Ever wondered how Koreans manage to have such flawless, glowing, and toned skin? Their little-known secret is now out! Our Korean sisters maintain their skin in a youthful appearance by following a 10-step skincare routine.

The daily use of a 10-step routine may be exhausting. However, the outcomes of this beauty routine will undoubtedly keep you inspired. Let’s go through each stage in more detail:

What Is The 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine?

The 10-Step Korean skincare routine has really been around for a while and has since given rise to other versions, including the condensed “5-Step,” the “12-Step” of beauty experts, and even Tiffany Young, a K-pop singer, who uses a “18-Step” regimen. You may get information on quite a few variants of this 10-Step procedure on social media.

All of these multi-step routines can be broken down into 4 basic skincare stages: cleansing, prepping, nourishing, and protecting. From there, you can either add in additional steps or take out steps you don’t need based on your skin needs, regardless of which trendy routine you choose to follow, the original “10-Step” or otherwise.

Yes, ten steps do sound very time-consuming and intimidating, and to be honest, I was a little hesitant when I first tried it out. However, I quickly got the hang of things, and understanding the ten steps is important for customizing them to your skin’s needs and making it easier to adhere to over the long haul.

STEP 1) Cleanse with an Oil-based Cleanser

Cleaning is the first step in the first part of the program, and you should opt for an oil-based cleanser. Using an oil-based cleanser is crucial as the first stage in what is also known as the “double-cleanse” or “Korean double-cleanse,” as it helps to more efficiently loosen and dissolve oil-based pollutants like sunscreen and sebum without hurting your skin.

Because of the widespread belief that oil cleansers could feel “oily” or be challenging to rinse off, they are not often used in our humid climate. Due to a common misperception, oil-based cleansers are nearly primarily used to remove makeup and as a daily cleanser. Modern oil-based cleanser formulas, however, are really mild formulations that work well to remove makeup and sebum that may clog pores and result in acne by efficiently dissolving and liquifying them.

STEP 2) Cleanse with a Water-Based Cleanser

Finish your double cleansing by using a water-based cleanser, such as a gel or foam cleanser, to remove any remaining pollutants like perspiration and dust that may be more efficiently eliminated with a water-based foamy cleanser and to thoroughly clean your skin. In addition to lowering the likelihood of breakouts, twice cleaning helps to provide a clear surface for subsequent skin treatments.

It’s crucial to avoid cutting corners while scrubbing since using skin treatments on unclean skin might lead to further skin problems.

STEP 3) Exfoliate

This is for the dead skin cells that live on your skin without paying rent! This step is optional; I do it twice weekly, or even three times a week, depending on how much free time I have. However, I do not advise over-exfoliating your skin since it might irritate it and make it sensitive.

Regular exfoliation helps to show healthy skin, encourages cell renewal, and makes it easier for your skin to absorb other skincare products. Both chemical and physical exfoliators work to remove dead skin cells and clean your pores, but they do so in somewhat different ways.

You may feel the benefits of physical exfoliators right away, including sugar scrubs, cleaning cloths, and peeling gels. Physical exfoliators, on the other hand, simply act on the surface of your skin and aren’t advised for those with sensitive skin since the scraping might irritate it. They function best on skin that requires frequent physical sloughing due to oiliness or acne.

On the other hand, a chemical exfoliator works deeper inside the inner layers of your skin than a mechanical exfoliator just works on the surface.

STEP 4) Prep with a Toner

Next a thorough cleansing, prime your skin to get it ready for all the rich therapies that will come after. To eliminate any lingering impurities from your skin before treatment, western skincare companies’ toners often include an astringent cleaning toner. But if you completely completed your double cleanse, you don’t really need to do this.

This is one of the explanations for why the majority of toners produced in Korea are gentle moisturizing toners made with botanical extracts like Rose, Tea Tree, or Green Tea. The highly astringent alcohol-based toners are almost unheard of in K-beauty, and there aren’t as many cleaning toners from Korean manufacturers.

