Before K-Beauty, skincare routines were comprised of face wash and face cream (and little else). But now, these products make up only a fraction of the modern girl’s regimen. And while multiple skincare steps might seem excessive, there’s a reason for each and every one of them.

Today, we’re talking about the steps that boost your moisture level. Specifically, the difference between these three Korean must-haves: emulsions, moisturizers, and sleeping packs. Class is now in session!

In a nutshell, emulsions are more lightweight, slightly runny versions of moisturizer. Their thinner consistency is the ideal medium for concentrated nourishment. Emulsions absorb faster, trigger less irritation, and avoid clogging pores. Also, they’re perfect for sensitive skin types—not too heavy, but not superficial, either.

ORDER OF APPLICATION: After serum, before moisturizer. Emulsion may also replace your cream in the morning for lighter daytime hydration.

TRY: COSRX BHA Skin Returning Emulsion, now on sale at P828 (limited time only)

Moisturizers are your skin’s basic source of hydration. Typically in cream form but growing popular as gels, they combine moisturizing properties with a slew of specialty ingredients. This allows them to deliver more skin benefits on top of hydration—be it anti-aging, brightening, or acne-fighting.

ORDER OF APPLICATION: After emulsion, before sleeping masks.

TRY: Huxley The Anti-Gravity Cream, P1,650

Sleeping masks (or packs) are often seen as frivolous, but they actually play a crucial role in your evening routine. As the final layer of skincare, a sleeping mask seals in every other product you’ve applied. This prevents moisture loss during sleep, adds an extra dose of nourishment, and boosts the effects of your entire regimen. How’s that for a happy ending?

ORDER OF APPLICATION: The very last step in your evening routine, after moisturizer or facial oil.

TRY: C20 Vitamin Sleep 9 to 5 Crema, P950

WHY YOU NEED THEM

It all comes down to one thing: feeding the skin what it needs. Emulsions, moisturizers, and sleeping masks may come in different forms, but their common goal is to hydrate your face to the max. By maximizing moisture, these products fortify your overall skin-health while steeping your complexion in a unique beauty cocktail. And at the end of the day, you can never have too many layers of moisture!

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