10 Step Korean Skincare Routine For Dry Skin: Hydrate & Protect

10 Step Korean Skincare Routine For Dry Skin: Hydrate & Protect

This is the third post of our “10 Step Korean Skincare Routine” series. Previously, we’ve addressed the oily skin and normal skin, provided solutions for sebum control and skin brightening. In this post, we’ve put together a 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skins.

When we age, the collagen production and ceramides in our skin reduces and our skin slowly loses its ability to retain water. This leads to the skin becomes dry and often lack of elasticity and radiance, with severe cases of rough or flaky skin. Therefore, in this routine, we’ll look to replenish the hydration from deep within the skin layer, repair the skin barrier to prevent excessive moisture loss, and incorporate antioxidants to help plump up the skin and resist the signs of aging.


As with any other skincare routine, we start with proper, non-drying cleansing. Dry skins could either have a thick layer of dead skin cells which blocks moistures from entering and becomes dry from within. These people usually have a thin layer of oil on the surface, but the skin below is dry, dull and deflated. For these people, it’s important to exfoliate regularly, either once a week or a fortnight, to keep a healthy skin barrier and dead skin cell layer.

The other type of dry skin tends to be more delicate. These people usually have a thinner skin barrier, thus losing the ability to retain moisture. These people could experience rough patches, redness, itchiness and soreness. For these people, cleansing should be as mild as possible and should avoid over-cleansing. For some, you could even skip the morning cleansing by using lukewarm water only or a toner wash.

Step 1: Mild Cleansing

I’ve skipped the makeup removal step here. However, if you wear sunscreen or makeup, always use an oil-based cleanser, such as a cleansing oil or a cleansing balm first.

For water-based cleansing, nothing beats the Real Barrier Cream Cleansing Foam when it comes to mild and non-drying cleansing. This cream to foam cleanser is ultra gentle, yet effective at keeping the pores clear.

This cleanser has a slightly acidic pH, which helps to balance the skin and strengthen the skin barrier. It’s infused with Sunflower Seed Oil, Ceramide, Broccoli Sprout Extract and Centella Asiatica to hydrate, soothe and repair the skin barrier, leaving the skin soft and moist.

Step 1: Toner Wash

A toner wash is when you mix toner with water and wash your face with the diluted solution. Toner wash has the benefit of preventing the skin from getting stipped by a traditional cleanser. Comparing to water, it has the power to “de-grease” the skin by melting away the oil on the skin’s surface. However, toner wash does not offer the same level of cleansing power as a traditional cleanser, therefore, should only be used in the morning where your skin is relatively clean.

This toner from Nacific is highly concentrated with 89.9% Calendula Officinalis Flower Water, which is naturally hydrating and anti-inflammatory. It also contains Papaya Enzyme and Malt Enzyme to gently mellt away the grease on the skin.

Step 2: Exfoliating

$25.00 $22.00 AUD

When the dead skin cell layer gets thick, it blocks the skincare products from penetrating into the deeper layers of your skin. Therefore leaving the skin dry and lack of energy. This is when exfoliation comes into play. By removing gently the excess dead skin cells on the surface, the skin becomes more breathable, balanced and better at absobing the skincare products.

Exfoliation doesn’t mean to scrub off your skin’s top layer. In fact, you want to protect the skin’s natural barrier by not using a harsh scrub.

This peeling gel from Pyunkang Yul is extremely gentle but effective. It contains BHA, which helps to loosen up the sebum wihin the pores. Once applied on the skin, it combines with the sebum on your skin, turns into a rubber dust kind of texture. Massage this over the nose and T-zone area to get rid of dead skin cell and sebum build up.

Your skin will feel refreshed and revived after using this.

Step 3: Wash-off Mask

$39.00 $25.00 AUD

This is a bonus step but will make your skin feel so much better. This Rose Calming Mask from Isntree is extremely soothing to use. It is a gel wash-off mask, instantly cooling and hydrating when applied to the skin. The natural rose aroma delivering a relaxing and indulging experience. 

While rose is naturally hydrating and brightening, this mask also contains 7 amino acid complex and Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and replenish the skin barrier.

Use this mask after cleansing for 1~2 times a week.

Hydrate & Protect

As this skincare routine is designed for dry skins, it’ll include a few more steps in the hydration and moisturisation department. We’ll layer a few products to replenish the moisture within the skin, as well as preventing the moisture from leaving the skin too quickly.

Step 4: Toner

After cleansing, we’ll start with a lightweight but deeply hyrating toner. This toner from Real Barrier has a slightly more viscous texture than water. However, it penetrates right into the skin layer, leaving the skin soft and conditioned. 

This toner contains 5 types of hyaluronic acid, Panthenol, Beta-Glucan, Ceramide. and Atopalm’s patented MLE formula to relieve the skin from dryness. This toner not only hydrates the skin, but also retains the hydration and build on the skin’s barrier.

Step 5: Essence

This is a serum-like essence. It’s lightweight enough to penetrate into the skin but not too heavy that blocks the following skincare steps. This essence contains 8 types of hyaluronic acid with different molecular weights, penetrating to different depths of the skin layer and hydrates from within.

The lightweight formula is quick absorbing and doesn’t feel sticky on the skin. Hyaluronic Acid will help to plump up the skin as it absorbs moisture, making the skin more elastic and radiant.

Step 6: Serum

$35.00$65.00 AUD

Choosing an oil can be difficult for dry skins, because oils can be occlusive, preventing moistures from entering into the skin and causing the skin to become drier. This oil serum from Urang is a lightweight dry oil, that penetrates into the skin rather than sitting on the top. It adds the much needed moisture that’ll last longer than water-based products.

This oil serum contains only 4 ingredients, with the main component being Green Tea Seed Oil, which is a super antioxidant that helps to free radicals and brighens the skin.

Step 7: Moisturiser

$52.00 $49.00 AUD

For dry skins, the mission is to find a moisturiser that’s able to retain moisture within the skin but not overly occlusive that suffocates the skin and blocks moisture from entering. Real Barrier’s Extreme Cream offers both. In fact, this cream has the longest hydrating power amongst all other creams we’ve tried.

It has a buttery soft texture that’s adds hydration, without being greasy, and provides long lasting moisturisation. 

Step 8: Eye Cream

$8.00$55.00 AUD

Use an eye cream to help delay the signs of aging. This eye cream is lightweight yet moisturising enough. It contains peptides to effectively reduce fine lines and lifting the eye area.

Step 9: Sheet Mask

Using a sheet mask will help to increase your skin’s hydration level, making them plump and elastic. This sheet mask from Dewytree is free from nasties and additives. It contains only 9 ingredients, 45% being Birch Sap Juice, which is highly hydrating and helps to retain moisture within the skin. It also contains papain, a natural enzyme to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin.

You could use the sheet mask in place of the toner/essence step.

Step 10: Sealant

The above steps should suffice your dry skin needs on a daily basis, but when the weather gets cold and dry, you might need a bit more help. This is when a sealant comes to play. This type of product will form a film on top of the skin, slowing down the process of moisture loss over time. 

Pyunkang Yul Balancing Gel is a unique product of its kind. Its glue-like texture helps to seal the moisture within the skin for an entire night.

Apply the sealant at the very last of your nighttime skincare routine to prevent your skin from getting dry overnight. Other choices include Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule or sleeping masks.

Final Words

It’s important to recognise that our skin is changing with internal and external factors. For example, younger people tend to produce more sebum and have oilier skins, whilst older people tend to have drier skins. But these are just stereotypes. Assess your skin’s condition regularly, feel its needs and tailor the products to address those needs. This way, your skin will always be happy.

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