The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine, Explained

Achieve flawless, luminous complexion with this 10-step skin care regime

By Sa'idah Jaffar | January 20, 2018

Image credits: Serenity Facial

If you’re a huge beauty buff, then you’re probably familiar with K-beauty that has been taking over the world by storm.

One of them is the 10-step skincare routine that includes double-cleansing, exfoliating, and toning to name a few. We have broken down the steps for you below together with what each step entails.

According to Charlotte Cho, founder of Soko Glam, you don’t actually need to do all 10 steps every day. More importantly, the skincare regime should be tailored according to your skin’s needs.

In Korea, they emphasise on the importance of skincare rather than make up, which explains their luminous, healthy complexion.

Intrigued? Why not give this routine a go!

Based on Charlotte Cho, founder of Soko Glam.

oil cleansing - buzzfeed

1. Make-up remover & Oil Cleansing
Image credits: Buzzfeed

Okay, for those of you with oily to combination skin, you must be thinking, “Why would I want to apply more oil on my already oily face?”.

Truth is, cleansing your face with the right cleansing oil can actually help cleanse and moisturise your skin without leaving it feeling tight and dry, commonly a side effect of some cleansers. According to Dr.Ariel Ostad, a cosmetic dermatologic surgeon in a HuffPost Style interview, he says that “when you rinse the cleansing oil off your face, the ‘good oil’ (cleansing oil) takes those ‘bad oils’ (preexisting oils on your face such as sebum or those from makeup)  and dirt along with it”.

Essentially, cleansing oils function as a tool to pull out dirt from your skin without clogging the pores.

foam - serenity facial

2. Water-based cleanser
Image credits: Serenity

The second step to the double cleansing routine is washing your face with a water-based cleanser. This helps to remove remaining sweat,  bacteria or impurities from your oil cleanse.

allure (Medium)

3. Exfoliate
Image credits: Allure

This step should only be done 2-3 times a week, once if you have sensitive skin. A good exfoliator should help slough off dead skin cells to give you a polished and brighter skin. Be mindful to gently exfoliate and not overdo it.

toner - beautylookshq

4. Toner
Image credits: BeautyLooksHQ

A toner is essential as it helps to rehydrate your skin after all that cleansing, leaving it damp and pH-balanced. This step is essential as it helps your skin to better absorb your skin products.



essence - pasante

5. Essence
Image credits: Pasante

As Soko Glam says, “Essence is the heart of the Korean skin care routine”. It aids in skin repair and cell turnover, treating skin on a cellular level.

treatment - elemis

6. Treatments
Image credits: Elemis

Serums and ampoules are concentrated products targeted for people with concerns like pigmentation, brown spots or uneven skin tone. It is not necessary for everyone.


7. Sheet Masks
Image credits: Dermstore

Like Treatments, you can forgo the Sheet Masks if you don’t have 15-20 mins to spare. However, if you do, it’s great to use one once or twice a week as not only does it leave your skin nourished, but it also provides you with a quiet downtime to your busy life.

good housekeeping

8. Eye Cream
Image credits: Good Housekeeping

An eye cream provides the skin around your eyes (which are both thin and delicate) with an extra helping of hydration and protection. Cho advises to apply the eye cream using your ring finger and gently tap the cream around the entire orbital  bone. She also stresses to never rub your eyes.

moisturiser -

9. Moisturiser
Image credits:

Wonder what Korean women use to get that highly sought after dewy look to their skin?


It comes in many forms – cream, gel or lotion. It’s vital to find one that suits your skin type and to apply religiously day and night on both your face and neck. This step will help to seal in the moisture in your skin.

health magazine

10. Sunscreen
Image credits: Health magazine

We can’t stress enough on how important this last step is. Cho says that “Even if you’re stepping outside for just a couple of minutes, you must wear sunscreen”.

Sunscreen is the most effective way to prevent wrinkles, pigmentation and dark spots from developing. Apply every morning without fail and reapply every few hours depending on the SPF of your sunscreen.

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