Korean Skincare Routine – Complete Guide

Koreans are known for their glass-like skin and beautiful body shape. You will seldom find any flaw in their skin and body. Moreover, they age very slowly as you will not be able to identify one’s age just by looking at their skin.

We live in the digital era, and recently, the secret of their flawless skin revealed by the internet. Internet surfers came around YouTube videos posted by Koreans and from there world came to know the new technique of skincare.

Korean glowing glass-like skin is not just a result of good genes, it required a bit of extra effort and time. Also, now that Korean 10-step skincare products are ubiquitous, you can also include all the steps in your daily skincare routine.

Here in this article, I am going to tell you all about the 10-step Korean skincare routine, and if you have been following my blog, you must know that I have combination skin. I have followed this routine myself, and therefore I will also share my own experience with you all.

10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

Korean skincare regime based on layering principle. Instead of applying a single cream that contains all the ingredients, Korean believed in layering products according to their consistency and nutritional value so as to achieve maximum in-depth absorption.

According to the Korean 10-step skincare routine, one must double cleanse their skin, then move on to toning followed by layering of moisturizers in the ascending order of their thickness.

So, without any further delay, let’s dive into the complete skincare routine:

1. Double Cleansing

korean skincare double cleansing

Koreans always double cleanse their skin, first by using an oil cleanser and then by using a foaming cleanser. The logic behind this is that oil attracts oil, so when you oil-cleanse your skin, it removes sebum and oily residue stuck inside the pores.

To further clean the dirt and other impurities, the oil cleansing is then followed by foaming face wash.

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One of the most important thing that Korean keep is mind while washing their face is pH.

Do you know our skin is acidic? Hence, if the pH of the skin is kept between 4.2 and 5.6, the skin remains healthy and flawless.

Most of the foaming cleansers you find in the market are alkaline in nature. Thus, you need to be really careful while selecting a facewash for you.

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You can try sebamed face wash for the perfect pH balance of your skin.

2. Toner

skin toner

Now that we are done with 2 steps ( oil cleansing and foaming cleansing), its time to balance the pH of skin. Unlike in our country where toners are basically a form of astringent that cleans the remaining gunk or dirt from the skin, Korean toners are more like a thin moisturizers and pH balancers.

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Their toners do not rip out essential moistures from the skin, instead they provide a thin layer of moisture and balance the pH of skin.

3. Essence

skin essence

Essence is a thin fluid that is targeted toward a particular skin problem. Essence is designed in such a way that they penetrate deeply into the skin to provide the maximum benefit to you.

Essenses are mainly water based and they infuse into the skin. There are various types of essences available according to your skin requirement such as for hydrating essences that are for dehydrated skin types and brightening essences which are used for dull and tanned skin.

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In some ways, essences are similar to serums only the molecular weight of essence is lower than that of serum.

Read about essence here: https://www.byrdie.com/what-is-skin-essence

The addition of this product to your daily skincare routine will not take much, only 30 seconds more. These 30 seconds will give you that glass-like Korean Skin.

4. Emulsion

korean skin essence

Now to seal the effects of essence, emulsion is applied on the top. Skin emulsions are nothing but the light form of moisturizer. They are basically water based and light-weighted, so when you apply them, they quickly absorb into the skin.

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Now, for oily skin people, you may be wondering that this lathering up of products will clog your pores. I have had the same thoughts, but as soon as I apply emulsion on the top of essence, it was absorbed instantly as if my skin was craving for it for long.

Since, then I have using these steps diligently and I see no adverse side effects.

5. Ampoule or Serum

korean skincare face serum

Ampoule and serum both contain super charged active ingredients that work to eliminate the skin problems. While essence has a water like consistency, serum or ampoule have cream or gel like texture.

Essence look like toners whereas serum or ampoule looks like light weighted creams. When you apply both essence and serum, it provides clear visible benefits.

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Some considers ampoule as the higher concentration version of serum, on the other hand some find no difference between the two, and recommend either of the two.

If you are thinking that this 4th step will leave your skin greasy, then you are mistaken as all the products that you have applied till now are easily absorbable by the skin without leaving any sheen.

Now let’s move on to the next step.

6. Face Sheet Mask

face sheet mask

Face sheet mask is the another addition of the nutrition rich solution or serum. It is a face shaped sheet that is loaded with serum. There are various kinds of sheet masks according to your requirement.

For example, there is lemon sheet mask to brighten the skin, hyaluronic sheet mask to hydrate the dehydrated skin, cucumber face mask to soothe the sun burnt skin in summer, and many more.

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With the sheet mask you have the privilege to apply different kinds of serums in less price. If you know how to choose face sheet mask for you, here is the article written by me, check it out. How To Choose Face Sheet Masks for Glowing Skin?

Take out the sheet mask from its cover and place it on the face for 15-20 minutes, then remove it and massage the serum into your skin using finger tips or jade roller.

7. Eye Cream

Under eye cream korean skincare

I know you must be overwhelmed at this stage, but there is one more minute step that is essential for the overall health of the facial skin.

This important step is the application of eye cream. Use your ring finger to apply eye cream gently around your eyes as the skin around eyes is very thin and delicate.

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You will not see sudden illumination in your appearance with eye creams, but prolong usage will show you the mark difference.

As you will age, the fine lines and crow feet will be less visible on your face. The main difference of the Korean skincare can be seen when people age, and this is the reason why a 40 year old woman in Korea look so youthful.

9. Moisturizer

skin moisturizer

You can stop at face sheet mask as did most people, but Koreans do follow this last step of concealing everything with a layer of thick moisturizer.

This last layer lock everything into the skin, allowing every previous layer to do their magic.

However, I always skip this last step as after sheet mask, my skin becomes fully saturated and further addition lead to greasiness.

But if your skin is dry, then you must complete the final step.

9. Sunscreen

Koreans never skip sunscreen during the daytime, and you should also do the same. Furthermore, you should keep the following things in mind while purchasing and using SPF:

Always purchase sunscreen with minimum SPF 30.

Reapply sunscreen after every 2-3 hours.

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Look for PA++ or PA+++ in the sunscreen as this indicates that your sunscreen is capable of blocking both UVA and UVB rays.

Never skip sunscreen even if it is cloudy outside.

Evenly apply sunscreen on all the exposed area.

10. Sleeping Mask

korean sleeping mask

While we sleep, our skin goes into rejuvination mode. Sleeping mask helps to revive the skin more fruitfully, and allows every product to work effectively.

I know your face is caked up now, but do try this as sleeping mask are designed to work effectively when your body is at rest.


Use sunscreen as the last step during daytime and sleeping mask as the last step during night time.

With that you have completed your 10 step korean skincare routine. This routine is very flexible as you can either add or skip any of the step according to the availability of time.

Some days when you want to extra pamper yourself, follow full steps, and during rush hour, just skip a bunch of them.

I hope you liked the article, if you have any suggesstions, please write them in the comment section below. I love to read and reply to them.

Stay safe, stay beautiful

Thank You

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