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The Right Order for Your Skincare Routine

18 Mar 2024
by Marta N.

You’ve finally found the right skincare products but now you’re not sure if you’re using them right. Yes, the order in which you apply your skincare products is important and can have an impact on the way your skin absorbs the skincare and the effects you see. Understanding the optimal order of application ensures that each product can penetrate the skin effectively, maximizing its benefits and resulting in radiant skin. Read on to educate yourself on the right skincare order and help you get everything out of your Korean skincare routine, whether you’re a beginner with 5 steps in your routine or an avid 10-step routine bestie.

Why Does Skincare Order Matter?

The right order of skincare will nurture your skin and improve its health. By following the right skincare routine order you ensure that each product can fulfill its intended purpose without interference from other formulas. This allows active ingredients to penetrate deeply into the skin, targeting specific concerns and optimizing results. Whether you're combating acne, tackling signs of aging, or simply maintaining a healthy complexion, adhering to the correct skincare order is essential for achieving your skincare goals.

The Essential Skincare Routine Order

The Korean skincare routine has initially gained its fame because of the multi-step approach to skincare, consisting of 10 steps. Thankfully 10 steps are not necessary to achieve amazing results, and while there are benefits to a more comprehensive skincare routine it’s always important to listen to your skin and build your routine slowly. For those new to skincare, simplifying the routine to around 5 essential steps is a gentle introduction that still delivers significant results. 

Step 1: Cleanser

Cleansing is the first step of any skincare routine. It removes impurities, excess oil, and make-up from the skin's surface, resulting in a fresh canvas for the rest of your skincare products to do their magic. While the cleanser you use will depend on your skin type, double cleansing in the evening is essential for those of us that wear make-up and sunscreen. When double cleansing apply the oil cleanser first and follow up with your water-based cleanser. Explore the best Korean cleansers of this moment or check out the popular K-Beauty cleansers in our assortment.

Step 2: Toner

Toners help to rebalance the skin's pH levels after cleansing and hydrate the skin, leaving it refreshed and prepped for serums and moisturizers. Korean toners are often infused with great skin improving ingredients that work on several levels to not just hydrate the skin but also make it healthy and strong.

Step 3: Treatment

After toning the skin, a personal treatment will boost the skin. Treatments are serums or ampoules which are packed with concentrated (active) ingredients to target specific skin concerns and deliver visible results in relatively short periods of time. Treatments will also be very personal based on your skin issues and what you want to tackle. Head to our treatments assortment and check out the quiz to help you choose the best treatment for your skin and concerns. We also dedicated a full blog to explaining some of the treatments for specific skin concerns to help you find the best treatment for you.

Step 4: Eye cream

An eye cream is a must for any skin, any age, and any time. It's a great skincare step that works preventative. After cleansing the face, and applying your toner and treatment, apply a small drop of eye cream around your eyes, targeting fine lines or crow's feet, and under eyes to decrease puffiness or dark circles. Still searching for the best eye cream for you? Check out the best eye creams to fight dark circles

Step 5: Moisturizer

Moisturizers seal in moisture and all the goodness you applied on your skin. They also replenish and reinforce the skin's moisture barrier, and provide essential nutrients to keep the skin soft, supple, and protected throughout the day. In the evening this will be the last step in your routine while throughout the day you need to follow up with a sunscreen. Not sure about the best moisturizer for your skin? We have a ton of guides about the best moisturizers for various skin types and skin issues. Whether you want to prevent wrinkles, fight hyperpigmentation, suffer from rosacea, or are simply looking for the best creams for oily or dry skin.

Step 6: Sunscreen

Sunscreen is the ultimate defense against UV damage, preventing premature aging, dark spots, and skin health issues. Apply sunscreen generously every morning as the last step in your skincare routine, even on cloudy days, to safeguard your skin from harmful UV rays. Discover the best Korean sunscreens for every skin type.

What to add to my skincare routine?

Are you already an avid skincare user that wants to incorporate more steps into the routine? Then read on to find out where that extra essence, or exfoliant will fit into your routine.


Exfoliating is an essential step in the skincare routine and the first thing we would add when trying to expand your routine. It will get rid of dead skin buildup and tackle issues such as skin texture, large pores, or acne. Not sure what exfoliant is best for your skin? Read here whether an AHA or a BHA will fit your skin type better. You can apply the exfoliant, or exfoliating toner after cleansing the face but before your regular toner. Since you should stick to exfoliating the face only a few times a week, feel free to exchange your regular toner for an exfoliating toner on those days of the week to keep the routine more budget friendly.


Some By Mi
AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner


Yes I am toner AHA 5%



Essences are the builders of a strong, healthy skin. They are not a toner, nor a serum but the perfect in-between skincare savior. An essence can be used daily, both in the morning and evening. It usually stimulates skin repairing and helps to strengthen the skin while not weighing it down. An essence can be applied after the toner but before any treatments.


Dr. Ceuracle
Vegan Kombucha Tea Essence


Bean Essence


Face Masks

When incorporated into the skincare routine and used regularly face masks are an amazing and effective way to improve your skin and tackle specific skin issues. Whether you're a fan of sheet masks, or prefer sleeping masks, all will deliver great results no matter the mask of your choice. Face masks are infused with super concentrated ingredients to boost the skin. If you're a sheet mask fan, apply it after your treatment to let all those goodies sink into the skin or use it instead of a treatment since sheet masks are infused with a multi-tasking hydrating essence. If you prefer a wash-off mask, it's smart to apply it after cleansing your skin but before any other steps, so your skin has a fresh canvas for further skincare application. And lastly, sleeping masks. A sleeping mask can be used as the last step of your skincare routine and has to be left on the skin overnight. You can apply a sleeping mask instead or after your moisturizer.


Advanced Snail Mucin Power Sheet Mask


Propolis Vitamin Sleeping Mask


Face Oil

A face oil can be a beneficial last step for any skin type, especially in the colder months when our skin loses more moisture. The key is to use the right face oil for your skin type. Discover the best face oils for every skin type here, or read more about the best face oils for dry skin.


Organic Rosehip Oil


Pyunkang Yul


Applying your skincare in the right order is essential for achieving amazing results. If you're new to Korean Skincare start slow and stick to the essentials! There's always time to add extra skincare steps, but it's important to build a routine you can stick to first and not make it too complicated from the start. Explore the best of Korean Skincare at Little Wonderland and browse through all our skincare tips and guides on the LW Blog.

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