Your Ultimate Guide to the Korean 10 Step Skincare Routine
The Korean skincare routine popularized the use of double cleansing, serum, and essences, rather than the usual cleanser, toner, and moisturizer combo. It might be overwhelming at first but once you’ve incorporated it into your routine, everything becomes automatic.
Why Korean Skincare?
Skincare in Korea is a big business. Manufacturers compete in bringing the best skin care in town. They have developed products based on scientific research with dermatologists on their teams. Even best-selling products today get reformulated by their continuing belief in innovation to maximize the efficacy of their skincare.
Korean skincare is also known for its preventive measures. Specialized essences, ampoules, and masks undo the damage to the skin but most of them also contain properties that would prevent further skin damage, improve elasticity, protect the skin barrier, and prevent moisture loss.
The 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine
Note that there are steps that you don't need to do all the time like exfoliation or application of highly active ingredients. Without further ado, this is the 10 step Korean skincare routine.
We know what you’re thinking, oils clog pores. Why use an oil-based cleanser?
The Korean skincare routine believes in double cleansing starting with an oil-based cleanser. Makeup, sunscreen, and the skin’s natural sebum are better removed by an oil cleanser - more commonly known as cleansing oil in different Korean skincare products. It’s more effective since it brings out dirt trapped in the skin and dissolves the excess oil that’s on the face. Because it’s oil-based, it leaves your skin hydrated and moisturized. Moreover, it maintains the balance of oil moisture in the skin and the skin’s natural pH level.
Best cleansing oils for your 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine
We got you covered, we’ve rounded up the best cleansing oil for your Korean skincare routine. Not just that, we’re here to provide you with the best for every skin type.
The Face Shop Rice Water Cleansing Oil
The Face Shop Rice Water Cleansing Oil is the holy grail oil-based cleanser for normal to dry skin. It is gentle yet removes heavy makeup, SPF, sebum, impurities, and extra oil. It also nourishes the skin to feel softer, smoother, and brighter. Add this to your Korean skincare routine and take a step closer to porcelain skin.
Laneige Perfect Pore Cleansing Oil
The Laneige Perfect Pore Cleansing Oil is perfect for oily, combination, or acne-prone skin. It contains extra virgin coconut oil and Mugwort extracts that hydrate and soften pores. It is sure to remove dirt and makeup. Because it’s also very lightweight, it quickly removes impurities without the greasy feeling. Moreover, it’s gentle on the skin and has antibacterial properties to calm irritated skin and prevent it from having more breakouts. Start your Korean skincare routine with this cleansing oil and feel the relaxing aroma of Laneige Perfect Pore Cleansing Oil.
Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oil
The Nature Republic Forest Garden Cleansing Oil is hypoallergenic so it’s perfect for normal and sensitive skin. Users with sensitive skin will love the non-greasy formula for the beginning of their 10 step Korean skincare routine. It also contains Chamomile extract, Jojoba oil, and Jeju sparkling water that removes dirt and impurities from the face. This cleansing oil even protects your skin from environmental factors while calming and soothing sensitive skin.
Foam or Water-based Cleanser
You might be more familiar with these kinds of cleansers as they are what’s mostly available in the market. These cleansers are needed to remove any leftover impurities like deep dirt or sweat. This particular item in the Korean skincare routine makes sure you are your cleanest before toning. Make sure to check the pH of your cleanser to ensure it doesn’t strip off moisture in your skin.
Best foam or water-based cleanser for your Korean skincare routine
The best foam or water-based cleansers to add to your Korean skincare routine are those that deeply penetrate the skin, and yet, don't take away skin’s natural moisture.
Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam
The Sulwhasoo Gentle Cleansing Foam cleanses the skin with Duckweed and Chestnut Shell extracts that thoroughly remove makeup and debris in the skin leaving you refreshed, hydrated, and soft with a semi dewy finish. Just massage two pumps of this cleansing foam both in the morning and at night after your oil-based cleanser for the 2nd stage of your 10 step Korean skincare routine. Get this cleansing foam for $22 instead of $38 today here.
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
The COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser contains a mild formulation that helps in restoring the skin’s optimal pH level. Nonetheless, it cleanses the skin completely removing impurities, sebum, dirt, sweat, and makeup. Have this gel-type cleanser in your Korean skincare routine and have healthy glowing skin. Available here for only $8 from $14. Ideal cleanser for men too.
The 3rd stage in the 10 step Korean skincare routine is the exfoliator which you don’t need to apply every day (twice to thrice a week will do). Exfoliators remove dead skin cells and the buildup of which and tries to replace them. It also evens out the skin tone and prevents pores from being clogged giving you smoother and brighter skin.
