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A Complete Guide to the 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine

A Complete Guide to the 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine

K-beauty has contributed a lot to the cosmetics industry, but nothing as much as its 10-step skincare routine. 10 steps may seem like a lot, but as you’ll come to find out below, not all 10 steps should be used every day. Some are only weekly or bi-weekly steps and some should only be used in the morning orat night. Below we take a look at each step and its benefits.

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  • 1. Oil Cleanser

    The first step is to remove sunscreen, makeup and sebum. Most people (especially those with already oily skin) use water-based cleansers or micellar water, but those do not remove sunscreen, makeup and sebum as well as oil cleansers. So, it’s important not to skip this step as otherwise you’ll have unwanted residue left on your skin. Oil cleansers are also great as they don’t contain any alcohol, just natural oils like rosemary or jojoba, making them great even for those with sensitive skin.

  • 2. Water Cleanser

    Yep, you’ve got to double cleanse. While the oil cleanser gets rid of sunscreen, makeup and sebum, the water cleanser gets rid of dirt, pollution and sweat. Water cleansers are also great for moisturising (the holy grail) your face, and it’s important to try and retain as much moisture as possible while you power through the steps. Hydration is key!

  • 3. Exfoliator

    Like we mentioned above, some of the steps don’t have to be used every day, and this is one of them. You definitely shouldn’t be exfoliating every day as otherwise you run the risk of stripping your skin of its natural oils and making your skin more sensitive. Use an exfoliator to scrub away dead skin cells only 1 or 2 times per week and reveal glowing skin!

  • 4. Toner

    Contrary to popular belief, toners are not unnecessary nor are they supposed to cleanse your skin. In fact, toners are meant to be full of healthy ingredients to help regulate your skin’s pH and prepare your pores for the next few steps. Toners work as the skincare equivalent of primers and come in a variety of different forms for each skincare need – some are infused with vitamin C or Rose and other botanical ingredients. Apply your toner with a cotton pad or just your fingers!

  • 5. Essence

    Whether you opt for a brightening essence or a moisturising one, this step is crucial in helping you prevent lines and wrinkles and evening out your skin tone. They’re also great as an added step of moisture after the toner, leaving your skin looking brighter and smoother.

  • 6. Serums

    This step is perfect for tailoring the entire routine to your specific skincare needs. Serums are highly concentrated products that treat certain skin concerns you may have such as hyperpigmentation, wrinkles or ageing. Thick in texture and highly moisturising, serums are a great extra layer after using an essence.

  • 7. Sheet Mask

    Perhaps the most fun step – pop on a sheet mask, lie back, and relax for 15 minutes. Sheet masks are infused with different nutrients and each have specific aims such as stimulating collagen production or hydrating the skin. They stay moist for the entire time you wear them, allowing their serums to be fully absorbed into the skin without any interruption. Like the exfoliator, sheet masks shouldn’t be used every day, or your skin may become too dependent on them for gaining moisture. We recommend using them 1-3 times a week, preferably at night with a cup of tea and a good book.

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  • 8. Eye Cream

    This step is important to help target any under-eye circles you may have. The skin underneath your eyes is super-thin and the most sensitive area of your face, so it’s important to pay it proper attention. Eye creams help prevent wrinkles, fine lines and crow-eyes, so be sure to apply them each morning and night!

  • 9. Moisturiser

    You’re probably already using this step, but we can’t stress enough how important it is. Whatever skin type you have, it’s crucial that you use moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated and to seal in all the previous steps, allowing the serums, essences and creams to absorb into the skin.

  • 10. Sunscreen

    No matter your skin type, your skin tone, your location, or what season it is, SPF is important. UVA rays are present all year round and can cause wrinkles and premature ageing and UVB rays (the ones you’re hiding from at the beach) can cause skin cancer. Make sure you use a sunscreen every morning (not at night) to protect yourself.


Phew. That’s it. 10 steps. As you’ve seen, you’ll probably only be using 5-7 steps every single day, so it’s not as daunting as you may have thought. But it is important to take care of your skin…sooner rather than later.

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