Korean Skincare 101 and the 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine
What is Korean Skincare?
Clear your schedule and make room for a whole new obsession: Korean skincare and beauty – K-Beauty for short. A hybrid combination of advanced technology, unique ingredients and ancient Korean traditions will have you winning at the skincare game.
Fundamentally, Korean skincare focuses on developing a healthy relationship with your skin by cleansing, treating, nourishing, and protecting it with gentle and often natural ingredients — allowing you to achieve glass skin, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Think luminous, radiant, and dewy.
How Is It Different from Western Skincare?
Korean skincare takes a different philosophy to the Western world. It establishes a loving, long-term relationship with our skin, working to maintain an environment it can thrive in to prevent skin concerns, rather than waiting until they pop up to say hi. The term “quick-fix” doesn’t exist in a Korean skincare routine – it’s all about consistency, dedication and being there with you in the long haul, and we’re here for it.
Sure, skincare products that promise overnight results have tempted us all but they put an unnecessary strain on the skin, often with potent chemical ingredients that speed up the process. Because of the longevity purpose of Korean skincare, it focuses on natural ingredients that are safe to apply over and over again.
If you’re ready to give up shopping around and one-night stands with skincare products that deliver temporary results, you’re exactly where you need to be. Who knew our soulmate would be Korean skincare?
The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine
It all comes down to a fully customisable 10-step skincare routine – sounds overwhelming? Don't worry. You can decide what makes the cut and what doesn’t. You could even add more steps if you’re feeling extra (and your skin will allow it without breaking out).
To make things even easier and less overwhelming, the 10-step skincare routine is broken down into 4 categories: cleansing, prepping, treating, and protecting.
Step 1: Oil Cleanser
To kickstart the 10-step Korean skincare routine is a double cleanse, which involves using an oil cleanser as a first cleanse and following it up with a water-based cleanser. The cleansing oil or balm is designed to melt away stubborn oil-based impurities such as makeup, excess oil, pollution and sunscreen. Oil attracts oil, so these types of impurities are best removed with an oil cleanser.
Step 2: Water-Based Cleanser
A water-based cleanser is the face cleanser you’re probably already used to. These can be in the form of a gel, foam or milky cleansers. These cleansers will get rid of water-based impurities such as sweat and grime (water attracts water). The double cleansing process will ensure that the skin is completely clean, and ready to absorb all the active ingredients and goodness from the rest of the routine!
Step 3: Exfoliator
Exfoliation helps to brighten and smooth the skin by buffing away dead skin cells and removing excess gunk that clogs pores. But wait, before you exfoliate your heart out, this step in a Korean skincare routine only needs to be done 2-3 times a week. Any more than this and you’ll do more harm than good for your skin’s barrier.
Step 4: Toner
Tightening the pores and cell gaps back up after cleansing is toner, which will prevent impurities from making their way back into the skin. They also add a hit of hydration to replace any moisture lost during cleansing.
Step 5: Essence
Essences are lightweight skincare concentrates that originated in Korea, so it’s a key step in any Korean skincare routine that you don’t want to sleep on. They’re super rich in hydrating, brightening, and anti-ageing ingredients that make a massive impact on the health and vibrancy of the skin.
Step 6: Serum/Ampoule
Serums and ampoules are skin treatments where things get a little more personal. Like essences, they’re filled with high concentrations of active ingredients with smaller molecules to reach deep under the surface to target skin concerns. Ampoules will bring a slightly stronger kick to your Korean skincare routine.
Step 7: Mask
Another step only needed 2-3 times a week, masks will instantly recharge your skin with nutrients and vitamins before it’s too late. If you notice your skin feels anything less than stellar, slap on a face mask, immediately. Plus, you get to take 10-20 minutes out of your day to indulge in self-care whilst they absorb into the skin.
Step 8: Eye Care
Korean skincare is hot on maintaining skin hydration and youthfulness, so eye creams are a no-brainer. They’re formulated to hydrate, plump, and brighten the thinning skin around the eyes that comes with age. Sigh.
Step 9: Moisturiser
Without applying a moisturiser you might as well not have done the other 8 steps. No, seriously. A moisturiser locks in all your hard work and acts like a protective barrier against environmental pollutants and bacteria. By skipping out on moisturiser, everything you’ve applied previously will escape. So, you know, it’s up there with the non-negotiables.
Step 10: Sun Cream
To finish up a solid Korean skincare routine is sun cream. Protecting your skin from premature ageing, sun damage, and of course, skin cancer, you want to apply sun cream daily – rain or shine.
If you only dust cobwebs off your sun cream just before you board a plane, you need to do some serious damage control. UV rays are always a threat to our skin as they can pass through clouds and glass, and therefore, should always be on our radars.