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.
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.
Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Cleansing Oil
This cleansing oil is a harmonious blend of the traditional and modern. It incorporates the age-old Korean wisdom of ginseng, renowned for its revitalizing properties, to effectively remove makeup and impurities while delivering nourishing benefits to your skin. It's a gateway to the luxurious experience of Korean skincare.
iUNIK Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil
Experience the gentle touch of calendula with this cleansing oil. Calendula extracts work their magic to soothe and cleanse your skin, making it a perfect choice for those looking for a calming cleanse. It effectively removes makeup and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and clean.
Ma:nyo Pure Cleansing Oil
Ma:nyo Pure Cleansing Oil is a gentle and effective way to remove makeup, sunscreen, and impurities from your skin. This cleansing oil is formulated with natural plant oils, including olive oil and sunflower seed oil, to dissolve and lift away even the most stubborn makeup.
This gentle makeup remover emulsifies upon contact with water, turning into a milky consistency that rinses off easily, leaving your skin clean, soft, and hydrated
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.
Round Lab 1025 Dokdo Cleanser
Infused with Deep Sea Water from Korea's Dokdo Island, enriched with minerals, this cleanser helps maintain your skin's optimal oil-water balance. The inclusion of NMF and three kinds of Hyaluronic Acid forms a moisture film, ensuring your skin stays hydrated throughout the day.
Additionally, Panthenol, Allantoin, and Ceramide NP work together to soothe and protect against external irritants. The cleanser, with its slightly acidic, foamy, and creamy texture, is unscented and suitable for all skin types.
Purito Defence Barrier pH Cleanser
This facial cleanser is all about maintaining your skin's natural balance. With a perfectly balanced pH level, it helps strengthen your skin's defense barrier while thoroughly cleaning away impurities. It's a reliable choice for a healthy complexion.
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.
By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water
If you're on a quest for brighter, smoother skin, this prep water is your secret weapon. Mandelic acid, known for its exfoliating properties, works to remove dead skin cells and impurities, unveiling a more radiant complexion. It's the ideal step to prepare your skin for the next stages of your skincare routine.
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.
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.
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner is a fragrance-free version of the beloved original, offering the same hydrating benefits without any added scent.
Packed with key ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and various botanical extracts, it replenishes moisture, soothes, and balances your skin's pH level. The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula is suitable for all skin types, especially those sensitive to fragrance.
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.
I'm From Mugwort Essence
Embrace the soothing power of mugwort with this essence. Perfect for those with sensitive skin, it's a calming and hydrating addition to your skincare routine. Mugwort is known for its soothing properties, making this essence an excellent choice for skin that needs a little extra love.
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.
Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack
Indulge in the ultimate pampering experience with the Snail Bee mask pack. This sheet mask combines the skin-loving benefits of snail secretion filtrate and bee venom. These ingredients work together to rejuvenate your skin, leaving it feeling refreshed, nourished, and revitalized.
Frudia My Orchard Squeeze Mask Mango
These sheet masks bring the deliciousness of mango straight to your skincare routine. Mango extracts offer a burst of freshness and hydration to your skin. If you're looking for a fruity and refreshing treat for your skin, these masks are an excellent choice.
Ma:nyo Galac Niacin Essence Mask
Ma:nyo Galac Niacin Essence Mask is a skincare gem that combines the power of Galactomyces and Niacinamide to rejuvenate and brighten your complexion.
Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, known for its skin-renewing properties, teams up with Niacinamide to address uneven skin tone, reduce hyperpigmentation, and promote a radiant glow.
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.
Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Serum
Unleash the radiance within with this serum. It's a powerhouse blend of vitamin C and galactomyces, working in harmony to give your skin a healthy and radiant glow. If you're on a quest for luminous skin, this serum is your go-to solution.
Cosrx Hydrium Triple Hyaluronic Ampoule
If you're craving deep hydration, this ampoule is the answer. It's packed with three types of hyaluronic acid to quench your skin's thirst. This lightweight, non-sticky formula ensures your skin stays hydrated and plump, making it a must-have for dry or dehydrated skin.
