Lifestyle Asia
Home > Beauty & Grooming > Skin > Your guide to the 10-step Korean skincare routine for that perfect glow
Your guide to the 10-step Korean skincare routine for that perfect glow

The term ‘10-step Korean skincare routine’ refers to the extensive, step-by-step skincare regimen that Koreans have promoted throughout the world. It is one that emphasises more on protecting and preventing than using treatments to repair the damage, making your skin appear youthful, flawless and toned.

The 10-step skincare routine is a tried, tested and proven regime for centuries in South Korea. But before you start practising one, it’s crucial that you comprehend the significance of each phase before making your choice in accordance with your own skin goals. This routine may look complicated but once you get the hang of it, you can easily be a pro. So, here is your guide to join the bandwagon and decode the 10-step Korean skincare routine for that ultimate glow.

Why is the Korean skincare routine one of the best?

A large number of moisturising products are used in the Korean skincare routine, which eventually helps to rebuild your skin’s barrier. This stops your skin from losing water and lets the products seep through your skin. Additionally, it prevents wrinkles and other ageing symptoms. This 10-step Korean skincare routine can be practised on any type of skin be it oily, dry, sensitive or acne-prone.

Take a look at the step-by-step way to follow the Korean skincare routine

Oil-based cleansing

The first step of the skincare routine helps remove the first layer of dirt and makeup, which is very essential to have healthy and glowing skin. The gentle oil-based cleanser works as a powerful component by removing SPF, makeup and excess natural sebum. It also protects the good bacteria present on the lipid layer of the skin and keeps your face’s natural oils intact.

Oil-based cleansers are applied on a dry face, lightly massaged in a circular motion over the face to promote blood flow and facilitate the smooth operation of the cells, and rinsed with lukewarm water later.

Water-based cleansing or double cleansing

Water based cleanser
Image: Courtesy of Christin Hume/Unsplash

Double cleansing is one of the ways Koreans care for their skin gently and holistically. This step ensures that after the oil-based cleanse, there is nothing left behind. A water-based cleanser cleans dirt and sweat that an oil-based cleanser doesn’t remove as these are absorbed by a water-based cleanser more effectively.

They usually consist of green tea, rice extract and pearl extract which helps sweep off any remaining impurities on your skin.


10-step Korean skincare routine
Image: Courtesy of Polina Kovaleva/Pexels

Using an exfoliator helps clear your skin of dead skin cells and makes it look lighter and firmer. It also helps enhance the general tone and texture of your skin. Exfoliants include products such as pads, peels and scrubs which usually have ingredients like black sugar, lactic acid and salicylic acid.

To exfoliate your skin, place a small amount of the product on your palm and gently massage it in a circular motion on your face. After a few minutes, wash it off. Exfoliation can be done 2-3 times a week.


Image: Courtesy of Viva Luna Studios/Unsplash

Toners scrub away any lingering residue left by cleansers and rebuild your skin’s barrier so that during the later steps, which include applying moisturiser as well, the minerals may penetrate your skin more readily. They offer the initial layer of moisture in a skincare routine and are gentler and more delicately constructed as Korean skincare products tend to be.

They aren’t harsh, alcohol-based toners and usually consist of liquorice, citric acid and aloe. In contrast to astringents, which dry out the skin, they balance and moisturise.

They can be applied by rubbing a cotton pad across your face or gently pressing your palms into your skin while using a cotton pad.

Applying essence

Applying essence
Image: Courtesy of Birgith Roosipuu/Unsplash

Essences are watery liquids brimming with amazing components related to anti-ageing, hydration and complexion enhancement. These are rapidly absorbed into your skin and are regarded as the foundation of Korean skincare.

Using an essence in the initial step of your K-beauty skincare routine helps hydrate your skin and maximises its capacity to absorb the remaining products.

You can pick the essence appropriate for your skin type and then gently massage your neck and face using your palm.

Applying serum and ampoule

10-step korean skincare routine
Image: Courtesy of Denise Chan/Unsplash

Now that your skin is clear, it can easily absorb the most vital elements. A face serum is similar to an essence but significantly more robust. Serums essentially comprise active ingredients to treat certain skin concerns including wrinkles, discolouration, acne and dark spots. An ampoule is a more concentrated version of serum.

The right way to use the product is to gently tap it on the skin, paying particular attention to the regions affected by skin issues.

Applying sheet mask

how to do korean 10-step beauty skincare regime facec mask essence serum face wash exfoliate moisturiser
Image credit: Dr. Jart+

This Korean skincare product has completely revolutionised the market. Enriched with healthy vitamins and minerals, sheet masks are drenched in serum. Additionally, they are incredibly moisturising and leave your skin healthy and silky.

Similar to exfoliants, sheet masks don’t have to or ought to be used every day. They can be used 2-3 times a week for 15-20 minutes or for the time prescribed on the sheet mask package.

Applying eye cream

10-step Korean skincare routine
Image: Courtesy of cottonbro studio/Pexels

Typically, the skin surrounding your eyes is the first to develop ageing symptoms. Eye creams are designed specifically to treat the area beneath your eyes and to keep wrinkles, dark circles and crow’s feet at bay. They moisturise and calm the skin around your eyes.

They are gentle, non-irritating and are recommended to be applied carefully while using your ring finger.


Korean skincare
Image: Courtesy of Jocelyn Morales/Unsplash

This step is considered essential for locking in the earlier layers. It functions more like an occlusive barrier to seal in the other products used before this step. It is recommended to use a mild moisturiser that contains lotion if you have oily skin.

Moisturisers coat the skin’s surface with an oily film to generate a hydrophobic seal that stops water from evaporating.

Sun Protection

Applying SPF
Image: Courtesy of Armin Rimoldi/Pexels

The last and most important step of the popular skincare routine is to apply sunscreen to shield and protect your skin from the damaging UV radiation. It is advised to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to guard your skin against UVA and UVB radiation that is extremely harmful.


The 10-step Korean skincare routine involves more than just buying the newest products and adhering to skincare trends. You must understand the fundamentals of skincare, such as your skin type, in order to treat your skin concerns and follow the proper application of all products. However, it is important to make skincare enjoyable for you and a regular part of your regimen. You can always cut short the process at your convenience and make it your go-to skincare routine. Happy pampering!

(Hero and featured image credit: jacoblund/Getty Images)

Your guide to the 10-step Korean skincare routine for that perfect glow

Travel, lifestyle, wellness, and finance writer, Priyanshi is somebody who gorges on self-help and mythology reads, follows fitness trends, and stalks some famous travellers. She has two years of experience working with travel, hospitality, and tech companies. Travelling acts as a spark in her relationship with writing.

Never miss an update

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

No Thanks
You’re all set

Thank you for your subscription.