Complete Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Korean Beauty Lover And Korean Beauty JournalistAuthor information
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Veruska Anconitano
Veruska Anconitano is a Korean beauty expert, combining her expertise as a seasoned journalist with a deeply personal passion for K-beauty.
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Do you struggle with dry, flaky skin that seems resistant to every moisturizer you try? You’re not alone.

Many people, including myself, constantly battle to keep their skin hydrated and healthy. Enter the Korean skincare routine, a beacon of hope for dry skin sufferers.

Renowned for its holistic and layering approach, Korean skincare offers more than just products; it provides a ritual that nurtures and transforms.

In this article, I dive deep into the heart of the Korean skincare routine for dry skin to allow you to start building the foundation for better and healthier skin.

From the double cleanse to the final protective layer of sunscreen, I’ll guide you through a routine that’s effective and a delightful sensory experience.

Say goodbye to tight, uncomfortable skin and hello to a world where hydration and radiance are within reach.

Understanding Dry Skin

Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

What causes your skin to feel dry, tight, and sometimes even itchy? Dry skin isn’t just a superficial concern; it’s often a sign that your skin barrier is compromised, unable to retain moisture effectively.

This condition can stem from various factors, including genetic predispositions, environmental elements like harsh weather, and even daily habits such as hot showers and aggressive, drying skincare products. Recognizing these triggers is the first step in managing dry skin. It’s crucial to identify the symptoms and root causes of your skin’s dryness.

By doing so, you’re better equipped to choose the right products and methods in your skincare routine, specifically targeting your skin’s unique needs.

Essential Steps of Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Korean Skincare Routine Dry

Embarking on the Korean skincare journey means understanding and embracing each step, especially for those grappling with dry skin. This routine is about nurturing and transforming skin through careful layering and applying products, each serving a specific purpose in revitalizing and hydrating the skin.

Double Cleansing

Double cleansing forms the cornerstone of this skincare ritual. It begins with an oil-based cleanser, essential for dissolving oil-based impurities like makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum.

This step is particularly beneficial for dry skin, ensuring deep cleansing without stripping away essential natural oils. Ingredients such as jojoba or camellia oil are ideal as they support the skin’s natural lipid barrier. Following the oil cleanse, a water-based cleanser comes into play.

This step aims to remove any remaining water-based impurities like dirt and sweat gently. The key here is to find a hydrating cleanser that leaves your skin feeling clean yet comfortably moisturized, ensuring it doesn’t contribute to further dryness.


Exfoliation is the sloughing off dead skin cells, vital for enhancing subsequent skincare product absorption. For dry skin, choosing a mild exfoliant that effectively removes dead skin without causing irritation or excessive dryness is important.

Ingredients like lactic acid or fruit enzymes are perfect as they offer gentle exfoliation, promoting cell renewal without harsh scrubbing. Regarding frequency, limiting exfoliation to once or twice a week is advisable. Over-exfoliating can disrupt the skin’s natural balance, leading to increased sensitivity and dryness, counteracting the benefits of the rest of your skincare routine.


After cleansing and exfoliating, toning is a step that shouldn’t be missed. A good toner helps restore the skin’s pH balance, which is crucial after cleansing. It also adds a layer of hydration, prepping the skin for better absorption of essences, serums, and moisturizers.

The ideal toner for dry skin should be rich in hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin and free from alcohol or other drying components. This step ensures that the skin is optimally prepared to receive the full benefits of the following treatments.


The essence is often considered the soul of the Korean skincare regimen. These formulations are designed to hydrate and aid in skin repair and cell turnover deeply.

Lightweight in nature, essences penetrate deeply into the skin, providing hydration and sometimes targeted treatments like brightening or anti-aging. They typically contain fermented ingredients, known for their ability to nourish and revitalize the skin, promoting a more resilient and healthier appearance. Incorporating an essence into your routine can significantly improve skin texture and hydration.

Serums and Ampoules

Serums and ampoules are the concentrated treatments in this routine, specifically targeting particular skin concerns. For dry skin, selecting serums or ampoules that focus on hydration and barrier repair is important. Ingredients like ceramides, peptides, and hyaluronic acid are ideal as they deeply hydrate and help to fortify the skin’s barrier, preventing moisture loss.

These treatments are potent, and a little goes a long way in addressing dryness, fine lines, and other skin issues specific to your needs.


Moisturizing is crucial in sealing all the moisture and nutrients from the previous steps. For dry skin, this step provides lasting hydration and prevents transepidermal water loss. A good moisturizer for dry skin is typically richer and thicker, providing more substantial hydration than lighter lotions or gels.

The right moisturizer will deeply nourish the skin without clogging pores, creating a protective barrier that locks in moisture and keeps environmental irritants out.

