Skincare series: 10 step Korean regime

The 10 step Korean regime. Korean women are known for their porcelain-glowing skin, which is achieved through a special regimen. It’s quite a bit of work compared to the average skincare regime (involving up to 10 steps or more) but as a result, these women have some of the best skin in the world. Today, I’m here to break down every step to help you understand better this Korean skincare regime, so you could fit these steps into your own routine. Korean skincare is all about healthy radiance from within, while it takes longer, the results are absolutely worth it.

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser

The magic starts with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and other impurities. This allows for effortless and gentle cleansing to take off even that last bit of mascara. A game changer for me is Extraordinary Beauty Cleansing Balm by Femmue. A luxurious cleanser that transforms from jelly to oil to melt away every bit of pollutants, makeup and sunscreen. Its lightweight and non-greasy formula nourishes skin, cleanses effectively, and rinses off completely.

Step 2: Water-based cleanser

The oil-based cleanser is followed by a water-based one that is going to remove any remaining residue and leave skin supple. It is important to find a gentle cleanser that won’t dry out your skin. SanDaWha Aqua Cleansing Gel is a favorite amongst Korean skincare. This bad boy gets rid of remaining impurities without stripping down your natural oils, leaving your skin feeling hydrated and clean while the ingredients help calm down breakouts.

Step 3: Exfoliation

This step is crucial in Korean skincare. I exfoliate twice a week using a gentle enzyme-based exfoliator that removes the dead skin cells and allows key product ingredients to absorb better. A good one is COSRX Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser with tea tree oil and salicylic acid, it removes dead skin and brightens up blemishes.

Step 4: Toner

To balance the skin’s pH levels, it’s important to apply toner; Korean toners are based on natural ingredients passed down from generation to generation. Furthermore, toner helps to absorb the next products you apply. My favorites are Citrus Brightening Toner by Frudia and Botanical Nutrition Toner by Be the Skin. The first one I like because it gives me that brightened appearance while being gentle with my skin. It has 86% natural citrus extracts and Vitamin C which is great for waking up the complexion. The Botanical Nutrition I use when my skin is stressed, or when I have acne breakouts. It’s gentle on the skin and contains herbs with anti-bacterial properties. Great all-natural toner to fight annoying breakouts.

Step 5: Essence

What is essence in skincare anyway? If you ask any woman in Seoul, they will likely tell you that is one of the most essential steps in their skincare regimen. Sounds intriguing, right? That’s what I thought. I started to add essences to my skincare routine and let me tell you it literally changed my skin. Korean essences typically contain an active ingredient that will regenerate the skin and with regular use, you will notice that your complexion is smoother and brighter. Of course, it can’t turn back time, but it will definitely revitalize your skin, so you can look more youthful. My favorites are Missha Time Revolution Essence and Mini Raw Sauce by My Coop. The Missha’s one is a perfect dupe of the $100 SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. The main ingredient is yeast, which helps restore the vital balance of the skin. The last one is more budget-friendly but has amazing ingredients: maple tree sap, skin-nourishing fructan powder, and Asian herbal and fruit extracts. Sounds nice right, and it works!

While with toner you apply it on a cotton pad and then swipe it on your skin, essence is a little different. It may look and feel very similar to your toner but trust me, it’s not. Apply a small amount of essence in your palms, tap it all over your skin and enjoy the benefits.

Step 6: Ampoule

Feeling overwhelmed yet? An ampoule is an opportunity to add more juicy goodness to your skin. It actually comprises an even higher number of active ingredients to target specific skin care concerns. It is used for a finite amount of time as a booster when your skin badly needs the extra help. As an entrepreneur, I have a lot of stressful weeks and when that happens, I use LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule for extra hydration and glowiness.

Step 7: Serum

With a more concentrated formula and lots of active ingredients to target specific skin concerns like wrinkles, dark spots, and dehydration, serum should always be in your skincare regimen no matter if you choose a Korean one or not. You can customize your regimen here by adding or removing products as your skin needs. My holy grail serum is Missha Time Revolution Night Repair. This stuff is amazing due to its ability to repair and hydrate, giving you luminous smooth and even-toned skin. Even though it has a strong formula it’s gentle enough for those with sensitive skin. It is often compared to Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair but it’s a less expensive dupe and has the same active ingredients.

Step 8: Sheet Mask

The purpose of the mask depends on what my skin needs. The sheet mask is a Koreans beauty favorite. Quickly it becomes mine too. I like Manefit Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask, I use it when I want to pamper my skin after a long week which helps to calm redness, inflammation, and gives skin an all-over glow.

 Step 9: Eye cream

A light eye cream is great for this sensitive area.  It’s important to keep this area hydrated and protected all day long. Dap, Dab but do not rub! I do this meticulously anyway, so this step gave me a homey feeling.  I like Gumsul Giyoon Eye Cream by Missha made with traditional Korean ingredients such as Ginseng, it really brightens up my under-eye area and also absorbs very quickly. So, if you have panda eyes as I do, this will be your best friend.

Step 10: Moisturizer

Moisturizer acts as a shield that will protect all the beneficial ingredients you’ve just applied, instead of letting them evaporate out of your skin. I’m using Make P:rem Safe Cream and I wake up with a beautifully rejuvenated complexion.

Additional Step: Sun care or BB cream

Nope, we’re not done yet. In order to maintain the dewiness and to protect the skin, during the day, you must add sunscreen. I like the Dr. Jart+ Every Day Sun SPF 50+ it pretty much vanishes into the skin and leaves you looking very fresh.

Rating the regiment

After following these steps for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that this routine is about respecting and loving your skin. Instead of using harsh ingredients that will destroy the skin’s natural barrier, it’s about to team up with your skin’s ecosystem.

Ultimately, it’s not about following the 10-step regimen regularly but tailoring the routine to your skin’s needs, your skin type, and your environment while focusing on truly improving the skin from within. I should note that this particular regimen is a little bit expensive and time-consuming but it’s definitely worth it. I loved to try different masks and if you get joy out of this sort of things, you’ll love it too.  Will I stick to it long-term? I may not do all the steps every day, but I sure try to be consistent with the steps that my skin needs.

‘Till next time,

XO