Looking to do the Korean skincare routine the vegan way? Easy-peasy.
You can find plenty of vegan skincare from Korean brands to build an entirely animal-free Kbeauty routine. No snail mucin or horse oil is needed.
See our complete 10-step vegan Korean skincare routine. We have also included a vegan glass skin routine and a vegan honey skin routine.
Is Korean Skincare Vegan?
Korean skincare is not always vegan. Many Korean brands use still animal ingredients such as snail mucin and bee propolis. Yet, you can also find many vegan Korean skincare brands.
Korean skincare is easily veganized. Most extracts in Korean skincare are plant-based such as aloe, rice, Centella Asiatica, green tea, ginseng, licorice, mugwort, and calendula.
Korean skincare brands also use vegan-friendly active ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, ceramides, and niacinamide. Hyaluronic acid is usually also vegan friendly.
When buying vegan Korean skincare, it is better to still prefer products with a vegan label. That way you can be sure the product is animal-free and not tested on animals.
Some Korean skincare brands like Holika Holika, Missha, and Neogen may still test on animals. Thus, it is better to choose certified brands that are unambiguously cruelty-free.
What Is A Korean Skincare Routine?
Korean skincare routine is a 10-step skincare ritual. It usually starts with double-cleansing and exfoliation and follows with a series of serums and moisturizers.
The idea behind the Korean skincare routine is to invest time in keeping your skin hydrated and nourished every day. That helps to prevent skin problems and premature aging.
Korean skincare products – especially vegan ones – are overall much gentler than average drugstore products. So the whole routine is generally safe and skin-friendly.
But when building a vegan Korean skincare routine, your should still give your skin time to adjust and introduce new products into your daily regimen slowly.
Vegan Korean Skincare Routine In 10 Steps
Here are our favorite products for a vegan Korean skincare routine. Enjoy the complete 10-step Korean skin routine the vegan way. These products are suitable for all skin types.
- Vegan Oil Cleanser: Iunik Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil
- Vegan Foam Cleanser: The Vegan Glow Mild Foam Cleanser
- Vegan Exfoliator: Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
- Vegan Toner: Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner
- Vegan Essence: Then I Met You The Giving Essence
- Vegan Serum: Sioris Bring The Light Serum
- Vegan Sheet Mask: Benton Aloe Soothing Mask
- Vegan Eye Cream: I Dew Care Glow-Key Brightening Eye Cream
- Vegan Moisturizer: Peach & Lily Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream
- (AM) Vegan Sunscreen: Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel
- (PM) Vegan Night Cream: Purito Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping Pack
1. Vegan Oil Cleanser
Double cleansing is the basis of the Korean skincare routine. First, you wash your face with a gentle oil-based cleanser, then wash it again with a water-based foam cleanser.
Start the routine with Iunik Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil. The silky vegan oil cleanser removes makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of natural oils.
2. Vegan Foam Cleanser
Water-based cleansers get deep into your pores and draw out water-based dirt, sweat, and impurities – something an oil-based cleanser cannot do.
For your vegan Korean routine, we recommend a mild low pH cleanser that also balances the skin. The Vegan Glow Mild Foam Cleanser is a great choice for all skin types.
3. Vegan Exfoliator
Exfoliation is crucial in the Korean skincare routine to remove dead skin cells and blackheads. As a result, your skin will look more even, smoother, and poreless.
Instead of mechanical scrubs, prefer non-abrasive exfoliating acids. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is a great vegan exfoliator for clearing blackheads and tightening pores.
For dry skin, we recommend the Isntree Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence. Glycolic acid does not dry the skin and the formula has also hyaluronic acid and soothing Centella Asiatica.
4. Vegan Toner
Toners are good at resetting the pH level of your skin and improving the effectiveness of your entire vegan skincare routine. In a Korean routine, toners are a must.
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner is perfect. The gentle vegan toner is oil-free and alcohol-free. It makes your skin soft, supple, and ready for the next steps.
5. Vegan Essence
Face essences deliver a high concentration of actives into your skin. In Korean skincare, essences combine brightening and hydrating ingredients in a light water-based formula.
Then I Met You The Giving Essence is our favorite vegan essence. It brightens the skin with fermented extracts and plumps the skin with niacinamide and polyglutamic acid.
For sensitive skin, we also recommend the soothing I’m From Mugwort Essence.
6. Vegan Serum
Serums and ampoules are also staples in a Korean skincare routine. The best kind of serum hydrates skin while protecting it from free radical damage.
We love Sioris Bring The Light Serum. Made with organic green tea water, hyaluronic acid, and rosehip oil, the light but mighty vegan serum leaves skin nourished and radiant.
7. Vegan Sheet Mask
Sheet masks are another Korean skincare tool to boost your skin’s hydration levels. While not miracle workers, sheet masks feel great and give you a mindful moment with yourself.
