Korean Skin Care Routine : the 10 steps (Day & Night)

Korean Beauty has become one of the most popular topics for a while now and this is not just “another trend”, it is here to stay.

Koreans are not only inspiring us to use new ingredients and try new products but more so to create new habits and a lifestyle where we can incorporate a daily routine using special products. When combined, they work to prevent damage and aging

There is no secret that Koreans take care of themselves very well and this has created an impact globally. Koreans, men and women alike, highly invest in their skin and have a mindset of self-care at a very early age. Their priority and making skin care products available to everyone no matter what.

What is the Korean Skin Care routine ?

Koreans are masters in layering the right skincare products to allow each one to really absorb into the skin and work its magic – starting with a double cleanse and finishing with sun protector.

There are 3 important things to consider while doing these steps, the goal is to cleanse, nourish, and protect your skin by layering 10 different products in a very easy quick, and practical way.

=> Also check out our ultimate guide for SkinCare Routine

The Korean 10 steps skincare routine 

These steps remind me of the phrase “play smart, not hard”, right? 


The 10 steps start by doing a double cleansing; this consists of washing your face twice; once with an oil cleanser and then with a water-based cleanser/foam. Each of them has a purpose.

Step 1 – Oil Base MakeUp Remover 

Oil cleansers are one of the trendiest products to have because they not only tend to be relaxing while massaging off all impurities, they also remove makeup and products that contain SPF.

Tip: You can use this product 7 times a weekday and night by doing a light massage while applying it to your face and neck to stimulate circulation.

Step 2 – Water Base Cleanser (foam)

After using an oil-based makeup remover, you might think that you are good to go. However, Korean women, and even dermatologists, recommend using a water-based cleanser to ensure that all water-based impurities, such as sweat and dirt, are completely removed.

Tip: You can use this product morning, day, and night.

Step 3 – Exfoliator

This helps to remove dead skin cells and cleanse pores, while also helping your other skincare products absorb better into your skin. The end goal while exfoliating your skin is to get a brighter and smoother surface.

Tip: Do this step 1-2 times per week focusing on the areas where you tend to have visibly larger pores. You can look for exfoliators that have black sugar, salicylic acid, and lactic acid. 

Step 4 – Toner

This product is key for me because it removes any residue from your cleansers and balances your PH levels, leaving your skin ready for the next steps.

Tip: Use this product every night and day after cleansing your skin, you will be impressed with the results, especially if you tend to have oily skin.


The following steps focus on creating and using the right products with ingredients/nutrients/vitamins to improve your skin’s condition. 

Step 5 – Essence 

This type of product tends to have a water consistency and even though they can feel very light, they are packed with ingredients such as collagen cream, snail, rice extract, and hyaluronic acid. These are good to boost cell turnover and help all the other products absorb better into your skin.

Tip: You can apply it with your hand or using a cotton pad and gently pressing it into your skin.

Step 6 – Treatments: Serums/Boosters/Ampoules 

These products focus on treating a specific skin concern like acne, fine lines, skin marks, rosacea, among others. Some examples are vitamin C and Tea Tree Oil. 

Tip: Depending on your skin type and/or concern you may want to use one or two types of treatments and apply them where they are needed. For example: For acne, you may only need to apply tea tree oil on the problem area and apply vitamin C in all other areas.

Step 7 – Sheet Mask

These are the core products of K-beauty and one of the most popular in skincare right now. They are packed with nutrients and moisture that will absorb into your skin and will help boost hydration, help to brighten, and work magic for anti-aging purposes.

My personal favorite thing about using these masks is that they are a great way to experience the relaxation ritual while your skin is getting soaked in powerful ingredients, you also get to rest and clear your mind.

Tip: Depending on your skin condition, you may want to use a mask every other day for an extra boost. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes, lay down, and relax. Some of my favorite masks are infused with cucumber, green tea, roses, ginseng, and chamomile.  

Step 8 – Eye Cream

This is a step that a lot of people skip or forget and I believe it is as important as the rest of the face. This is the thinnest and most delicate area of your face and that is why adding a specific type of cream for it is crucial.

Eye creams are concentrated with powerful ingredients that will not only add moisture and keep this area hydrated but will also help reduce puffiness, brighten your under-eye area, and prevent and/or fight thin lines.

Tip: Be gentle when applying your eye cream. Use tapping motions with your pinky finger and don’t rub or pull. Do this step every day and night.


Step 9 – Moisturizer

These come in different forms and types of texture (cream, gel, lotion, etc.) and they hydrate and keep moisture locked in your skin, preventing it from drying, leave skin looking plumper and smoother. Some moisturizers could have other ingredients that can also help treat other skin problems as well.

Tip: You may use a moisturizer on the face and neck every day. Pick the one that works best for your skin type. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, Centella Asiatica, and snail.

Step 10 – SPF

A must-have-and-must-wear-everyday product. Reasons why, it not only protects your skin from sun damage but it also is the most effective way to prevent aging.

Tip: This has to be the last step in your skincare routine. You may use it on the face and neck and re-apply it throughout the day.

What no one tells you about the Korean Skin Care routine

Here are my favorite facts you should know about this Korean skincare phenomenon:

Have self care as a priority 

Skincare for them is a habit and not just a “new trend” or something you “has to do at a certain age.” Their goal is to focus on preventing instead of having to treat the skin after it has already been damaged by different factors like sun, pollution, and of course, aging.

Korean women also swear by facial massages so they love to do this to stimulate their skin while cleansing and/or applying masks. This works magic on anybody’s skin plus it also helps you to relax and re-load for day or night. 

Quality in all their ingredients with affordable prices

Skincare for Koreans is not a luxury, they can easily find great products and the prices are not expensive at all, which makes it much more affordable and easy to get for everyone here, there, and everywhere.

Packaging and branding that stands out

There are a lot of skincare products and brands nowadays, but what makes Korean products stand out is, of course, the particular colorful packaging each of the brands has.

Preventing and improving skincare texture without harmful formulas is key for them

Since their skin tends to be much more sensitive, brands focus on making formulas with ingredients that aren’t too heavy or that could irritate skin easily. Making most of their products more attractive for every type of consumer.

More skincare, less makeup

For them, it is all about achieving natural dewy-looking skin, so they tend to use more skincare products rather than trying to cover their skin with makeup. Let’s just say that their natural glow comes more from their skincare than from an actual highlighter.

So for those of you who want to incorporate some of the basics of Korean Beauty you should know that it goes far beyond just taking care of your skin and buying a bunch of products. 

You have to know your skin better to pick the right products and then apply them in the right order to see real changes in your skin. For this, Korean women came up with the 10-Step skincare routine term. 


How do Koreans have so flawless skin?

They don’t have the most amazing skin, but they are very good at hiding their flaws. This is a result of the fact that Koreans don’t really like to go to the doctor. They also have very good skin care routines and use products that are specifically made for them. They don’t have a ton of money to spend on makeup, and they don’t like to go out and look like models.

How do they get their flawless skin so quickly?

They start with a skincare routine and then use products that are specifically made to target the problem. They also use a ton of products that are made to target specific issues, such as the ‘10-Step skincare routine’.

What makes Korean face shiny?

Koreans use toning products to make their face look more radiant. They also use a lot of moisturizer on a daily basis to keep their skin hydrated and prevent wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth area. They use a ton of makeup on a daily basis to hide their flaws and keep them from showing.

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