Show of hands: How many of you spend a good chunk of your K-drama-viewing time marveling at how flawless everyone’s skin looks? Not surprising since skincare is a massive industry in Korea, and the rest of the world is just catching up! Take a page out of their book and get into the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine beauty girls everywhere are raving about. We’re not gonna lie, it’s tedious and time consuming. But it’s totally worth it!
Step 1: Oil-based Cleanser
Oil-based cleansers work to remove products and excess sebum without stripping your skin of moisture. It’s strong enough for waterproof makeup but it won’t leave your face feeling tight and dry. We love Banila's Clean It Zero. This cleanser features a silky, sorbet-like texture that doesn’t leave a greasy residue when rinsed.
Step 2: Foam Cleanser
After the oil-based cleanser, choose a gentle foam cleanser like Innisfree's Green Tea Cleansing Foam. This second step removes water-based impurities like sweat mixed with dirt, which an oil-based cleanser may leave behind.
Step 3: Exfoliant
Use a gentle exfoliator like CosRx's Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser to slough off dead skin and unclog pores. It also helps your skin absorb products more effectively. Don’t go overboard because exfoliating thins the skin, which might lead to breakouts and skin irritation. Twice a week should suffice.
Step 4: Toner
A toner removes any residue from the cleanser and restores the skin’s pH balance. It also acts as a skin-refresher, prepping your skin for better product absorption. We love CosRx's AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner because it doesn’t only hydrate the skin, it also prevents whiteheads and blackheads caused by lack of moisture and slow cell turnover.
Step 5: Essence
The essence is considered the heart of Korean skincare. It’s a toner-serum hybrid with a more watery consistency. We love the CosRx's Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence. It hydrates and speeds up skin turnover rate for a smoother and brighter complexion. Apply it directly to a freshly-toned skin with a gentle patting motion.
Step 6: Serums & Ampoules
These are usually thicker in consistency and contain active ingredients that address specific skin issues, like fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne. The Tiam My Signature C Source Pure Vitamin C20 Serum is 100% pure vitamin C. It offers great whitening and anti-aging benefits.
Step 7: Facial Mask
A facial mask is a thin sheet soaked in essence. Use facial masks twice a week for about 20 minutes. Don’t rinse your face once you’re done. Make the most out every drop of the essence, massaging it into your skin until it’s fully absorbed. We love Innisfree's Skin Clinic Mask with Vitamin C derivatives, which brighten dull skin, leaving it clear and radiant.
Step 8: Eye Cream
An eye cream helps to protect, repair, and hydrate the sensitive skin around your eyes. With your ring finger, gently tap the product around the eye area until it is fully absorbed. Meishoku's Placenta Whitening Eye Cream is one of our favorites because it brightens as it moisturizes the undereye area.
Step 9: Moisturizer
Applying moisturizer keeps those skincare products locked in, instead of letting them evaporate. Try Mizon’s Snail Recovery Gel Cream, a lightweight gel-type moisturizer suitable for both daytime and nighttime use. It effectively seals in the moisture, leaving your skin plump and soft for hours.
Step 10: Sunscreen
If you’re doing the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine at night, you can skip this part. Otherwise, wearing sunscreen daily is essential. It protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, reduces the risk of developing skin cancer, and prevents aging. Finish off your morning skincare regimen with a dedicated sunscreen like the Innisfree's Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care SPF 50, which provides long-lasting and waterproof sun protection. It also doubles as a great makeup base.
There you have it! Don't let the multiple steps and products intimidate you. You'll see a marked difference on your skin if you keep it up, we promise!
What products do you use in your 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine? Leave a comment or tag us on Instagram @iamclaireph.