When it comes to lengthy and in-depth skincare routines, we all know that Asia leads the way. Utilising advanced skincare technology and the very latest in skin knowledge, the Korean skincare routine in particular is renowned all over the world.
When it comes to skincare for Korea, more really is more. Forget that face wipe and all-round moisturiser, the Koreans know that the 10 step routine is the only one you need in order to achieve perfect skin health.
In fact, skincare is so ingrained into the lifestyles of Koreans, they start taking care of their complexions very early on in their lives. The result? There's a reason why everyone in the West is going crazy for K-Beauty. Even the classic Lancôme is taking inspiration.
We are all becoming a little more than obsessed with the Korean skincare routine. As Beauty Editors, looking after our skin is incredibly important and something we take super seriously, but did we ever think it would lead to a 10 step routine? The answer would probably be no, but the results are simply too good to ignore.
We are looking for that gorgeous glow, smooth texture and all round perfection, and the Korean skincare routine will certainly get us there.
The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine
Step 1: Eye Makeup Remover
You might think that you can use your regular cleanser to remove eye makeup, but think again. Stubborn mascara and waterproof formulations can be hard to remove so require special formulations to remove them properly.
You can end up tugging at your lashes when you use your regular cleanser as it takes more work to remove the mascara, so can cause damage. An eye makeup remover is oil-based, so sweeps away even the toughest of formulations. Plus, it leaves your cleanser to remove the makeup it was designed to do.
The Skin79 Eye Remover uses Moringa Oil and Aloe Vera to effectively wipe away eye makeup, and soothe the skin. The skin around your eyes is one of the thinnest on your body (hence why you can see dark circles easily!), so keeping it calm and protected will make you look a lot more wide awake.
Step 2: Facial Cleanser
How much time do you spend putting on your makeup? 10, 15, 20 minutes? If you spend all this time applying cosmetics to your skin, you need to spend this time taking it all off again.
Not removing makeup and sleeping in it are some of the most common cases of breakouts and skin problems. Ensuring you cleanse your skin properly will mean that you have a brighter and perfected complexion.
Choosing a cleanser to suit your skin type is essential. This will not only remove your makeup, but keep your skin's natural PH balanced as it soothes.
- Oil-based cleansers attract impurities, dirt and yes, excess oil from your skin to leave it incredibly clean. These are great to use as your first step if you love double cleansing too.
- Cream-based cleansers are brilliant to use if you have sensitive skin. They contain very nourishing and soothing ingredients that work to gently remove makeup without causing irritation.
- Clay based cleansers are great if you have congested skin that needs extra care. It helps to purify the complexion and minimise breakouts and irritation on the skin. You can read more about why clay is such a great ingredient on our blog.
The Skin79 Rice Cleansing Oil is one of our favourites as it's super gentle on the skin, but packs a punch when it comes to leaving it clean. It contains a blend of Vitamin E and Fatty Acids to condition the complexion and help keep it moisturised.
Step 3: Exfoliator
Exfoliation is one of the most important steps in a Korean skincare routine. While the thought of removing dead skin cells with a scrub can be a bit intimidating, don't be scared off sloughing away.
Using either a physical or chemical exfoliant does wonders for your skin. By taking away the layer of cells that are congested with sebum, dirt, and excess oil, your skin can breathe and repair itself. The result? Your complexion is renewed and gorgeous. As there are different types of exfoliants, it's important to choose one that will work with your skin and give you the best results.
- Physical exfoliants usually contain beads, or natural actives such as Apricot Kernels. They work by sloughing away the dead skin cells and debris you haven't managed to cleanse away. They're great for people who have normal skin, or skin that is particularly sensitive to chemical based exfoliants.
- Chemical exfoliants come in all different formats. They are great to use if you don't like using physical scrubs, and they tend to be a little more powerful than their abrasive counterparts. This is because they contain varying levels of, and different types of acid. These acids work to dissolve the dirt in your skin cells to leave you with a renewed complexion. They are great to use if your skin is looking fatigued, dull or feels congested.
The Skin79 Mild Peeling Gel is enriched with a unique 6 Grain Complex to slough away dead skin cells and renew dulling complexions. It's nourishing formulation moisturises the skin as it exfoliates, leaving you with a super soft and healthy finish.
Step 4: Skin Toner
Toners can have multiple jobs depending on your skin type and needs. Traditionally, toners were used as an astringent that helped to purify the skin and close any pores to prevent dirt and impurities entering after cleansing.
Today, toners come in lots of different formats, so you can choose one that suits your complexion.
- If you have normal skin, opt for the Skin79 Skin Clearing Toner, which contains Fresh Mint to help balance the complexion and keep your skin healthy and glowing. It's a great one to use for the general upkeep and maintenance of your skin.
- If your skin feels a little dry or dehydrated, opt for the Skin79 Allancera Barrier Toner. It's super lightweight formulation contains essence of Moringa to nourish and keep the complexion moisturised and plump.
- If you have oily or congested skin, then try the Skin79 Pure Kok Fresh Toner. Its astringent properties help to regulate oil production and keep unwanted shine at bay. The result? Beautifully soft, healthy and clear skin.
