How do I create a 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine?
Have you ever wondered how Korean women get flawless glass skin? Here are the K-Beauty secrets for poreless, clear, and glowing skin.
Photo credit: Freepik
Everyone is crazy about the phenomenon of "glass skin", "honey skin”—it's a skin goal that gives you a transparent, dewy, luminous complexion with the 10-step Korean skin care routine.
What is the 10 step Korean skin care routine?
This unique regimen is more extensive than the usual 3-4 steps of the standard western face care method, which can be intimidating at first, but it doesn't mean you have to do 10 steps at once.
Once you understand these facial care steps and your skin's needs, you can tailor them to suit your skin problems, goals, and lifestyle. You can opt for a 5-step method in the morning and add more beauty products for the night routine or just for the weekend.
We're here to break down each step and help you figure out if it's right for you! Just read below to see all of the explanations on how to properly use Korean face care products and when to incorporate them into your skin regimen.
1. Oil-Based Cleansers/Makeup Removers
Have you heard of the "double cleaning method"? It's part of South Korean beauty regimen that essentially uses two different facial cleansers to achieve an ultra-clean face.
This step is basically the first step in the two-step face wash technique and how the famous Asian face care secret begins. You use cleansing oil/balm, which can removes all traces of waterproof eye makeup, sunscreen (SPF), excess sebum and pore-clogged impurities.
E Nature Moringa Cleansing Balm
A gentle cleansing balm is fortified with moringa seed extracts, birch sap, and iris extract to promote collagen production, prevent signs of aging, and improve skin texture and tone while dissolving makeup, sun-protection, and excess sebum.
💘 See more details about E Nature Moringa Cleansing Balm
Olivarrier Wash All Barrier Relief
This natural cleansing oil is a mildly acidic facial cleanser (pH 5.5) that gently removes makeup, keratin and excess sebum with creamy bubbles while forming the skin barrier and adding a very moisturizing layer on your skin.
Enriched with organic rose water and eight different kinds of cold-pressed and unrefined organic oils like jojoba oil, avocado oil, argan oil, baobab oil, rosehip oil and more—all rich in natural vitamins and nutrients that your skin needs.
💘 See more details about Olivarrier Wash All Barrier Relief
2. Water-Based Cleansers
Follow with a water-based facial cleanser—think of soft cleansing foam, moisturizing cleansing cream, gel, lotion, or milk. This second step helps cleanse down pores and rinse the skin to remove any residue.
Washing your face twice is recommended by dermatologists and aestheticians, and it's important to choose the right cleansers based on your skin type and concerns.
According to BYRDIE, Lucy Hale said that "the double cleanse is really important to me" in keeping her skin glowing and breakout-free.
Heimish All Clean Green Foam
This is a pH 5.5 balancing face cleanser that gently removes impurities and pollutants while balancing the pH level so that the skin can function optimally.
Only formulated with safe EWG green ingredients, Centella asiatica to soothe the skin with its anti-inflammatory properties and witch hazel to moisturize the skin.
💘 See more details about Heimish All Clean Green Foam
Etude House SoonJung pH 6.5 Whip Cleanser
This non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic facial cleanser is suitable for all skin types, especially ideal for dry and sensitive skin.
This product consists of 98% natural ingredients and its low-irritation and weakly acidic formulation, which is similar to the lipid film of the skin, soothes the skin without feeling taut even after washing the face.
💘 See more details about Etude House Soon Jung Cleansing Foam
Exfoliating is a must-do beauty step if you want to achieve a radiant, youthful looking complexion. Simply put, it is the process of removing old dead skin cells that clog pores, which can lead to whiteheads, blackheads, dull and blemished skin.
(A recommended blog post: 10 Best Korean Face Exfoliators for Soft Velvety Skin)
Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
A mild chemical peel gently eliminates dead skin cells and blackheads, reduces clogged impurities and excess sebum.
Formulated with 4% natural BHA and 67.8% willow bark water to smooth bumpy and rough patches of skin and strengthen the skin barrier for clear, soft skin. Enriched with niacinamide (vitamin B3), which brightens skin tone and brightens pigmentation and dark spots on the face.
💘 See more details about Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
Huxley Sweet Therapy Scrub Mask
A two-in-one facial care product combines a scrub and a face mask that gently removes dead skin cells, excess sebum and waster from the pores without stripping the skin's natural oils.
Formulated with naturally derived ingredients such as sucrose, walnut shell powder and Sahara cactus extracts and prickly pear seed oil that deeply nourish and moisturize the skin.
💘 See more details about Huxley Sweet Therapy Scrub Mask
4. Facial Toners
Korean toners are different from astringent toners, which dry out your skin. It's all about hydrating and restoring the skin to optimal pH balance while preparing the skin to take the next steps of treatment for maximum benefit.
Many products are formulated with natural ingredients or humectants such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin(glycerol) to help retain moisture.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
A nutrient-packed facial toner is formulated with 91.3% Astragalus Membranaceus root extract, arginine and hydroxyethyl cellulose. It is a perfect solution for dehydrated and dull skin.
