My Korean Skincare Routine for Nighttime

By Sylvester Sy
13 Min Read
Korean Skincare Routine for Nighttime 02

At night, our skin absorbs the nutrients from our skincare products better than during the day. Which is why our nighttime skincare routine is really important.

My pre-bedtime skincare routine normally starts with double cleansing. It might sound redundant, but it works. Oil and water don’t mix so basically our normal way of cleansing our skin won’t do much against the excess sebum or makeup (which is mostly oil-based). If you use a lot of products or go outside all day, dirt and pollution will accumulate on your skin too.

I personally start my skincare routine using a cleansing oil before using a gentle cleanser.

Step 1: Oil-Based Cleanser

I’ve been using the Nature Republic’s Forest Garden Cleansing Oil for a few months now since I started doing double cleanse. I’m actually on my 3rd bottle. I usually apply about 3-4 pumps onto a dry face and massage with two fingers in an upward and outward circular motions. This will let your cleanser reach deep into your pores and boost circulation to give your skin that glowing look. Then, rinse off the oil cleanser with lukewarm water.

Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oil
Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oil

Cleansing oils are water soluble so when you wash the oil off, it will emulsify and become milky when you add water. It can help balance your skin and prevent it from over producing oil since it’s not stripping your skin of it’s natural oil.

Step 2: Cleanser

Second cleanse goes deeper and helps to completely remove any last traces of buildup. It wouldn’t be a double cleanse without a good cleanser. As of the moment, I’m using COSRX’s Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. I really love this product because it’s super gentle on my skin and perfect for double cleansing. This cleanser has BHA that gently removes dead skin cells and improves skin texture, along with tea tree oil that helps diminish blemishes for a clearer complexion and a softer, fairer skin.

Skincare Tip #1: If you feel your skin is too tight after washing your face with facial wash, it only means that you’ve stripped your skin of its natural oils. You’ll want to make sure that you are only removing the gunk and leaving everything else that is good for your skin.

Step 3 (Optional): Apply A Face Mask

There are different kinds of face masks, and what they all have in common is that they’re meant to supplement our skincare routines. Just like serums they deliver more concentrated ingredients and target specific skin concerns. Make sure to always research the type of face mask you are planning to use, and always follow the directions on the packaging.

The best kind of face mask for men, is a clay mask. This mask uses ingredients like clay and mud to deep cleanse your pores and remove built-up dirt, oil and debris.

Related Article: Multi-Masking: The Latest Skincare Craze

Step 4 (Optional): Exfoliate Your Skin

Exfoliation is definitely an important part of skincare because it gets rid of dead skin cells that stick around on the surface of our skin where they can clog our pores and make our skin look dull. If you are going to exfoliate, make sure not to overdo it. It’s recommended to exfoliate our skin once a week. Also, avoid using scrubs that can be too harsh to your skin, for where micro-scratches and broken capillaries become common issues.

Step 5: Toner

Toners are great for balancing the skin’s pH while prepping your skin to better absorb the next products in your skincare routine.

There are 4 different ways to apply toners

  • The most common way is applying toner with a cotton pad. This can be great because it can help remove some oils on your face while giving you mild exfoliation. However, you could be wasting a lot of product on the cotton pad this way.
  • The next method is applying toner using your fingers. This method is great if you have dry skin. Simply use your hands to apply toner on your face. The transfer of heat also helps your face to absorb the product better.
  • You can also apply your toner as a DIY facemask. Get a cotton pad–a large rectangular one would be best but you can also make use of a compressed face mask and soak it with the toner of your choice. Then, apply on your face and wait for 10 minutes. This method is really good if your face is dry in certain areas and you want that extra glow.
  • The last method of applying toners is by spraying it on your face. Some toners actually come with a spray nozzle like the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. I personally like toners with a spray nozzle because I find it easy and more sustainable than using cotton pads. When you are done, remember to press the product into your face to increase the absorption.

Step 6: Sheet Mask (Optional)

I usually skip this step, but sometimes when I feel like I want to pamper my skin, I resort to Nature Republic’s sheet masks. They are inexpensive compared to other sheet masks available in the market.

Sheet masks are the simplest and fastest way to hydrate our skin. Whenever I use this product, I make sure my face is freshly cleansed and toned to maximize its benefits. Keep in mind that leaving your mask on for longer than the instructed time can actually make your skin worse. This is because when it dries up too much, reverse osmosis can happen and moisture can be sucked back out of skin into the dry mask. So make sure to remove it while it’s still damp with essence. Do you know your skin absorbs products better when it is damp?

Face Republic Sheet Mask
Face Republic Sheet Mask

Skincare Tip #2: Use your sheet masks cold (in the fridge) because the cold temperature will further stimulate the blood circulation in your face, improving the overall absorption and will give you an extra refreshing feeling. It also helps reduce puffiness. I also use my crystal facial roller while wearing a sheet mask.

Step 7: Serum / Essence / Ampoule / Oil

Now, this step depends on my skin needs whether it’s delivering moisture, combating wrinkles, brightening the skin, plumping it, rejuvenating it, nourishing it, and so on.

Personally, I love using a serum or essence that hydrates like the COSRX’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. I also use The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% which actually helps in minimizing large pores, brighten and clear my skin.

Since our skin changes in time, with the climate, season, or age, it’s really good to be aware of our skin. Skin irritation or sensitivity can happen any time, so I often change the products on this step.

Step 8: Eye Cream (optional)

The skin that surrounds your eyes is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face. It tends to lose moisture quickly and easily so it needs more concentrated ingredients to keep your eyes looking fresh. However, it can be sensitive to regular face creams. Eye creams are often formulated with ingredients that are less likely to have an adverse effect on our eyes, and contain enough active ingredients that may help reduce wrinkles and fine lines. I personally use COSRX’s Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream. I really like this product. My under eye area looks smoother, more hydrated, and brighter. Snail secretion filtrate is actually a great anti-aging ingredient. This eye cream contains 72%, and also has 5 types of peptides and niacinamide.


Skincare Tip #3: When it comes to applying eye creams around your eyes, you should always use your ring finger, as this is the weakest finger that applies least pressure. After all, too much strain on the sensitive area can cause wrinkles.

Step 9: Moisturizer

When applying moisturizer you should also apply it on your neck. I know that this can be an afterthought for some but keep in mind that the first signs of aging appear on our neck. I sometimes extend it to my chest as well.

I first apply COSRX’s Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion (with birch sap) and then apply COSRX’s Advanced Snail 92 All in one Cream especially in the summer when I need extra moisture. Then followup with an overnight sleeping mask. I’ve been using COSRX’s Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask. I really love this product! This is also the last product I use to lock all of the beneficial ingredients.

To be honest, I’m really quite new to this type of leave on mask but so far it really works wonders in giving my skin that extra boost while I’m sleeping.

Skincare Tip #4: An overnight face mask can help repair any skin concern while you’re getting your much-needed beauty sleep. Which is really important, especially for people working on the night shift (graveyard shift).

Bottom Line

Well, there you have it, my full nighttime skincare routine. I don’t really follow all the steps on a daily basis. It actually depends on the need and the time I have but as much as I can, I try to do all of these 3 times a week. Otherwise, I’ll just do my basic night time routine without all the optional steps.

A healthy skin starts from within, so drinking wheatgrass juice can also help you to detoxify your body and give you a healthy glowing skin. Read More: How to Get Glowing Skin from the Inside Out


Tell us about your skincare routine! What works for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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