When it comes to a skin care routine, you’ve probably been using the same order for your products for who-knows-how-long. But the order in which you put on products can change how effective they are, and if you’re going to be doling out $$$ for the best beauty products, you might as well be using them correctly, right?
I figured the best way to identify a system that doesn’t feel complicated and actually works would be to track down a K-beauty enthusiast. We don’t need to wax poetic about the wonders of Korean beauty rituals that give women glass-like skin. What I do know is I want it without the extra leg work, because the thought of practicing a routine with upwards of 10 steps is simply impossible, given my on-the-go lifestyle.
So, you can imagine my relief upon meeting Angela Jia Kim, founder of Savor Beauty and Spas. Her all natural brand is composed of organic Korean skin rituals that you can complete in a New York minute. In short, it’s the miracle I never knew I needed. Now, although Kim’s product lineup isn’t as extensive as the more traditional K-beauty ones, she does still advocate for a multi-step routine that should be applied in the correct order.
“Skin is made of layers, and products penetrate at different levels,” she says. “Layer in the proper order so that your products with potent ingredients are even more effective.” So, what exactly is the correct order? In the simplest terms, your products should be applied from thinnest to thickest.
Kim says, “Start with thinnest consistencies so they can absorb completely and deeply into the layers of your skin. Thicker and heavier consistencies are made of larger molecules and will not penetrate as deeply, so they should be layered on top of thinner products.”
With that being said, we’ve broken down the five products you should never skip and how you should apply each one. Read ahead for more of Kim’s expert tips.
A version of this article was originally published in November 2017.
Layer 1: Cleansers
Regardless of whether you wear makeup or not, Kim recommends starting with an oil cleanser, like the Savor Beauty Organic Coconut Pre-Cleanse Oil, to remove makeup, oil, dirt and sunscreen.
"Use small, vigorous, circular motions with your fingertips, going against the direction of your baby hairs to get into the nooks and crannies," she says. "Layer on a second cleanser to deeply cleanse and exfoliate, removing all the grime that the oil cleanser pulled out of your pores."
Continue by massaging the cleanser all over the face, starting with your problem areas, and rinse off with water several times by splashing, never rubbing! Lastly, pat dry with a clean towel before moving onto the next step.
$32, at Savor Beauty
Layer 2: Toner
The proper way to prep your skin for serums and moisturizers is with a refreshing mist of hydration, like the Skin-Perfecting Toner.
Kim says you can take it a step further by customizing your ritual by using formulas with targeted solutions. For instance, you can clarify "with Lavender, reduce acne with Tea Tree, fight signs of aging with Dewy Rose, balance and smooth skin with Neroli, and clear complexion with Lemongrass," she says. "Simply mist and breathe in."
$34, at Savor Beauty
Layer 3: Serums
The purpose of a serum, which should be applied before your moisturizer, is to give an extra boost to your hydration and glow, or to treat targeted issues.
If you have no idea where to start the search for one, Kim's Savor Beauty makes a trifecta for some of the most common skin woes.
"Raspberry Serum will intensely hydrate and diminish lines, Carrot Rose Serum has a natural retinol for acne and cell turnover, and Pumpkin Serum brightens and softens," she says. "Take 2-3 drops, warm it in your hands, and pat + press all over your face, never tugging or pulling."
$64, at Savor Beauty
Layer 4: Creams
You're almost there! Once you've cleansed, toned and applied a serum, it's time to lock in all that goodness with a moisturizer. Be sure to choose one with ingredients that are occlusive, or in simpler terms: able to form a barrier around the skin so it doesn't lose water. Kim also emphasizes the importance of SPF since sun damage can cause dehydration and dark spots.
When applying, warm a pearl-sized amount of cream between hands. Massage into face and neck."
And since the skin around your eyes is 1/8 as thin as the rest of your face, it's also important to treat that area delicately with an eye cream.
Kim says, "Look for ingredients like CoQ10 and caffeine like Savor Beauty Caviar Eye Cream to reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles, and puffy eyes. Take a pea-sized amount and warm up between fingers. Gently dab under and around your eyes, and then play piano around your eyes."
$64, at Savor Beauty
Bonus Layer: Masks
Lastly, although you only should mask 1-2x week, Kim says you shouldn't skip out since they take your beauty solutions to the next level. Most have exfoliating properties that will keep your skin buttery soft and therefore, make it easier for it to absorb your daily products.
"Whether it's for deep hydration, treating breakouts, or firming and plumping skin, you can always find the perfect mask for your skin mood," Kim says. "Try Savor Beauty's DIY Face Cakes!"
$35 each, at Savor Beauty