Best exfoliator for your Korean skincare routine
Say goodbye to dead skin cells through exfoliation. Here’s the best exfoliator to add to your Korean skincare routine.
COSRX Original Clear Pad
The COSRX Original Clear Pad is a hypoallergenic exfoliator that contains BHA, AHA, willow bark water, and tea tree oil that is more favorable with combination and oily skin. BHA controls sebum and oiliness while AHA moisturizes dry areas. Willow bark water exfoliates while hydrating the skin, and tea tree oil soothes the skin while preventing further breakouts. These pads are convenient to use. On the 3rd step of your Korean skincare routine, simply swipe on your face (use both sides) and unleash your skin’s natural glow. It’s on promotion here for Sensoo from $20 to $12.
The assumption to this point is that your skin is squeaky clean and it’s time to prepare your skin for hydration. Cleansers and exfoliators tend to strip off moisture from your skin and your skin’s pH is not in its optimal state. Well, toners help in getting back moisture to perfect your skin’s pH so don’t miss this part of your 10 step Korean skincare routine.
Best toner to add on your Korean skincare routine
Build your skin barrier back up so your essences, and creams are better absorbed with the best toner to complete your Korean skincare routine. Since toners’ job is to make sure skin is prepped up, the best toner must be hydrating so our top choice is the Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner.
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
The Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner uses 91.3% of Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract (aka milk vetch root extract) to moisturize the skin. Unlike toners that use purified water, this essence toner has a thicker texture to nourish and hydrate the skin. Moreover, the product improves skin elasticity and is anti-inflammatory. The brand swears by natural ingredients and a mild formula with no fragrances and dyes, which are gentle enough for sensitive skin too. Add this toner on your Korean skincare routine as it is on sale here for $15.40 from $22.
You might notice that in the 10 step Korean skincare routine, you will be applying layers to nourish your skin and it starts with the thinner products. Essences are meant to hydrate, and protect the skin; some even improve skin elasticity. Some would argue that essences are the beginning of your glowing skin.
Best Essence for your 10 step Korean skincare routine
Essences must be lightweight and improve your skin by hydration. Our pick to add to your Korean skincare routine is the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.
COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
The COSRX essence is lightweight making skin absorb it fully and quickly while giving intense hydration all day long. It contains 96.3% snail secretion filtrate that also protects skin from moisture loss. Lastly, it’s ideal for sensitive skin as it’s a soothing essence that doesn’t feel heavy on skin at all. Add this to your Korean skincare routine and see an improvement in skin elasticity as well. Now on sale in Sensoo Skincare from $25 to $13. Click here.
Treatment: Ampoules or Serums
Skin is not universal and it needs extra care depending on your skin concerns. Therefore, ampoules and serums are the ingredients that touch up your skin problems.
Best Treatment for your Korean skincare routine
Again, it depends on the issues you’re targeting on your skin but all else equal, i.e., you don’t have wrinkles or acne, or you have normal-looking skin, Sensoo’s pick is the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum.
Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum
The Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum nourishes, hydrates, and firms up your skin to give you smooth and glass skin. The serum moisturizes, brightens, targets wrinkles, and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier. Use this as stage 6 of your 10 step Korean skincare routine and look more radiant than ever. Available here for $89.
Sheet masks may be used from twice a week to every day. They add value depending on what you target specifically for the mask because it has a lot to choose from. Although they are all nourishing and hydrating, some sheet masks target other skin concerns for your optimal glow. Moreover, in just 15-20 minutes feel the extra healthy glow if you incorporate this into your Korean skincare routine.
Best sheet mask to add to your 10 step Korean skincare routine
Again, in choosing your sheet masks, you must look well in the much-needed nourishment of your skin. We are certain you have your self-assessment.
Mediheal N.M.F Aquaring Ampoule Mask EX
If you have no particular need, you may opt to go for the Mediheal N.M.F. sheet mask that gives intense hydration and improves skin elasticity. This mask contains sodium hyaluronate and witch hazel water for an instant moisturizing effect. It also contains allantoin and trehalose to tighten those pores and address sebum. Simply place the sheet on your face and rest for 15-20 minutes. Top up your Korean skincare routine with these hydrating masks for only $10 from $20SRP, already inclusive of 10 pcs. of Mediheal masks.
Emulsions are a staple in the Korean skincare routine. They are used after your treatment to seal in the active ingredients that you have applied to your skin making them more effective.
Best emulsion to add to your 10 step Korean skincare routine
Let your serums and treatment be absorbed easily. Seal in those much-needed ingredients to treat your skin with a radiant glow. Get the best emulsion for this job.
