If you spend as much time on the internet as I do, you’ve probably heard about the semi-viral Korean skincare routine. Consisting of around five—sometimes even 10—steps of ordered product application determined by years of cultural development and scientific backing, the K-beauty routine has drawn skeptics, cult fans, and curious onlookers since entering the global consciousness a few years ago.
Is it the secret recipe for flawless skin? Maybe. Though quite involved, the formulaic, solution-oriented process does boast an impressive track record. And this got me thinking—could companies apply a similar approach to their marketing copy?
Hear me out. As Soko Glam, the global K-beauty retail phenomenon, says of the skincare regimen: “It’s not about having more products than you can count, but rather about having the right products that do the right things, and using them in the right order.” The same is true of great marketing copy. You can spend all the time and effort in the world trying to get it right—but without a clear, well-defined process, you’ll struggle to create that flawless canvas of words that wins your target audience over.
Time for a glow-up. Here’s a five-step formula for copy that’s truly beautiful:
1. Double-cleanse and exfoliate
Double-cleansing makes up the first two steps of any K-Beauty routine, followed by exfoliating. So, what does this mean for your business’s copy? Mainly that you need to let go of any attachment you have to your existing copy—especially if it’s not generating the results you want.
That’s not to say you can’t keep anything. After all, you don’t remove your skin entirely when you exfoliate. But you do need to think carefully about what you don’t need.
Whenever you’re writing or editing your website or other marketing copy, aim to wash away long, rambling blocks of text that don’t add value and to slough off unnecessary details that only add to the word count. What you’ll be left with is clean, smooth copy that’s in a prime position to be beautified.
2. Apply tone(r)
Toner is a balancing product that evens out the work you did earlier and prepares the skin for what’s to come. The tone of your copy does something similar—easing your audience in and giving them a feel for what they’re about to read.
Say you want your brand to have a snarky, irreverent vibe. It’s not going to appeal to everyone and that’s okay, because you only want to appeal to your target audience. But if you don’t establish that tone early on and weave it throughout your copy, it may come across as jarring or arbitrary, leaving readers confused about who exactly you’re trying to speak to, and why.
Ensuring your copy conveys a consistent tone from the first word to last will get your target audience on board, and allow prospects unlikely to convert to self-select out before they waste their time or yours.
3. Convey the essence and treat problems
The next steps of the best K-beauty routines are all about perfecting the skin and targeting problem areas, like acne and fine lines. When it comes to your copy, this is your chance to make sure you’re really conveying the essence of your business and establishing the problems you can solve for your target audience.
Ask yourself: what are their pain points and have you clearly established how your business can solve them? Instead of serums and boosters, maybe you offer a software solution or a targeted service. And what is it about your business that makes it superior to others out there offering similar solutions?
The essence and treatment steps are often skipped by casual skincare users—but these are critical steps in shaping your copy, so don’t neglect them.
4. Absorb and reflect
Perhaps one of the most widely known aspects of the K-beauty routine is the use of sheet masks. While they often look silly, the masks perform a crucial function, sealing moisture and prior treatments into the skin. And since you have to wear them for about 20 minutes, they provide a relaxing, meditative break from the intensive routine.
By this point, you probably feel your business’s copy is ready to share with the world. Before you do, let it sit for a little while (wearing a mask is optional during this period). By coming back to it with fresh eyes, things might jump out at you that didn’t before—like a point that could have been made more succinctly or a key benefit that wasn’t fully fleshed out.
5. Moisturize and protect
The final few steps in the K-beauty routine are about protecting and bolstering the skin. This can include the use of eye cream, moisturizer, and SPF products.
For something as important as your business’s website or marketing content, it’s worth taking the time to build protection in and ensure it’s as flawless as you believe. Put it through a thorough proofreading process, then hand it over to someone you can trust for an honest second opinion. They’ll help you smooth out any wrinkles and address any final imperfections. That way, when your business reveals the copy to the world, you can be confident you’re presenting your very best self.
Skincare routines are not one-and-done affairs. Beauty lovers apply their products religiously night after night to get the skin they want. Copy is also rarely evergreen—but by applying this consistent, proven formula whenever it starts looking dry or blotchy, you can keep it healthy and beautiful forever.
Of course, many people say they don’t have time for a five-step skincare routine, let alone the infamous 10-step one—and many businesses feel the same way about their copy. Let us do the heavy lifting for you. Our masterful beauticians—er, copywriters—can create copy and content for your business that’s as obsession-worthy as the K-beauty routine itself.