How to Do the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine for Day & Night

Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine Day & Night
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If you’ve been following the K-beauty trend, then you know that the Korean 10-step skin care routine is all the rage right now. This intensive skincare regimen is said to give you clear, glowing skin, and many people are eager to try it out. But if you’re new to this type of skincare, don’t worry – I’m here to help! This blog post will explain how to do the Korean 10-step skin care routine step by step. I’ll also clarify which steps you can (and should) skip for morning and night. So read on and get ready to achieve beautiful skin!

Here is the Korean 10-step skin care routine in a nutshell:

Step 1: Oil-Based Cleanser– to remove makeup, sunscreen, and sebum.

Step 2: Water-Based Cleanser-to deeply cleanse the skin.

Step 3: Exfoliation– helps to get rid of dead skin cells.

Step 4: Toner– to hydrate and balance the skin’s pH level.

Step 5: Essence– to help hydrate and nourish the skin.

Step 6: Treatments: Ampoule or Serum– to target specific skin concerns.

Step 7: Sheet Mask– helps to add moisture and nutrients to the skin.

Step 8: Eye Cream– hydrates, de-puffs, and brightens the eye areas.

Step 9: Moisturizer– hydrates and seals in moisture and nutrients.

Step 10: Sunscreen– (daytime only) protects skin from damaging UV rays.

Keep reading to get the details about each step!

Step 1: Oil Cleanser and Makeup Remover

The 10-step Korean skin care routine always starts with a double cleanse. The Korean double-cleansing method is a two-step process that involves using an oil-based cleanser to dissolve makeup, sebum, and SPF followed by a water-based cleanser to wash away any dirt, sweat, or impurities that weren’t removed after the first cleanse. This two-step process ensures squeaky clean skin giving you a beautiful blank canvas to work with when applying makeup. Plus it helps to prevent blocked pores, acne breakouts, and skin blemishes.

The first step in the double cleanse in the Korean skincare routine is to use an oil cleanser. This will help to remove any dirt, makeup, or impurities from your skin. Oil cleansers work by dissolving the oils in makeup and sunscreen that are on your skin, making them easy to rinse away. To better understand this step read this post.

Morning or Night?

Since this step targets removing makeup and sunscreen it is very important to include this in your nighttime routine. But in the morning this might be a step you want to skip, especially if your skin is on the dry side. If you have very oily skin, you will probably want to include this step to wash away excess sebum that may have built up overnight.

Step 2: Water-Based Foam Cleanser

Next, you will need to use a foam cleanser. This step is important because it will help to deeply cleanse your skin and remove any leftover dirt or makeup.

Because of their high pH and sulfate content, many foaming cleansers dry out and strip the skin of natural oils. But Korean skincare specialists always advocate for using a mild, hydrating, low pH water-based cleanser. Simply wet your face, apply the cleanser, and massage it into your skin for about 30 seconds. Then rinse it off with warm water.

Morning or Night?

Most skin types will benefit from a water-based cleanser both morning and night to wash away sweat, dirt, and other impurities.

Step 3: Exfoliator

The third step in the Korean skincare routine is to use an exfoliator. This will help to slough off any dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more radiant skin.

There are two types of skin exfoliants: physical and chemical.

Physical exfoliants work by using manual action to remove dead skin cells. Examples of physical exfoliants include scrubs, cleansing brushes, and microfiber cloths.

Chemical exfoliants work by using acids or enzymes to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliants contain ingredients like AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids), and fruit enzymes to do the work.

In Korean Skincare, the exfoliating step usually involves a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants work in the deeper layers of skin, to leave you with smooth, glowing skin prepped to absorb the key ingredients in the rest of your facial products.

When first adding an exfoliator to your routine, always start with a gentle formula with a low concentration of active ingredients and only exfoliate 1-2 times a week until your skin adjusts.

Day or Night?

This step is best for nighttime because exfoliants can often leave the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Step 4: Toner

After you’ve exfoliated your skin, the next step is to apply a toner. This will help to restore your skin’s pH balance and prep it for the next steps in your skincare routine. Korean toners differ from typical western toners in that they are usually designed to be very gentle, hydrating, and alcohol-free.

To apply toner, simply soak a cotton pad with the product and swipe it over your face and neck.

Day or night?

This is an important step for both your morning and nighttime routine.

Find the best Korean toner for your skin type here.

Step 5: Essence

The fifth step in the Korean skincare routine is to apply an essence. This step is important because it will also help to deeply hydrate and nourish your skin allowing for better absorption and efficacy of the ingredients in your following steps. Many Korean essences come in a spray bottle that you can simply mist over your face.

Day or Night?

This is another step that should be done both in the morning and at nighttime.

