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The Best K-beauty Routine for Oily Skin

When I was young and naïve, I didn’t use moisturizer on my face. Can you even believe it? I know, I know, I can’t believe it myself. I have combination, oily, and acne prone skin, and for the longest time, I believed that the more I “dried” out my skin, the less oily it would be. Harsh cleansers, astringent toners, and NO moisturizer were my skincare routine. Needless to say, my skin was awful.

I have now learned the error of my ways, and I can proudly say that my once oily, acne prone skin is balanced, clear, and bright. How? Let me show you the light.

I follow a very basic skincare routine both morning and night to help balance my oily skin. The keyword here is balance. Instead of stripping your skin of essential moisture by using harsh and caustic products, you want to work to hydrate with lightweight products and balance the skin with some good ol’ chemical exfoliation.

Step One – Cleanser

My biggest tip for selecting a cleanser is making sure it is pH balanced. Anything with a pH of above 5.5 will dry out and cause damage to the outer layer of skin. The LJH Tea Tree 30 Cleanser is pH balanced, and has the added benefit of 30% tea tree extract for a cleanse that is deeply refreshing, but won’t strip the skin.

Step Two – Hydrating toner

I no longer believe in astringent toners. I think they are unnecessary, and in my experience, a hydrating toner does a much better job of keeping oily skin at bay. I love the Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner. Like its name implies, it’s deeply hydrating, but sinks into the skin beautifully without any greasy residue.

Step Three – Chemical Exfoliation

Ditch the harsh scrubs and move over to the bright side with chemical exfoliation. The best exfoliating ingredient (and product in general) for oily skin is BHA. Beta-hydroxy acids, or BHAs for short, are mostly salicylic acid and betaine salicylate. Oily skin tends to have a lot of built up dead cells on the surface of the skin and when you use a product with formulated with a BHA, it works to dissolve or “unglue” the dead skin cells that are clogging your skin. Not only does it dissolve dead skin, it penetrates into your pore lining so oil doesn’t continue to build up in your pores. Blithe’s Green Tea Splash Mask is formulated with salicylic acid. For a more concentrated spot treatment, soak a cotton pad with the mask and apply to the skin. Boom! Get your glow on, girl.

Step Four – Lightweight moisturizer

Anything formulated with heavy emollients are a no-go for my oily, acne prone skin. I gravitate towards watery, gel, and lightweight moisturizers, that offer hydration, without a weighty, greasy feel. The Make P:rem All-in-One Master Cream, and the Huxley Fresh and More Cream  are a great choices for those with oily skin. Make P:rem’s Master Cream is a gorgeous lightweight gel cream, formulated with brightening radish root and niacinamide. It smells heavenly, and glides onto the skin with ease, absorbing completely without a greasy feel. It’s my new favorite!


What are your favorite products to use for oily skin? Let us know in the comments!

Get your glow on,

Sheryll Donerson is a Southern California native who currently lives in Phuket, Thailand. She fell in love with Korean cosmetics while teaching ESL in Korea 3 years ago and hasn’t looked back. She writes Korean beauty reviews on her blog, The Wanderlust Project, and is a devoted lover of champagne, Nutella, chemical exfoliation and Crossfit.

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  • Bex Jan 6, 2018 3:42 am

    Hi. I have just started a 10-step, Korean skincare routine. I have chosen products that are supposed to be very good for oily skin, however, I feel like I’m having even MORE oily skin since starting this routine. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong? Or how to fix this issue of over-producing oil?

    • The Glow Recipe Team Jan 12, 2018 10:29 am

      Hi Bex, thanks for reaching out! Sounds like your skin might be dehydrated, meaning its lacking water and moisture. Usually in the case of dehydration, skin will over-produce oil to try and keep all of the water in. If your new routine includes alcohol or astringent ingredients to help reduce oil, these could also be stripping your skin of much-needed hydration. Our recommendation would be to look for thin, watery hydrators like an alcohol-free toner and try out the 7 Skin Method. Hope that helps! Let us know if you try it out and your results!

  • Molly Mar 12, 2017 3:49 pm

    Hello there, I can't seem to find the Make P:rem All-in-One Master Cream referenced above. Was this discontinued? If so, can you recommend an alternative? Thank you!

  • Denisse Jan 30, 2017 7:59 am

    What kind of products do you recomend for combination skin? and also I have rosacea..... Please help me.

  • Dina Jan 24, 2017 11:06 am

    What type of moisturizer should i wear at night when i have oily/combination skin? I want a little more moisture then in the day time, but not something that is to heavy.

  • Jasna Jan 24, 2017 9:45 am

    How come you put essence/toner First,and then exfoliate?shouldnt it be the other way around?

    • The Glow Recipe Team Jan 24, 2017 6:51 pm

      That's a great question Jasna! Exfoliating ingredients like BHA and AHA have now been formulated into different steps of your routine! These can be found in toners, essences, serums, and creams! Depending on what product you have that includes exfoliators, that step can vary in your routine. Stay tuned for some very excited launches from us that will feature exfoliation in your other routine steps.

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