The Korean Skin Care Routine Steps by Steps in 2021

By now, we all have heard about the Korean skincare routine: we know it is pretty consistent, it follows a strict protocol and plan, it requires patience and a certain effort.

But, in the end, the hassle is very well repaid. It’s not a secret that a lot of Western women have started to look into the Korean skincare routine steps to give their skin a better texture and, at the same time, to take care of themselves in the best way possible.

It’s not even a secret that after having tried it, people become obsessed with K-routine and they will never go back to their previous beauty routine.

The obsession with the Korean skincare routine and Korean make-up is now pretty serious all over the World! It all started with the BB Cream, then the cushions came together with the sheet masks, and so on.

In a few years, what started on a small scale is now a recognized phenomenon. 

Since 2015, only in the US Korean beauty sales have grown 300%, K-beauty exports totaled $2.64 billion in 2017 and today a lot of Western brands have begun copying Korean brands.

But how the Korean skincare works? What are these famous Korean skincare routine steps one has to follow to get into this new habit? Let’s dig deep by using the following table of content or skipping to the section you want to know more about.

What Is Korean Skin Care Routine?

What Is Korean Skin Care Routine?

The Korean Skin Care Routine takes its name from the habit of Korean women to cleanse their skin in-depth following a series of repetitive steps and using specific products, to get a perfect complexion.

Perfect complexion means putting a lot of effort in cleansing, targeting specific skin issues, and protecting the skin and its layers.

The Korean routine is not a one-size-fits-all type deal: every type of skin requires specific steps and, most of all, you may end up not needing the whole routine to get that perfect flair.

In fact, every single step of the routine has its own important job to do to keep skin young, healthy, and glowing. But this doesn’t mean that they’re all necessary for everyone.

So the first lesson is an easy one: start by following the routine step-by-step but also start monitoring your skin to notice if you are in the position of skipping one step. If you feel you can avoid one or more of the 10 steps, do it by all means. And if you feel that the routine is too overwhelming according to your lifestyle, just customise it based on your time, your goal and also your effort.

How to Start a Korean Skin Care Routine

You don’t need to be a beautician or a make-up artist to start a Korean skin care routine: you need to be
curious and eager to learn. Also, you need to take time to study how the routine works and what kind of routine works best for your skin and also your lifestyle.

In fact, the basic principle of the 10 steps Korean skincare routine resides in the idea of taking time to take care of yourself. The Korean skin care routine is not just a cleansing routine to follow daily, but it’s a lifestyle, a ritual that every woman could start following at the beginning and at the end of a chaotic day to reconnect with herself and feel better.

Keep reading for the step-by-step 10 step Korean skincare routine, both for the morning and for the night.

korean masks

How to Do a Morning Korean Skincare Routine Step-By-Step

This morning Korean skincare routine will help you glow all day long.

Wash your face with water

Always cleanse your skin with water to remove the impurities that settle on the face during the night.

Apply toner

To balance the skin’s pH levels and avoid your skin to become dry and dehydrated, apply toner.

Our Top Pick: COSRX – AHA / BHA Clarifying Toner

Apply essence

Essence works both as a hydrating product and to give your skin a youthful appearance.

Our Top Pick: COSRX – Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

Apply ampoule

Similar to serums, ampoules comprise a different number of active ingredients to target specific skincare concerns. They’re not used all the time but only if your skin badly needs the extra help.

Our Top Pick: MIZON – Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule

Apply serum

Concentrated formulas with an unprecedented amount of active ingredients, serums target specific skin concerns like wrinkles, dark spots, and dehydration.

Our Top Pick: [KLAIRS] Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Apply eye cream

Smooth a light eye cream across both the brow and socket bone to keep this area hydrated and protected all day long.

Our Top Pick: MIZON – Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream

Apply moisturizer

Lastly, apply a moisturizer for long-lasting all-day hydration.

Our Top Pick: Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream

Apply sunscreen

Protect the skin on a daily basis from UV rays to avoid the development of dark spots, wrinkles, and fine lines.

Our Top Pick: COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream

Face Moisturizers Korea

How to Do an Evening Korean Skincare Routine Step-By-Step

The 10-step Korean evening skincare routine explained.

Wash your face with an oil-based cleanser

Use an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based makeup and impurities from the skin.

Our Top Pick: The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Light

Remove the cleanser with a water-based cleanser

Use a water-based cleanser to remove the oil residue and water-based impurities from the day.

Our Top Pick: Cosrx Low Ph Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Exfoliate

Twice a week use an exfoliator to remove the dead skin cells.

Our Top Pick: Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon

Apply toner

To balance the skin’s pH levels and avoid your skin to become dry and dehydrated, apply toner.

Our Top Pick: COSRX – AHA / BHA Clarifying Toner

Apply essence

Essence works both as a hydrating product and to give your skin a youthful appearance.