Beauty Of Joseon Calming Serum Green Tea + Panthenol
This lightweight serum is formulated to provide relief to irritated and sensitive skin, helping to reduce redness and inflammation.
Green tea, known for its antioxidant-rich properties, helps protect the skin from environmental stressors, while panthenol (provitamin B5) aids in enhancing the skin's moisture retention and barrier function.
By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C 21.5% Advanced Serum
With an impressive concentration of 21.5% Ascorbic Acid, this serum effectively brightens, evens out skin tone, and reduces the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
The advanced formula also contains additional skin-loving ingredients such as Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, and Hyaluronic Acid to enhance antioxidant protection and boost hydration.
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.
Pyunkang Yul Black Tea Time Reverse Eye Cream
An indulgent treat for your under-eye area, this eye cream harnesses the power of black tea. Its rich, nourishing formula is designed to reverse the signs of aging, reducing puffiness and diminishing dark circles. Your eyes deserve this touch of luxury.
Beauty of Joseon Revive Eye Serum Ginseng + Retinal
This eye serum is your secret to brighter, firmer under-eye skin. Infused with the goodness of ginseng and retinal, it works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The result? Youthful, revitalized eyes that shine with confidence.
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.)
Purito Deep Sea Pure Water Cream
Dive into the pure hydration of the deep sea with this cream. It's a moisture powerhouse with the purity of deep ocean water. This cream is excellent for hydrating your skin and leaving it feeling refreshed and revitalized.
Ma:nyo Bifida Biome Aqua Barrier Cream
Enriched with bifida ferment lysate, this cream strengthens the skin's barrier, promoting a healthier and more resilient complexion.
The lightweight yet deeply nourishing formula provides intense hydration, helping to soothe and rejuvenate dry or irritated skin. Bifida ferment lysate, a powerhouse ingredient, supports the skin's natural biome, improving its overall balance and resilience.
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.
I'm From Rice Cream
Infused with rice extract, this cream delivers a boost of hydration, leaving your skin soft, supple, and radiant.
Designed to address dry and dull skin concerns, the lightweight yet deeply moisturizing formula penetrates the skin, providing essential nutrients. Rice extract, known for its brightening and soothing properties, helps improve skin texture and promote an even skin tone.
Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream
Infused with calming ingredients like Guaiazulene and Centella Asiatica Extract, this cream provides relief and comfort to irritated skin.
Perfect for use after sun exposure or to soothe redness and inflammation, the Midnight Blue Calming Cream is a calming powerhouse. Its rich, hydrating formula creates a protective barrier, promoting skin recovery and reducing the appearance of redness.
Pyunkang Yul Oil
This facial oil is your ticket to a radiant complexion. It's packed with naturally derived ingredients, including the oils of jojoba, sunflower, and safflower seeds. These ingredients work together to nourish and hydrate your skin, leaving it with a healthy glow.
10. Sunscreens / SPF
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.
Tocobo Cotton Soft Sun Stick SPF50+ PA++++
This innovative sun stick features a unique micro-powder formula that absorbs excess oil, leaving a matte finish without a white cast.
Enriched with Mung Bean Extract and Hyaluronic Acid, it relieves dryness, prevents moisture loss, and soothes irritation. The reef-safe formula, free from harmful ingredients, ensures comprehensive UV protection while being non-greasy and lightweight.
Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++
Protection from the sun is vital, and this sun cream has got you covered. With a high SPF and PA rating, it effectively shields your skin from harmful UV rays. It's water-based, lightweight, and perfect for everyday use
Abib Quick Sunstick Protection Bar SPF50+ PA++++
For on-the-go sun protection, this sunstick is your best friend. It offers strong SPF and PA ratings and comes in a convenient stick form. It's easy to apply, making it a perfect choice for touch-ups throughout the day.
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?