Step 6: Treatments: Ampoule or Serum

The sixth step in the Korean skincare routine is to apply an ampoule or serum. This step is important because it will help to target specific skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, acne, and aging.

Ampoules are very concentrated treatments that are designed to work quickly. Serums, on the other hand, are often lighter treatments that can be used long-term.

There are many different active ingredients that can be used in ampoules and serums such as vitamin C, retinol, and hyaluronic acid. This is another step that must be taken slowly.

Some of these active ingredients can be irritating if used too often. Start with applying your serum or ampoule 1-2 days per week and work your way up to daily use after your skin adjusts.

To apply an ampoule or serum, simply dispense a few drops into your hands and massage it into your skin avoiding the delicate eye area.

Day or night?

There are a variety of ampoules and serums to treat many different skin concerns. When to use them depends on their ingredients and purpose. Some are designed to improve hydration, reduce hyperpigmentation, brighten skin, or decrease wrinkles.

Pay special attention to the actives in your serums. AHAs, BHAs, and retinols should only be used at night because they can both increase sun sensitivity and cause permanent damage to your skin. But never use AHAs and BHAs together with retinols. These should always be used on alternate nights.

A vitamin C serum can and should be used in the morning to help protect your skin from the sun.

For the very best Korean vitamin C serums check out this post.

Step 7: Sheet Mask

The seventh step in the Korean skincare routine is to use a sheet mask. This will again help to hydrate and nourish your skin (notice a trend here? hydration, hydration, hydration!).

Sheet masks are typically soaked in an essence and should be left on your face for 15-20 minutes. This prolonged contact time will allow your skin to absorb the ingredients and maximize hydration.

Day or Night?

A hydrating mask can be used any time of the day, but it is not necessary to apply one twice a day or even more than twice a week. I personally prefer to apply my sheet mask in the evening to melt away the stress from the day.

Step 8: Eye Cream

The eighth step in the Korean skincare routine is to apply an eye cream. Eye creams can help to hydrate, de-puff, and brighten the delicate skin around your eyes. Gently pat the eye cream to your under-eye area with your ring finger.

Day or night?

Eye creams should be used both in the morning and before bed. Using an eye cream at night will give your delicate eye area a boost of hydration while daytime eye creams will help to decrease puffiness from the fluid that can build up while you sleep. Just be sure to choose a lightweight gel-based eye cream in the morning that layers well under makeup.

There are many different Korean eye creams available that target different concerns. To find out which are the best, check out this article.

Step 9: Moisturizer

The ninth step in the Korean skincare routine is to apply a moisturizer. This will help to hydrate, lock in moisture, and protect your skin.

Day or night?

Both! In the morning you will want to use a light moisturizer that will sit well under your makeup. At night, you should opt for a heavier occlusive cream that will seal in the ingredients from your serums, ampoules, and essences as you sleep.

Find the best Korean moistuizers for 2022 here.

Step 10: Sunscreen

Day or night?

For daytime only, the tenth and final step in the Korean skincare routine is to apply sunscreen. This will help to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Korean women pride themselves on having light, bright skin, free from dark spots and sun damage. A mineral sunscreen will provide SPF protection without irritating the skin.


How often should I do the 10 step skin care?

Depending on your skin type there are some steps in the Korean 10-step routine that should be done daily and some that should be done less often. Serums and ampoules often need to be done intermittently to avoid irritating the skin. Sheet masks can be done daily but they don’t have to be since they require more time. Applying a sheet mask once or twice a week is all that’s needed.

Is the 10 Step Korean skin care necessary?

The answer to this question is totally dependent on you and your skin type. If you have very dry skin, the extra steps in the routine will help to hydrate and nourish your skin. If you have oily skin, the extra steps might be too much and actually cause breakouts. The best way to find out what works for you is to experiment and see what your skin responds well to.

Why is Korean skin so flawless?

Korean women (and men!) take their skincare very seriously. They are willing to invest the time and money into a long, multi-step skin care routine. In addition, they have access to a wide variety of high-quality products. That being said, there is no one answer for why Korean skin is so flawless. Everyone’s skin is different and what works for one person might not work for another.

Do I need to use all of the steps in the Korean skin care routine?

No, you don’t need to use all of the steps in the routine. You can pick and choose which steps work best for your skin type and concern. For example, if you have oily skin, you might want to use a light cleanser and toner and focus on using serums and ampoules that target oil control. If you have dry skin, you might want to use a more hydrating cleanser and add in a sheet mask step to help hydrate your skin.

The important thing is to find what works for you and your skin type. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a routine that gives you the results you want!

Is Korean skincare better than American?

This is a difficult question to answer because what works for one person might not work for another. In general, Korean skincare products tend to be more natural and have higher concentrations of active ingredients than American products. However, this doesn’t mean that American products are bad or that Korean products are better. It’s important to find what works for you and your skin type.

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