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Lighten up your skincare.
The hottest season of the year has officially arrived and that means your Korean skincare routine has to change. The products you use in your routine will vary in consistency and you don’t want to slop on thick serums and creams, waiting hours for them to dry.
Since the heart of the Korean skincare routine is in layering products, that just won’t do. You can cut down to a simpler routine, but in my experience, I’ve found that swapping out my gel toners for water-based ones and my denser creams for thinner formulas yields better results. Since there’s more humidity in these months, you don’t need the same amount of moisture you would in winter–but you do still need it!
Some of my favorite summer skincare products are also inexpensive, so you don’t need to drop a ton to add them to your skincare wardrobe. While having skincare products for each season may seem excessive to some, your skin will thank you for giving it exactly the care it needs the most!
Best Korean beauty products for summer
While the density of a Korean beauty cleanser isn’t as important as swapping out some of your other steps, it is nice to have one that’s cooling in the hot months. Micellar water is an ideal swap since Micellar particles do their job by drawing out impurities, dirt, and sebum–good not only for summer skincare but also after a visit to the gym! The Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Water from NEOGEN not only boasts a low pH (5.5-6.5) but also contains Centella Asiatica extract and Madecassoside to calm redness. Splash it on with your hands or use a cotton round to wipe your face down and you’re good to go. No rinsing needed!
Price on Amazon: $20
While I’ve taught you in the past that Korean beauty toners tend to be more viscous than American ones, there are some exceptions. This one from the beloved Missha Time Revolution line is one of them, and it’s a must-have for a summer routine. It contains three powerhouse ingredients: AHA, which will help you to shed dead skin cells; BHA, which softens skin; and fermented yeast extract, which brightens your complexion and leaves deep hydration behind. It’s the ideal product to follow up your cleansing steps, and the 250 ml bottle lasts a long time. You may even have enough for two summers in a row!
Price on Amazon: $16
Thick essences are great in cold temperatures, but they take a million years to dry once the weather gets warm. The Korean beauty routine is long enough as it is, so you don’t want to be waiting forever for a layer to dry. Enter the Jeju Lava Seawater Deep Essence, which provides thorough moisturization without the density of thicker products. A little goes a long way, and it absorbs within a few seconds (even faster if you’re patting it in with your hands). It also has anti-aging properties, so it’ll make your skin brighter and smoother-looking.
Price on Amazon:$26.26
Emulsions can be dense, but not all of them are. The Face Shop is a reasonably priced Korean beauty favorite, and The Therapy line has one that is a perfect example. The formula contains a blend of flowers, leaves, and fruits that are grown in the Marche Academy of native plants. Ideal for normal to dry skin, this anti-aging emulsion is intensely hydrating. Best of all, The Face Shop markets this product as a three-in-one, saying it can sub out for your toner, treatment (essence), and emulsion, so if you want to shorten your routine you can use it to cover those bases.
Price on Amazon: $21.99
Not only is the Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop serum a favorite in Korean beauty circles, but it perfectly fits that summer profile we’re looking for here: lightweight, absorbent, and highly effective. This serum relies on Vitamin C for its power and will fade acne scarring, prevent breakouts and more. But since the dose of C isn’t too high (five percent), it’s suitable for sensitive skin types as well.
Price on Amazon: $22.90
If you’re wondering why I skipped right from serum to sunscreen and left out moisturizers, I’ll let you in on a secret: you don’t really need one during the summer if you’ve done all these prior steps. That’s the great thing about a Korean beauty routine – layering really works! The sunscreen is the thickest layer you’ll apply of the products mentioned above, and you’ll find your skin feels plump and glowy after you apply. One less step to worry about! The one we recommend is the Waterful Sun Gel from Earth’s Recipe, which has a cooling effect and absorbs much faster than typical sun creams do. If you’d like to learn more about why I recommend Asian sunscreens over ones you can buy in America, you should read up on them right here.
Price on Amazon: $25
MORE KOREAN BEAUTY DEALS:
- The best Korean beauty products for $10 or less
- The 20 best Korean sheet masks
- The 7 best Korean beauty cleansers
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Colette Bennett is a writer and editor who specializes in geek culture, beauty products, and Amazon deals. Her work has appeared on CNN, HLN, Engadget, Kotaku, Colourlovers, and Continue Magazine. She's also given talks on working in news for CNN's Leadership Unplugged program. Bennett also runs popular Korean beauty blog Chok Chok Beauty and regularly slathers her face in snail slime.