K-beauty toners are mainly designed to nourish and soothe your skin rather than cleanse it. The theory is that your skin may feel a bit drier than normal after washing, and much as water slides off a sponge that is completely dry, skin that is too dry won’t absorb skin treatments as well. The toner’s main function in Korean skincare is to moisturize and regulate the pH of your skin to aid in absorption.

STEP 5) Nourish with Essences

Essences are still a mystery to many individuals, despite being regarded as the most crucial step by many Korean women. Admittedly, I had no concept what an essence was or did when I initially began my personal skincare adventure. But more than I ever expected, I suddenly find myself striving for it!

Essences are primarily water-based skincare solutions with a high concentration of active ingredients that feed, moisturize, and protect your skin while enhancing its general health.

Essences often provide a wider variety of skincare advantages than more focused serums and ampoules (more on that later), and being the initial stage in a treatment regimen, they are also the quickest to absorb. Never, ever, ever skip this section. Essences are often the sole skin care I use when I don’t have much time or am feeling lazy before moving on to the next step (protection).

STEP 6) Nourish with Serums & Ampoules

If you believe the marketing spiel, the difference between serums and ampoules is the concentration of active chemicals in them. However, there is no industry standard, therefore you will often discover that an ampoule from one brand has a larger concentration of active ingredients than a serum from another. They are essentially the same thing: little goblets of skin elixirs tailored to address certain skin issues and loaded with potent active ingredients.

These skincare items are often available in little vials with droppers or individually packed with each dosage. Since a few drops do go a long way, they will likely last you the longest. You may use more than one serum at once, but you should be aware of the interactions between different substances since the improper mixture might lead to dryness, hypersensitivity, or other skin problems.

STEP 7) Nourish with Sheet Masks

Without a sheet mask stage, the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine would likewise not be considered “Korean.” The sheet mask, a signature South Korean skincare invention, is often a cotton mask soaked with serum or ampoule that you spread over your face and leave on for between 15 and 30 minutes so that your skin can absorb all the skincare benefits. Even though I sometimes miss this step when pressed for time, I truly like masking since it makes me take a few minutes out of my day to unwind and unwind.

The sheet mask helps establish a moisturizing physical barrier that stops your expensive skincare products, particularly water-based ones, from evaporating off your face whether used alone as the sole nourishing treatment or after the other nourishing steps—essences, serums, and ampoules. The effectiveness of previously applied items is maximized. But be careful to limit your usage to 10 to 15 minutes, since longer periods of time when the sheet mask dries out might actually dry up your skin.

The usage of sheet masks is simple and practical, and they are excellent for traveling. They provide a range of skincare advantages and, like serums and ampoules, may be switched out according to your skin’s requirements.

STEP 8) Nourish with an Eye Cream

You may be tempted to skip the eye cream stage given how many steps we’ve already gone through, but I can’t emphasize how important it is. The skin surrounding the eyes is the most sensitive and thinnest, measuring just one-third of its typical thickness. The eyes are the windows to the soul, after all!

This increases the risk of tissue damage, drying out, and loss of suppleness in the skin. Additionally, since the eyes are always moving—blinking, displaying emotions, etc.—aging symptoms often start around the eyes. This means that if you are very concerned about accelerated aging, you should never miss this step.

Eye creams may also be used across the laugh and frown wrinkles above your brow to assist enhance suppleness and lessen the appearance of fine lines.

STEP 9) Moisturize

In the last two phases of this “basic” Korean skincare regimen, your skin will be protected. It would be unfortunate if, after completing the preceding procedures, you did not seal in all that goodness with a high-quality moisturizer to keep your skin smooth, supple, and protected. Don’t neglect these last two stages since, in the end, prevention is always preferable than treatment.

No matter whether you have oily, dry, or mixed skin, moisturizing at the conclusion of every skincare routine is essential to getting the greatest benefit. However, with so many options available on the market and Singapore’s hot and humid environment, choose the best moisturizer may be challenging.

