Your 10-Step Guide to Korean Skincare

Sadly, as is the case with most people living in the Northeast, the harsh winter can leave skin looking less than perfect. From crusty noses, to the strange combination of dry and oily that covers the face, the cold air has stolen our glow.

Quite possibly the best solution to beating the crusted and busted look of seasons come and gone is the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine. Popularized by the Korean community and made famous among other countries by K-Pop stars and fashion bloggers, this skincare routine has taken the world by storm. To achieve a plump, youthful, and dewy glow, follow the steps listed below!



Step 1: Makeup Remover and Oil Cleansers

Begin your routine with an oil-based cleanser. This is an important first step because it efficiently removes sunscreen and makeup from the skin. Each morning and night, massage an oil cleanser into your skin per the product’s instructions. Many fans of Korean skincare recommend applying the oil-based cleanser to dry skin, massaging it in before rinsing it off with water.

Step 2: Water-Based Cleanser

The second step involves a water-based cleanser; products by Peach and Lily are highly recommended by many promoters of this routine. The purpose of the water-based cleansing step is to remove dirt and sweat from the pores. Each morning and night, after using the oil-based cleanser, apply this to the face and wash —then watch as the city grime is sent down the drain!

Step 3: Exfoliator

An exfoliator is an excellent way to brighten the complexion and control breakouts. Exfoliators are effective at removing dead skin and unclogging pores, leading to a lower frequency of pimples and blackheads. One or two times a week, gently exfoliate the skin using lukewarm water.

Step 4: Toner

Toner is often villainized and misconstrued to be a drying agent in skincare. However, it is actually the perfect way to prepare the skin for the application of hydrating products. Toner reopens the pores, allowing them to absorb more moisture and balancing the pH of the skin (who knew a skincare routine could sound like a chemistry class!). Soko Glam recommends using a cotton swab to swipe toner over the skin, or to gently pat it onto the face using bare hands.

Step 5: Essence

“Essence” sounds mysterious and mythical, but in reality, it’s a simple serum that fosters cell growth and renewal. Cult-favorite serums include the ones created by Laneige, one of the most popular Korean skincare companies available in the United States. Apply a thin layer of essence in order to create a glowing complexion.

Step 6: Treatments

The treatments stage of the Korean skincare routine is the moment when one can target specific issues of the skin. Treatments are usually spot-based, meaning they are applied to a certain location on the surface of the skin. From acne to wrinkles, treatments allow the applier to specialize the skincare process to their needs.

Step 7: Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are the portion of the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine that made it go viral. Created to lengthen the skin’s contact with hydrating and clarifying ingredients, the sheet masks infuse the skin with nutrients. Typically applied for 15 to 20 minutes, the sheet mask step is also the perfect way to squeeze in an episode of The Office or New Girl.

Step 8: Eye Cream

After dozens of long nights spent studying and partying with friends, it can feel like the dark circles under your eyes are permanent. However, that isn’t the case! Thanks to the eye cream stage, one can almost completely eliminate dark circles and puffiness around the eyes, as well as prevent the formation of crow’s feet (we love smiling, but it does have a side effect…). Soko Glam reminds readers to never rub eye cream into the skin -- always tap. Apply the eye cream once a day at your preferred time.

Step 9: Moisturizer

Moisturizers come in all shapes, sizes, and formulas. Most Korean skincare websites will help sort them based on your personal skincare needs, but regardless of what you’re looking for specifically, all moisturizers help to seal moisture into the skin. This promotes a glow from within, as well as prevents breakouts from the dry air. It’s common to have to switch moisturizers based on the season, as the air contains more humidity in the summer.

Step 10: Sun Protection

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Protecting the skin from the sun’s ultra-damaging UV rays is the most important stage of any skincare routine, whether it’s the one listed above or not. Gently apply sunscreen in the morning, as your final step, and reapply it throughout the day. With summer on the horizon, it’s especially important to pick a sunscreen with a proper amount of SPF protection; most dermatologists recommend an SPF of at least 30.

While not every step is necessary twice a day, every day, the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine is a fantastic method to improve on self-care. By accomplishing this routine every day, you can say that you’ve done at least 10 productive things -- and that you did them all yourself. Now go out and glow, girl!

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