The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

banish skin care routine

When it comes to beauty and skin care products, Korea would be the top 1 for most ladies and gents, as you can see them looking that perfect, even those actors and actresses you see in K Dramas and movies. You may be asking what their secret to a flawless and glowing skin is – the canonical 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine everyone has been raving about.


Korean women or ladies (and gentlemen) achieve their glowing skin through a unique skincare regimen which is the 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine, which has now taken the world by storm. We can’t help but admire and be envious of their porcelain like skin that we would go to extremes just to achieve that kind of skin through trying this popular skin care routine. It’s more like a canonical skin care routine that has been known and practiced for a reason.


We even try to copy these steps just to have a skin like theirs. We put on layer.. after layer.. after layer of beauty and skin care products, only to end up looking mummified and disappointed with the outcome.


If you’re familiar with the famous 10-step Korean Skin Care Routine, we’re definitely sure you would have been curious or interested with what this routine is all about and how it can help with your acne problems. This 10-Step Korean skin care routine is basically just similar with a normal routine you would do for your skin and face with just added steps and more skincare products.


Somehow, this Korean 10-step skin care routine is an exhaustive multi-step process, sparking a ton of intrigue in the world of beauty and skincare. This skincare routine all boils down to cleansing, exfoliating, treating, intensely moisturizing and applying plenty of sunscreen, which is what we would normally do.


The Korean Beauty 10-Step Skincare Routine has been trending lately over social media. With Korean products earning their nooks in retailers like Ulta, Sephora and even in some drug stores. It simply refers to the way that the Korean products are layered on the skin.


Here is the step-by-step direction of how a Korean skin care routine is done (followed by application procedure and best ingredients to watch out for in the following steps):


  1. Makeup Removal & Oil Cleansing/The Eye Makeup Removal – Oil cleansers, typically, are the base of a 10-Step Korean Skin Care routine and usually the first step of double cleansing. These cleansers are not only relaxing to use but they are also helpful in removing makeup and drawing out or extracting other oil-based impurities such as sebum, SPF and pollution.


It is best to remove your eye makeup gently with a good makeup remover. It can also be used to remove lip makeup at the same time.


How to apply: Gently massage makeup remover & oil cleanser to your dry skin day and night, and then add lukewarm water to emulsify and rinse with water.


Best ingredients: macadamia oil, jojoba oil and grape seed oil


  1. Cleansing/Cleanser – The Water based cleansing is the second step of double cleanse/10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine. Cleansing your face twice is recommended by dermatologists and aestheticians as doing this helps in thoroughly removing any impurities which could cause acne breakouts. Cleansing your face with a water-based cleanser dissolves the water based impurities like dirt and sweat that your oil cleanser can’t pick up.


Koreans do love using gentle, non-irritating cleansers. It’s a big No to use harsh, acne cleansers in cleaning your skin as these types can cause irritation and dry skin. Massaging your face equals brighter skin through increased circulation.


Note: Double cleansing would be the most essential part of our skincare routine as this procedure or habit helps in keeping the dirt or grime away from your face throughout the day.


How to apply: Apply water based cleanser to your damp face and neck then massage in a circular motion, day and night. Rinse with lukewarm water.


Best ingredients: green tea, rice extract and pearl extract


  1. Exfoliation/The Exfoliator – The third step to this 10-step Korean Skin Care routine. Physically and chemically exfoliating your face or skin helps in cleaning pores and sloughing off dead skin cells, paving the way for a visible, brighter and smoother skin. Regular exfoliation, on the other hand, helps your other skin care products absorb and work more efficiently.


Exfoliating your face using a natural scrub helps rejuvenate your skin and soften it, but concentrate only on the T-zone or affected areas. Remember, less is more.


How to apply: Gently exfoliate 1-2 times per week, focusing more on the nose and visible pores on the cheeks.


Best ingredients: black sugar, salicylic acid and lactic acid


  1. Toner/The Refresher – Now for the preparation, toning is the fourth step to this skin care routine. We know that toners are the ultimate prep product when it comes to taking care of your skin as they remove any remaining residue from your cleansers while they repair your skin’s barrier for them to effectively absorb the moisturizers that follow.


