It’s no real surprise that when it comes to talking beauty, the conversation almost always lands on some exotic, nay, crazy concoction that has made its way from the East. Be it those snail infused face masks that you are obsessed with or that oil cleanser you swear by both for your morning and evening routines, all the latest beauty fads originate in Asia, the land that is obsessed with achieving glowing, luminescent skin.
And if you keep up with the latest trends in skincare and beauty, you are most definitely aware of the Korean 10 step routine that has become the mainstay of beauty bloggers and professionals all across the world. And why not, since the whole premise of Korean skincare lies on the prevention first philosophy where the idea is to enhance and maintain your skin’s natural beauty. After all, it’s Korea that brought the whole trend of using face serum on an everyday basis a worldwide phenomena.
The Basics of the Korean Skin Care Routine
Korean women (and increasingly, men) take their skin care routine seriously. Very, seriously. Which is why you wont be surprised to see them using more than 10 products on a daily basis, with different products being used in the AM and different ones in the PM.
It definitely is a bit more work that the average skincare regime, the effort taken does not go unnoticed. Korean women are known for having some of the best skincare in the world - a feat that they manage by sticking to their exacting routines on a religious basis.
Apart from sticking to the basics, such as removing makeup before going to bed and applying sunscreen each and every day, their 10 step routine is the key to achieving incredible skin - without a touch of makeup!
The 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine
Step 1 - Cleansing Oil
An oil cleanse is part one of the infamous double cleanse so beloved by women in Korea and Japan. The logic here is that like attracts like so an oil cleanser will pull the oily gunk out of your skin, effectively removing makeup and sunscreen. Use this in the PM, and as you massage it into your skin, feel your make-up and troubles melt away into a silky charcoal goo. Now rinse.
Step 2 - Water Based Cleanser
Part two of the double cleanse is a foam cleanse. After removing your make-up and sunscreen with an oil cleanser, use a foam cleanser for a deeper clean.
Step 3 - Exfoliation
Whether it’s physical or chemical, exfoliation is one of the pillars of Korean skincare. Sloughing away dead skin regularly to reveal, brighter, younger cells is central to a good anti-ageing practice. But beware—it’s a thin red line (or complexion) between diligent and excessive exfoliation, which will sensitize your skin. So stay on the safe side and exfoliate approximately 2-3 times a week.
Step 4 - Toner
Toning your face is very important. It balances the pH level of your skin and shrinks the appearance of pores. It is hydrating and forms a protective barrier on your skin. Toners prevent your skin from producing excess oil. You can check out our hydrating toner right here.
Step 5 - Essence
It’s neither a toner nor a serum, but a beautiful hybrid of both, capturing some of the prepping properties of the former and the treatment of the latter. Korean and Japanese women swear by this step for its ability to help cell turnover and brighten the skin. To make the most of the product, tip the essence into your palm and gently pat it into your skin.
Step 6 - Serum
The most important part of your morning routine, apart from applying sunscreen, is applying the right serum for your face. Serums enhance the effectiveness of moisturizers and using a face serum that has high levels of vitamin c is great for increasing the brightness of your complexion and reducing pigmentation. Whether you’re trying to get rid of fine lines, acne or hyper-pigmentation, nothing works as hard as a serum or ampoule packed full of potent ingredients. Tap these gently into your skin to increase blood circulation and help absorption.
Step 7 - Face Mask
With its ability to instantly make you look like an axe murderer, this is the show pony of the K-beauty family. Korean women use a sheet mask between two to seven times a week. Trust us, 15 minutes of looking like a serial killer is worth it when you end up with lush skin. A helpful tip for the sheet mask rookie—don’t leave it on longer than the prescribed time as the sheet mask will begin to try and suck the moisture from your skin!
Step 8 - Eye Cream
Don’t forget that your peepers are surrounded by skin that is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face, making it prone to fine lines. Ever devoted to youthfulness, Koreans start applying eye cream at a young age, using their ring finger so that they don’t pull on the skin. The favored ingredient for eye cream is snail filtrate because it’s full of elastin, proteins and hyaluronic acid.
Step 9 - Moisturizer
There is no such thing as a skin type that does not need any moisturizer. Choose a cream-based one if you have dry skin or a gel/water-based moisturizer for oily skin types to ensure that you provide your skin with the hydration it needs. Koreans apply their cream and gel moisturizers by using upward stroking motions, which helps prevent jowls and improves skin elasticity.
Step 10 - Sun Protection
This is the most critical step of your skin care routine - if you have time to only do one thing for your skin the entire day, it’s this. Apply a quarter-sized amount of product to your face and an equal amount to your neck and decolletage area. When it comes to avoiding the sun, Korean women are borderline vampiric in their determination. However, since total evasion is impossible, sunscreen is a necessity.
Successful 1-Step Korean Routine
Following a 1- step procedure on a daily basis can be hectic, we get it. But there is alot that can be learned from the dedication to skincare that the Korean routine showcases, especially with the adaptation of some must have products such as using hydrating face masks for women to applying serum on a daily basis.