8 Korean Beauty Tips To Combat Dull, Dry Winter Skin

Now that the cold has fully set in, you might be experiencing the expected winter skin woes as a result. Dry, itchy, and dull skin is all too common a plight during the holiday season, but, thankfully, we have the K-beauty community to help us recover and maintain that dewy glow year-round.

By Robyn Riley4 min read

Below are eight simple tips that can help you survive the frost while maintaining your skin’s radiance. 

1. Lifestyle

The important thing to remember about Korean skincare is that it’s not all about the skincare products you use, though they are important. In Korea, taking care of your skin means eating a healthy diet rich in nutritious and fermented foods, getting quality sleep, and drinking lots of water. When the weather gets cold we tend to naturally drink less water than we do in warmer months, and we may even go a little overboard on the sweets during the holidays, it happens. But if we’re drinking enough water and avoiding unnecessary sweets most of the time, it will go a long way to helping us look our best year-round.

Using a humidifier is a common practice in Korea and combats the effects of dry, cold winter air.

Furthermore, buying a humidifier for your desk at work or in your home is a common practice in Korea and will help combat the effects of dry, cold winter air. Carrying a moisturizing facial mist in your handbag means you can top up your skin’s moisture level on the go without disturbing your makeup. Making sure you always bundle up and protect your face during windy weather with a thick scarf can also go a long way to protect your skin’s moisture barrier. 

2. Use an Oil-Based Cleanser

Korean skincare for winter is a little more intensive than in the summer but is proven to be effective. The first step of any skincare routine is a cleanser. Often times we hear about the essential “double cleanse” in K-beauty circles, but that's not always recommended year-round. Over-cleansing your face in winter can lead to drying your skin out more than it already is. Stick with an oil-based, non-foaming cleanser in the winter months to gently pull away debris without stripping your face entirely and drying it out too much.

3. Avoid Washing with Hot Water

While doing your cleanse, you should make sure to only use lukewarm water. Hot water in the shower or during skin care can strip away good, natural oils and lead to itchy, tight skin.

Hot water can strip away good, natural oils and lead to itchy, tight skin.

4. Exfoliate Regularly

Exfoliation is very important during winter as a buildup of dry, flaky skin can cause you to lose your radiance and can even be painful to deal with. Gentle exfoliation is recommended via toners like Some By Mi Miracle Toner

This clean beauty toner is filled with chemical exfoliants like AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, as well as witch hazel, to encourage cell turnover, tea tree to reduce inflammation, and niacinamide to target dullness. With a perfect pH of 5.5, your skin will thank you when you use this K-beauty cult favorite free of fragrances, paraben, alcohol, sulfate, mineral oil, and silicone. 

5. Try a Hydrating Essence or Ampoule

When it comes to adding moisture back into your skin and keeping it there, ampoules and essences are your friends. Ampoules and essences are not a common part of North American skincare routines; many people have never even heard of them. Yet, it’s a step most Korean women never skip.

Ampoules and essences contain a high percentage of active ingredients, making them powerful tools of healing. 

Ampoules and essences are highly concentrated dermatological magic potions for your skin. They contain a very high percentage of active ingredients, making them powerful tools of healing and skin maintenance. There are hundreds of different types of essences and ampoules targeting any kind of skin issue you can think of. So it would be best to consider ones that offer hydrating and brightening benefits. 

In winter, you want nourishing products that restore balance and keep your skin looking its best. After exfoliating and toning, apply something like NEOGEN Real Ferment Micro Essence. The naturally fermented and hydrating ingredients in this product make it wildly popular, highly rated, and very effective. 

Alternatively, you could try an ampoule like The Plant Base Quesera Ceramide, another rockstar clean beauty option for people looking to deeply moisturize their skin while fighting the signs of early aging. The fermented ingredients in this product boast claims of improving your skin’s elasticity while promoting skin regeneration.

6. Do a Sheet Mask Two or Three Times a Week

It’s not uncommon to hear about Korean women doing sheet masks every single night, which may be a bit too much for you personally, but your skincare routine should include a hydrating sheet mask at least a couple of times a week. There’s nothing quite like regularly giving your skin an at-home spa treatment. A great sheet mask that would work for almost anyone is the Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Mask pack. It’s perfect for all skin types and deeply nourishing. 

7. Apply SPF

We often only think of applying SPF during the summer months, but in the K-beauty community, a strong SPF is worn every day, year-round, and it’s mandatory for a good reason. The Earth’s ozone is much thinner during the winter months, and snow reflects sunlight into our faces, meaning more exposure to UV rays and potential for skin damage. 

SPFs can be chock-full of questionable ingredients, so much so that one would wonder whether they’re actually helping or hurting you. Thankfully, Korean SPF creams often avoid the toxic ingredients that are commonly found in North American brands. A clean beauty option with SPF 50 that I would highly recommend is I’m Pure Cica Suncream

I'm Pure Cica sunscreen is free from fragrance, parabens, chemical UV filters, PABA, and other petroleum byproducts. This sunscreen is so gentle it can even be used on children, and, best of all, it won’t cost you a fortune. 

8. Double Moisturize

Finally, your winter skincare routine wouldn’t be complete without a proper moisturizer. A perfect option for almost anyone would include something like Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream. This cruelty-free product is perfect for sensitive skin types and contains yeast-derived beta-glucan, shea butter, and ceramide 3, which encourages the skin to repair cells and strengthens the moisture barrier for an extra soothing experience.

If your skin still needs that extra bit of hydration, don’t hold back — double moisturize by following with a sleeping mask like CORSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

Sleeping masks are extra thick hydrating creams that act like a regular skin mask except you put them on before bed and wash them off in the morning. They can target dryness better than almost any other product on the market due to the long exposure to active ingredients your skin receives while wearing one. 

Closing Thoughts

Customizing your routine to your specific needs is important. If you don’t feel you need to double moisturize, don’t. If you feel that after going through your routine your skin is still thirsty, don’t hesitate, offer some more hydration. Depending on how dry and wanting your skin is, you can institute all or only some of these tips above. Whatever your winter skin issue is, rest assured that you can solve it by upping your skincare game and following tried and true K-beauty tricks and products.

If your hair is also suffering this winter, check out our tips to restore your glossy shine.