A Step-by-Step Guide to the Korean Hair Care Routine
You’ve heard of the 10-step Korean skincare routine. Now, get ready for an all new beauty sensation: the Korean hair care routine! I’m sure we’ve all wondered how our favorite K-pop idols and actresses keep their tresses radiant all the time. Well, much like a skincare routine, our hair deserves a dedicated hair care routine to maintain its lustrous glow.
The Korean skincare routine is known to be a tad bit meticulous. Afterall, you don’t do 10 steps of a skincare routine everyday for nothing. The same principle applies to the 10-step Korean hair care routine, which is founded on the idea that the scalp and the hair need to be treated as separate bodies. In theory, that definitely makes sense: the environment in our scalp is different and will react differently than how our hair strands would to varying chemicals.
Benefits of the Korean Hair Routine
Do you experience a variety of hair problems with your regular routine? It might be time for a change. It’s possible we’re not taking the best care of our hair with the usual shampoo and conditioner products we use. We might also be neglecting our scalp with chemically-laden shampoos and conditioners.
If there’s any key takeaway from this guide, it’s that we shouldn’t forget to take care of our scalp, because the wrong chemicals can lead to product build up, flakiness, and irritation.
I personally find the Korean hair care routine to work well on my own scalp and hair. After suffering from oiliness and buildup, paying more attention to what was going on on top of my head has led to positive results. The problem becomes how to maintain a routine with so many products. But the truth is, once you go the Korean hair care route, you never really go back.
The 10-Step Korean Hair Care Routine
The Korean hair care routine has helped many hopeless individuals restore damaged hair to its original lustrous state. This is because, much like their skincare routine, the Korean hair care regimen is loaded with serums, masks, and treatments. They believe that proper care starts from the follicles down to the tips, so their hair care routine can address hair concerns all the way from dry scalp to infinite split ends.
Ready to begin your K-beauty journey? Here’s your new and improved step-by-step hair care routine!
Step 1: Scalp Scalers
We’ve mentioned that the Korean hair care routine hinges on the principle that scalp care and hair care as separate beasts to tackle. This is why the hair care routine starts with the scalp, and with a scalp scaler, to be exact.
A scalp scaler is similar to the exfoliator in our skin care routines, which means it sloughs off remaining dead skin cells and oil buildup on our scalp so as to promote hair growth and scalp health. Its main ingredient is the well-known exfoliant salicylic acid.
A typical routine will start off with shampoo, but not this one. To start, wash your hair before applying the liquid onto your scalp. Massage thoroughly so as to help with blood circulation. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes depending on the product instructions.
Be warned that ultra-sensitive or dry scalp can be negatively affected by scalp scaling, so make sure to use it only once or twice a week!
Step 2: Shampoo
After the use of a scalp scaler, you can proceed to apply shampoo, focusing on massaging your scalp instead of the hair strands. You may use the shampoo that works best for your hair type, although many hair care specialists recommend switching to natural shampoo bars or a liquid alternative for the best scalp health. Studies have also shown that the sodium lauryl sulfates found in commercial shampoos can lead to hair breakage, hair fall, and other concerns.
Step 3: Scalp Massage
For this step, you can opt to use a scalp massager or simply massage with your hands. This motion is a great way to improve blood circulation, helping the scalp get rid of dead skin cells and flakes. Do it before you rinse off your shampoo to add some lather.
Step 4: Conditioner
A common mistake we tend to make while showering is leaving the conditioner on for too short a time. The best way to achieve glossy hair is to apply the conditioner on the hair strands and let it sit for a few minutes before washing. In this case, your focus should be on the locks and not on the scalp.
Step 5: Hair Mask
A core belief in K-beauty is that a good hair mask is absolutely vital to achieve glossy hair. Masks, similar to a hair serum, can help address issues like hair growth, hair damage, split ends, breakage, hair fall, and more! Hair masks can have different nourishing ingredients, but usually include argan oil, coconut oil, and the like. As long as you use one once or twice a week, you should be good to go. Think of it as the “sheet masks” of the hair care world.
Step 6: Hair Rinse
Another unique part of this routine is the hair rinse or vinegar rinse. The idea is that an apple cider vinegar rinse is necessary in keeping the pH balance of your scalp in check. If you suffer from bad dandruff or oiliness, take note! To create the solution, simply mix apple cider vinegar with water. Massage it gently onto the scalp, then rinse without letting it sit. This should help reveal a healthy scalp that’s free from irritation or dryness.
Step 7: Scalp Treatment
A scalp treatment can include anything from a scalp mask to a scalp scrub or even a scalp cleanser. Like many of the aforementioned products, a scalp treatment is a great way to clean the scalp, a.k.a. get rid of any unwanted dirt and oil build up. Depending on the product or formula, leave the scalp mask on for a few minutes before rinsing.
Step 8: Scalp Tonic
This acts as a hair toner, providing many benefits that include reducing hair fall, thickening strands, and providing volume. Use a scalp tonic after you dry your hair. This usually comes in a spray bottle.
Step 9: Scalp Serum
A scalp serum is best applied after you use a scalp toner. Similar to how serums work in our skincare routines, a scalp serum is an effective way to add nourishment to your hair from the roots all the way to the tips.
Additional Step: Overnight Treatments
Every once in a while, treating your hair to an overnight mask, serum, or hair essence is the best way to keep it healthy and nourished. This isn’t one of the steps you need to perform regularly, but it can be the perfect addition to your semi-regular self-care nights.
An overnight treatment is pretty self-explanatory: simply apply the mask evenly throughout the scalp and hair, wrap carefully, and… sleep! It should be ready to be rinsed off once you wake up, revealing glowy locks.
We hope this guide to the Korean 10-step hair care routine has been insightful! We can’t wait for you to start your journey to healthier, more luscious SoKo glam-worthy locks!
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know more about all things hair care and Korean beauty? We answer a few frequently asked questions here!
How do kpop idols keep their hair healthy?
Part of K-beauty is practicing religious hair and scalp care, so it’s no wonder K-pop idols always look picture perfect. But while Koreans with celebrity status most likely have access to more exclusive (read: expensive) hair care products and treatments, adopting a similar hair routine shouldn’t be too hard.
Is Korean hair care better?
The step-by-step Korean hair routine has so far worked wonders for most people who have tried it, myself included! This is because the routine prioritizes deep cleaning and regular treatment over anything, and it results in healthier, more nourished hair.
But similar to the skin and beauty world, there is just no one-size-fits-all routine. Some products won’t work with you the way they do other people, especially since we all vary in hair type. If you have problem hair and are unsure how to adopt this routine, the best course of action is to consult with a professional.
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.