A Guide to the Korean 10-Step Skincare Routine
If you’ve watched Korean dramas or kept tabs on Korean pop stars, then you’ve probably noticed how amazing their skin looks. Even elderly Korean celebrities look like they’re in their 20s, and that glow they have is just irresistible.
We Filipinas are especially fond of Korean celebrities. Don’t deny that you’ve fangirled about a Korean “oppa” at least once in your life — a handsome man with the perfect shape of eyebrows and glowing skin.
It just leads you to wonder… how on earth do these people have such amazing skin?! I know I’ve had that question in my head every single time I watched a K-Drama. The answer is simple — a diligent and quite extensive skincare routine.
If you’re like me and you’ve always been jealous of the skin of Korean stars like Park Shin-Hye or Bae Suzy, then this is for you. Let’s take a look at the highly-raved Korean skincare routine and get the skin of our dreams once and for all!
The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine
If you’ve noticed, Korean women wear very minimal makeup. Watch Korean makeup tutorials and you’ll find that the products they put on their face are limited to powder and lip and cheek tint.
They don’y need to put excessive foundation or concealers because they have an extensive and diligent skincare routine — consisting of 10 steps, to be exact.
Now, it might sound a little overboard and you might be worried about putting all these products on your face. But contrary to popular belief, the Korean skincare routine isn’t actually about how much product you apply. It’s about knowing the right products to use and the proper order of application.
If you want to kickstart your journey towards amazing skin just like your Korean idols, here’s your guide to the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine.
Step 1: Makeup Remover and Oil Cleanser
The first step of the Korean skincare routine is to remove all your makeup and other impurities using an oil-based cleanser. This is the first part of the “double-cleanse” method. The second part is done using a water-cleanser, but we’ll talk more about that in Step 2.
Gently massage your oil-based cleanser into your dry skin, then rinse with lukewarm water. This will help get rid of oil-based debris such as makeup, sunscreen, sebum, and pollution.
Step 2: Water-based Cleanser
Now onto the second phase of the “double-cleanse” method. After applying your oil-based cleanser, it’s recommended by dermatologists to move on to a water-based cleanse. This will help get rid of impurities that your oil-based cleanser wasn’t able to catch. Mainly, they target water-based impurities like dirt and sweat.
Right after rinsing your oil-based cleanser, massage your face with cleansing water in a circular motion. Don’t forget to apply some on your neck as well. Once done, use lukewarm water to rinse off.
Step 3: Exfoliator
Most of the dirt on the face is actually caused by dead skin cells that get stuck on the pores. They cause the skin to dry up and even look dull in appearance. Exfoliating will help get rid of those dead skin cells and enhance the brightness and smoothness of your skin. Regular exfoliation will also help your skin absorb the products your applying better to maximize your skincare routine.
Take an exfoliator and gently scrub your face one to two times a week. Focus on your nose and visible pores on your cheeks to effectively target these areas where the clogging of pores is more common.
Step 4: Toner
At this point, you’re probably noticing how many steps are all dedicated to cleansing. The main bulk of the Korean skincare routine is making sure your face is free from impurities and environmental stressors to ensure that your skin absorbs the products you’re applying.
Toners help remove the left-over residue from your cleansers. But they do more than cleaning your skin by repairing your skin’s barrier to help it absorb the products that you’re about to apply next. Use a cotton pad and simply swipe the toner across all the areas of your face.
Step 5: Essence
Essences are packed with different skincare benefits like anti-aging, hydrating, and complexion-enhancing. It’s an essential part of the Korean skincare routine and is done simply by sprinkling a small amount of product on your fingers and gently patting them onto your face and neck.
Step 6: Treatments
This step is where all those ampoules and serums come in. These products target specific skin problems and conditions, so make sure to find one that suits your needs — whether it be anti-acne, anti-aging, etc.
Tap your chosen treatment on your skin, specifically focusing on and targeting the most affected areas.
Step 7: Sheet Mask
When you hear the words “Korean Skincare Routine,” probably what instantly comes to mind are sheet masks. We see it all the time, and it’s becoming quite a trend for Filipinas especially. Commonly, we use it for self-care sessions and relaxation.
Considered as the “soul” of Korean skincare, sheet masks help trap the nutrients and moisture on your skin thanks to the prolonged contact of the sheet with your face. Simply smoothen the mask and keep it on for 15-20 minutes.
Step 8: Eye Cream
For regular skincare routines, the area under the eyes is commonly neglected. But it’s actually the part that needs the most attention, considering that the skin beneath your eyes is the thinnest and most prone to wrinkling.
Gently tap eye cream under your eyes to hydrate the area and prevent puffiness, dark circles, and crow’s feet. Remember, this area is sensitive, so as much as possible, avoid rubbing the product beneath your eyes. Be as gentle as you can!
Step 9: Moisturizer
Now to answer the question of why Korean ladies have such glowing skin. The secret is moisturizer. Especially in dry, hot climates like ours, we need to keep our skin hydrated and plump.
Moisturizers come in many forms, be it lotions, gels, creams, etc. Take your pick and pat the product into your face and neck both in the morning and at night.
Step 10: Sunscreen
And finally (wew!), the last step of the Korean skincare routine is applying sunscreen. Consider sunscreen as the shield that will protect your skin from UV rays, making it essential to apply it last so that it doesn’t get diluted by the other products.
Even if you’re staying in for the day, you should still wear sunscreen. Apply it on your face in the morning and re-apply throughout the day.
That might have seemed a little extensive, but hey, amazing skin doesn’t come overnight. With a little diligence and patience, you’ll be on your way to getting that glass-like, glowing skin you’ve always yearned for!
Chrizelle is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication from De La Salle University. She recently dropped out of law school to pursue her passion for writing. Now, she is a full-time writer hoping to inspire and change lives through her thoughts and her words.