A Complete Guide to 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

So what actually is this Korean 10 Step Skincare Routine?

Truth be told, it’s the routine that will change your skin for the better. As it is a personalized routine, all of the “10” steps can be replaced or deducted as it best suits you and your skin.  “10” step can seem daunting and a lot of work but once you get the grip of the routine, it only takes less than 10 mins (without sheet-masking for 20 mins, which we do not necessarily need to do so for every day) and it is not only rewarding to your skin but also relaxing for yourself after a long day.

So, shall we get started?

Step 1: The Oil Cleanser

Korean skincare is known for its double cleansing and oil cleansers are the first step of the double cleansing. If you ask why do you need to put the step of an oil cleanser before a water cleanser, do you remember that water and oil don’t mix? Our daytime routine includes a lot of oil-based products such as makeup, moisturizer, and sunscreen, and even our own sebum cannot be removed with just water. The purpose of oil cleansers is to break down makeup and sunscreen (oil-based debris) that cannot be broken down by the water cleanser.

Moreover, an oil cleanser is quick, easy and friendly for the skin and it removes even the most stubborn waterproof makeup.

How To: Use for both morning and night. Gently massage it into your dry skin, add a little bit of lukewarm water to leather and then rinse off.


Step 2: The Water Cleanser

After removing the oil-based impurities and its barrier with an oil cleanser, a water cleanser can now effectively remove the water-based impurities, such as sweat and environmental pollutants. Double cleansing is highly recommended by aestheticians and dermatologists because it is a very basic step to prevent breakouts and to healthy, glowing skin.

The water cleanser washes away all traces from oil cleansing and leaves the skin absolutely clean and debris-free.

How To: For both morning and night,  Leather the cleanser in your palm gently before applying to your damp face and neck. Gently massage across your face in a circular motion. Rinse off with lukewarm water.  

Step 3: Exfoliating or Peeling

Exfoliating is a crucial step into your healthy, glowing skincare journey. Whether it is a physical/ manual exfoliation using sugar scrub or facial brush, or a chemical exfoliation using glycolic acid, AHAs, BHAs, and enzymes, helps get rid of old and dead skin cells and smooth the skin’s texture, and it helps your skin care products have more access and work for the skin underneath.

However, This is a step that is not recommended for every day, because over-exfoliation can expose your skin to redness, inflammation, and breakout.

How To: Gently exfoliate 1-2 times per week, focusing on the T-zone of your face (esp nose area).

Step 4: Toner


Toning your skin is a good habit in your skincare routine because it not only removes any leftover residuals from double cleansing but also balances the pH of your skin. This step is also sometimes called “skin” because it acts as a second skin - it’s the first product that delivers skincare goodness and hydrates after cleansing.

How To: For morning and night, put a drop or two of toners in your palms and pat gently into your skin across your face and neck.

Step 5: Essence

Essence is known as a “miracle” part of the Korean skincare routine. Essences are lightweight and concentrated with all the good nutrients to hydrate, prevent anti-aging and brighten your skin. It hydrates, delivers nutrients and begins to target your skin care concerns depending on the ingredients of your chosen essence.

How To: For morning and night, put a drop or two of essences in your palms and pat gently into your skin across your face and neck.

Step 6: Treatments

Serums and ampoules are the ultimate skin perfecters and packed with a concentrated blend of active ingredients to target our particular skin problems and concerns. This step can be skipped if you do not have a particular skin problem or concern that you would like to solve.

How To: For morning and night, gently tap into your skin, focusing on the concerned areas of your skin. Pat the leftover serum or ampoule from your hands to your neck.

Step 7: Sheet Mask

Sheet masks are one of the reasons why the Korean skincare routine is widely and wildly taking over the world. They are the holy-grail soul food for skin in the Korean skincare routine. These masks are mostly fabric or silicone-like gel sheet soaked in essences to provide really concentrated nutrition treat to the skin. This is not a necessary step for everyday routine.

How To: Place onto your clean skin after treatments or essences, lie down and relax for 15-20 minutes, and then pat the excess essences into your skin across your face and neck.

Step 8: Eye Cream

The most delicate and thinnest skin on your entire body is the skin around your eyes. As much as protecting our skin from skin damages, it is crucial to keep the skin around your eyes hydrated to prevent yourself from aging signs, such as wrinkles and fine lines. Moreover, well-hydration around your eyes can also alleviate your dark circles and puffiness. Eye creams are packed with all-rounded-goodness ingredients for your concern and formulated especially to be gentle.

How To: For morning and night, take a grain size of your eye cream and use your pinkie finger to gently tap around the eye. Avoid the waterline of your eyes!

Step 9: Moisturizer

The ultimate hydration deliverer, a moisturizer is a cream that seals in the previous steps and gives that final “kick” to your skincare routine. They come in many different forms such as emulsion, lotion, gel, cream, sleeping mask.

How To: For morning and night, take a small scoop/ a drop or two of your moisturizer and pat gently into your skin across your face and neck.

Step 10: Sunscreen:

Sunscreens are holy objects in Korea. The sun is the foremost cause of skin aging, and using a sunscreen helps protect and prevent the sun damage to your skin and also premature aging. Not only is it crucial against wrinkles, but also skin cancer, so you will find a sunscreen an absolutely necessary part of your routine! It should be the last step of your skincare in order to act as a shield to your skin without being diluted by other products.

How to: Gently pat or spread across your face as the last step in your morning routine. Re-apply every two to three hours throughout the day. 

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