The Beginners Guide to The 10 Step Korean Beauty Routine


So, you want brighter, clearer skin but don’t know where to begin. Google suggests the ‘10 Step K-Beauty Routine’. But what the heck does that even mean? Glowing, dewy skin can’t take ten steps; I mean who’s got the time! To cross-check, you visit your skincare gurus aka Instagram influencers who’ve ironically also been touting about how Korean beauty is their new holy grail. Fully equipped with the terms but totally lost with the jargon? Do you even need all 10 steps, every day? We got ya.

Here’s your starter guide to understanding the 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine.

Psssst…You don’t need to follow every single step.

10 Step Korean Beauty Routine

1) Oil-Based Cleanser: Want glass skin? Oil cleansers are your best bet. Featuring first in the 10-Step Korean skincare routine and also commencing the ‘infamous’ double cleanse (more on that in the next article) the hardworking gel-based oil-cleanser almost always has a sticky consistency that’s lightweight enough to lift off makeup, sunscreen and oily residue (excess sebum). How? The logic is simple: oil attracts oil. Hence, your 12-hr long stay lipstick and waterproof mascara won’t stand a chance. This gentle yet potent oil-based formula will break down even the thickest layer of budge-proof makeup with a single swipe.

P.S. Racoon eyes are a thing of the past now, promise.

Try Klairs Gentle Deep Black Cleansing Oil

2) Water-Based Cleanser: Next up is a water-based cleanser that’s going to get rid of all leftover gunk and water-based impurities; we’re looking at you – pollution. Ever so mild, these cleansers gently get rid of dirt, debris, and sweat for a totally clean face. In case you were wondering, this completes the Korean double cleansing method. Boasting of moisturizing ingredients water-based cleansers are ideal for a morning wash and as the second step of your skincare routine in the PM. Now you know the secret to zero pimples *squeaky clean pores, always*

Try Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser 

3) Exfoliator: Exfoliation is next in the 10 Step K-Beauty routine. Simply put, an exfoliator will buff away dead skin cells and build-up, revealing a younger, brighter face. Whether you choose a physical (salt, sugar, beaded scrub) exfoliator or a chemical peel (AHAs and BHAs) both types work to loosen the bonds that hold dead, dull skin cells to the surface. The result, ‘I-just-got-a-facial-glow’ within a matter of minutes! But beware; one must exfoliate only once or twice a week at most. Less is always more when it comes to effectively exfoliating.

Try Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish

4) Toner: A Korean toner is that one-star product that lovingly preps skin for the steps to come. Unlike astringent toners that contain alcohol and leave your face in all fifty shades of red, this critical step is crucial in a Korean skincare routine due to the goodness of its ingredients. Ultra-hydrating and soothing, a toner contains active-ingredients that moisturize the face, rebalances your skin to maintain its optimal pH level and aids in better absorption of the essences and serums next in line. It’s an all-in-one step that must not be avoided, trust.

Try A. by BOM Ultra Botanic Skin Water or Klairs Supple Preparation Toner

5) Essence: A very light-weight, almost watery formula, an essence is the first step towards tackling a specific skin concern. Thus, depending on your skin type; oily, dry, combination, etc. and skin concern; dullness, aging, dryness, redness, etc. This step will nourish, replenish and repair your face. An essence is packed with soothing ingredients such as bamboo, snail slime, rice water, honey, and the likes.

6) Treatments: Now’s the fun part, droppers and pipettes finally make an appearance. This step really transforms skin with a potent mix of active ingredients that target concerns using a combination of boosters, serums or ampoules. Mostly liquids with varying thickness, they each serve different purposes based on their ingredients. The most common are serums that hyper-tackle issues like hydration, aging, hyperpigmentation, and dullness.

Try Limese Brightening Ampoule or Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

7) Sheet Masks: Better known for its ability to make you look scary AF sheet masks are by far the most-popular skincare step in the 10 Step K Beauty routine. With celebrities swearing by sheet masks as in-flight facials, to us skincare hoarders sheet-masking at work, it’s safe to say sheet masking has gained cult-status. I mean, it’s even got its own hashtag #sheetmaskandchill! Just apply the mask for 20 minutes; your skin will absorb its nutrients. Et voila! An instantly moisturized face, beaming brighter-than-sunshine.

Try A. by BOM Ultra Royal Leaf Mask or Limese Real Brightening & Glow Up Face Mask

8) Eye Cream: Dark circles, wrinkles, crow’s feet all begin to show in your 20s. Thus, to fight early signs of aging it’s vital to take care of the most delicate part of your face – the skin around your eyes. Eye creams must be applied in the AM and PM with your ring finger only. Since this finger is the most gentle, it’ll avoid any unnecessary tugging and pulling, protecting your eye socket area. Full of concentrated ingredients that pack a punch, eye creams are the most effective way to postpone visible aging.

Try A. by BOM Ultra Time Return Eye Cream 

9) Moisturizer: Second last in our mighty Korean beauty routine, this step helps lock in all the moisture and nutrients from the treatments applied thus far. Available in various formulas gels, lotions, emulsions, thick creams, and even masks, moisturizers ensure long-lasting hydration. Remember to rub the face moisturizer in circular motions in an upward direction to avoid skin sagging in the long run. And, if you’ve got an oilier texture, pat it into the face using three fingers to let the product seep in.

Try Limese SuperTasker Cream or Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream

10) Sun Protection: At last, the 10-step Korean beauty saga ends with sunscreen. This is the most crucial step to postpone aging as well as preventing further skin issues from developing. Wearing sunscreen is non-negotiable Every. Single. Day. That’s right, come rain or shine sunblock’s your BFF, always. Don’t forget to reapply every 2-3 hours if you’re outdoors.

Try Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream

If you still forget a step, don’t fret. It goes lightest-to-heaviest! But if you want a quicker, simpler K Beauty Routine, check out our latest blog post on SKIPCARE! – The 10 Step’s younger, cooler sister.


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