Korean skin care and beauty products have gained worldwide fame for their marvellous skin care regimen and incredible formulas.
Korean beauty products also known as K-beauty are dominating the cosmetic industry with their innovative products and quality formulas.
Indeed, Korea ranks among the top ten cosmetic producers in the world, with their products popping up in seemingly every beauty store.
Why is Korean Skin Care so popular?
Korean women are known for their glowing skin and look way younger than their actual age. But, why?
Because they focus on creating healthy skin rather than covering up their skin problems under makeup.
They strongly believe that beauty comes naturally with good skin.
Isn’t it true?
This is one of the main things which makes Korean skin care routine stand out from other daily skin care routine steps.
Korean women take care of even the minute details when it comes to their appearance.
For them, skin care is like tradition and they usually start taking care of their skin from a very young age.
They follow an intensive skin care regimen that is packed with all the essentials to enhance, improve and ultimately, sustain their skin beauty.
So if you are wondering what the heck Korean skin care routine is and why there is so much fuss about it?
Don't look any further, we have got you covered with this post in all details.
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The 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine
The 10-step Korean skin care routine is the heart of K-beauty.
This magical skin care regimen involves multiple steps and products for day and night time routine.
It consists of steps that are more than just cleansing, moisturizing and dabbing some makeup on your skin.
The steps basically include cleanser, toner, scrubs or exfoliators, essence, serums or ampoules, sheet masks, moisturizer, eye cream and finally sunscreen.
While the first half of steps focus on cleansing the skin from deep within, the second half focus on moisturizing and sealing the product in.
But, 10 steps sounds too much, Isn’t it?
You might be thinking how does anyone have time for that in this busy life?
Well, don’t panic!
We promise you the you can complete all the above steps in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes.
Here’s the full breakdown of 10-step Korean skin care routine practiced by Korean women to own a glowing and flawless skin.
Are you ready? Let’s get going!
1. Oil Cleanser
The first step to Korean skin care routine is Oil Cleansing.
Oil-based cleansers penetrate deep into your skin and help in removing dirt, makeup, and debris from the surface of your skin.
Oil cleanser not only removes makeup but also melts oil-based products like moisturizer, sunscreen and pollution debris leaving it cleansed.
How to apply an Oil Cleanser:
AVOID WETTING YOUR FACE OR HANDS BEFORE APPLYING CLEANSER!
This is because oil and water won’t get along.
Therefore, always make sure both your face and hands are dry before applying.
Top performing Oil Cleansers:
2. Water-based Cleanser
The second step of Korean skin care regimen is to wash your face with a water-based cleanser.
Yes! You read it right - We are cleansing again!
This process is called Double Cleansing.
K-beauty routine believes in double cleansing for a reason.
While first cleansing removes makeup and grime accumulated on the skin, second cleansing removes impurities, oil or any residue left behind by oil cleanser.
The water-based cleanser will be basically in the form of foam, gel or cream.
They penetrate deep down the layers of skin thereby washing off all the dirt and sweat from your pores.
Plus, it also prevents clogging of pores that result in acne and leaves your skin squeaky clean.
After double cleansing, your skin is perfectly clean and is ready to absorb the goodness of products you apply in the following steps.
How to apply a Water-based Cleanser:
Top performing water-based Cleansers:
FREQUENCY: ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK
The next step of Korean skin care routine is Exfoliating.
This process removes all the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin leaving it bright and polished.
Exfoliation clears pores and makes way for your skin care products to sink in deeper and do their job perfectly.
In addition to that, it improves your skin texture by making it smooth and radiant.
However, do this step for just one to twice a week.
On other days, you can skip this exfoliation step.
FREQUENCY OF EXFOLIATION!
Stay away from harsh or chemical Exfoliators as it damages your skin barrier.
Hence, try to choose natural and gentle Exfoliator.
Before choosing the product make sure to do a patch test on your hand.
Go for the product which you feel gentler on your skin.
How to apply an Exfoliator:
Top performing Exfoliators:
For Dry and sensitive Skin
After cleansing and exfoliating, your skin will be fragile and dehydrated.
Hence, the next step of Korean skin care regime focuses on hydration.
Therefore, it’s now time to quench your skin by patting on a Toner.
Toner refreshes, hydrates and balances your skin’s pH level.
