Shopping & Lifestyle

Japanese vs. Korean Skincare: Which Routine Is Better?


Before you shop, know which skin regiment might work best for you



Korean culture—and brands in particular—have taken the world by storm with their gentle yet effective skincare products. Many local stores now carry K-Beauty brands and for very good reason: They work! But while the 10-step skincare routine that many Koreans swear by has been getting a lot of attention, it would be a crime not to mention another regimen worthy of similar praise: Japanese skincare. 


With a philosophy that revolves around simplicity and minimalism, Japanese brands deserve a spot in your shelves just as much as K-beauty does. You just need to see what works best for you. 


The question is, what products should you shop for and which routine should you subscribe to? We put Korean and Japanese skincare routines head-to-head to help you decide. 



Korean Skincare Routine

Step 1: Oil cleanser and makeup remover


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Nature Republic available on Althea and Clean it Zero available on BeautyMNL


The Korean skincare routine starts with an oil cleanse to get rid of residual products from the day before.


Step 2: Water-based cleanser

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3W Clinic available on BeautyMNL


This second step targets water-based impurities such as sweat and dirt. K-beauty uses cleansers that's milder and gentler on skin. 


Step 3: Exfoliator

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Skin Food available on Amazon


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A common misconception in the 10-step routine is that all the steps need to be done daily, which isn’t true, especially with exfoliation, which should only be done two or three times a week. It helps unclog pores, remove blackheads and shed off dead skills to reveal a brighter complexion.


Step 4: Toner

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Toner is used to prep skin, restore hydration and balance the pH levels. Think of it as the last step of facial cleansing.


Step 5: Essence

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SK II available in Sephora PH


Dubbed the heart of Korean skincare, essence is a potent mix of skin-saving ingredients that deeply hydrates and brightens skin while keeping signs of aging at bay. 


Step 6: Spot Treatments

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Wonder available on SkinCarisma


Treatment creams or gels contain various active ingredients that can address specific skin issues like acne, fine lines and skin discoloration. 


Step 7: Sheet mask

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Various face masks are made for specific needs so it's important to consider skin type and woes before purchase. Some brighten, others reduce appearance of wrinkles and the rest promise to nourish with different cocktail blends of vitamins, minerals and other super ingredients. Which one do you need?


Step 8: Eye cream

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Innis Free available on BeautyMNL


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Again, choose one that addresses your needs. Do you need a brightening product, a shot of collagen or do you need to de-puff the skin around your eyes? Think about it.


Step 9: Moisturizer

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The Therapy available on The Face Shop


Moisturizers are also used to hydrate and rejuvenate skin.  Cream-based variants are best for people with dry skin while oil-based are for combination types. 


Step 10: Sun protection 

You've heard it a thousand times before. Sun protection prevents aging and protects skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Slather it on—on your neck, face and ears, and even your arms. 



Japanese Skincare Routine

Step 1: Double Cleansing

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Shu Uemura available on Shoppee and Japan fusion available on BeautyPie


J-beeauty begins with an oil-based cleanse followed by a water-based wash to remove all traces of dirt. It's also pretty similar to K-beauty's first two steps.


Step 2: Exfoliate

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Natural Aqua Gel available on Happy Beauty


Using gel exfoliators is a gentler way of sloughing off dead skin cells. Apply one to two times weekly to reveal baby smooth skin. 


Step 3: Skin conditioner

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Available on Tokyo Beauty.


Unique to Japanese skincare, skin conditioners are like a lotion for the face. It promises to deeply nourish and hydrate.


Step 4: Serum

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Serums are potent and absorbed easily by skin. It also helps boost the hydrating effect of moisturizers.


Step 5: Eye Gel

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DHC available on Amazon


The under-eye area is the most delicate part of the face, so opt for a product that delivers but is extra gentle on skin. Remember to always use the ring finger to pat on the product for a softer, feathery touch. 


Step 6: Moisturizer

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Tatcha available on Shopee


Lock in all that skin-hydrating potions from the previous steps using moisturizer. 


Step 7: Sunscreen

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Bioré available on BeautyMNL


Told ya; whatever routine you subscribe to, sun protection is vital. In J-beauty, favorites include Biore and Anessa. 


Optional: Face massage tools

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Innovative Japanese tools can help lift and tone skin on face. There's no specific rule on frequency and what to use it with, but we heard people use it after their creams and serums for better coverage and absorption. 



So what say you, which routine will you be trying out or perhaps are already loyal to?



Words Adie Pieraz

Art Alex Lara

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