K-Beauty Holy Grail Skincare for Busy Athletes on the Go

What makes Korean skincare so enticing? Korean skincare is affordable, has clean ingredients, mastered the essence of SPF, and simply put: it works.

The only challenge for a busy student athlete like me was that I never had time for the full 10 step routine. Over the years I honed in on a shortened method for achieving maximum results with minimum time commitment.



My K-beauty experience started during my travels to Korea to train with Korea’s National Fencing team. I watched my fellow teammates skillfully and dutifully apply their skincare products with amazing results and soon I was hooked. My skincare education continued while studying at Yonsei University Korean Language Program in Seoul, and I have many fond memories of visiting Korean beauty shops with my friends where we were delighted that we could actually afford our skincare treasures.


K-Beauty shops in Myeongdong, Seoul, Korea.

What makes Korean skincare brands so successful? Korean skincare ingredients are almost always clean. For reference, Sephora labels certain products without harmful components as “Clean” on their website. Clean means that the product “…is formulated without a list of over 50 ingredients, including sulfates, (SLS and SLES), parabens, phthalates, and more” (Sephora).

Korean skincare products are also affordable! Compared to Western beauty products, Korean skincare is cheaper and there’s no catch. The worst feeling is buying a product that you considered a “splurge,” and finding out that the product does not work. With Korean skincare, you can be assured that your skincare will work and also doesn’t break your bank.

My favorite K-Beauty brands are Laneige, innisfree, and KraveBeauty. I personally have never tried COSRX products, but my friends tell me their products work wonders.

Here are the daytime and nighttime skincare routines that I’ve perfected over the years. I hope you’ll try some of my favorite products and create a K-Beauty skincare routine that works for your busy schedule!


Daytime Routine


1. Cleanser

Start your day by washing away your skin’s impurities by using a gentle water-based cleanser (pro tip: you can skip your cleanser and opt for a konjac sponge instead)


2. Essence

Right after you cleanse your face, pat on your essence. (make sure to warm the essence between your palms and then lightly tap it all over your face!)


3. Moisturizer

Let your essence sit for a minute and then take a small amount of moisturizer and gently rub it onto your face.


4. Sunscreen

The most important step in your skincare routine is sunscreen! Put on a k-beauty sunscreen of your choice and start your day refreshed and cleansed! (rain or shine wear your SPF)

Nighttime Routine

1. Oil-Based Cleanser

Take your oil-based cleanser and rub the oil gently all over your face for a minute to remove your makeup and sunscreen.


2. Water-Based Cleanser

The next step is to wash off any remaining makeup with your water-based cleanser to feel refreshed and clean.


3. Essence

Apply your essence in the same way you would in the morning. Ensure you don’t wait too long to apply your essence as your skin can quickly get dehydrated after washing your face. My favorite is the Peach and Lily essence listed in my daytime routine, but my friends swear by this one by COSRX!


4. Moisturizer

Seal all of your products in by locking them all in with your moisturizer!


5. Sleeping Mask

Pat on a sleeping mask when not using a sheet mask and wake up with glowing and radiant skin.


6. Lip Sleeping Mask

My personal favorite is Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask | $22.00. Take the tiny spatula and put on your lip sleeping mask to have soft lips in the morning! (Don’t be afraid if you have flaky lips when you wake up. You just have to wash it off to reveal plump lips)


7. Sheet Masks

Apply your sheet masks only when you have time, and wake up with *extra* glowing skin.


We hope you like our reviews and recommendations! All products featured on Best of Korea are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you would like to purchase a product, please use our links and we may receive an affiliate commission for your purchase. Best of Korea LLC, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

Isabella Chung is a visual creator and contributing writer for Best of Korea. She discovered her passion for Korean culture through Korean hip-hop, an international summer language program at Yonsei University, and training with Korea’s National Fencing team in Seoul, Korea.

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