Thanks to fine particles of the main ingredient, this best-selling hydrating toner penetrates deeply into the skin effectively and increase the effect of the product to the maximum.
💘 See more details about Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner
An antioxidant-rich toner helps relieve skin stress and irritation and revitalize your skin with botanical ingredients. Made from EWG green-level ingredients, including 80% green tea extract from Jeju Island, an island in South Korea.
Green tea is rich in amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, vitamin C, and polyphenols that nourish and soothe dull, inflamed skin while protecting skin from visible signs of skin aging. Formulated with allantoin, hyaluronic acid and centella asiatica extract to keep your skin hydrated.
💘 See more details about Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner
5. Facial Essences
Facial essence serves as a primer for subsequent products such as serums, ampoules and moisturizers or facial oils.
Skin essences are lightweight and quickly absorbed by the skin and penetrate the deeper layers of the skin than most larger and heavier molecular weight moisturizers. They provide an excellent layer of moisture and prepare the skin to absorb all of the good properties of your next beauty products.
The consistency of the products varies from watery to viscous and you can choose them based on your type, needs and goals.
Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Formulated with 96% snail secretion filtrate, a powerful anti-aging ingredient known to improve uneven skin tone and stimulate collagen and elastin formation.
Snail mucin is rich in multivitamins, proteins, copper peptides, hyaluronic acid and panthenol with antimicrobial properties that keep acne-causing bacteria in check while strengthening the skin barrier.
💘 See more details about Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Hyggee All-In-One Essence
This all-in-one beauty product simplifies many steps of skin care products in just one bottle of moisturizing formulation.
The convenient and innovate product consists of face toner, serum and essence that provide intense hydration and replenish dry, dull, tired-looking skin.
Formulated with birch sap and triple hyaluronic acid complex, which provides your skin with supple, plump and deep moisture.
Thanks to natural exfoliants, it also gently works to cleanse excess sebum and impurities on your skin, leaving the skin looks brighter and feels softer.
💘 See more details about Hyggee All-In-One Essence
6. Sheet Masks
Korean sheet masks are face-shaped, soaked with unique active ingredients and help the skin to recharge moisture and nutrients in just 15 minutes - perfect for a quick and easy self-care ritual.
How to use sheet masks?
After cleansing and toning, apply on your face for 15-20 minutes. You don't need to rinse it off afterwards as a sheet mask will benefit your skin even after it is removed. Take advantage of the remaining hydrating residue and let it soak into your skin for the best results.
A helpful tip: Do not leave it in longer than the instructed time as this can have a reverse effect. The dry sheet mask will try to suck moisture out of the skin.
Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask Acai Berry
A Korean sheet mask is made from freshly squeezed acai berries, a powerful antioxidant and full of nutrients to protect dry, tired skin from harmful external stimulants and free radicals.
Formulated with Jeju Green Complex, which includes green tea, tangerine, cactus, camellia leaves and orchid.
All those active ingredients are extracted using a "Cold Brew Squeeze" process at low temperature to ensure that all nutrients are fully contained.
💘 See more details about Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask Acai Berry
Tony Moly I'm Real Lemon Mask Sheet Brightening
A hydrating Mask is made of lemon extract, high in Vitamin C to brighten and even out your skin tone while moisturizing!
The sheet masks is made from a 3-ply cellulose pulp for optimal delivery and absorption of its skin beneficial essence to your skin for maximum results. Free from paraben, benzophenone, triethanolamine, talc. and color additives.
💘 See more details about Tony Moly I'm Real Lemon Mask Sheet Brightening
7. Skin Treatments (Serums/ampoules/boosters/Spot Creams)
This facial treatment step is the essential core of Korean beauty routine and it is all about finding the best highly concentrated serums or ampoules for your personal skin problems or desires.
You should pay attention to active ingredients that target the specific benefits of acne treatment, skin lightening, dehydration, and anti-aging.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) for brightening and evening out the skin tone, and peptides, retinols and niacinamide (vitamin B3) against the signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines.
Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid are known to relieve acne, and snail slime to hydrate and lighten acne scars, pigmentation, and AHAs, BHAs and PHAs to remove dead skin cells and prevent blackheads and dull skin.
Liz K Super First C Serum Pure Vitamin 13%
Formulated with 13% pure Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and ten other powerful anti-aging ingredients, including fullerenes (Nobel Prize winners) and tocopherol.
This antioxidant-rich serum helps lighten and even out skin tone, reduces the appearance of pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots on the skin, and restores your youthful looking complexion.
💘 See more details about Liz K Super First C Serum Pure Vitamin 13%
The Plant Base Time Stop Collagen Ampoule
Filled with 76.53% mushroom extract (Hericium Erinaceum and 3 other types of natural mushrooms)—which boosts collagen production, increases skin firmness and elasticity, while smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles to reduce the signs of aging.
Several key ingredients are combined for maximum benefit, including sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) and panthenol for hydration, Centella asiatica (aka Cica!) and aloe for soothing and repairing the skin.
