Beginners Guide: 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine

Let’s dive into the interesting and wonderful world of the Korean Skincare Routine with a detailed look into the 10 step process. I started this routine a few years ago to clear up my skin. Oily and acne-prone skin my daily/lifely struggle, and I was intrigued to hear about a Korean skincare routine . I had to learn more and had to understand what products are used and how this routine worked. First looking into it, I was completely lost and had to look all over to understand what is needed. I wanted to write out a list of my own from my own perspective and the things that I’ve learned. Your Korean skincare routine can be completely different than mine as it can be personalized to fit your beautiful face needs. The important thing is that this routine is about layering on product. Because layering is key!

Here are some brands that you should look into if you’re a first time user:

  • Cosrx
  • innisfree
  • Missha
  • Mizon
  • TonyMoly
  • Elizavecca
  • Etude House
  • Laneige
  • Skinfood
  • Benton

Also, Memebox, Soko Glam, and Peach & Lily have pages dedicated to skin concerns (acne, pores, redness) or type (normal, dry, combination or oily) that can help you pick the best products for your face.

And now…the 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine.

(Please note I have included examples of products with the ingredient shown to give you an idea of what types are out there. Any products I have not personally used or tried will have a * after them. All products were purchased by me & not supplied by the manufacturer.)

Step 1: Make-up remover and oil cleanser

  • There are a few ways to get rid of that mascara (waterproof and all) and that fabulous highlighter you had on today.
    • Make-up wipes are quick and easy and get make-up off in a snap.
    • If you have that hard to remove waterproof mascara use a cotton ball and eye make-up remover (I have also used virgin coconut oil if I have run out of remover). Remember don’t rub too hard on your eye area as your skin around the eye is delicate.
  • Next you want to use a oil cleaner. Use it on a dry face, not on a damp one. The cool thing about oil cleanser is that it “melts” away all the product you have left on your face and leaves your skin bare.
    • My current oil cleanser is Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil. As of right now, I really like it because it’s gentle and it gets rid of all my make-up.

Step 2: Water Based Cleanser

  • The cleanser you are probably the most familiar with, good ole water based cleanser. It will get rid of all the ick that you have on your face — oil cleanser, eye make-up remover and other impurities that have hung onto your face all day that you might of missed with the first step.
  • Right now, I’ve been using Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash from The Body Shop because of the power of tea tree oil which helps with oil and shine.

Step 3: Exfoliate

  • I love exfoliating because it gets rid of dead skin and polishes your skin to bring out it’s full beauty and radiance. It is not recommended to use everyday as it can damage your skin, however once or twice a week can keep that glow going. Always important to use during the winter when your skin is extra dry from the weather.
  • I try to use Skinfood Black Sugar Mask once a week to get rid of those dry patches near my cheeks. I like the smell and always makes my face feel soft afterwards.

Step 4: Toner/Refreshers

  • Right after your beautiful face is clean, you now have a naked palette. Using toner balances out your skin’s pH levels and preps you for the next steps to come. It also can be the last line of getting rid of any make-up you have missed like around your jaw bone. Always recommended to use toner, such a must!
    • Some women skip using a cotton ball and just stick to using your hands. Why? It can be more gentle on your skin. Depending on the formula of toner you have (gel or liquid) you can really decide on whichever is most comfortable for you.
  • I started a new toner a few weeks ago and I’ve been happy with TonyMoly The Black Tea London Classic Toner because of the tea’s antioxidants and anti-aging benefits.

Step 5: Essence

  • The most important step and what Korean women love! The Essence! But, what is it? Well, essence is a hybrid of toner and serum. It helps to hydrate your skin and helps with skin repair. There is not standard essence, and it comes in a variety of forms.

Step 6: Serums/Boosters/Ampoules

  • This step can be very personalized as you can focus on specific skin needs. Think of this as a concentrated essence.

Step 7: Sheet Mask

  • Probably the most recognizable item in the routine is the sheet mask. What I like about sheet masks is that there are so many kinds to try. From gold rubber mask*, aloe (or fruit like lemon or pomegranates), snail mucus bee venom* to animal* masks. Might I add, some of the animal ones look cute but most of the time I get freaked out by them.

Step 8: Eye cream

Step 9: Moisture

  • The sky is the limit here and there are so many types of products to choose from. I could write all day about the different varieties, but let’s save your eyes.  Basically, it all depends on what your skin needs like added moisture for dry skin to green tea to help with oil and acne. At the moment, I like to use a basic vitamin E facial cream from Wegmans.

Step 10: Night Cream/Sun Protection

  • This step is really up in the air depending on what time of day it is.
    • A.M. Routine – Sun Protection is important as the UV rays can damage your skin. Many Asian sunscreens have a high SPF from 30 -50+. I did a review on 3 sunscreens that were made for oily skin here.
    • P.M. Routine – Night Cream/Sleeping Masks are another thicker moisturizing layer and is loaded with active ingredients to regenerate your skin throughout the night. You don’t always have to use a night cream but, if you feel like your skin needs it. Go for it!

Well, this ends our journey of the Korean Skincare Routine for now. See, layering is important and the main structure of the routine. I love it and I hope it interest you to start your own routine/collection. Let me know what products you are using and your routine. I’m always interested in hearing from you guys. Until next time, hugs!

-MH