This is why toners are also known as Refreshers and Skin Softeners.
Further, it preps your skin to absorb the nutrients of the products you apply in the forthcoming steps to full potential.
Apart from hydrating your skin, Toners also get rid of any impurities missed by cleansers.
How to apply a Toner:
Just pour 1 to 2 drops of the Toner onto your palms and dab it using your finger tips on your cleansed skin.
Top performing Toners:
Essence is the heart of the Korean skin care routine.
This is one of the unique and most important steps followed by K-beauties to treat their skin concerns.
Essence is a lightweight water-based product similar to toner or serum.
To be clear, the concentration of the Essence is more than toner and less than serum.
In other words, you can also say, Essence is like a toner cum serum.
Essence is basically highly watery in nature and hence, works as a hydrating booster.
It is formulated with active ingredients that hydrates, protects and repairs the damaged skin.
Essence works great in treating various skin issues like ageing, acne, pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles etc.
Additionally, they rejuvenate your skin cells and add wonderful radiance to your skin.
How to apply an Essence:
Pat a few drops of Essence on to your toned face using your fingertips.
Remember to simply pat the essence on to your skin. Don’t massage or spread it around.
For best results, choose the one that suits your skin type and issues.
Top performing Essences:
Hurray! You have finished halfway to Korean skin care routine.
Step six is all about delivering much-needed treatment to your specific skin problems such as acne, fine lines, hyper-pigmentation, dull skin etc.
You can combat your skin issues in this step by adding the products that target your problem areas.
However, you can also skip this step if you don’t have any skin problems or if your skin is extremely oily.
The products in this step come in the form of Serums, Ampoules and Boosters.
Serums/Ampoules are basically a thicker version of the essence with skin-boosting antioxidants.
They are packed with high concentration active ingredients that have potent formulae to target specific skin concerns.
Whether you’re trying to keep your acne at bay or to get rid of fine lines, uneven skin tone or hyper-pigmentation - Nothing works great like serum or ampoule!
If you are thinking as to what is the difference between serums and ampoules?
Here is the answer:
Serums and Ampoules are almost the same with only difference being the concentration of active ingredients present in them.
Ampoules are a bit more concentrated than serum.
Also, while serum should be applied to the entire face, ampoule should be applied only to specific spot that needs it.
For effective results, choose the Serums/Ampoules that target your problem areas.
How to apply a Serum:
Take some amount of the treatment product on your fingertips and gently dab it onto your problem areas.
Top performing Serums:
7. Sheet Mask
FREQUENCY: TWICE OR THRICE A WEEK
Sheet Masks are another great product in the K-beauty market.
While Essence is the heart of Korean skin care routine, Sheet Masks are the soul.
There is absolutely no need to do this step daily, just once or twice a week is enough.
However, you can follow the step every day if you like and have ample time for it.
Sheet Masks are super-hydrating paper like thin microfiber sheets soaked in skincare essence or serum.
They nourish and pamper your skin with hydrating nutrients.
They are packed with vitamins, minerals and plumping ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid which gives you a calming and soothing experience.
Sheets Masks work better than cream as it sticks very close to your skin and the ingredients can't evaporate.
As there is no way to escape, all the ingredients go straight into your skin. Voila!
Moreover, they are super easy to use and carry as well.
There are different types of masks available to address different skin concerns like hydrating, brightening, anti-aging, vitamin-c and what not.
Find the mask that possess ingredients that suit your skin concerns and skin type.
How to use a Sheet Mask:
All you have to do is place the mask on your face and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
After removing the mask, gently dab the remaining essence into your skin.
DON'T FORGET TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS
Different masks are applied in different ways.
Kindly, read the instructions on the package.
Also, don’t leave the mask on your skin for longer than the prescribed time as it will suck all the moisture from your skin.
Top performing Sheet Masks:
8. Eye Cream
The next step of the Korean skin care routine is eye care.
The area around the eyes has the most delicate and thinnest skin compared to the rest of your face.
This also means that they get damaged and dehydrated easily which further leads to wrinkles and fine lines.
Hence, it demands extra care and attention.
If you want to avoid dark circles, puffiness, crow’s feet, fine lines – You SHOULD NOT skip this step.
Eye creams are specially formulated to address these eye care concerns.
They protect and hydrate the gentle skin under your eye area.
