Korean skincare has swept the beauty industry with its extensive and in-depth step-by-step regimes as well as their high quality and effective products.
Today we will be talking about the famous Korean 10 Step Skincare Routine that has dominated the world for its high effectiveness, especially for those who have been struggling with skin problems for the longest time.
What is the Korean 10 Step Skincare Routine?
The Korean 10 Step Skincare Routine is all about layering the right hydration products to sustain a high moisture level throughout the day. Each step has its own job in helping your skin truly feel younger, healthier and glowing from the inside out.
Hydration is the most important factor for most Koreans as it helps with anti-aging and other skin troubles such as large pores, saggy skin and hyperpigmentation.
The reason why the 10 step Korean skincare routine is so loved by women from all over the world is because of its real effectiveness that has been proven by results. You can easily find a step for all your problem areas.
However, the 10 step regime does not mean using 10 different products on your face daily. It is more like a guide to help you find which products suit your skin best. You can pick and choose the steps that will help you the most depending on your skin type, or what kind of day you are having.
With that, we recommend that you get to know your skin type first before indulging into the routine. Now, you can begin your journey to beautiful, healthy and glowing skin with some of Korea’s most effective skincare products!
Here are the core 4 stages we recommend to everyone, regardless of what skin type you are. These 4 stages are considered to be the holy grail of skincare and everyone should do their best to incorporate them into their routines both during the day and night for the best version of your skin possible!
4 CORE STAGES - Stage 1 (Cleansing - Step 1-3), Stage 2 (Prep - Step 4), Stage 3 (Treatment - Step 5 & 6), Stage 4 (Protection - Step 9 & 10)
It is very important to make sure that you skincare routine covers these 4 stages! Skipping some of the steps from the 10 Step Skincare Routine is alright as long as you do these 4 stages!
From here, feel free to add and play around with the other steps and curate the best routine for your skin!
Understand your skin and identify your skin type
In general, there are 5 different types of skin out there. Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination and Sensitive skin. Depending on which one of these categories your skin falls under, how you do the Korean 10 Step Skincare Routine will be very different.
1) Normal Skin Type
(Velvety, soft, smooth texture with fine pores and relatively free from blemishes and imperfections, how lucky.)
This skin type is normally used to refer to a well-balanced skin. You might have an oily T-zone, however if your overall sebum and moisture level is balanced, you skin type is still considered normal. If you have normal skin, chances are you have pretty good skin already and struggle with very little skin problems.
2) Dry Skin
(Tight and rough skin. Low skin elasticity. Frequent pulling feeling throughout the day.)
This skin type produces lesser sebum compared to normal skin. As a result of that, those with this skin type lacks the ability to retain moisture to build a protective shield against external influences. Signs of dry skin would be flaking skin and dry patches.
3) Oily Skin
(Visible pores. Greasy/shiny complexion. Problematic skin.)
This skin type has a higher sebum production compared to normal and dry skin type. Those with oily skin type are prone to having acne breakouts, whiteheads and blackheads. Makeup also tends to slide off pretty easily throughout the day.
4) Combination Skin
(Oily T-zone. Dry cheeks and chin area)
Just as the name suggests, those with combination are both oily and dry at the same time. This skin type has been frequently mistaken for oily skin and is the most difficult to identify. Observe if some parts of your skin get oily easier than other parts. This is a good sign that you have combination skin.
5) Sensitive Skin
(Redness, itchy skin and reacts easily to new products)
Other than having characteristics of the dry, oily or combination skin types, those with sensitive skin are prone to redness or irritation when certain products contact your skin. It's best to opt for more organic and natural options when using skincare products.
Know the Steps
Now that we have gone through the different skin types, let's dive into the 10 Skincare Steps. It is important to familiarise yourself with the routine before actually getting started with it. This is so that you are aware of what each step is doing to your skin and whether or not it will benefit you!
Step 1 | Makeup Remover
Removing makeup is the first step of any routine and they come in the form of wipes to liquids to balms. It gives the illusion that you are cleaning your skin, since they take all of the gunk and makeup off, but in reality, that is not what is happening. Makeup removers aren’t going to cleanse your skin—it just helps remove the layer of makeup from your skin. For a healthy complexion, it is vital to remove pore-clogging and eye-irritating makeup before you cleanse your skin.
Products you can try: IWLT Rice Cleansing Water
Step 2 | Cleanser
Cleansers are the second step to double cleansing. Cleansers go the extra step and remove all sorts of pore-clogging debris alongside makeup. Throughout the day, your skin is continually covered with bacteria, pollutants, dirt, and old (dead) skin cells. Washing your face daily removes these impurities to give your skin a fresh look. Without washing, your skin would be covered with a thick layer of dirt and grime which will make it difficult for other products to penetrate the skin properly.
Other benefits of cleansing include helping anti-aging products and treatments work better, maintaining proper pore size, encouraging proper skin hydration and preventing the production of excess oils.
