The 10 step Korean skincare routine: FAQs and the ultimate guide to practicing this popular trend

Smashing the Western standards of beauty, Korean beauty trends are well-known across the globe today, and have many swearing by them – us included! Recently, we discovered an explosion of the famous 10-step Korean skincare routine and did not want you to miss out! 

It is essentially an elaborate, multi-layered skincare routine popularised by global Korean icons and influencers. In contrast to the basic 3-step cleanser-toner-moisturiser routine most of us grew up with, this long routine involves more products, and focuses more on hydration as opposed to exfoliation. First, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about this regimen!

Do you have to use Korean brands for the best results?

If you wish to support local brands, by all means go ahead and shop authentic! However, it can prove to be pretty expensive. All you really need are the right ingredients and process – which means you can use products from any brand that promises good quality. (Psst – wait up, we have a list of our favourite ones down below!) 

Who is this routine for? Are there any risks? 

This routine is really for anyone trying to achieve radiant, supple skin! The only risk that could come up is if you use products that do not suit your skin type. We have a guide for the ingredients you should be looking for in this process, but you must always do a patch test. Also, if you currently have a basic, minimum-product skincare routine, it is recommended that you introduce one step at a time and go slow. Going all in might lead to skin issues as you would be giving no time to your skin to adjust to the change.

Is this a morning or night-time routine? 

Usually, a long and deeply nourishing routine such as this one is reserved for the night-time when we have the time to practice it! It also gives time to the products to really seep in and work their magic for long-term results. Morning skincare routines tend to be more streamlined, focusing on the essential moisturisation and sun protection, but if you have the time, you can practice this before heading out as well!

Are you interested? We bet you are! Here is a rundown on what you should do for this routine –

Step #1 – Oil cleanser

Believe it or not, oils can act as great cleansers, effectively pulling out and dissolving excess oil, dirt and makeup from your skin! If your skin reacts poorly to oils, you can skip this and double cleanse using water-based products. If not, here is one you can use –

Garnier Micellar Oil-infused Cleansing Water

₹ 141.00 – Buy Now.

Step #2 – Foam- or water-based cleanser

Double cleansing is a key part of K-beauty trends as it provides a truly clean slate for further layering of products. For the second round of cleansing, you should use a gentle, pH-balancing water- or foam-based cleanser, which you can skip if you have ultra-dry skin.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Foaming Cleanser

₹ 219.00 – Buy Now.

Step #3 – Exfoliation

Getting rid of dead skin cells really is the secret towards achieving softer, smoother and clever skin! Although, this regimen recommends that you only do it once or twice a week using a gentle scrub to help products absorb better. Chemical exfoliants are not recommended since they are harsh and this routine involves many products – you do not want to strip your skin of essential oils.

Himalaya Herbals Gentle Apricot Scrub

₹ 101.00 – Buy Now.

Step #4 – Toner

Toners are a must in every skincare regimen, and this one proves no different! Make sure to use a toner that suits your skin type, keeps it hydrated and tightens the pores in preparation for everything that is about to come next. This one is designed for combination skin –

Biotique Honey Water Toner

₹ 123.00 – Buy Now.

Step #5 – Essence

This 10-step Korean routine involves deeply nourishing your skin, which is best achieved by layering hydrating products – starting from thin ones and making our way up to thicker products. This process starts with a facial essence. Many Korean beauty professionals swear by facial essences comprising of snail mucin, such as this one, which nourishes and heals faster –

Cosrx Advanced Power Essence – Snail Mucin Concentrate

₹ 1,530.00 – Buy Now.

Step #6 – Extra-strength treatments

By now, we know that serums are the secret sauce that put us on the path towards flawlessly glowing skin. They are concentrated, deep and focused treatments. Ampoules are the amped up versions of serums with higher potency, and you don’t need to use them everyday! You should skip ampoules if you used an exfoliating toner, but preferably use a hydrating toner. 

Rovectin Korean LHA Blemish Ampoule 

₹ 1,499.00 – Buy Now.

Step #7 – Sheet mask

Sheet masks are generally associated with Korean beauty, and are an essential part of this 10-step routine as well. The application technique ensure that maximum amounts of the nourishing and moisturising serums in the mask are pushed down into your skin and penetrate deep instead of evaporating. Try these –

Glamveda Deep Hydration Korean Sheet Masks

₹ 450.00 – Buy Now.

Step #8 – Eye cream 

Since the area around your eyes are the most sensitive parts of the face, designated creams for the eye region work miracles. Look for ones that have hyaluronic acid that gets rid of puffiness, dark circles and early signs of aging. You should always layer this underneath your face moisturiser or lotion. Check this one out –

Quench Botanics Mama Cica Under Eye Cream

₹ 449.00 – Buy Now.

Step #9 – Moisturiser

This is the last product that will keep your skin hydrated and balanced, and lock in the moisture that the previous layers provided to the skin. Here is a lightweight one to consider –

Minimalist 3% Sepicalm + Oats Moisturiser

₹ 331.00 – Buy Now.

Step #10 – Sunscreen

This is the thickest product, and hence needs to be the last barrier between your skin and the environment. The sun is like kryptonite for your skin, which is why it is a must before you head out to prevent your skin drying up. You can skip this if you are heading to bed instead. 

Lacto Calamine Matte Sunscreen SPF 50 PA +++

₹ 175.00 – Buy Now.