Look for toners that are gentle and non-drying. They should also be alcohol-free.


         How to apply: Swipe all the remaining residues on your face using a cotton pad or pat gently into your skin using your hands.


Best ingredients: Aloe, licorice and citric acid


  1. Essence – We now proceed to the nourishing part of this 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine. This essence is lightweight and packed with concentrated blend of hydrating, anti-aging and complexion-enhancing ingredients. It hydrates and aids in cell turnover.


Considered as the most important step to Korean women or ladies. The essence affects our skin on a cellular level as it speeds our cell turnover rate, making the skin smoother and brighter.


How to apply: Sprinkle the essence into your hands and lightly pat it to your face and neck.


Best ingredients: rice extract, birch juice, hyaluronic acid and yeast


  1. Serums/Boosters/Ampoules – These treatments are the best ultimate skin perfectors when it comes to having a skin care routine. They are packed with powerhouse ingredients and they target skin concerns like acne, fine lines and hyperpigmentation.


These Korean products are super-concentrated versions of essences and often referred to as serums and their main focus is treating dryness and uneven skin.


How to apply: Gently tap these treatments to your skin, focusing only on affected areas or your skin concerns.


Best ingredients: Soybeans, tea tree and Vitamin C


  1. Sheet Masks – Essences are the heart of this 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine whereas sheet masks are the soul. The key to this is the sheet itself as it allows your skin to fully absorb the moisture and nutrients when in prolonged contact to your face. Sheet masks also promote a quiet, meditative ritual of relaxation.


Masks are often used 2-3 times a week or more, if face seems to be very dry. Wet sheet masks are often soaked in ingredients such as collagen, thus soaking your skin as well. Sheet masks are a recent Korean skincare trend, most especially the modeling masks.


How to apply: Smooth the sheet mask to your skin. Relax for 15 to 20 minutes, and then pat in excess essence.


Best ingredients: cucumber, green tea and rose


  1. Eye Cream – The skin around our eyes is usually the thinnest and most delicate part of our face. Regularly putting an intensive eye cream helps in keeping dark circles, puffiness and crow’s feet under control. This eye cream is concentrated with beneficial ingredients and formulated to be extra gentle and non-irritating.


How to apply: Gently tap eye cream around your entire orbital bone using your pinkie finger (never rub) and avoid the water line.


Best ingredients: honey, ginseng, lily


  1. Moisturizer/Emulsion – The second to the last step of this skin care routine is the moisturization. Moisturizers come in many forms (e.g. emulsion, lotion, gel cream and sleeping mask) and they seal in the moisture to plump up your skin and smooth fine lines.


Fact/Trivia: Korean women/men love layering products on their skin, one over the other.


How to apply: Pat moisturizer or emulsion on your face and neck morning and night (every day).


Best ingredients: bamboo, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica (cica), snail mucin and green tea


  1. Night Cream (Night)/Sunscreen (Day) – Now we come to the final part of this 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine . We’re always reminded to put on sunscreen before heading out for a walk. Sunscreen should also be worn even when you’re inside, considering it is the easiest and most effective way to prevent premature aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen serves as the last step as it shields your skin without it being diluted by other skincare products.


Enough said, this routine is not recommended during daytime/morning as the cream would be too greasy as a base for your makeup. Using this during nighttime or bedtime allows your skin to rehydrate and recharge.


How to apply: Gently pat sunscreen on your face and neck. Re-apply this throughout the day.


Best ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide


Doing this 10-step Korean Skin Care Routine, however, has its pros and cons:



  • Highly effective
  • Soothing to the skin         
  • Little to no pain experienced              



  • Costly
  • Too tasking
  • You may end up being scolded for spending money on too much makeup or skin care products


Conclusion: It’s not about the amount of steps you do or follow in this skincare routine but it’s more of finding the right products. There are some who can have as little as 5 steps while there are some who can have as many as 20 steps in their routine.

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