So you have Oily skin and have heard the hype about ‘The Korean Skincare routine’. Unlike in the west where a standard routine consists of a Cleanser, toner and moisturizer you’ve now witnessed a sea of products such as essences, toners, sheet masks, ampoules, etc. and don’t know where to start. For those of us with Oily skin, It can be especially hard finding products that don’t increase our sebum production leading to blocked pores and breakouts. We tend to focus on harsh products that strip our skin completely in hopes of our skin becoming less Oily. Whilst a lot of these overly stripping products are a temporary fix to helping our skin look matte, the chances of damaging our skin barrier, making it more oily increases significantly. For people with oily skin, it’s important to find the right products to regulate our sebum production rather than destroy it. 

Korean Skincare Routine For Oily skin

here are a few of my recommendations to perfect your Korean Skincare routine for Oily skin: 

Funny enough our sebum does hold a purpose. It’s there to act as a natural moisturizer and protect water loss deep within our skin. When we over strip our skin, our skin becomes unbalanced forcing it to compensate by creating more sebum. 

Before purchasing, don’t forget to check skincare ingredients on labels and EWG Skin Deep ratings could help you as a reference point. For details, head EWG (Environment Working Group) official website.

K-beauty ewg score

1st Step: CLEANSING 

How often: Once in the morning and evening

For people with oily skin, It’s even more important we cleanse. Not only will it get rid of excess oil/dirt but allows the active ingredients in our products to absorb better. 

It’s best to find products that are gentle such as gel cleansers. Gel cleansers contain less surfactants that can overly strip our skin leaving it tight and dry. It is also good to find cleansers that are more acidic but don’t disrupt our skin’s natural pH of 4.5/6.

For those of us who wear makeup/sunscreen, I recommend double cleansing in the evening with the same cleanser or first with an Oil cleanser. For best Korean cleanser and makeup remover, check THIS.

Krave beauty matcha hemp hydrating cleanser
KRAVE BEAUTY MATCHA HEMP HYDRATING CLEANSER 120ml | $16

Ideal for dry, normal, oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
Mostly ingredients are low hazard except 1 moderate hazard.

This is a great hydrating cleanser that cleans the skin without leaving it tight and dry. It contains ingredients such as green tea which are high in antioxidants and great for oily skin. It also contains hemp seed oil (high in linoleic acid) that helps hydrate the skin whilst being an anti-bacterial to fight inflammation. I love how gentle yet effective this cleanser is and how plump my skin feels afterward. Moreover, panthenol will help to strengthen your skin barrier damaged by external irritations.

How to use:
Apply a pea-size amount onto damp hands and rub gently into the skin before washing off.

By WISHTREND GREEN TEA AND ENZYME POWDER WASH | $19.8

Ideal for dry, normal, oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
Mostly ingredients are low hazard except 1 moderate hazard.

Not only does this contain green tea which is a great anti-oxidant, It can also double as a gentle physical exfoliator to get rid of excess oil and dead skin. It feels very smooth due to the less stripping surfactants and leaves the skin feeling brighter and fresh. 

How to use:
Apply a dime-size amount of powder onto damp hands and rub together until half the powder has dissolved. Then, massage gently onto the face for a minute before washing off.

2nd Step: EXFOLIATING TONER/ESSENCE

How often: Depending on the strength of product and skins sensitivity, 3 times a week.

The second step in your Korean Skincare routine is to use an exfoliator. Exfoliating is especially important for Oily skin. Everyday, Our skin turns over more quickly creating a build-up of oil and dead skin cells. This build-up makes our pores appear big, our skin looks dull and increases our chance of breakouts. Exfoliating helps dissolve that top layer of dead skin helping our skin turnover faster.

Exfoliators can come in many forms. The most popular are physical (Scrubs, Peeling pads, brushes) and chemical (AHAs and BHAs). The main difference between the two is: Physical focuses on the top layer of skin to give quick yet temporary results. Chemical is a much gentler form of exfoliation that penetrates deep within the skin giving more longterm results. For Oily skin I recommend using chemical exfoliants with BHAs that penetrate the deepest into our pores, dissolving the oil. 

For more info on exfoliation read my post.

KRAVE BEAUTY KAHULAHA | $25

Ideal for oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
4 ingredients moderate hazard.

This is a great introductory AHA product for people with oily skin. It contains glycolic acid which helps prevent blocked pores and overtime reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. It also contains antioxidants such as Kale and spinach and hydrating ingredients such as aloe and hyaluronic acid. This product doesn’t make my skin overly sensitive or stripped and has helped greatly with my skin’s texture.

How to use:
Soak a cotton pad and pat gently all over the face. It’s recommended to start using this once a week and build up your tolerance.

COSRX BHA Blackhead POWER LIQUID | $19.7

Ideal for oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
Mostly ingredients are low hazard except 2 moderate hazard.

This product has a light gel consistency similar to an essence. Its main ingredient is willow bark extract, a gentle BHA that helps exfoliate the skin without being irritating. It also contains niacinamide which helps control and balance sebum production. This product absorbs into the skin easily and over time has helped clean the pores around my t-zone. 

How to use:
Apply 1 to 2 pumps onto a cotton pad and pat into the skin. It is recommended to use this once a week and build up your tolerance. 

3rd Step: HYDRATING TONER/ESSENCE

How often: After cleansing or exfoliating, use in the morning and evening 

An essence is somewhere in between a toner and a serum. People with oily skin tend to be dehydrated and therefore need products that will hydrate deep within the skin.

Look for Ingredients such as: glycerin and hyaluronic acid that help pull moisture into the skin. Green tea, Aloe and Cica that are anti-inflammatory/anti-bacterial that soothe the skin, and one of my favourite ingredients niacinamide that help control excess sebum.   