Products you can try: IWLT Oil Foam Cleanser
Step 3 | Exfoliator
Our skin is constantly shedding skin cells and when this happens, smoother skin cells push their way up to the skin's surface. However, as you age, the rate at which your body sheds dull and dead skin cells begins to slow down. Therefore, exfoliation is physically or chemically removing those dead skin cells.
Physical exfoliators work against the top layers of the skin to remove dead skin cells by rubbing. Chemical exfoliants dissolve the intercellular glue that holds dead skin cells together. Chemical exfoliators penetrate deeper into the skin and can be a great option for skin that has deep congestion or cannot tolerate the physical scrubbing.
For physical exfoliators, you should aim to scrub 1 to 3 times per week, depending on the products you use and your sensitivity level. Chemical exfoliants have a wider range of use and most can be used 1 to 3 times a week.
Products you can try: Wish Formula C200 Bubble Peeling Pad, Ggultamin 2 Step Real Gel/Ampoule Mask (comes with a peeling pad)
Step 4 | Toner
A toner is a fast-penetrating liquid that delivers skin a quick hit of hydration and helps remove some dead cells off the surface of the skin. Depending on the toner, it may contain acids, glycerin, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. Toners should be used after cleansing and it is recommended to be used in both your day and night skin-care routines.
This might also sound absurd but you should use a toner no later than a minute after cleansing! This is because most molecules penetrate the skin better when it is wet, therefore applying active ingredients immediately after cleansing delivers better results. For application methods, you can sprinkle some toner onto your hands and tap directly onto your skin. Another way is to pour some onto a cotton pad and gently swipe it around your face. If you have dry skin, you may want to try the “7 Skin Method”, which involves applying toner in small amounts in seven layers.
Products you can try: IWLT Hydra Treatment Toner.
Step 5 | A. Essence
Essence is the hydrating layer that properly primes the skin to best absorb your serums and creams. Most are lightweight and hydrating liquids, and you might be wondering how a face essence is different from your toner? Although they are both lightweight and can feel quite similar, they have different purposes and contain different ingredients. An essence may feel a bit heavier compared to a toner and it contains higher levels of active ingredients, designed to penetrate deeper into the skin.
An essence is an easy addition to your skincare routine that does not take up a lot of time. It is commonly used after toner, but not on a cotton pad, as that would waste your precious essence. Place a couple of drops into your palms and press the essence into your face until absorbed. The heat of your hands and gentle facial pressure can help the product to penetrate the skin, whilst boosting circulation.
*look out for new essence products here on ksisters! Coming soon!
Step 5 | B. Ampoule
Depending on the concentration of the formula, essences have also been referred to as ampoules or boosters. Ampoules are also considered to be a more concentrated version of serums and they tend to be more expensive than essence.
They often contain a higher number of active ingredients, peptides, plant extracts and vitamins. They are highly concentrated and are used for a finite amount of time. A little goes a long way with ampoules and they are not used on a daily basis. They will definitely come in handy when you have an important event coming up, or when your skin is not “cooperating”.
Ampoules should be used after cleansing and toning. If the product comes in a dropper bottle and not as booster shots, take a few drops in your palm and apply it like a serum. The texture can vary from brand to brand and you should apply your serums, essences and ampoules in order from thinnest to thickest in texture. This allows for the best possible absorption.
Products you can try: IWLT All in One Glow Concentrate Ampoule, Bebetox Pore Tightening Program, Wish Formula I'm Pro Ampoule Pad - M
Step 6 | Serum
Serum is a skincare product you can apply to your skin after cleansing but before moisturising with the intent of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin. They have a gel-like, lightweight formula that can treat specific skin problems such as wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, and dullness. Serums are slightly heavier than essence and toner because they contain highly concentrated and potent active ingredients which can penetrate deeply into the skin.
Serums usually come in dropper bottles or pumps. Take a few drops or one pump and apply evenly all over your face. Wait a minute to let the serum absorb before moving onto the next step.
Products you can try: IWLT Hydra Concentrate Serum, MiraSkin RX Lifting Pack (comes with serum)
For treatment steps 5 and 6, make sure to apply the products (essence/ampoule/serum) from the lightest to the thickest. This is to allow each product to absorb into the skin more effectively! Our IWLT serum is thicker than the ampoules which is why it is in step 6!
Step 7 | Masks
A face mask is a great skin care treatment to help you with your skin care concerns. There are many varieties of masks such as clay, cream, sheet, peel-off etc. The right mask can help hydrate skin, remove excess oils and improve the appearance of your pores. They are also an excellent way to help pull out impurities. By masking on a regular basis, you can ensure that your toning, hydrating and protecting products will all perform better, providing you with the results you are looking to achieve at a much faster pace.
Types of Masks
Wash Off Mask - Apply it after cleansing, but before the rest of your skincare routine.
Sheet Mask - Depending on your needs, apply before or after the rest of your skincare routine. After removing the mask, massage the remaining essence into your skin before continuing with your daytime or nighttime routine.
Clay, Mud, or Charcoal Mask - Should be applied and then rinsed off. Make sure to rinse them off before applying any other skincare products.
