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How To Start Your 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

Mar 1, 2019 | skincare

Since popular boy-group, BTS, revealed their beauty secrets, many people have been exploring Korean skincare routines and asking themselves ?all important,? existential life-questions, like: ?what even are toners or serums, anyway??

If you are looking for somewhere to get started with a Korean skincare routine, search no further. We have expanded on the traditional 10-step process, below:

Step 1: Oil-Based Cleanser


To start, use a cleansing oil to remove any makeup or residue. Using an oil-based cleanser removes oil-based impurities.

Recommended: Natural Rice Water Light Cleanser from The Face Shop


Step 2: Double Cleanse

It is important to cleanse your skin a second time using a water-based cleanser. A water-based cleanser removes water-based impurities, like sweat or dirt. This ensures no grime will be left behind.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Dependent on your skin, you should exfoliate two to three times per week. Exfoliating helps to eliminate dry or dead skin cells with crystals or beads. It is important to use a gentle, non-irritating exfoliator and to not overdo exfoliation because you do not want to rid your skin of all its natural oils.

Step 4: Toner

After cleansing (and possibly exfoliating?), your skin is fragile. You see, cleansers can be harsh and raise the pH of your skin. Toners not only restore balance to your skin?s pH levels, but are also used to help your skin better absorb skin treatments.

Recommended: Wonder Pore Freshener by Etude House

Step 5: Essence

According to Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam, ?essence is the heart of the Korean skincare routine, and it is a skincare category that was created in Korea.?

It is particularly important for moisturizing the skin and preparing for the serum or ampoule treatments that follow. Likewise, essences are extremely concentrated with ingredients that fight against wrinkles and uneven skin tones.

Step 6: Serum or Ampoule

Similar to essences, serums or ampoules are fortified with heavily-concentrated formulas in order to combat specific needs, based on skin type, like: fine lines (e.g., aging), acne, dehydration, or hyperpigmentation. You can customize your serums or ampoules in order to address specific, personal skincare concerns.


Recommended: Peach Sake Pore Serum by Skinfood

Step 7: Sheet Mask

These masks are single-use with a variety of ingredients, dependent on individualized skincare concerns, much like serums or ampoules. If you want to save time, you can usually swap a sheet mask for a serum, ampoule or essence.

Step 8: Eye Cream

The skin around your eyes is sensitive. It is one of the first areas to show signs of aging on the face, typically in the form of fine lines, dark circles or puffiness. Eye creams are important for combating this aging!

Step 9: Moisturizer

Regardless of your skin type, moisturizing is important. It holds onto water in the skin?s outer layer, serving as a protective barrier. In the end, moisturizing reduces the chances of skin problems in the future.

Recommended: Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream by Nature Republic

Step 10: Sunscreen

Lastly, finish your routine using a sunscreen or BB cream with SPF. Not only does regularly wearing sunscreen preserve youthfulness, it reduces damage from the sun (e.g., skin cancer).


Abelman, D. (2017). K-Pop Group BTS Reveals Its Biggest Beauty Secrets for Glowing Skin. Retrieved from https://www.allure.com/story/k-pop-group-bts-beauty-secrets-interview

What Exactly is Essence?. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://intothegloss.com/2015/02/korean-essence/

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