[Updated on 13/12/2018] The 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine is all the rage right now and why shouldn’t it be? The routine is intensive and time-taking, but it gives you the result which no other toning moisturizing routine will ever give you. This routine is all about understanding your skin’s demand and then giving attention to each problem at various steps. There are two versions that have 7 and 10 steps. These involve double cleansers, scrubs or exfoliators, toners, essence, serums or boosters or ampoules, masks or sheet masks, eye creams, face creams and finally SPF. Now, this seems like a lot and frankly I skip few steps when I am dead tired or not in the mood, but I do try to do at least 5-7 steps daily. It is all about judging your needs and picking up the products. And unlike the fad, you may not need to undertake all steps, you can adjust the number and frequency of product application specific to your skin. This post is specifically written for telling you facts and myths about Korean Skin Care Routine and Product Recommendations For Every Skin Type, along with my version of Korean Skin Care Routine which includes a mix of Korean & Non Korean products.
My routine is specifically for combination type skin, and I shall mention Korean Skin Care Routine products for other skin-types as well in every step. So, without further ado lets go..
10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine For Every Skin Type
10 Steps in Korean Skin Care Routine
1. Oil Cleansing:
Oil cleansers are basically oil-based cleansers that are applied on your dry face (made-up or bare) and this is done to remove make-up and pollution debris. You just need to take some on your fingertips and massage on to your face or take it on cotton ball and wipe away the dirt. There are good oil-cleansers from Innisfree (I will suggest Apple-seed series) and The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Oil which are good for dry and combination skin. Sensitive skin types can benefit from the Klairs Black Deep Cleansing Oil.
If I don’t have lot of make-up on my face or it is bare, I use Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser. This cleanser is good for all skin-types and especially for oily skin because it will not aggravate sebum glands and pores. One great innovation is cleansing balm which are great for all skin-types but best for oily skin, and the best performers are Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm. Dry Skin Types will love the Heimish All Clean Balm.
2. Foam Cleansing:
The second step in any Korean Skin Care Routine is foam cleansing. This step is generally meant for final removal of any product that may have been left on your face despite the oil-cleansing. Foam cleansers are the gentlest cleansers out there. I use a glycolic acid- based cleanser from AHAglow (1% glycolic acid) since it suits my combination skin. Innisfree Green Barley Bubble Cleanser is a great product to have that makes your routine fun for Dry skin. Oily and Sensitive skin types will be benefited with the highly popular CosRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser and NeoGen Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing Stick will make a great cut for Combination Skin.
Initially I wondered that whether I should exfoliate if I am dual cleansing my skin. And my skin never needed scrubbing that much before too, so I thought of making exfoliation twice a week affair. I use Innisfree Peeling Wine Jelly Softener for my Combination Skin. This leaves my skin soft and does not sensitize it like some harsh scrubs do. Peeling Gel exfoliators are trending as well. Innisfree has a good one for Oily skin, it’s named Green Barley Gommage Peel. If you like toner type exfoliator, then Son & Park Beauty Water is a great option too. For dry skin I will suggest Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pads which are very gentle and will not redden your skin. It is ideal for sensitive skin types to avoid exfoliation. But then we do have a product recommendation for them as well. By Wishtrend Mandelic Acid Prep Water is gentle exfoliant suitable for sensitive skin types. Use it once or twice a week maximum.
If you thought that toning just means dabbing your cotton ball with your toner and just running it on your face, then honey you cannot be more wrong!! According to Koreans, toning is not just about closing your pores, but it is about balancing your skin’s pH and readying your skin for further layers that you will apply. Ideally you need to apply 7 -10 layers of toner and wait for 2 minutes after each application, I can understand if you think this is cumbersome. When I am feeling lazy, I usually just apply 2-3 layers on my entire face and dab the toner on my T zone 4-5 times. I use The Body Shop Mattifying Tea Tree Toner which brings a glow to my face.
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Facial Toner is wonderful for oily and combination skin and the Unscented version is perfect for sensitive skin. For dry skin I will suggest Rose Water, Banila Co Dear Hydration Toner or The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner. The new Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner will boost the Hydration level of combination skin type.
Koreans believe in hydration and layering, thus as you go to the next steps, you will see that slowly we are increasing the concentration of goodies for your skin. Essences are more than toners but less than serums, if you get my point. Essence generally prepares your skin for better absorption of serums. I use Its Skin Aloe Vera Green Tea Watery Emulsion that soothes my skin but does not make it oily. Other honorable mentions are CosRx Advance 96 Snail Mucin Power Essence for Dry skin and Leegeeham Tea Tree 90 Essence for Oily skin.
6. Serums and Ampoules:
Serums and Ampoules are for specific skin worry you have like uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and dull skin. For hyperpigmentation and dull skin I will suggest going for serums that have Vitamin C, B3 or B5 or fruit extracts. I use Ryall vitamin C 20% ( it also has Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and MSM which have anti-aging effect) serum that does the job and does not burn a hole in my pocket. This serum may not work for oily skin since vitamin C serums tend to be sticky but Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop will work for you. Dry skin beauties should go for Serums or Ampoules that have Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E, like Leegeeham Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule or Leegeeham Vita Propolis Ampoule, Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule.