Using eye cream daily helps in achieving youthful and wrinkle-free eyes.
How to apply an Eye Cream:
Take a small amount of eye cream with your fingertips and lightly pat around eye area.
Gently pat and never rub!
You should not rub or press too hard on the skin as it results in premature wrinkles.
Use the ring or the little finger to apply the eye cream as it is proven to have less muscle compared to others fingers.
So, using it will create less pressure on the delicate skin underneath the eye and therefore, less damage.
For the best results, apply every day, once in the morning and once at night.
Top performing Eye Creams:
This step is to finish the moisturizing process and lock in all the products you applied till now.
Korean skin care routine is all about layering your products from thinnest to the thickest.
As moisturizer has the thickest formula, it comes at last.
And, this will be the last step of your night-time Korean skin care routine.
Moisturizing is a crucial part of any skin care routine.
Moisturizers are key for healthy and glowing skin.
They hydrate and nourish your skin leaving it soft and radiant.
Moisturizer comes in many forms such as cream, lotions, gel, and emulsions.
Select the moisturizer based on your skin type.
For Oily Skin types, gel-based moisturizers work great as they have light and oil-free formula.
On the other hand, Dry or Dehydrated Skin types need moisturizers that are heavy or creamy in texture.
Moisturize every morning and evening regularly to keep your skin supple and soft.
How to apply a Moisturizer:
Take some moisturizer in your hands and massage onto your face and neck generously.
Top performing Moisturizers:
The last and the most important step of Korean skin care routine is Sun protection.
Korean women give high priority to sun protection to keep their skin young and healthy as long as possible.
We all know that preventing the problem is better than curing it.
This holds good for sun damage as well.
We can’t stop aging, but we can postpone it by taking good care of our skin.
And sun damage plays a prominent role in premature aging and more serious issues like skin cancer.
Therefore, it is very important to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
Apart from aging, sun rays can seriously damage your skin leading to dark spots, sunburns and uneven skin tone.
Hence, Sunscreen is a must even if you step out just for few minutes or whether it’s sunny or cloudy.
Always make sure to choose a sunscreen that has SPF factor 30 ++.
You can also replace sunscreen with BB cream as they have high SPF as well.
To know more about protecting your skin from harmful sun rays, Read our - Ultimate Sun Protection Guide.
How to apply a Sunscreen:
Take a small quantity of sunscreen with your fingertips and gently apply to face and neck evenly.
End your routine every morning by applying a sunscreen or BB cream that includes SPF.
This is to avoid the dilution of the sunscreen with other skincare products.
Doing so will prevent lowering the effects of SPF.
Top performing Sunscreens:
You are done with the 10-step Korean skin care routine. Phew!
As we already mentioned, you don’t have to include all the steps and products.
And if you are new to this routine, we would suggest you start with one or two products and add more products gradually.
The Bottom Line
The Korean skin care regimen should be done twice daily, once in the morning and at night.
Over time, you’ll notice positive changes on your skin.
For few, changes may happen soon while for others, it may be slow as everyone’s skin is different.
Consistency and being patient is the key here.
Korean skin care routine will nourish and transform your skin to turn softer, brighter and healthier.
It might take you a few extra minutes, but trust us it’s worth it and your skin will thank you.
Besides, beautiful skin does not come only by caring from outside.
You have to take care from inside as well by eating the right food and practising healthy habits.
Eat well, sleep well and exercise enough to stay fit.
Plus, keep your mind calm and stress-free by doing yoga and meditation.
Lastly, stay positive and keep smiling.
Clear skin days ahead!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to follow all the steps?
It is not necessary to incorporate all the 10 steps and products to your skincare routine as everyone’s skin is different.
Not all people have the same skin.
Therefore, what works for someone else may not work for you.
Hence, you can include the steps depending upon your skin and choose the products which fit in your needs.
What is the ideal way to begin the routine?
Ideal suggestion would be to start with what you consider as basics, and then gradually add more steps and products at your own pace.
Can I split the steps between days?
You can shorten the steps to fit your daily schedule by doing a few steps one day and rest of the steps the next day.
My skin is Sensitive. Can I still follow the Korean Skin Care routine?
Yes, you can.
The 10-steps Korean Skin Care routine works regardless of the type of your skin.
But, make sure to use the products in various steps are good for your skin type.