Overnight Mask - Apply it as the last step in your night skincare routine. Most leave-on masks are hydrating formulas, so you might be able to skip applying your regular night moisturiser. However, you might want to apply the mask and your face moisturiser if you have very dry skin.
Products you can try: IWLT All in One Concentrate Treatment Mask, Ggultamin 2 Step Real Gel/Ampoule Mask, MiraSkin RX Lifting Pack
Step 8 | Eye Care
Many people wonder why an eye care product is even necessary in the first place as they can use moisturiser around their eyes. You can, but eye care products are specially formulated to care for the skin around our eyes. Our eye area is in constant motion and endures a lot of strain every day. All these movements contribute to the development of the dreaded crow’s feet around the eyes.
The eye area is also one of the first places where you will see signs of aging as the skin around our eyes (periorbital skin) is much thinner than the skin on the rest of our face. So, it follows that many will start looking for an eye product to address concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness, dark circles and puffiness.
Types of Eye Treatments
Eye Gel (Patch) - Eye gels are light, refreshing, and more silky than eye creams. They are also suitable to use in the morning to smooth, refresh, and help reduce morning puffiness. The texture of most eye gels also work well under makeup.
Eye Rollers - Eye rollers refresh tired eyes by instantly cooling the under-eye area to deflate bags and reduce the appearance of dark circles over time. The roller also massages the skin under the eyes to promote circulation, which helps firm the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Eye Cream - Eye creams are best used at night because that is when you can apply a thick layer for your skin to absorb while you sleep. You can also apply eye cream during the day, but only a thin layer and allow it to absorb before applying sunscreen (critical for the wrinkle-prone eye area) and makeup.
Products you can try: Wish Formula Panda Eye Essence Mask, Lavien Hyaluronic Acid Micro Patch, Galantry Premium Wrinkle Kit
Step 9 | Moisturiser
After all these layers, applying a thick layer of cream might sound ridiculous. However, applying moisturiser helps to seal in all the layers before it and plump up the skin. Moisturising reduces the chances of skin problems and using the right kind of moisturiser for your skin can help maintain its balance.
Using a moisturiser can also help fight wrinkles as the most sensitive areas of your skin – the face, ears, neck, and chest – replace skin cells more often than any other area on your skin. This daily loss of skin cells leaves these areas more vulnerable to dryness.
Daily Moisturiser - Opt for gel moisturisers during the day as they are lightweight and allows you to start your base makeup with a smooth and hydrated complexion.
Night Moisturiser - The formula of a night moisturiser can be much thicker than a daily moisturiser, as it contains much more potent ingredients that your skin can absorb through the night so that you can wake up with smooth and flawless complexion every day.
You should also take note of the type of moisturiser you are using depending on your skin type.
Dry Skin - Choose a moisturiser that soothes dryness and has a long-lasting all-day hydrating benefits.
Oily/Combination Skin - Opt for a lightweight moisturiser that is oil-free or non-comedogenic, meaning it will not clog pores.
Sensitive Skin - Look for a lightweight, fragrance-free moisturiser that will help ensure your skin does not get irritated. A gentle, creamy moisturiser will also help lock in moisture to further strengthen your moisture barrier.
Products you an try: IWLT Purifying Skin Balance Cream (Pink), IWLT Moisture Day and Night (Purple)
Step 10 | Facial Oil / Sun Cream
The last step of the 10 step skincare routine is facial oil, or sunblock if you are heading out in the day. Facial oils are quite a new addition to the typical skincare routine. A facial oil can be used as a booster to enhance the performance of your moisturiser and add that extra touch by absorbing quickly into the skin, sealing in the beneficial ingredients of any treatments you have applied. They are best used when they're most easily absorbed - at night.
However, if you have dry skin, you may benefit from adding a few drops of facial oil to your morning routine. People with dry skin struggle to make enough sebum, which is why applying a facial oil in the morning and even at noon may improve the overall condition of your skin.
Wearing sunblock daily can keep you looking much younger and if you are not applying sunblock, you are missing the most essential step to healthy skin. Sunblock is an effective protective agent against damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which come in two forms – UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays are most commonly associated with skin aging which will cause fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots that make skin look prematurely older. UVB rays are most commonly associated with sunburns.
Both UVA and UVB rays are carcinogens (cancer-causing), which is why you should invest in a sunblock that offers broad-spectrum protection against both types. Even if you have darker or tan skin, skin cancer is non-discriminatory and can be diagnosed for any age, gender, or skin type. Therefore, it is never too late to start applying sunblock!
Products you can try: Facial Oil - IWLT Hydra Luxurious Rose Oil | Sun Cream - IWLT Protective Base Sun Cream, IWLT Protective Sun Base Correcting Primer (with SPF 50+/PA+++)
Find your match!
After identifying your skin type and understanding the purpose of each skincare step, it is now time to personalise your very own 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine!
Try out our new Korean 10 Step Skincare Kit! Available now at www.ksisters.sg!
(First 300 orders will be ready stocks. Subsequent orders are preorder!)