Step 5: Facial Essence
At the heart of any Korean skincare routine is a facial essence. While this may be new to Western skincare regimes, an essence is a crucial step to ensuring a beautifully healthy and moisturised complexion.
Brands such as Jurlique and Chantecaille are even adding facial essences into their repertoire, so it's time we started adopting this important step in a Korean skincare routine, into our own.
If you're not familiar with an essence, don't panic. They are an entirely new concept in Western skincare regimes, and so need a little explaining. Essentially, they help to keep your skin healthy at a cellular level. By adding in extra hydration, vitamins and antioxidants, facial essences give your skin that energy boost it needs to stay glowing.
The Skin79 Aragaospa Aqua Essence is ideal for keeping the skin well moisturised, and helping to upkeep healthy collagen production so your complexion stays firm and taut.
Step 6: Ampoule
By now, you're probably wondering what else could be added to this Korean skincare routine, but there are still 5 steps to go. Remember that all these steps will lead you to your most beautiful and healthy complexion yet, so it really is worth the wait.
Ampoules are highly concentrated versions of facial essences. This means that they seal in the benefits of the essences, while also adding an extra boost of vitamins to the skin. Their Western equivalents are serums and boosters, but in reality, ampoules are a lot more powerful.
One of our favourite ampoules comes from Shiffa Skincare. Although not a Korean skincare brand, their technology is inspired by and originates from the East. Their Brightening Ampoule contains a powerful blend of Niacinamide and Amino Acid Complex to nourish the skin and even out uneven skin tone.
Step 7: Sheet Mask
Sheet masks have become very popular in the West, but they are an essential step in a Korean skincare routine.
They're brilliant to use when you need a quick boost of hydration, or radiance. Plus, because they come in a handy sheet form, there is no mess left behind.
There are so many different types of sheet masks, so it's best to choose one based on the condition of your skin. If you feel like you have a dulling complexion, choose a brightening mask. If you feel your skin is dry, choose one that has softening properties.
One of our favourite all-rounder masks has to be the Skin79 All That Rose. It contains Damask Rose Extract to firm the skin, reduce fine lines and soothe any irritation. You can read more about the benefits of Rose Oil in skincare on the blog.
If your skin has many different concerns, try multi-masking as it will help to address them all in one hit.
Step 8: Eye Cream
Eye cream might well be known in the West, but it's often a step we forget to do. As the skin around the eyes is one of the thinnest on the body however, it's one of the most important. This is why it is essential in a Korean skincare routine.
It's simply not enough however to apply an eye cream. It's all in the technique, which means that applying it correctly will give you the best results. Always apply an eye cream by using a gentle tapping motion. This not only means that you use less product, but also that you reduce the chance of damaging the skin.
We love the Skin79 Allancera Barrier Eye Cream, which contains Allantoin to bring down redness and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Step 9: Facial Moisturiser
This step in a Korean skincare routine is designed to seal in all the other layers, and provide light hydration for your skin. This is definitely not a step to miss if you have severely dry or dehydrated skin as it really locks in the moisture,
However, you may be worrying that you will breakout by applying two different types of moisturiser. If you are, use this step to apply a clarifying treatment to your skin. This will help to control breakouts and excess oil without suffocating your complexion.
Below are our top 3 moisturisers that will help you achieve beautifully healthy skin.
- The Aveda Kinetics Hydrating Lotion is super hydrating but feels incredibly lightweight in the skin. This quick absorption makes it ideal for this step as it means applying your night cream won't make your skin feel greasy.
- If you have sensitive, dehydrated or dry skin, NUXE is always a great brand to turn to with their natural formulations. Their Ultra Comfortable Face Cream contains a blend of Wild Fruit Oils to soothe irritated and sensitive areas for complete comfort.
- The DECLÉOR Hydra Floral Light Cream is an ideal moisturiser to choose for this step in your Korean skincare routine. It's super lightweight, yet contains a super blend of essential oils to keep your skin healthy.
If you want to know more about the best moisturiser for your skin type, you can find your perfect cream on the blog.
Step 10: Night Cream
By now, you're probably wondering what else you can actually put on your skin, but fear not. This is the final step in any Korean skincare routine, phew!
Night creams might not be something you're used to using. Some people worry they will be too heavy for their skin type. Although this can be true, there are lots of different formulations to choose from.
Think of a night cream as a kind of overnight face mask. As you sleep, your skin repairs itself, so applying something super hydrating will only help it further.
- If you do have blemish-prone skin, opt for the Skin79 Jeju Mayu Cream. The quick-absorbing moisturiser doesn't leave behind any greasy feeling or oil behind, making it ideal for those who suffer from congestion but want something hydrating.
- If you want something to combat fine lines and wrinkles, the Zelens 3T Complex is a fabulous option. Made with a blend of active ingredients, the cream seriously fights the signs of ageing at their source.
- If you have normal skin that just needs general maintenance with a boost of energy, Alpha-H's Liquid Gold Rejuvenating Cream is the perfect option. It contains a blend of 10% Glycolic Acid to renew the skin so you awake with a glowing complexion.
Read more about our top tips to getting the best beauty sleep, after your skincare routine, and just why sleep is so important in your fight for that perfect complexion.