Sun Protection

The final step in the Korean skincare routine is sun protection, an essential aspect often overlooked by many. Sun damage can cause dryness and premature aging, making sunscreen a vital product in any skincare regimen. Choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays is crucial.

Physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are often preferred for those with dry skin as they are less likely to irritate and further dry out the skin.

Customized Korean Skincare Routine For Dry Skin

Creating a customized Korean skincare routine for dry skin involves selecting products and practices targeting hydration and gentle care. Everyone’s skin is unique, so listening to your skin and adjusting the routine as needed is essential. Trying something different is okay if a product doesn’t suit or irritate you. Consistency and patience are vital to seeing the benefits of a Korean skincare routine for dry skin.

This table offers a comprehensive view of each step in the routine, making it easy to follow and ensuring that your skin receives optimal care throughout the day and night. ​​

Here is the table outlining the Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skin, detailing each step for both Morning and Evening routines:

Gentle CleansingStart with a mild, hydrating cleanser with ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid. A low-pH cleanser helps maintain skin balance.Morning
Hydrating TonerApply a hydrating toner with moisturizing ingredients like ceramides or aloe vera.Morning
EssenceUse a hydrating essence with snail mucin or fermented extracts for deep moisturization and skin repair.Morning
Serum/AmpouleSelect a serum or ampoule for dry skin with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, or propolis.Morning
MoisturizerOpt for a rich, nourishing moisturizer with shea butter, squalane, or ceramides.Morning
Sun ProtectionFinish with a broad-spectrum, moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.Morning
Oil-Based CleanserBegin with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen. Ideal oils include camellia or jojoba.Evening
Water-Based CleanserFollow up with a gentle, hydrating water-based cleanser.Evening
ExfoliationUse a gentle exfoliant with lactic acid or fruit enzymes (1-2 times a week).Evening
Hydrating TonerApply a toner as in the morning routine for rebalancing and hydration.Evening
EssenceUse the same hydrating essence from the morning routine.Evening
Sheet MaskIncorporate a hydrating sheet mask with aloe vera, green tea, or honey (2-3 times a week).Evening
Serum/AmpouleApply a hydrating serum or ampoule as in the morning routine.Evening
Eye CreamApply an eye cream to address dryness around the eyes.Evening
Moisturizer/Night CreamUse a richer night cream or the same moisturizer from the morning routine.Evening
Sleeping MaskApply a sleeping mask with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or plant oils (1-2 times a week).Evening

Here’s a detailed routine tailored to your needs for morning and night.

Morning Routine

  1. Gentle Cleansing: Start with a mild, hydrating cleanser. Look for ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. A low-pH cleanser can help maintain the skin’s natural balance.
  2. Hydrating Toner: Apply a hydrating toner to dampen the skin. Choose a product rich in moisturizing ingredients like ceramides or aloe vera to prep your skin for better absorption of subsequent products.
  3. Essence: Use a hydrating essence with snail mucin or fermented extracts. These ingredients are known for their deep moisturizing properties and enhancing skin repair.
  4. Serum/Ampoule: Select a serum or ampoule that targets dry skin, such as those with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, or propolis. These ingredients provide deep hydration and improve skin texture.
  5. Moisturizer: Opt for a rich, nourishing moisturizer to lock in moisture. Look for products containing shea butter, squalane, or ceramides, which deeply hydrate and protect the skin barrier. Check our list of the best moisturizers for dry skin, and choose yours.
  6. Sun Protection: Finish with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. A moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is ideal for dry skin. Consider formulas with added hydrating benefits or physical sunscreens if you have sensitive skin.

Evening Routine

  1. Oil-Based Cleanser: Begin with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen. Oils like camellia or jojoba are effective yet gentle for dry skin.
  2. Water-Based Cleanser: Follow up with a gentle, hydrating water-based cleanser to ensure all impurities are removed.
  3. Exfoliation (1-2 times a week): Use a gentle exfoliant with lactic acid or fruit enzymes. This step is crucial for removing dead skin cells and enhancing product absorption.
  4. Hydrating Toner: Apply a toner as in the morning routine to rebalance and hydrate the skin.
  5. Essence: Use the same hydrating essence from your morning routine for consistency and effective hydration.
  6. Sheet Mask (2-3 times a week): Incorporate a hydrating sheet mask. Choose masks with aloe vera, green tea, or honey for additional moisture and soothing benefits.
  7. Serum/Ampoule: Apply your hydrating serum or ampoule to address dryness and repair the skin.
  8. Eye Cream: Apply an eye cream to address dryness around the eyes. Ingredients like peptides and hyaluronic acid can be beneficial. Check our list of selected eye creams.
  9. Moisturizer/Night Cream: Use a more decadent night cream or the same moisturizer from your morning routine to provide long-lasting hydration overnight.
  10. Sleeping Mask (optional, 1-2 times a week): Once or twice a week, you can apply a sleeping mask. Look for masks with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or plant oils for intensive hydration.

