My skin care is a very personalized routine, so the products and steps of care I choose essentially come down to what is best for me as an individual. This is a must for anyone because there are many different skin types, as well as personal preferences regarding products and routines. I started doing the 10 step Korean skincare routine a couple months back and it has been life changing. I have oily skin and I’ve always struggled with keeping it under control during the day and I’m also prone to breakouts ever so often.
For those that are new to Korean beauty, Below is a cool infographic that simplifies the 10 step Korean skincare routine process.
Korean Skincare Infographic
After starting this new Korean skincare routine, I now have less breakouts, my skin is plumper and more youthful, and I can control excess oil. It takes me about 10 minutes or less to complete this routine because layering is a vital part of this skin care regimen. Since Korean skincare is still pretty new to many, I decided to share the routine with you guys and the multi-step process along the way.
Like I mentioned earlier, your skincare routine is a personalized one so all the products, I mention below works best for my oily skin. The 10 steps are the same no matter what skin type you have (dry, oily, combination, normal). It’s the products that may differ. Finding what’s right for your skin type is a lot easier to do with value sets, like the ones from Soko Glam, that’s curated for you skin type.
The Ten Step Korean Skincare Routine
Step 1. Makeup Remover + Oil Based Cleanser
Eliminating all kinds of impurities is an important starting point of any skin care program. These impurities involve residue from cosmetics, dirt, and filmy debris that make their way into your skin’s pores from pollutants in the environment. An oil-based cleanser is the best choice to eliminate these substances from your skin because water-based cleansers alone are simply not up to the job. It will almost always leave residue behind.
Start by using a good makeup remover or Skinfood Rice Brightening Cleansing Tissue to cleanse away and remove stubborn eye makeup and long-wear lipstick. Then use an oil-based cleanser like BANILA CO. Clean It Zero Purity to completely remove all traces of makeup and impurities without clogging pores. Massage your face and neck with your fingers in a circular motion for 30 seconds and splash lukewarm water to rinse everything off. No more waking up with black streaks of mascara on your pillowcases!
Step 2. Water Based Cleanser
The next step involved in the Korean skincare routine is to thoroughly wash your face with a water-based cleanser. I like to use NEOGEN Green Tea Real Fresh Foaming Cleanser to ensure that every trace of the oil-based formula, as well as any cosmetic residue, are thoroughly wiped away. This is sometimes referred to as the “double-cleanse.” It essentially ensures that any remaining impurities are completely eliminated. To further deep cleanse my skin, I use Goodal Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay Mask twice a week to keep my pores in check.
Step 3. Exfoliation
To achieve a glowing, polished complexion, exfoliating is vital. This is because during the exfoliation process, dead skin cells and debris are sloughed off, leaving your pores open to the next skincare products in your routine. Exfoliating with a natural scrub like Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off should be done once or twice a week, and it only takes a short length of time to see exceptional results. Once you begin to exfoliate on a weekly basis, you’ll see a difference in your skin. I know I have! If your goal is the softest, smoothest skin possible, never overlook this key step.
Step 4. Toners
Next in the Korean skincare routine is to tone your newly exfoliated skin. This is also called a “prep step,” as it hydrates your skin and re-balances your skin’s pH, both of which ensure your best results with subsequent steps. I like the Korean toners like Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner and RE:P Organic Cotton Treatment Toning Pad because they are less harsh and drying compared to the others I’ve tried in the past. I prefer RE:P toning pads the most because they come pre-moistened.
The way you use a toner is essentially up to you, and you may try different methods before you find the one you like best. For example, you may decide to moisten a cotton pad and gently swipe it around your face in an outward motion. You can also spray directly on your hands and pat away for absorption. This step should always be done when your skin is somewhat moist. It helps to think of your skin like a sponge: it takes longer to hydrate it when it is hard and dried-up than when it is already somewhat moisturized.
Step 5. Essence
A key component of the Korean skincare routine is the essence. Some even regard it as the heart of the routine. It serves a dual purpose, as essence is a hybrid serum that is a sort of cross between a moisturizer and a toner. It aids in new cell regeneration and skin repair, and also hydrates your skin. It should be applied with your fingers and patted in gently until it feels like it is being absorbed. I started soaking my face with COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence and I’ve definitely noticed the results within a couple of days. My skin is more hydrating and youthful. I love this stuff! Never skip this vital step of the routine, as it supports essentially every other step along the way.