Etude House SoonJung 10 Free Moist Emulsion
The Etude House SoonJung 10 Free Moist Emulsion has a non-sticky texture that absorbs into the skin quickly and effectively. It moisturizes and soothes the skin so it is perfect for those who have dry, sensitive, and even irritated skin. It contains Panthenol and Madecassoside that soothe skin and calm down irritations. It also keeps its pH levels at pH 5.5 which is the most ideal for the skin. Get your Etude House Emulsion here.
The area surrounding the eyes is the most sensitive part of your face. Hence, when it experiences skin concerns like dryness, puffiness, fine lines, wrinkles, or dark circles easily show up. Eye creams protect you from showing all these signs of aging by giving you skin with improved elasticity. If you started late and already have them, applying eye creams minimize the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles. Although more known as an anti-aging step, it’s good to incorporate eye creams in your Korean skincare routine no matter how young you are.
Best eye cream for your 10 step Korean skincare routine
We’ve rounded up the best two eye creams that you can choose from to battle the signs of aging. Here they are:
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream
The Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream contains Korean red ginseng to keep skin firm and elastic. It also softens and lessens the appearance of wrinkles and the length of lines surrounding the eyes for an overall smoother look. The product brightens dark circles too. This eye cream not only protects you from showing signs of aging but combats what’s already there. Revitalize your skin around the eyes as you incorporate this Sulwhasoo eye cream into your Korean skincare routine. Get it here for $112 as it’s currently on promotion from $160.
Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb
The Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb is known for giving 26hrs hydration. It contains comfrey leaf properties and tiger grass that smoothes and clears complexion so it’s a great depuffing eye cream. Moreover, it has a triple-tightening effect for restoring and improving elasticity until the interior of the skin. Get it now here while hot from $53 to $37.10.
Moisturizers are a must that’s why even if you streamline your Korean skincare routine, they must still be there. Due to environmental factors, or even by merely cleaning your face, you strip off your skin's natural moisture. Hence, it’s important to moisturize to keep your skin’s pH at its optimum. At the same time, hydrating the skin keeps it healthy and youthful. Moreover, most Korean moisturizers protect the skin by improving its elasticity or strengthening the skin's moisture barrier.
Best moisturizer for your Korean skincare routine
The best moisturizer ensures hydrated skin that would make the skin supple and glowing. Our top pick for your 9th stage in the 10 step Korean skincare routine is Etude House’s Moistfull Collagen Cream. It’s also super affordable.
Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream
The Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream makes your skin bouncy and dewy after moisturizing your skin with the Super Collagen™ Water, this product’s main ingredient. It is lightweight and penetrates deep into the skin providing long-lasting massive hydration. Get yours here. It retails for $20 but catch our sale now and get this item for $8.
The 10 step Korean skincare routine differs in the morning and at night. In the morning it’s a must to wear sunscreen as exposure to UV light and screen light is more rampant especially when there’s exposure directly to the sun. While at night, it’s a sleeping mask to completely nourish your skin.
Sunscreen tops the moisturizer and is the last phase of your Korean skincare routine to prep your skin for cosmetics. Sunscreen, more commonly known as sun care in Korean skincare, protects you from UVA, UVB, blue lights, and environmental pollutants. Korean SPF offers more than sun protection. It also offers moisturizing properties; and some even anti-aging properties.
Sleeping masks, on the other hand, aid the skin in rejuvenating and repairing the damages done during the daytime. It assists your skin in recharging faster and getting more nourished for healthier skin.
Best sunscreen and sleeping mask to add in your Korean skincare routine
Many users would agree that the best sunscreen provides at least SPF 50 and absorbs fast without leaving any white cast while the best sleeping mask nourishes and deeply penetrates the skin to provide intense moisture overnight. That’s why we picked the COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream and the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask to be your companion in your morning and night Korean skincare routine.
COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream
COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is lightweight and doesn’t leave any white cast and greasy feeling, unlike other sunscreens. Apart from SPF 50, it also hydrates the skin well. It also contains aloe vera to soothe irritation while moisturizing it. Make sure to get the COSRX sun cream now for only $16 and protect your skin from further damage.
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask moisturizes stressed and parched skin and hastens your skin’s much-needed recharge. It contains Hydro Ionized Mineral Water that deeply nourishes to purify stressed skin. It is also relaxing with its Calming Sleepscent™. Moreover, it is non-comedogenic with a mild fragrance. It is also free of oils and agents that may be harmful to the skin so it’s suitable for all skin types. End your Korean skincare routine with this and wake up with more radiant and glowing skin. Click here and add it to your cart now! It’s on sale from $26 to $14.
The Korean skincare routine may be a lot to process but you just need to give it a try and everything will be on autopilot. We’ve also given you the best K-beauty products that you can try if you want to switch from Western brands. Do it the K-beauty way, shop here at Sensoo.