Additional Tips For Dry Skin

Dry Skin Korean Routine Advice

Incorporating weekly treatments and mindful practices is essential to maximize the effectiveness of your Korean skincare routine for dry skin.

Dedicate one day each week to an intensive hydrating and nourishing treatment. This can involve using a luxurious face oil, rich in omega fatty acids, known for its deep moisturizing properties and ability to strengthen the skin’s barrier. Alternatively, opt for an intensely hydrating serum packed with hyaluronic acid or glycerin to drench your skin in moisture and promote a plump, dewy appearance.

In addition to these topical treatments, it’s crucial to consider the broader lifestyle factors that impact skin health. Hydration starts from within, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. This simple step can profoundly affect your skin’s hydration and overall health. A balanced diet, rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats, also significantly maintains your skin’s natural glow and resilience. If you’re living in a dry climate, consider using a humidifier in your home or workspace to add moisture to the air, which can help keep your skin from becoming too dry.

When applying skincare products, adopt a gentle approach. Instead of vigorously rubbing products into your skin, which can cause irritation and inflammation, gently pat them in. This method is not only soothing but also helps enhance the absorption of the products, allowing their ingredients to penetrate more effectively into your skin.

Lastly, practice patience with layering your products. After applying each product, give it a few minutes to fully absorb before moving on to the next step. This ensures that each product can deliver its full benefits without interference from the next, allowing maximum efficacy.

In summary, to complement your Korean skincare routine for dry skin, remember these additional tips:

  • Weekly Treatments: Incorporate a hydrating face oil or serum once a week.
  • Lifestyle Considerations: Stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and use a humidifier in dry climates.
  • Gentle Patting: Apply products with a gentle patting motion to enhance absorption.
  • Layering Products: Allow each product to fully absorb before applying the next layer for optimal results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Korean Skincare for Dry Skin

Addressing common mistakes in a Korean skincare routine, especially for those with dry skin, is essential for ensuring the health and vitality of your skin. One key area where many falter is over-exfoliation.

While exfoliation is crucial for removing dead skin cells and promoting better product absorption, excessive exfoliation can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to increased dryness and irritation. Limiting exfoliation to once or twice a week and using gentle exfoliants formulated for dry skin is essential.

Another common oversight is neglecting sunscreen. Sun protection is vital in any skincare routine, regardless of skin type. For those with dry skin, the sun’s UV rays can further dehydrate the skin and accelerate the aging process. Daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from these harmful rays and can also prevent the worsening of dryness. Opt for hydrating sunscreens formulated for sensitive skin to ensure comfort and effectiveness.

Lastly, inconsistency in following the skincare routine can impede the desired results. A skincare regimen, particularly one as detailed as the Korean routine, requires regularity and adherence to see significant improvements. This means performing the routine daily, both morning and night, with the right products tailored to your skin’s needs. Consistency is key in maintaining hydration levels and ensuring that each routine step builds upon the last to maximize skin health.

In summary, avoiding these common mistakes in your Korean skincare routine can significantly improve its effectiveness, especially for those dealing with dry skin:

  • Over-exfoliation: Be gentle and limit exfoliation frequency.
  • Neglecting Sunscreen: Incorporate daily sunscreen use to protect and hydrate.
  • Inconsistent Routine: Follow the skincare routine regularly for the best results.

Embrace Radiance With The Korean Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Embarking on a Korean skincare routine for dry skin is a journey towards achieving a deeply hydrated, healthy, and radiant complexion. This routine is a testament to the transformative power of layering and using the right products consistently.

By following each step carefully, from gentle cleansing to diligent sun protection, you not only address the immediate concerns of dryness and discomfort but also contribute to the long-term health and resilience of your skin.

The key to success in any skincare regimen, especially one as nuanced as the Korean approach, is understanding and responding to your skin’s unique needs. It’s about finding the right product balance that harmoniously nourishes and protects your skin.

With patience and dedication, this routine can turn the challenges of dry skin into a thing of the past, unveiling a complexion that’s not only more hydrated but also more vibrant and youthful.

To recap, here are the essential steps and tips to remember for your Korean skincare routine for dry skin:

  • Consistency: Regularly follow each step of the routine, both morning and night.
  • Gentleness: Choose products formulated for dry skin, and apply them with care.
  • Hydration: Focus on layering hydrating products to lock in moisture.
  • Protection: Never skip sunscreen to shield your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent further dryness.
  • Patience: Allow time to see the transformative results of your dedicated efforts.

You may also be interested in the following Korean skincare routines and resources:

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