Our Top Pick: COSRX – Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

Apply ampoule

Similar to serums, ampoules comprise a different number of active ingredients to target specific skincare concerns and are helpful after a long day.

Our Top Pick: MIZON – Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule

Apply serum

Concentrated formulas with an unprecedented amount of active ingredients, serums target specific skin concerns like wrinkles, dark spots, and dehydration.

Our Top Pick: [KLAIRS] Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop

Apply eye cream

Smooth a light eye cream across both the brow and socket bone to keep this area hydrated and protected all night and get it ready for the day after.

Our Top Pick: MIZON – Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream

Apply moisturizer

Lastly, apply a nighttime moisturizer or long-lasting all-night hydration.

Our Top Pick: Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream

Apply a Sleeping Mask

To make sure your skin will get the most out of the products you’ve used, apply a sleeping mask. It looks like a normal cream but it can be considered a night cream on steroids cause they contain more nourishing and hydrating ingredients and during the night they retain water and help all the ingredients penetrate the skin in-depth.

Our Top Pick: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

Do Korean Sheet Masks Work

Korean Skin Care Routine: is this enough?

Well, almost. In fact, 3 times a week you should also apply a sheet mask to deeply hydrate your skin.

And while following the above steps, both in the morning and in the evening, you should always add a facial massage to your routine: taking a few minutes to massage your face will stimulate the surface of the skin, will prepare it for the products you’ll apply and will drain outs lymphatic glands that can cause puffiness.

Read Also: The Best Korean Face Masks

How to Make Your Own Korean Skin Care Routine

As explained above, this 10-step routine may be overwhelming and may not fit with your lifestyle and your skin’s needs. If you want to create your own Korean skin care routine you can do it in two different ways:

  • You start from the 10-step and work your way through it: the more you learn about your skin, the more you will understand if this routine really works for you, or it simply doesn’t. As soon as you will have a clear idea, you can start ditching products, replace the ones you don’t like, and customize your routine;
  • You start from yourself: instead of starting from the routine, you use the routine as a guideline but immediately customize it based on your needs and your time. You could, for example, ditch a few steps in the morning if you don’t want to wake up too early. This second approach is perfect if you want to test and try, without spending too much on products you may end up not using.
Ten Steps of Korean Skin Care Routine

What Is The Best Korean Skin Care Routine For 40+ Skin?

If you are in your 40s, you need to pay attention to your skin and the Korean beauty routine can really be helpful. Your goal is to focus on products that plump lines, treat and prevent aging signs, and, overall, that tone your skin.

For this reason, you can follow the basic 10-step routine but using products that are specifically meant to treat “older” skin.

Have a look at our Best Korean Anti Aging Skin Care Products of 2021 for a complete overview of the best products for women in their 40s and how to use them in your daily Korean routine.

What Is The Best Korean Skin Care Routine for Acne-Prone Skin?

If you suffer from acne or you have an acne-prone skin, your Korean skincare routine should follow the basic rules:

  1. Make sure your PH is always well balanced;
  2. Make sure your skin is always well hydrated;
  3. Exfoliate to unclog the pore;
  4. Always use lightweight products.

On top of this, you should always tailor your routine to the season to get the most out of your products.

As a rule of thumb, do not overcomplicate your routine but make sure you use the right products: acne prone skin may not need the 10-step but use these as a guideline to get the most out od it.

Read our Best Korean Skincare Products for Acne in 2021 article for a list of products to use and how to use them in a Korean beauty skincare routine.

Korean Skin Care Routine: How to save money

Beauty can be expensive and the number of products required to follow the 10-step Korean routine can break your bank in no time. The good news is that there’s a way to save money: in fact, you should start buying your products directly from online stores in South Korea to take advantage of their prices. If you have a look at some of the K-Beauty products you may need for your beauty routine, you’ll easily notice how expensive they can be if bought in one of our many Western shops (just think: Sephora).

But if you check the prices on Korean websites/stores, you’ll notice how affordable they can be and even if you’ve to pay the delivery fees, the final price paid will be cheaper than buying in a store in your country which will also add a surcharge.

Amazon is another great place where to buy real Korean Beauty Products without spending too much and you’re always 100% sure your delivery will be on time and if there are problems you can ask for a refund. Check our article on the 16 best products on Amazon.

Another way to save money is to go yo your local Target (TK-Max in Europe) since it carries a range of popular Korean beauty brands from Laneige, Missha and so on, and you can definitely save money.

Prepare Your Skin For Winter with These Tips and Asian Products

Korean Skin Care Routine: Is it Really Worth?

The 10-step skincare routine is not easy because it requires quite a lot of time and effort. That’s why even in South Korea the trend is changing. Most skin doesn’t need that effort and that amount of products to look great and in this case, less is definitely more.

The same results you can get by following the 10-step skincare routine are achievable by purchasing individual products and create your own beauty routine(s) to save time and money.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

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