Even though Korean Beauty is getting pretty popular here in the west I feel there is still a big lack in the basis knowledge of Korean beauty products. My main concerns are actually two things: 1 people buying products only for the packaging, 2 people thinking the Korean 10 step skincare routine is excessive and therefore only buying a moisturizer. Yes, the packaging is definitely cute but you should also learn what you are putting onto your face and the correct order to apply them. Therefore we are going back to the basics and I’m going to explain the 10 step Korean skincare routine.
I know what you are thinking, ten steps sounds crazy. As a religious follower of the 10 step routine the only thing I can say is that you just have to start with it. Try it, and you will see it’s less complicated than it might sound. The first thing that I tell people that makes everything better: IT IS NOT TEN STEPS EVERY DAY :). Here you go, now there is no reason to be intimidated anymore so let’s get right into it!
STEP 1: Oil cleanse
So I am just going to assume you are wearing makeup and you are a sane person who wants to remove it before you go to sleep. Well that’s where oil cleansers come in. Oil cleansers remove makeup, sebum and all the other dirt which your skin has accumulated throughout the day. I often see customers with acne prone / oily skin that are afraid the oil will make their skin more oily. Please just try it once and you will see your fear for oil cleansers disappear together with your excess sebum. After all, oil cleans oil better than any other product.
STEP 2: Gentle cleanse
Onto step two, the gentle cleanse. Right after you removed your makeup you use a water based cleanser to remove any leftover residue from the previous step. This can be either a foam or gel cleanser, whatever you prefer. Easy as that!
STEP 3: Exfoliate
If it wasn’t for step ten I think this is the most important step. Exfoliating is so crucial for a radiant complexion and beautiful skin texture. Gently removing those dead skin cells once a week makes your skincare products soak beautifully into your skin instead of sitting on top of an impenetrable barrier. Also for my dry skin typed sisters, this is not a step to be skipped!
STEP 4: Toner
Sometimes also called skin ‘refreshers’, toners help balance your skin pH levels and make the actual skin care easier to apply and absorb. Toners have a watery consistency so they are best applied by pouring a bit on your hands and then tapping it onto your skin. If you prefer, there are also many toners nowadays which have a spraying nozzle. You can spray these toners onto a cotton pad or directly onto your skin for easy application.
STEP 5: Essence
The most essential part to Korean women: essence. If a great toner and serum would have a love child it would be essence. It promotes cell turnover which makes the skin brighter and smoother. You will see really noticeable results by adding this into your skincare routine.
STEP 6: Serums, ampules and boosters
Don’t be confused! These are actually all the same but sometimes called differently so you only need one of the above. A serum is a concentrated version of a essence and mostly comes in some kind of dropper packaging. It is mainly for targeting specific skincare issues such as pore tightening, acne scarring, wrinkles and fine lines, dehydration and so on. Again like all the above, gently tap the serum into your skin for the best absorption.
STEP 7: (sheet) masks
You have many different type of masks such as sheet masks, sleeping packs, gel packs and more. Apply these once or twice a week to target a specific skincare concern you struggle with. There is a little controversy about when masks are applied into your skincare routine but I think it’s just a personal preference for everyone. I like to apply a sheet mask instead of my daily moisturizer and let the excess essence of the mask soak in when I go to sleep. But when I use a clay pack, I still use my moisturizer after I washed the pack off. So just try for yourself to see what is most comfortable for your skin.
STEP 8: Eye cream
With eye cream application is key. The skin around the eye area is the most delicate of your face and therefore should be treated with care. Apply an eye cream with your ring finger in a gentle tapping motion all over the under and upper eye area, avoiding the waterlines. Also news flash: eye cream isn’t only an anti-aging product. If you ever experienced puffiness, dryness or suffer from dark circles it really isn’t that stupid to start using an eye cream in your early twenties.
STEP 9: Moisturizer
Moisturizers come many different forms and consistencies such as lotions, gels or creams. So it’s not that difficult for you to find one that you will like. The key to the Korean dewy skin is moisturizing and therefore you should apply your cream in the morning and at night. Oh, and don’t forget moisturizing your neck area too!
STEP 10: Sun protection SPF
Congratulations, you have made it to the most important step of any skincare routine, whether it’s Korean or not. All of the others steps don’t matter at all if you don’t protect your skin from the sun. Apply every morning as the last step of your morning skincare routine and reapply throughout the day. Just a BB cream with SPF isn’t enough guys! I will make a separate post about SPF products otherwise this post would overflow with my love for SPF.
My Korean Skincare routine
Below you will find my personal current AM and PM Korean skincare routine. Please note that this works really well for me and might not work for your skin type. In a future post I will provide you with more example skincare routines for different skin types okay? I have dry / combination / acne prone skin and suffer mostly from redness, dehydration and small breakouts. I don’t have ver larges pores or many blackheads.
Korean Beauty Evening Routine for dry skin
Removing my makeup is the first thing I do when I get home. I start with the Holika Holika All Kill Cleansing Foam to Moisture and it does a great job at removing my makeup without making my skin feel irritated. A Korean skincare routine wouldn’t be complete with a double cleanse so I continue cleaning my face with the Cosrx Low Ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser. Time to tone up! Take out a pad of the One Step Pimple clear pads and sweep it all over your face. Your face will feel so squeaky clean! Next up is the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence which you gently tap into the skin. Currently I struggle with some acne scarring and discoloration so a couple times a week I use the Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning Emulsion. Following is my favorite serum for dry skin: the Elizavecca Hell Pore Control Hyaluronic Acid 97% serum. Either I finish after the serum with a sheet or sleeping mask or apply my daily moisturizer which is the Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All in one Cream. Done in 15 minutes!
Korean Beauty Morning Routine for dry skin
First I start of by cleansing my face ( I don’t double cleanse in the morning) by using the Cosrx Low Ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser. You wash your face in the morning to get rid of any buildup and start off with clean skin. After cleansing I use the Centella Water Alcohol Free Toner also by Cosrx. It gets rid of any leftover residue and I loveee the spraying nozzle. Spraying this onto my face in the morning makes me feel so awake :). Continuing with the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence. I am already on my second bottle of this one and can’t seem to skip it in my morning routine either. When my face feels dry I use the Hell Pore Control Hyaluronic Acid 97% serum in the morning as well. The last step skips the moisturizer and goes straight to SPF since this Aloe Soothing Sun Cream by Cosrx is really moisturizing as well. This doesn’t cost me more then 10 minutes in the morning.
Gosh, I can’t believe I finally covered this long awaited post. I hope this post made you less intimidated by the famous 10 step skincare routine and that you go ahead and try it for yourself. Yes it can take a while to find your perfect routine, but hey, we are here to help you 🙂
‘XO Team Ichigo