STEP 10) Sunscreen

Have I previously said that prevention is preferable than treatment? While being in the sun has many advantages, long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation may damage your skin. In actuality, UV exposure is the main factor in the development of skin cancer and is also a major contributor to other skin conditions including hyperpigmentation and other early aging symptoms. And if that isn’t enough to persuade you that you need SPF, blue light from our electronic gadgets may further exacerbate these problems!

The importance of using sunscreen every day cannot be overstated. Dermatologists actually advise reapplying sunscreen often throughout the day, even if you aren’t going outside, to lessen the negative consequences of overexposure.

How Effective Is The Korean Beauty Routine?

Many fashion and beauty bloggers have recently been seen experimenting with the Korean skincare routine for a week or a month. The majority of them have had success.

A large number of moisturizing products are used in the Korean skincare regimen, which will ultimately help to rebuild your skin’s barrier. This will stop your skin from evaporating water and allowing foreign objects to penetrate. Additionally, it delays the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Do Oily And Acne-Prone Skin Benefit From The Korean Skin Care Routine?

If you take the following safety measures, it works:

  • The oil-based cleaner shouldn’t be used for more than a minute.
  • Rinse the extra filth and debris off with a mild cleaner.
  • Use a toner without alcohol, ideally one with hydroxy acids. Acne may be avoided and reduced thanks to the anti-inflammatory characteristics of hydroxy acids (4).
  • 1-2 times each week, exfoliate your skin. Avoid over-scrubbing your face. Your skin’s production of sebum may be stimulated by this.
  • To keep your skin from feeling excessively greasy, use a light moisturizer with a lotion basis.
  • To prevent congested pores, use a mineral-based sunscreen.
  • It is advised that you see a dermatologist if your acne is severe.

Whether you use a 3-step program or the 10-step Korean skincare regimen, taking care of your skin is essential to delay the onset of aging and keep it smooth and healthy.

Here are 7 products we recommend to use in your 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine:

1) Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil

Of course, you want an oil cleanser that takes off makeup, but Hanskin’s BHA Pore Cleansing Oil is made with salicylic acid to gently exfoliate your face and rid your pores of excess sebum that has built up over the day. Start off your skin-care regimen correctly by massaging two to three pumps of oil all over your dry skin.

2) TONYMOLY I’m Rice Exfoliating Enzyme Cleanser

One of the secrets to having a clearer, more radiant complexion is Tony Moly’s I’m Rice Exfoliating Enzyme Cleanser. This powder-to-paste cleanser activates when it comes in touch with water and removes pore-clogging dead skin cells. A strong combination of papaya enzymes, rice powder, and rice extract speeds up cell turnover to enhance texture and calm irritated regions.

3) Some by Mi AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner

Some by Mi’s AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner is reportedly sold every three seconds because of its popularity. Given that this multipurpose toner contains three different chemical exfoliants (alpha, beta, and poly hydroxy acids) in addition to papaya and witch hazel extracts to efficiently increase cell turnover, deep clean pores, and maintain exceptionally smooth skin, it is not difficult to see why. Despite having such a long list of potent chemicals, it claims a pH that is excellent for skin, which is 5.5.

4) AMOREPACIFIC Vintage Single Extract Essence Face Serum Treatment

The Amorepacific Vintage Single Extract Essence has a lovely price tag but will improve the health of your skin over time. To make a concentrated skin superfood, the hand-picked leaves from South Korea’s Jeju Island are fermented for 50 days, aged in traditional Korean earthenware for another 50 days, and then extracted for 24 hours.

In addition, green tea leaves are high in antioxidants, which can protect your skin from free-radical damage brought on by pollution and UV radiation while facilitating better absorption of your skin care products.

5) Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule 5X

Don’t ignore the “5X” in the name of this Missha product. The fifth iteration of the brand’s extremely successful and well-known Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule is the Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule 5X. With prolonged use, this product will enhance moisture levels, nourish the skin’s barrier, and tighten the skin thanks to its composition of probiotics and 77 percent bifida ferment lysate.

6) Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Sleep Mask

One of the most effective K-beauty products available for treating dryness, dullness, and visible pores is the sleep mask. The Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Sleep Mask already has the appearance of being accessible because to its jelly-like texture, but it is really rather unintimidating compared to other retinol-infused treatments.

This leave-on treatment includes antioxidant-rich yuzu to boost your natural radiance and niacinamide to balance out uneven skin tone in addition to a generous dose of vitamin A to improve texture and lessen the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. You’ll be OK if you use it three to five times each week, exactly like this happy package.

7) Suntique I’m Pure Cica Suncream

Suntique’s I’m Pure Cica Suncream doesn’t leave a white cast or seem chalky despite being a mineral sunscreen made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It is also not at all difficult to mix in. Additionally, the fast-absorbing formula includes calming centella asiatica and moisturizing galactomyces ferment filtrate that won’t dare irritate even the most sensitive skin types, in addition to providing SPF 50 skin protection.


Q: Do Koreans have better skincare?

A: The perception of “better” skincare can vary depending on individual preferences and goals. However, Korean skincare has gained international recognition for its innovative products, extensive routines, and focus on achieving healthy and radiant skin. Korean skincare emphasizes prevention, hydration, and a holistic approach to skincare, which has resonated with many people. Ultimately, what matters most is finding a skincare routine that works well for your skin type and concerns, regardless of its origin.

Q: Why is Korea so good at skincare?

A: There are several factors that contribute to Korea’s reputation for skincare excellence:

Culture and Tradition: Skincare is deeply ingrained in Korean culture, with a long history of valuing beauty and healthy skin. This emphasis has led to the development of a skincare-focused society.

Research and Innovation: Korea invests heavily in skincare research and development, constantly striving to discover new ingredients, formulations, and technologies. This commitment to innovation has resulted in the creation of effective and advanced skincare products.

Education and Expertise: Skincare is taught and emphasized early on in Korean households, and there is a wealth of knowledge and expertise available to consumers. Beauty influencers, dermatologists, and skincare experts provide guidance and share tips, creating a well-informed community.

Competitive Market: The competitive nature of the Korean skincare industry drives brands to continually improve their formulations and deliver high-quality products. This competition fosters innovation and pushes the boundaries of skincare.

Q: Which Korean skincare brand is the best?

A: The “best” Korean skincare brand is subjective and can vary based on individual preferences, skin type, and specific skincare needs. There are numerous reputable Korean skincare brands, each with their own strengths and standout products. Some well-regarded brands include:

Etude House
Tony Moly
Dr. Jart+
It’s important to research and experiment to find the brand that works best for you. Consider factors such as ingredient preferences, product range, affordability, and customer reviews when making your decision.

Q: Is a 10-step Korean skincare routine too much?

A: The 10-step Korean skincare routine, though popularized, is not necessarily suitable for everyone. It’s important to tailor your skincare routine to your skin’s specific needs and your personal preferences. Some individuals may benefit from a more simplified routine, while others may enjoy and benefit from the multiple steps involved in the Korean skincare approach. The key is to focus on the core steps: cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and sun protection. From there, you can add additional steps, such as serums, essences, masks, and exfoliants, as needed. Listen to your skin, observe how it responds to each step, and adjust your routine accordingly.

Q: Do Koreans exfoliate every day?

A: While exfoliation is an essential step in Korean skincare, it is generally not recommended to exfoliate every day. Over-exfoliation can lead to irritation, dryness, and compromise the skin’s natural barrier. Most Koreans follow a weekly exfoliation schedule, incorporating either a physical or chemical exfoliant 1-2 times per week. However, it’s important to note that individual skin types and sensitivities may vary. It’s always best to pay attention to your skin’s response and adjust your exfoliation frequency accordingly. If you have sensitive skin, it may be advisable to consult with a skincare professional for personalized guidance on exfoliation.

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