7. Sheet Mask:
I read somewhere that if essences are the heart of Korean Skin Care Routine then sheet-masks are the soul and I can’t agree more. Sheet masks are pure Korean genius that now you can see many companies are coming up with their versions like Garnier, Forest Essentials and top-notch brands like Casmara. Sheet masks are paper thin and light sheets soaked with concentrated serums and give you instant glow in 15 minutes. I usually apply sheet masks 2-3 times a week at night, and the frequency depends on how my skin takes up to it. If you are just going to start with sheet masks, I will suggest that you start from once a week and then move on till 4 times a week. Ideally 4 times is the best but let’s be real honey, nobody is wasting precious sleep over sheet masks every day! So keep it till 2 times at least and your skin will award you. I personally love The Solution (Firming, Soothing and Pore control) Sheet masks from The Face Shop and all Dermal ones. Dry skin beauties may want to use the ones I have mentioned and especially look out for ingredients like Madecassoside, Hyaluronic Acid, Propolis and collagen. Oily skin beauties should try out the nature-based ones like My Real Squeeze series from Innisfree and Real Nature series from The Face Shop. You can also find the list of the Best Facial Sheet Masks in India here>>
8. Eye Cream:
Probably one of the most over-rated and expensive products. Don’t think that I am saying that you don’t need to moisturize your eye area, if anything you should never forget about your eye area, but I believe that the eye-creams that are sold out there are not so unique in their niche. You could probably use one heavy cream for your eyes if it contains anti-ageing properties which my dermatologist also told me to do. That’s why I am using The Body Shop Vitamin E night cream only for eyes (since it was very heavy for my skin but is doing wonders for under-eye and it is expensive I don’t want to waste that). You could also skip buying expensive stuff and apply a light layer of Nivea Blue cream under your eye and go to sleep. If any of your cream has Vitamin E, B3 B5, Hyaluronic Acid or Collagen then you are probably good to go. Just make sure that you don’t rub the skin but just pat your cream down. One honourable mention I must make is the Hydrogel Eye Patches from Petifee if you feel like splurging and have a spa like experience.
Dear God! Sneha, stop your rant! Well I will, just listen me out for the last two steps. We have reached up to 9th step which is simple. All of you by now may have moisturizer of your choice for day and night. Mostly things are not going to change for you here, you may as well keep on using the product you were using but look out if it goes with this intensive routine. Because of all the layering we are doing here, you may want to get a cream that moisturizes but does not sit like a potato on your skin. For night cream I use Lakme Youth Infinity Night cream which works great for combination and oily skin. I have used Aloe Revital Sleeping Mask and Aronia Sleeping Mask by Innisfree in the past and they worked great as well. Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask is also great for all skin types. The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask will do wonders for Oily skin. Sensitive skin types will love the calmness of the Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream.
For the day I use The Body Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion or if my skin feels oily after all the layering I use Patanjali Aloe Vera Gel. As for Korean options, I will suggest Cosrx Advanced Snail Mucin All in One Cream or Belif Aqua Bomb Cream for Oily skin and Mizon Black Snail All in One Cream for combination skin. For dry skin I shall suggest products from Cetaphil, Sebamed and Avene (if you want to splurge) because they have non-comedogenic options and you don’t want to overdo moisturization and mess-up your skin. But then again, for korean options, Joseon Dynasty Cream is popularly recommended.
Wow, whiplash from the past!! Yes we have a post on this blog that screamed and screamed about the importance of sunscreen, but here we are again. All of you know how important it is to apply sunscreen before stepping out of the sun and we are not going to bore you by repeating same things. For my combination skin I liked the Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunblock. Popular sunscreens included in many Korean Skin Care Routine are Innisfree UV Sunscreen for Oily skin, Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence for Combination Skin, Cosrx Aloe Soothing Cream fro Dry skin and Goodal Mild Protect Sun Cream for Sensitive Skin.
Summarizing Korean Skin Care Routine Day and Night For Every Skin Type
|Oil Cleanser||Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm||The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Oil||Heimish All Clean Balm||Klairs Black Deep Cleansing Oil|
|Foam Cleanser||CosRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser||NeoGen Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing Stick||Innisfree Green Barley Bubble Cleanser||CosRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser|
|Exfoliator||Innisfree Green Barley Gommage Peel||Innisfree Peeling Wine Jelly Softener||Wishtrend Mandelic Acid Prep Water||Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pads|
|Toner||Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Facial Toner||Banila Co Dear Hydration Toner||Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner||Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Facial Toner – Unscented|
|Essence||Leegeeham Tea Tree 90 Essence||Its Skin Aloe Vera Green Tea Watery Emulsion||CosRx Advance 96 Snail Mucin Power Essence||CosRx Advance 96 Snail Mucin Power Essence|
|Serum/Ampoules||Leegeeham Vita Propolis Ampoule||Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum||Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule||Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum|
|Sheet Mask||Tree Tea Bija Cica Sheet Masks||The Face Shop The Solution Mask||Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask||Klairs Blue Calming Sheet Mask|
|Eye Cream||Your Regular Moisturizer||Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream||Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream||Your Regular Moisturizer|
|Moisturizer||Cosrx Advanced Snail Mucin All in One Cream||Mizon Black Snail All in One Cream||Joseon Dynasty Cream||Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream|
|Sunscreen||Innisfree UV Mild Sunscreen||Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence||Cosrx Aloe Soothing Cream||Goodal Mild Protect Sun Cream|
People wonder whether you have to do every step twice a day, to that I say listen to your skin. Intensive things like sheet masks or oil-cleansing or exfoliating can be skipped in morning, but dual cleansing is a must at night when your warrior skin needs some care. Like I said, skincare does not need to be expensive, but it needs to be done correctly and regularly.
Please tell us how we can make this article on Korean Skin Care Routine more reader friendly and ask us your questions, we will try to answer all doubts. Tell us what other substitutes you have found out for the 10 steps.