PRIMERA MIRACLE SEED ESSENCE | $39.9

Ideal for dry, normal, oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
All low hazard

To me, this really is a miracle essence that helps my skin glow without getting overly oily throughout the day. It contains lotus seed extract which is good for hydration and protecting the skin from external factors, as well as niacinamide that hydrates and controls sebum production. Furthermore, an active ingredient, Adenosine, works for anti-aging and Saccharomyces Ferment for antioxidants.

How to use:
Apply a decent amount onto hands and pat into the face. (Layer up for more hydration)

BENTON BHA ALOE TONER | $17.9

Ideal for oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
4 moderate hazards.

Unlike most toners which can be quite watery, this feels closer to an essence. With ingredients such as aloe and snail secretion filtrate, it’s extremely hydrating leaving the skin nice and plump. It also contains BHAs to help exfoliate the skin gently, over time creating a more even complexion whilst preventing breakouts. 

How to use:
Place 1 to 2 pumps onto hand and pat into face.

4th Step: SERUM/SHEET MASK

How often: After essence use once in the morning and evening (Make sure to read each products suggestion of use)

Serums are usually a thick gel consistency that contains smaller particles capable of penetrating deep into the skin. It is the treatment stage of our skincare routine that should include the highest concentration of your chosen active ingredient. It’s the product I like to switch up the most depending on my skin condition. For the most part, like my essence, I like my serums to contain ingredients that control oil whilst being deeply hydrating. 

SERUM
COSRX HYDRIUM CENTELLA AQUA SOOTHING AMPOULE | $18.9

Ideal for dry, normal, oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
All low hazard

This is a great light-weight serum for people with oily and sensitive skin. It doesn’t leave the skin overly greasy and absorbs quickly. It contains ingredients such as Vitamin B5 and Centella Asiatica that are both anti-inflammatory and help hydrate and soothe the skin. 

How to use:
After essence, apply a few drop onto face and pat gently until absorbed. 

Purito centella green level serum
PURITO CENTELLA GREEN LEVEL BUFFET SERUM | $13.6

Ideal for dry, normal, oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
All low hazard

The word ‘buffet’ explains this serum well and it truly is a feast for your skin. It contains ingredients such as Centella Asiatica, niacinamide, vitamin B5, and more to help reduce inflammation, hydrate, and control sebum production. Plus, 4 types of peptide complex helps to reduce fine lines. This serum leaves the skin feeling plump and bright, and doesn’t leave the skin greasy.

How to use:
After essence, apply 1-2 pumps onto face and pat gently until absorbed.

SHEET MASK

For days when you want to treat your skin with something extra in a skincare routine, replace your serum with a sheet mask (Which essentially is a sheet soaked in a serum or essence). If you are looking for the best Korean face mask for acne-prone skin, check this post.

Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Sheet MAsk *5Ea | $15

Ideal for oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
All low hazard

Unlike a lot of sheet masks that can leave oily skin feeling suffocated, this mask is on the watery side making it a lighter option that absorbs quickly into the skin. It contains ingredients such as Erythritol that help cool the skin down as well as BHAs and tea leaf oil to help clarify the pores and balance sebum production. What’s more, betaine and allantoin help to calm and strengthen weakened skin.

How to apply:
Place mask onto the skin and leave on for 15-20minutes. After removing, pat the remaining essence into the skin.

5th Step: MOISTURIZER

How often: After serum, use once in the morning and evening

Moisturizer is a step a lot of people omit from their routines in fear it will make them more oily. However, whilst it’s possible for some, skipping moisturizer increases the risk of trans-epidermal water loss. This results in the under layers of our skin being dry and top layers more oily. In the Korean skincare routine for oily skin, moisturizer acts as a barrier to keep our skin protected from external factors like dust and pollution. 

For people with oily skin, I recommend using a light gel formula that will help cool and calm the skin. 

IUNIK Centelaa calming gel cream
IUNIK CENTELLA Calming GEL CREAM | $9.9

Ideal for oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
Mostly ingredients low hazard except 2 moderate hazard.

Particularly during the summer months where less is more, this moisturizer does a great job at cooling/hydrating without feeling heavy. It absorbs quickly into the skin, works well under make -up, and controls sebum production. It contains ingredients such as Centella Asiatica, tea tree which are great for soothing the skin, Niacinamide for controlling sebum, and various sprout extracts packed with antioxidants to protect the skin.

How to use:
After serum, apply a decent layer all over face and neck.

6th Step: SUNSCREEN

How often: After moisturiser use once in the morning and re-apply throughout the day if needed.

No matter what skin type you have, If you want your skin to stay looking youthful It is extremely important to wear sunscreen in a skincare routine. We need to protect our skin from both the UV-a rays which cause fine lines/wrinkles and, UV-b rays which cause Sunburn and hyper-pigmentation. For more best-selling Korean sunscreen, head HERE.

For those of us that use exfoliators such as AHAs and BHAs or products containing actives such as Retinol or Vitamin C (Although it is not recommended), It is even more important to use sunscreen during the day as they increase our skin’s sensitivity to the sun.  

KRAVE BEAUTY THE BEET SHIELD | $20

Ideal for oily skin

Ingredient Safety by EWG:
Mostly ingredients are low hazard except 1 moderate hazard.

This sunscreen is charged with beetroot extract which is high in antioxidants ready to protect your skin from outdoor stressors. It’s an incredibly lightweight formula, that doesn’t leave a white cast or leave the skin feeling sticky. But if you have sensitive oily skin, test it before purchasing because chemical sunscreen can react to sensitive skin sometimes.

How to use:
After moisturizer, apply a generous amount onto the face. It is recommended to wait at least 15 minutes before going out into the sun.

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