The Korean 10-step skin care routine
K-Beauty (Korean beauty) is more than just a trend from South Korea! It is a beauty method where healthy skin and skin care are more important than covering your skin with many layers of makeup. A typical Korean skincare routine consists of 10 steps and guarantees deeply cleansed, hydrated and glowing skin. Already curious? Then read on, because here we explain all the steps, how to do them and why they guarantee healthy and beautiful skin!
Step 1: Cleansing oil
A cleansing oil is the very first step in the Korean skin care routine.
Why? An oil cleanser is an effective way to rid your skin of makeup, oil, sunscreen and any other greasy dirt that accumulates on your skin. The oils in the cleanser adhere to the oils in your skin and act as a solvent. The cleansing oil absorbs and removes all oil-based impurities from the skin. Cleansing oils not only clean the skin, they also moisturize it!
How to use? Apply a small amount to the skin and gently massage it in. Add a little water so that the cleansing oil becomes an emulsion that you can easily and thoroughly rinse off. Gently pat your face with a clean, dry towel and follow with a water-based cleanser.
Step 2: Water-based cleaner
If you use a water-based cleanser after using an oil-based cleanser, you immediately master the famous "double cleanse". This is a thorough but gentle cleansing of the skin, which in the long run guarantees clear skin and clean (and therefore less visible) pores!
Why? A water-based cleanser (such as a foaming cleanser or gel cleanser) gives your skin an even deeper cleanse than an oil-based cleanser alone. It effectively removes any residual oil cleanser that may be left on the skin. In addition, many water-based cleansers contain ingredients that help soothe your skin.
How to use? Apply the cleanser to your fingers and gently massage it into damp skin. Take your time, as cleansing is an important step! When you're done, rinse your face with warm water and pat your skin dry with a soft, clean towel.
Step 3: Exfoliation
Do you suffer from flaky skin? Dull skin? Or rough skin, pimples and blackheads? Exfoliation can be a great way to improve your skin care routine! In most cases, you don't need to use an exfoliator every day. If you exfoliate too much, you won't get faster results, but you will have irritated and red skin.
Why do I need to exfoliate? An exfoliator rids the skin of dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of the skin and can lead to a dull complexion and even blackheads and pimples. Regular use of an exfoliator will result in clearer, healthier and more even skin. You can use a chemical exfoliant: salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid are well-known examples, but there are ones for all skin types. There are also physical exfoliants or scrubs that use, for example, pieces of nutshell or sugar to get smooth, soft skin.
How do I do it? Apply an exfoliating toner after cleansing. There are also washable products, such as masks, which you rinse off after a short time. Massage a physical scrub into the skin with gentle circular motions and rinse with warm water. Pay attention to the sensitive skin around your lips and eyes.
Step 4: Tonic/Fog
We keep saying it: moisturized skin is healthy skin! To further moisturize the skin, a toner or mist is really perfect!
Why? Toners give your skin a boost of moisture after cleansing, helping to achieve that coveted dewy look. Toners also allow other skin care products to be better absorbed by the skin. Toners come in all shapes and sizes and for all skin types. Their main purpose is moisturizing, but many toners also contain antioxidants or soothing ingredients that help keep skin in top condition.
How? So many people, so many wishes. Some people soak a cotton ball in toner and run it over their face, but there is also a group that applies a small amount of toner directly to the face with their (clean) hands. You spray a mist about 20 cm from your face (but close your eyes!). Then you gently dab the mist onto the skin until it is absorbed.
Step 5: Gasoline
Essences are still relatively unknown in the West. An essence is slightly more watery than a serum but more concentrated than a tonic. A sort of happy medium! They are an essential part of your K-beauty routine because they are moisturizing and extra rich in antioxidants or beneficial plant extracts.
Why? Essences are similar to toners, but they are generally more nutritious and have a bit more "power". They are the key to moisturized, nourished and glowing skin. They are a great addition to your morning and evening routine and provide a rich layer of moisture. In a Korean skincare routine, an essence is essential to create a radiant base for healthy skin.
How to use? Apply a desired amount to cleansed skin (after toning the skin). Dab the product on the skin until it is completely absorbed.
Step 6: Treatment
At this point in the skincare routine, skin care really becomes specific. You can use serums, spot treatments and ampoules to target specific issues.
Why? There's a treatment for every problem. Suffering from dark spots? Take a clarifying serum with vitamin C or licorice extract. Does your skin need a soothing treatment? A centella asiatica or panthenol ampoule may be for you. Peptides and retinoids stimulate cell renewal and ensure firm, resistant skin. And if you want to get rid of an annoying pimple quickly, opt for the anti-pimple patch that accelerates healing and protects against infection.
How to use? The following applies to serums and blisters: Apply the desired amount to the skin and dab until the product is completely absorbed by the skin. Spot treatments are only applied to the affected area. If in doubt, always read the instructions on the package!
Step 7: Face Mask
Ahhh... The face mask. This is the place where relaxation and skincare come together in the perfect way! There are different types of face masks, all with different effects and uses.
Why? Sheet masks are the most famous masks in the Korean skin care routine. They are masks made of a special sheet that is soaked in an essence or ampoule.
How do I do it? Take the sheet mask out of the bag and unfold it carefully. Place the mask on your face and let it sit on your face for 15-20 minutes. Remove the mask and dab the remaining serum with your fingertips until it is completely absorbed. Taking a selfie is optional.
Step 8: Eye Care
The skin around the eyes is thin and sensitive. This is where the first signs of skin aging often become visible (hello fine lines, bags under the eyes and crow's feet).
Why is this? The skin around the eyes contains fewer sebaceous glands, which makes it drier and more vulnerable to fine lines and wrinkles. So it's not a bad plan to use a special eye cream for this delicate area, which aims to heal and firm the skin.
How? Apply a desired amount around the eyes, morning and night. Gently dab the product until it completely penetrates the skin.
Step 9: Hydration
A good moisturizer that suits your skin type is worth its weight in gold!
Why is it important? A moisturizer is a basic skin care product. But the fact that it is "basic" does not make it any less important: in addition to cleansing, moisturizing is the basis of good skin care! Especially for dry skin, a good moisturizer is very important because it retains moisture in the skin and prevents moisture from evaporating from the skin (transdermal water loss). Overall, dry skin benefits from a moisturizer or facial oil and oily skin benefits from a facial gel or emulsion.
How to use? Apply the desired amount of cream, gel or oil to cleansed skin and gently massage into the skin.
Step 10: Sunscreen
In Korea, sunscreen is sacred and the sun is the enemy! Can we learn anything from this?
Why should I use sunscreen? It has long been thought that sunscreen should only be used in the summer. In the colder months, the UV index may be low, but if you spend a lot of time outdoors or sitting near a window, it's still a good idea to wear sunscreen. There are two types of radiation that affect our skin: UVA and UVB. UVB causes sunburn and you notice it quickly, but UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and destroys collagen. You only see the result after a longer period of time: pigmentation spots, wrinkles, sagging skin and even a risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen is an effective way to prevent skin aging (and skin cancer). It protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
How to use? Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going out in the sun. Apply a layer to the skin as the last step in your (morning) skincare routine. As a rule of thumb, it takes about two fingers or half a teaspoon. Reapply every two hours for continued protection.
I hope this blog has helped clear things up! The ten steps may seem intimidating, but once you know what each step consists of, it becomes easier to apply to your own routine. Feel free to adapt this step-by-step plan to your own lifestyle, skin type, season, etc. In the end, you can completely adapt this skincare routine to what works best for your skin!