Step 6. Serums, Ampoules and Boosters
Now it’s time to treat various skin conditions you may have concerns about. The products used to address these problems include serums, boosters, and ampoules–the latter of which are essentially concentrated essences. These are applied in the same way as you applied the essence. Since I’m sometimes prone to acne, I use a Vitamin C serum to help with hyper-pigmentation.
I initially used KLAIRS Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum which I love; however, I’ve recently upgraded to COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid because it’s a more powerful serum. By powerful, I mean it has 20.5% of Vitamin C compared to 5% from the previous product. It’s a pretty popular product at the moment, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you see an out of stock message on the sales page from time to time.
Whichever product you choose, place it your fingers and tap them around your skin until completely absorbed. Such formulas address a broad range of issues, such as acne, wrinkles, pore refining, brightening and pigmentation. If you are like most people, you will face at least one or two of these skin problems as time goes on. Heading them off at the pass is one of the best things you can do, as it is much easier to prevent wrinkles and other problems than it is to minimize them after the fact. For this reason, you should think of this part of the routine as your “skin-perfecting” step.
Step 7. Sheet Masks
Sheet masks are and exceptionally important part of the Korean skincare routine. This is a soul deep treatment that not only nourishes your skin, but can also help to quiet your mind and emotions. It’s similar to the way a spa visit leaves you mentally calm and collected. There are so many different ways to treat different skin issues so pick as many as you like. I like MANEFIT Beauty Planner Mugwort Sheet Mask, MANEFIT Bling Bling Hydrogel Soothing Aqua Collagen Mask and MANEFIT Bling Bling Hydrogel Whitening Platinum Mask because each one address different skin concerns.
I apply a skin-nourishing skin mask and leave it on for about 20 minutes. One or two times a week is believed to be sufficient for this step. However, there is essentially no such thing as overusing masks, which was the previous consensus among certain skincare experts. I even read an article about people who indulged in the seven-day sheet masks challenge, where a mask was used seven days in a row to jumpstart their skin. It’s super popular in South Korea and is now taking off overseas. So if you want to indulge in a sheet mask as often as you like, I say go for it!
Step 8. Eye Cream
If you are like most people, you are highly concerned about the skin around your eyes. As this is not only your most delicate skin, but also the area where telltale signs of age seem most apparent. The Korean skincare routine encourages you to treat your skin as you would a fragile flower: protect it, hydrate it and never treat it roughly. You should use an eye cream like MISSHA Misa Cho Bo Yang Eye Cream. Ends around your entire orbital bone, which is essentially the bone that circles your actual eye. It’s best to avoid rubbing when completing this step. Rather, use your ring finger to tap the cream onto this area with a very gentle motion.
Step 9. Moisturizer
The fastest way to a glowing, dewy complexion is constant, high quality hydration formulas. It is important to protect your skin, and the best way to accomplish this is to find the perfect moisturizer for your skin type. For my oily skin type, I use Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel. I love how hydrating it is and it’s helping to clear up my skin. Such formulas come in a variety of options, such as creams, gels, lotions or even emulsions. You should moisturize in the morning and the evening, as this will essentially seal in the benefits of all the previous steps. Don’t forget your neck when applying a moisturizer. At night, you need to stay hydrated as your skin recharges overnight so apply a night cream like after the moisturizer.
Step 10. Sunscreen
To ensure your efforts are not in vain, make sure you use adequate sunscreen when spending time outside. Sunscreen is considered by many skincare experts as the best defense against premature aging. If you are going to be outdoors even for a few minutes, slather on your go-to sunscreen or MISSHA All Around Safe Sun Block. It should be applied every morning and reapplied during the day as necessary. In this way, your skin will be shielded from the sun’s harmful UV rays without diluting your prior skincare products, as sunscreen does not break down other products on your skin.
The Korean skincare routine is available for all skin types. It’s important to choose a routine that best matches your skin type, which is why I buy all my products first from Soko Glam. When I first learned about Korean skin care, a friend told me about Soko Glam and I was amazed at how well they simplified the process. By creating 10 Step Korean Skin Care Sets in four different skin types (combination, oily, dry, and normal) newbies, like myself, can get started with ease.
Consistency is also essential. Just like exercise, skincare routines must be completed on a regular basis if you want good results. Beautiful, young looking, healthy skin is the number one way to boost your confidence, self-esteem and make you feel better about yourself overall.