps using a few key products will suffice for me haha ~.~ By the way, love your blog and I'm now a new follower ^_^

Mia said...

First I wanna say that my first time seeing those celebrities I went awwww too but then I got to know that they went to skin specialist every was absolutely can maintain a perfect skin..btw,these gals got photoshopped in the first place..not every of them got the best skin without skin maintenance..after all female Korean stars are taking beauty as a part of business too..but then..some of them really have beautiful skin though..

Br8kgirl said...

beautyfull :)

janisj said...

OMG...11 steps...but for goddess like skin u definitely need that kinda effort...just stumbled on your blog and loving it!!!

Anonymous said...

oh my god so many steps!
I guess I need to start re-doing my face routine than xD
thank you for sharing!!

MeiLin said...

Nice post! I bought a set of 7 products =.= from Tony Moly as well but doesn't make much difference. Then I came to know that the celebrities, and those Koreans who are really concern bout their skin visit dermatologists weekly (same goes to dentist, hair stylist, manicurist etc). So yea, they always look flawless... I wish I got the money too Hahah.

confusedyoungadult said...

hiiii i am asian too and i am pretty proud of my skin. it doesn't take alot of time or money actually.

use honey masks and rinse off with milk.
milk is the best! drink some too
also drink alot of water and once a week try putting on some cucumbers :-) to keep it fresh

as for tony moly they are not there to remove any blemishes , they do how ever make ur skin glow after applying.

try masks as well. u know those white ones that when u put on u look like a ghost ^^

try it guys it really works :D it did for me and countless of my friends

-korean girl

Rihaf said...

I just wash with cleansing foam and then go to bed.
Maybe I can do their long-ass skin care regiment for once in a while when I have time, but definitely can't do it for lifetime.

Ain't nobody got time fo' dat....

Jannatun Leoam said...

Korean Celebrity Skin is really so so smooth ! Thanks for sharing the secrete
that why Korean Celebrity Skin is beautiful !
I highly appreciate this post .....
Really helpful for care skin !
Thanks a lot !

Jeevan Neviah said...

Thank you for sharing the post. Best Skin Doctor

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