Great Skin in 8 (or More) Steps

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great skin

‘a face mask is always a good idea for your skin’

Describe great skin…I’m sure words like firm, even tone, glowing, smooth texture, minimal pores would have crossed your mind for a moment. The thing is everyone wants great skin. The reality is, for the majority of us mere mortals, great skin is a little difficult to come by. So, the question is how do we achieve this seemingly allusive feat? Well, we do what we often do when our searches have reached an end. We look outward. With the recent increased interest in Eastern skincare (more specifically in countries such as South Korea and Japan), we look at the not-so-secret Korean multi-step routine. If your current skincare routine is leaving a little to be desired, you may want to consider this approach. Read on for great skin…

The Steps

Makeup remover (oil cleanser) 

Makeup removal is the first part of a two-step process, aptly named double cleansing. First, use a cleansing oil to remove all of your makeup (or if you don’t wear makeup, this also effectively removes stubborn SPF).

Removing makeup first then cleansing your skin, as opposed to just cleansing your skin once allows the skin to be thoroughly cleansed ensuring you’re not just rubbing makeup around your face.

In a pinch, any plant oil (think olive oil, sunflower oil) works. As an alternative, micellar water also works as it contains cleansing oil particles in a water-like solution. Gently rub into the skin to dissolve makeup then wash away (or wipe away using a face cloth).

Water-based cleanser 

The second part of double cleansing requires you to clean your (now makeup-less) face again. For this, you’ll need a water-based cleanser. To check if it’s water-based, one of the first ingredients on your cleanser’s ingredients list should be ‘Water’ or ‘Aqua’. Foaming or non-foaming works depending on your skin type.

To use, rub your skin in circular motion (paying attention not to drag downwards) for 60 seconds then wash away. Pat skin dry to continue your routine. The two products work in synergy: the oil cleanser moisturises and softens the skin whereas the water-based cleanser removes any residue left behind, without stripping the skin.

great skin

Via Flickr: projectgora

Toner (lotion or mist)

Traditionally, a toner preps the skin for moisturiser. In this case, it does this as well. It also balances the skin’s pH and is one of the many steps that adds moisture back in to the skin. For this step, you’ll want to use an alcohol-free formula, with hydrating ingredients such as glycerine, honey, rosewater or green tea. Either dampen a cotton pad and gently wipe across the skin or mist across your face.


An essence is best described as a mixture of a toner and a serum. This thick liquid is a staple in multi-step routines, loved for its active and unique ingredients such as snail mucin, royal jelly, propolis and fermented extracts that nourish and regenerate skin cells. Essentially, it’s good skin in a bottle. To use, pat onto skin. Over time, you’ll notice brighter skin that just seems to glow. 

Treatment (aka serum or ampoule)

Treatments do exactly that, treat the skin. They are packed with active ingredients that can be used to specifically target different skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, dehydration or blemishes. Choose your treatment of choice to custom to your skin type and concern. Layer if necessary to provide a greater effect if necessary.

Eye cream

The skin around your eyes is usually thinner. An eye cream provides moisture without clogging the skin (which can lead to milia). When applying eye cream, it’s important to use your ring finger to tap in the product (to avoid tugging on the delicate eye area).


Pretty self-explanatory, right? However moisturisers are an important part of the multi-step skincare routine as it locks in the previous layers of moisture. Depending on your skin type, this will determine the texture you favour (thick, light or gel). Gently rub onto skin in upward motions or pat onto skin until absorbed.

great skin

Via Flickr: projectgora


Everyone wonders how to keep your skin looking great. The answer is in this little bottle. SPF is one of the best ways to protect your skin against harmful UVA/UVB rays which could lead to premature ageing (but more importantly skin cancer). For decades, it has been an essential in Asian skincare routines and finally we (in the US and UK) are recognising the importance and implementing it into our daily routines. For best protection, choose SPF 30 or above.

Bonus Treatments

The steps are essential to the multi-step routine but not necessary for everyday…


Regular exfoliation is essential for healthy skin. You need to slough off dead skin in order for the newer skin to reap the benefits of the essences and treatments you’ll be using. This can be in the form of physical exfoliants such as scrubs or chemical exfoliants such as glycolic, salicylic or lactic acid. Pick your treatment of choice and use 1-3 week depending on your skin type or need. If you are using chemical exfoliants, always be sure to use SPF as they increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Masks (sheet masks/sleeping masks/clay masks)

In whatever form, a face mask is always a good idea for your skin. Clay masks de-clog the skin and are good every few weeks to reduce congestion and improve skin texture. Sheet masks, which have become quite popular over the years are a great way to impart moisture onto your skin (without needing to wash it off). They can be used as often as you think is necessary (some women are known to use them every day). Lastly, sleeping masks are essentially thick moisturising masks that you apply at the last step of your evening routine. Get ready to wake up with soft skin…

great skin

Via Flickr: projectgora

The main takeaway of the multi-step routine is…

  • Treat your skin like a baby. Be gentle as it’s the only one you’ll get.
  • Focus on layering your products. Lighter multi-layers are better than one thick layer.
  • No matter your skin type, embrace moisture and hydration for better skin instantly.


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