Posted on by Beautihara Team

Three industry experts weigh in.

Bear with us, friends. It’s no real surprise that when it comes to talking beauty, the conversation almost always lands on some exotic—nay, crazy—concoction that has made its way from the East. You know those snail-infused sleep masks you’re obsessed with? Or that oil cleanser you use every a.m. and p.m.? Or the brightening serum responsible for your glow? All Asian imports. You gotta admit, when it comes to skincare, they’re onto something.

Sure, it’s likely due to the fact that they’ve been up to it since, oh, let’s say 700 BCE, and have been busy passing down their techniques since then. While the likelihood that our brains could compute centuries’ worth of skincare data is, well, questionable, it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try (big emphasis on try, here, guys).

If you haven’t gleaned over countless multistep K-beauty articles by now (we’re going to ignore the fact that you’ve been living under a rock), here’s the gist of it all: Getting porcelain-like skin is all about cleansing (twice to be thorough), hyper-targeting skin issues (that’s where most of the steps lie), and protection (SPF. Duh). We might be simplifying a bit, but we’re trying to ease you into it, OK?

What we’ve learned is that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all-type deal, nor is it that difficult. To help you (and us) mine the hotbed of info, we went to the experts to tell us why it’s actually worth your time and money (just think about how much you’ll save on concealer).

The Fundamentals:

1. Oil cleanser

Oil cleansers are an essential step for all skin types. They remove oil-based debris such as makeup, sebum, and soot.

2. Foam cleanser

This is the second part of the double cleanse, which is necessary to thoroughly clean your skin at the end of the day. Foaming cleansers remove water-based debris such as sweat and dirt.

3. Exfoliator (optional)

Not to be used daily, exfoliating renews your skin by scrubbing away dead skin cells.

4. Toner

This softens, moisturizes, and preps your skin to better absorb the essences and serums to follow. It also resets your pH balance after using the cleansers.

5. Essence

This typically contains an active ingredient that optimizes your skin’s natural cell turnover rate—think skin regeneration.

6. Serum

A more concentrated version of an essence, usually thicker in consistency. Different serums can hyper-target skin issues and are meant to be layered.

7. Sheet mask

A mask is sometimes used in place of an essence.

8. Eye cream

This is meant to hydrate and protect the skin around the eyes.

9. Sleeping mask

Apply this to intensely hydrate and restore firmness as you sleep.

10. SPF