💘 See more details about The Plant Base Time Stop Collagen Ampoule
Urang Brightening Blue Oil Serum
Enriched with a powerful skin brightening ingredient, Alpha-Bisabolol, which is known to inhibit melanin synthesis and stimulate collagen production.
Features organic German chamomile essential oil, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil (green tea), which has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
This natural serum soothes redness and irritation, improve uneven skin tone, and fade the appliance of pigment spots on the skin.
💘 See more details for Urang Brightening Blue Oil Serum
8. Eye Creams
The skin around the eyes is thin, delicate, and more easily dehydrated, so it usually first to shows premature signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness.
The nourishing eye cream helps to helps keep them at bay and also work in solving your other skin problems like dark circles, and bags under the eyes.
Eye care products therefore help to moisturize, lighten, soften, moisturize, and protect your skin, making it smooth and deeply moisturized.
When should you apply eye creams?
The answer is that it depends on the formulation of the product you are using. If your eye cream is lighter and thinner than your moisturizer, it should be applied before the moisturizer.
However, if it's richer and thicker, it should go out on top. The best way to ensure the correct order of your skin care steps is to check the package instructions.
Benton Fermentation Eye Cream
Benton vegan eye cream helps nourish the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and keeps the skin firm and supple.
Formulated with Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, sh-Oligopeptide-1, and Ceramides to repair damaged, dull skin and brighten, plump, and moisturize the eye area for a brighter, younger look.
💘 See more details about Benton Fermentation Eye Cream
Aromatica Rose Absolute Eye Cream
A rose eye cream contains natural Bulgarian rose oil that soothe dry sensitive skin and protects against signs of aging and dark eye bags around the eyes.
Infused with organic aloe vera extract, organic argan oil and organic shea butter to deliver abundant nutrients and strengthen the skin's natural moisture barrier and smooth the delicate eye area.
💘 See more details about Aromatica Rose Absolute Eye Cream
9. Moisturizers/Face Oils/Night Creams
This is a stage where you seal the deal for all the goodness you put on earlier, like vitamin C serum, snail mucin essence, coenzyme Q-10 ampoule and more.
Moisturizers are emulsions of oil, water, and other active ingredients that you apply to your skin to increase comfort, lubrication, and prevent dryness.
The basic rule of thumb is that you should choose your moisturizer based on your skin type and you choose where you apply it, face or body, depending on the thickness of the formulation.
There are three different types of moisturizing agents, humectants, emollients, and occlusive and the best moisturizers are designed to add moisture (with humectants), soften and nourish the skin (with emollients), and retain all of these benefits in the skin (with occlusion).
(A related blog post: How to choose the best facial moisturizer and recommended products for every skin type.)
Huxley Secret of Sahara Cream More Than Moist
Enriched with organic prickly pear seed oil and cactus extracts from the Sahara, which contain high concentrations of antioxidants and hydrating properties.
An ultra-hydrating facial moisturizer helps replenish lost moisture and nutrients on your skin. With anti-aging effects, this product strengthens the skin's barrier against free radicals.
💘 See more details about Huxley Secret of Sahara Cream More Than Moist
Pyunkang Yul Nutrition Cream
A nutritious face cream has a thicker, creamier consistency that glides gently onto the skin without feeling too heavy or greasy.
Enriched with milk vetch root extract, which contains anti-inflammatory and anti-wrinkle properties that detoxify and protect the skin from the free radicals that cause fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, leaving the skin soft and supple.
💘 See more details about Pyunkang Yul Nutrition Cream
Aromatica Organic Rosehip Oil
A face oil consists of ECOCERT-certified and 100% USDA-approved organic rosehip oil, which is purely cold-pressed and is obtained from organically harvested premium rosehip fruits.
This vegan oil intensively nourishes dull, dry and stressed skin with vitamins A, Omega 3, 6 and 9. The organic oil is rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and amino acids that protect and promote the skin against free radicals the revitalization of the skin.
💘 See more details about Aromatica Organic Rosehip Oil
Sun protection is non-negotiable and the most crucial role in Korean beauty. The SPF protects your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays—UVA and UVB rays.
If you have dry skin, you can use creme type of formulation, and for oily skin, try finding water- or gel-based sunscreens that control oil production or have a matte finish.
If your skin is sensitive and prone to pimples, use non-comedogenic SPF products without alcohol, fragrances, oxybenzone, and salicylates.
MISSHA All Around Safe Block Water Proof Sun Milk SPF50+
A mattifying daily sunscreen has an advanced double layer polymer system that stays in place longer through sweat, water and heat to protect your skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays.
This waterproof sunscreen with eucalyptus extract helps prevent sunburn, limit the appearance of sunspots, and can reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
Heimish Artless Glow Base SPF 50 PA+++
This make-up primer with SPF gives a naturally luxurious glossy effect with a shiny pearl powder and at the same time refines the complexion for a smooth and makeup-ready face.
This toning primer serves as a sunscreen to protect the skin from sun damage and provides important moisture that prepares the skin for long-lasting flawless make-up.
💘 See more details about Heimish Artless Glow Base SPF 50 PA+++
If you're not sure about your skin type, read our blog post- How can I identify my skin type and how to take care of it?