Ten-Step Korean Skincare Routine? Try Two

I reduced my skincare routine to just two steps, and I’m never looking back.

Isla Na

My nightly skincare routine used to include an oil cleanser to remove makeup, an apricot scrub, witch hazel toner, peptide or green tea seed serum and a moisturizer or facial oil. My morning skincare routine was a little simpler, consisting of a gentle foaming cleanser, witch hazel toner, peptide serum and a moisturizer.

My daily routine was not always so long, but it lengthened as I supplemented it with more products. However, I was growing tired of the extensive process and wanted to go back to the days when I just used a cleanser and moisturizer, so I decided to try simplifying my routine for a week to see if the extra products were actually making a difference.

I settled on just a gentle foaming cleanser and moisturizer in the morning and micellar water on a cotton pad to remove makeup at night, despite feeling a little trepidation. I was scared of how such a drastic change would impact my temperamental skin. My skin is on the drier side and incredibly sensitive to harsh products. I have never had cystic acne, but I do get small, raised bumps all over if my skin is irritated. Nevertheless, I drew a deep breath and dove into the experiment.

I began with relatively clear skin, and I saw no real difference on the first day. Alas, I woke up to dry skin and tiny little bumps all over my cheeks on day two, causing me to wonder if I had shocked my skin with my new routine. I considered adding a cleanser and moisturizer to my nighttime routine but decided against it. I was used to going to bed with squeaky clean skin with sticky cream layered on, but by day four and five, I got used to the feeling of just micellar water on my skin.

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Over the next few days, although my skin still felt dry, the bumps gradually transformed into a few pesky blemishes that quickly disappeared. In the end, my skin appeared just as it did when I began.

Overall, I would say that there was close to no difference in terms of appearance between the five-step routine and the simplified two-step routine. Honestly, the best aspect of this experiment was that I didn’t have to spend 30 minutes washing my face and layering on toner, serums and creams. I just needed two minutes at most to take out a cotton pad, wet it with micellar water and wipe. It made it a lot easier to motivate myself to complete my routine on nights when I was exhausted. I also saved lots of product — and money — with this simplified routine. Before, I used a total of eight products, including some that came with a noticeably high price tag like the Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer Stress Minimizing Daily Hydrator ($40). After reducing, I only needed three.

Really, the only drawback was a slight dryness of my skin. Previously, my skin felt dewy after my last cream. With micellar water, it just felt matte. It is not a deal-breaker; the convenience of the routine is well worth it. Still, I would recommend adding a moisturizer for anybody attempting to replicate this experiment.

I’m definitely going to keep the new two-step morning routine going forward. For the night, I plan to alternate between my usual five-step routine and the micellar water. The less time in the bathroom, the better.

Email Isla Na at [email protected]

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