Korean Skincare Steps: Morning and Night Routine

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If you are a skincare enthusiast, then you may have noticed the explosive popularity surrounding the Korean 10-step skincare routine; if you have not, then you are about to find out exactly what it is and how to implement this routine into your own. To some people, the 10-step routine may sound like a lot, but the rise of Korean products did not appear out of thin air, in fact, many influencers have applauded their Korean-inspired skincare routine due to the quick results on the skin.

The Korean 10-step skincare routine is a concept of multi-layered products, in contrast to the three steps consisting of cleanser, toner and moisturiser routine; instead, the 10-step routine incorporates products like essences, serums, ampoules, and sheet masks. Further to this, Korean skincare has a greater focus on hydration, rather than exfoliation, which is the focus of a Western routine.

Jude Chao, who is a skincare blogger for Fifty Shades of Snail, discovered Korean beauty products after coming across the ‘Skincare Addiction’ subreddit online. She spoke in detail about the Korean skincare routine, saying, “What any one person’s skin care routine emphasises is very dependent on the person. The flexibility of the concept is what is so great for so many people. Personally, I do front-load my routine with some AHA, BHA, and tretinoin. Then the hydrating and nourishing steps follow, they’ve helped a ton in preventing or mitigating side effects like dryness and irritation that can often result from using strong actives. My routine, like many others’, is a hybrid of both Asian and Western products.”

Like many others, Jude Chao chose to take some steps from the Korean 10-step routine and adjusted it to her own morning and night routine, depending on what she wanted to concentrate on the most. This is very important, as everyone’s skin is different, no matter how similar they may seem; for example, if there are similar skin concerns or types, it will still be different due to other affecting factors like environment and living situations. Finding and trying new products should be dependent on how your skin is reacting first and foremost, as well as trying only one new product at a time.

The skincare blogger finished by adding, “I’ve always advised people to add only one new product to their routine at a time and use it for at least a couple of weeks before adding anything else. That way they can see whether their skin responds well to the product and whether they’ll really feel the need for anymore. In terms of steps alone, people need to pay attention to whether their skin is actually even absorbing all the product. If they’re getting to a point in their routine where the products are just sitting on top of their skin even after waiting around for a while, it becomes clear that that’s quite enough for them.”

Before looking at the 10-step routine in detail, here is the summary of a typical Korean skincare routine:

Oil-based cleanser (used in the night routine only)

Water-based cleanser

Chemical exfoliator (used once or twice a week only)




Sheet mask

Eye cream


Sun cream/SPF (used in morning routine only)

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser

Your aim is to double cleanse at the end of the day with an oil-based cleanser before using a water-based cleanser, because using a cleansing oil first binds the dirt with the oil and makes it easier for you to clean your skin thoroughly. In this first step, the cleanser will remove make-up, sebum, and pick up any oily impurities accumulated on your skin.

Step 2: Water-based cleanser

The water-based cleanser will then remove the leftover impurities on your skin, and as a water-based product it will leave your skin feeling fresh too.

Step 3: Chemical Exfoliator

This step should not be repeated more than two times a week, as it can result in damaging the skin instead. Exfoliation helps in scraping the dead skin cells and impurities from your face, which evens out the skin tone and promotes cell regeneration.

Step 4: Toner

A Toner helps to maintain the pH levels of your skin, and using a hydrating toner will help your skin further, particularly after using an exfoliator. This step also helps to prepare your skin in absorbing the next products that follow.

Step 5: Essence

An essence is a blend of serum, toner and moisturiser and is a crucial part of the 10-step Korean skincare regimen, as it hydrates and primes your skin and nourishes the skin cells.

Step 6: Serum/Ampoule

Serum and ampoule products contain higher concentration of active ingredients compared to essence products, and it can help you to target specific skincare concerns, such as acne or fine lines, so using one on a specific area or all over the face is helpful for overall nourishment.

Step 7: Sheet mask

Sheet masks are saturated with serum that contains essential active agents, and the best part is that they are suitable for all skin types! They provide deep hydration to your skin and offer benefits such as anti-aging, anti-acne, hydration, collagen-boosts, and more.

 Step 8: Eye cream

Apply an eye cream to keep the delicate skin around your eyes hydrated and nourished, since using a moisturiser is not suitable for the eye area due to the thiner layer of skin around the eyes.

Step 9: Moisturiser

Applying a moisturiser helps to seal all the ingredients into your skin to soak everything up, especially at night-time when the skin regenerates the most, so that you can wake up with soft and supple skin the next morning. In the daytime, a moisturiser keeps the skin hydrated, nourished and radiant all day long; if you have oily skin, using a water-based moisturiser may be more suitable, and if you have dry skin, then a cream-based moisturiser will be the better option.

Step 10: Sun cream/SPF

Protecting the skin from UV rays is a vital last step in the morning routine because this prevents dark spots, tanning, sunburn, fine lines, and wrinkles. It is also important to make sure you are using a product with at least SPF 30, no less!

Although following a 10-step routine can sound like a very difficult task, the results can be really satisfying, so try adding one step at a time and see what you think! Make sure there is enough waiting time between each step, as you do not want to continue layering all the products and not allow your skin to soak it in.

If you would like further information on skincare products, Korean skincare, or even Korean beauty, then follow and watch YouTuber Kelly Driscoll, as she discusses and explores these topics in a lot of detail. There are many Korean skincare product reviews available as well, including a further video guide on how to implement a Korean 10-step routine.

Remember, great skin needs time, patience and dedication, so do not worry if there are no immediate results, keep at it and you will see the amazing effects soon enough!

Care to discuss? Leave a comment.

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