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The Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine

For those new to Korean Skincare, the famous 10-Step Routine can seem daunting and intimidating. But fear not! Our team is here to walk you through every step. While this exact routine of 10 steps is common and a characteristic of Korean skincare, you do not have to follow the exact routine, and instead, you can pick individual products that are matching your needs. 

1. Oil Cleanser

The first step of this 10-step long Korean skin care regimen involves using an oil cleanser to remove makeup and dirt. An oil cleanser hydrates and softens the skin where other traditional make-up removers often dry out or irritate the skin. An oil-based cleanser helps keep your skin healthy and balanced. 


Oil Cleansers typically come in two forms: oil cleansers and cleansing balms. Many people have a preference one way or another, but overall, both are great to use. It's great to try both and see which you prefer!

2. Water Based Cleanser

It takes a second cleanser to completely remove all impurities from the face - which leads us to our Step 2 - the Water Based Cleanser! Water based cleansers remove any residue that your oil cleanser did not remove. They typically come in gel and foam textures.

3. Exfoliator

Exfoliators, whether chemical or physical, aid in cleaning pores and removing dead skin cells, resulting in brighter and smoother skin. Depending on the strength of the exfoliator, it is typically recommended that you only use it once a week. Certain chemical exfoliants are diluted enough to be used daily. However, it's always important to start once a week, and if need be, build up slowly. 

4. Toner

A toner is meant to remove any left-over dirt from your face and balance out your skin’s pH levels. However, toners tend to diminish the oil in your skin and can make it feel dry and tight. Avoid using alcohol-based toners.

In the recent past, toners with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and other beneficial additives have been introduced. They also tend to be moisturizing and soothing when compared to the typical alcohol-based ones.

5. Essence

An essence is truly one of the most vital parts of the Korean skincare regimen. It offers the best of both worlds - it soothes your skin while healing it at the same time. An essence is packed with hydrating ingredients and also speeds-up cell turnover.

 In combination with cleansing and toning, they help enhance the effectiveness of the treatment products applied afterwards. 

6. Serum / Ampoule

Serums contain potent ingredients that address specific skin issues such as fine lines, dark circles, hyperpigmentation, and acne. They are more concentrated in active ingredients and typically more viscous than essences. 


Another product that can also be used as Step 6 is an ampoule. Ampoules are even more concentrated and potent than serums. While serums can be used daily, most ampoules should only be used once a week or if you need big results for an event. 

7. Face Mask

This Korean beauty product has taken the industry by storm. Sheet masks are soaked in serum and are packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals. They are also extremely hydrating, leaving your skin soft and supple.

8. Eye Cream

The skin around your eyes is usually the first to show signs of aging. Eye-creams are specifically tailored to address your under-eyes and prevent wrinkles, dark circles and crow’s feet. They soothe the skin under your eyes and keep it hydrated.

9. Moisturizer

The Koreans believe that this step is vital to lock-in the previous layers. It’s more like an occlusive barrier used to lock-in the previously applied products.

If you have oily skin, use a light, lotion-based moisturizer. If your skin is dry, use a heavy cream-based moisturizer to prevent your skin from feeling irritated.

10. Sun Protection

During your morning routine, you should always wear sunscreen on top of a moisturizer. Look for sunscreens that contain broadband protection, meaning they have both SPF (UVB protection) and PA (UVA protection). 

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