Here's How To Achieve Radiant Skin, According To Your Favorite K-Pop Stars

There's one thing that K-pop stars are known for almost as much as their amazing vocal talents, and that's their utterly radiant skin. The vast majority seem to glow from the inside out. While most people can't achieve their artistic prowess, it is possible to adjust one's skin regimen to hit K-pop-worthy status. K-pop stars are so renowned for their complexions that they've helped K-beauty (Korean beauty) go mainstream. Characterized by smooth, unblemished skin, minimalist makeup techniques, and eco-friendly products, K-beauty philosophies are embraced by people of all cultures all over the world.


Undoubtedly, K-beauty owes a lot of its current stature to famous K-pop stars like Lisa of BLACKPINK, who has nearly 100 million followers and counting on Instagram. If people can't necessarily be her, many definitely want to look more like her. Fortunately, the K-pop celebrities of the world aren't staying silent on the tips and tricks they use to achieve and maintain stunningly radiant skin. 

The tools and products you'll need

The Korean skincare regimen can be intense. However, the rewards you reap with the initial investment are undeniable. To get started on the path to age-defyingly dewy skin, pick up minimum SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen and a wide-brimmed sun hat for good measure. For facial massages, look for a face roller (if desired). If not, your fingers will work just fine. An oil-based makeup remover can help you cleanse, as well as a water-based facial cleanser. For exfoliating, go with a gentle exfoliator with an active ingredient like salicylic acid, as well as exfoliating gloves or a washcloth. To prep the skin for moisturizing, you can use a toner, a serum, and an essence. Finally, hydrate with a face-specific moisturizer and some sheet masks for regular use.


Now that your online cart is full of fun stuff, it's time to learn how to use it all and why each step is important. 

Use sun protection

Most people know that the sun is the skin's worst enemy. Exposure to ultraviolet rays over time can break down the skin and wreck its elasticity, causing wrinkles, sun damage, and — worst of all — cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.


K-pop stars who want to keep their baby-smooth complexions always choose a sunscreen that is both lightweight and rich in SPF to keep the sun from doing unnecessary damage, Lifestyle Asia explains. The American Academy of Dermatology Association says to always select a sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF and broad-spectrum in nature. The latter means that the product offers protection against both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays. Then, make sure to reapply sunscreen every 40 to 80 minutes, especially if you're in and out of the water. Extra accessories, like sunhats and sunglasses, are also advised as added layers of protection against the sun's harmful rays.

Enjoy a facial massage

Another important part of Korean skincare is facial massage, Korean skincare expert Araceli Elchami explained to Harper's Bazaar. "They have such an advanced technique that can make you look much younger without fillers and Botox," Elcami told the publication. Facial massage achieves this impressive feat because it helps to improve circulation, stimulating the muscles in the process. This process is believed to improve skin elasticity, which can ward off unwanted wrinkles, among other benefits. It also helps the skin cells to do their best work because oxygen and nutrients are more efficiently delivered thanks to this improved circulation, per India Today


Although you can pay a price for a professional face massage, Elchami says that it can be easily done at home between visits to the spa. Make sure to massage away from wrinkles (rather than into them), start at the chin and move up. Be extra gentle around the eyes, Elchami says. This can be done using only your fingers, or you can invest in a roller, Real Simple says. 

Thoroughly cleanse the skin

One of the key tenets of K-pop-worthy skin is to clean the skin gently but thoroughly on a consistent basis. Harsh cleansers are strictly avoided in favor of gentle options that will take care of business without stressing the skin, per Lifestyle Asia. The outlet also says that a popular Korean skincare step is the practice of "double cleansing." This involves removing makeup, dirt, grime, and such with a cleanser designed to target those substances, but then follows it up with a second cleanser for good measure. This second step is generally done with a foaming face wash, they explain. Anyone who has ever "thoroughly" washed their face at night, only to wake up the next morning with mascara smudges under their eyes can see the value in this bonus step.  


To achieve this part of the regimen, the Cleveland Clinic says to first select an oil-based makeup remover that will also wipe away substances like sunscreen. Then, use a light water-based facial cleanser to achieve that extra oomph of cleanliness that the face so deserves.

Gently exfoliate

The key to exfoliating like a K-pop star is not to get carried away. The idea is to remove dead skin cells carefully without accidentally stripping the face of beneficial cells and otherwise aggravating it. If the skin starts to look red or irritated post-exfoliation, you're either doing it too often, too vigorously, or using an exfoliator that contains ingredients that are too harsh for your face. "Korean women are very strategic about exfoliation to ensure skin balance. They know that is important to remove dead skin, but they also know that they have to be gentle about it," Korean skincare expert Araceli Elchami tells Harper's Bazaar.


Instead, use a method that incorporates helpful chemicals but also has a manual component, Lifestyle Asia explains. This should only be done once or twice a week. Kiehl's says. Try a gentle exfoliator with an active ingredient like salicylic acid. This can be done via an all-in-one product like a scrub, or used with a manual tool, such as exfoliating gloves or a washcloth. This balanced approach lends enough power to safely and easily get rid of dead skin cells, but won't forsake any of the remaining healthy skin. In particular, water-activated enzyme exfoliators are popular among Korean skincare enthusiasts, Harper's Bazaar says. The enzymes they employ can maintain the healthy skin's integrity while wiping away dead cells with ease.


Incorporate serums, toners, and essences

Other products, like serums, toners, and essences, are also staples of any successful Korean beauty maintenance regimen, Lifestyle Asia says. They all have slightly different functions, however. First, a toner is used post-cleansing to wipe away any remaining trace elements of dirt, Neutrogena says. Water-based versions of toners are a primer of sorts for the rest of the skincare regimen, helping every step that follows absorb more effectively into the skin, the Cleveland Clinic explains. Toner also helps to make pores look smaller than they actually are. They also balance the skin by correcting any off-kilter pH balance, which helps the skin stay hydrated.


Next, essences are designed to hydrate the skin and improve its overall health and are very lightweight and water-based in nature. Essences contain active ingredients and should be applied to the skin before any moisturizer or serum. This is because essences actually help the skin soak up those products, Healthline explains. Skin serums go on next, and are selected to address a specific skin problem, like dry skin, acne, or clogged pores, per L'Oréal Paris. Obviously, there's a lot of flexibility in the type of product based on individual needs.

Moisturize regularly

Dry skin is more than unsightly — it's also uncomfortable and itchy. This is why Korean skincare regimens always include a major moisturization component. Hydrated skin also tends to look more youthful and for longer than dry skin. 


The face should be moisturized in the morning and at night, as well as any other time the skin is cleansed (like after a good workout). To achieve maximum benefits, Healthline says to first cleanse the face and neck, then use a gentle exfoliator to get rid of dirt and grime. Then, rub the moisturizer into the face, neck, and decolletage in a circular fashion. You want the skin to be a bit damp so that the light moisture will be absorbed.

Another popular K-beauty step is to use a sheet mask for extra hydrating oomph once in a while. These sheets are shaped like the human face, and feature moisturizing ingredients designed to brighten up even the dullest skin, per Garnier. While wearing the face mask the ingredients deeply hydrate the skin. Lifestyle Asia says that sheet masks can be applied two to three times per week for best results.


All skincare steps are ultra-critical to perform before the all-important nighttime hours because that's when the skin repairs itself to take on another day, Lifestyle Asia explains. If left uncleansed or moisturized, it simply won't recover to K-pop beauty standards.