Korean brand Benton has the best vegan sheet masks. We especially like their refreshing Aloe & Green Tea Mask. It beautifully hydrates, soothes, and wakes up your skin.
With sensitive skin and redness, try also Benton’s Goodbye Redness Centella Mask.
8. Vegan Eye Cream
Eyes need special care as they show age and tiredness faster. Korean skincare always includes eye creams to deal with dark circles, fine lines, and undereye puffiness.
The bestselling I Dew Care Glow-Key vegan eye cream uses vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. The fresh cream boosts collagen production and visibly brightens the eye area.
9. Vegan Moisturizer
Korean skincare brands love antioxidant moisturizers. They keep the skin sufficiently hydrated while giving you daily protection from environmental stressors.
Peach & Lily Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream is a great vegan day cream. Matcha, niacinamide, and panthenol go a long way to make your skin soft and soothed.
10. (AM) Vegan Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a non-negotiable step in a skincare regimen, including Korean ones. For your vegan Korean routine, we recommend Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50.
The hydrating vegan sunscreen absorbs fast and leaves no white cast. It includes ceramides, Centella, and hyaluronic acids to give your skin a beautiful, dewy glow. Read our full review here.
11. (PM) Vegan Night Cream
Vegan night creams fit well into a Korean skincare routine. Night creams repair and soothe your skin and undo the daily environmental damage.
We love the Purito Dermide Cica Barrier Night Cream. It features squalane, niacinamide, Centella Asiatica, and ceramides to nourish the skin and strengthen the skin barrier.
The vegan night cream also reduces inflammation and is also suitable for sensitive skin.
There are some additional vegan products to consider when building your Korean vegan skincare routine, especially if you have very oily or very dry skin.
Oily and acne-prone skin could use a weekly exfoliating mask to help further clarify the skin. Peach & Lily Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask is a good choice for that.
With dry skin, you can add vegan facial oil in your routine to prevent moisture loss. We love the Rovectin Barrier Repair Face Oil with vitamin E, plum seed extract, and squalane.
Vegan Glass Skin Routine
Glass skin routine is the most famous Korean skincare trend. With this routine, your skin should look luminous, poreless, and almost translucent for it’s drenched in hydration.
We have found a great simple vegan glass skin routine from Peach & Lily – the Korean brand that is leading the glass skin trend. To our joy, their products are also vegan.
Here’s our favorite 5-step vegan glass skin routine. The routine is suitable for all skin types, including oily, acne-prone, dry, and sensitive.
- Step 1: Peach & Lily Ginger Melt Oil Cleanser
- Step 2: Peach & Lily Power Calm Hydrating Gel Cleanser
- Step 3: Peach & Lily Wild Dew Treatment Essence
- Step 4: Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum
- Step 5: Peach & Lily Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream
We also recommend getting the Peach & Lily Glass Skin Discovery Kit. The kit includes everything but the oil cleanser.
Vegan Honey Skin Routine
Honey skin is another beautiful Korean skincare trend. Luckily for vegans, it has nothing do to with actual honey. Honey skin is like glass skin but with a warm glossy finish.
To achieve, honey skin you need emollients like hyaluronic acid to really plump the skin. The last step is usually a facial oil for that special honey glow.
This is our favorite vegan honey skin routine:
- Step 1: Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Clleansing Balm
- Step 2: Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Cleanser
- Step 3: Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner
- Step 4: Hanskin Hyaluron Moisture Cream
- Step 5: Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil
For locking in more moisture, you can also add a hydrating and refining night mask to your routine. Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is a good vegan option.
FAQ About Vegan Korean Skincare Routine
Korean skincare routine can be vegan but always isn’t – it depends on the products you choose. Korean brands have many vegan-friendly products to build a vegan Korean skincare routine.
You can build a vegan Korean skincare routine with vegan Korean brands like The Vegan Glow, Purito, and Klairs. Brands like COSRX, Sioris, and Iunik also have many vegan-friendly products to help you build your vegan routine.
Our favorite vegan products for double-cleansing are Iunik Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil and The Vegan Glow Mild Foam Cleanser.
Not necessarily. Essence can be both vegan and animal-derived. Some essences include snail mucin and collagen, others are entirely plant-based.
Peach & Lily’s skincare is vegan, including their glass skin routine. On their website, Peach & Lily also lists products from other Korean brands, some of which are not vegan.
The vegan Korean skincare routine allows you to discover many quality vegan skincare products. Almost every Korean skincare brand has some vegan-friendly products we love.
While the Korean routine is relatively long, it is still mainly made from clean and gentle natural ingredients. Remember that the routine should not be a prison but a fun everyday habit.
We also hope you liked our vegan glass skin and vegan honey skin routines. As new Korean skincare trends emerge, we will be sure to make the vegan versions available to you.
Article update on May 04 (2023): Fact checked and medically reviewed by MD Shimona Garg