My Multi-Step Skin Care Routine: How to Put Your Skin First

I have had an up-and-down journey with my skin since, dare I say, my elementary school years. Right before I turned 8, I made the questionable decision to get bangs, and boy, did that take a turn. I was really young, so I didn’t know what to do with them as soon as they started to grow out. It turns out that bangs allow excess oil and bacteria to be trapped underneath the skin causing pores to clog and pimples to show up. I had forehead acne when I was very young (right up until my freshman year of high school), and I didn’t know who to turn to in terms of how I should take care of my skin.

I kept trying different products throughout the years, none of them seeming to get the job done. I also found that my skin is naturally dry—I would coat my face in moisturizer after washing my face. I was disappointed to find that none of the products I tried got rid of my forehead acne or helped  my super-dry skin. 

And then I stumbled upon the notorious 10-step Korean skincare routine, and my skincare game changed forever. Although my current skincare routine does not consist of 10 products (if it did, my wallet would be crying right now), I have found a way that I can do it everyday, and my skin has gotten better exponentially since I started following this routine.  

  1. 1. Oil-Based Cleanser

    After a full day of school or work or hanging out with friends, the first thing I want to do is take my makeup off, and an oil-based cleanser is how I start off my skincare routine. An oil-based cleanser is the first step to the double cleanse of the Korean skincare routine, and its job is to break down oil-based debris in your skin, like makeup and sunscreen. I use the Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Oil with Coconut and Argan Oil, and I massage it into my face to try to get all of the makeup off. I then add a little bit of water while its being soaked into my skin to emulsify, and I rinse off the oil after I’ve been massaging my skin for about a minute.

  2. 2. Water-Based Cleanser

    The second part to the double cleanse is a water-based cleanser, and you’re probably wondering why I use two different cleansers when I can simply use one to cut down my time and the cost. Double cleansing helps to remove any impurities that can cause breakouts, and water-based cleansers removes water-based impurities such as dirt and sweat that the oil-based cleanser didn’t pick up. Using the Simple Kind to Skin Moisturizing Facial Wash, I take a pea-sized amount and massage my face in circular motions before rinsing it off.

  3. 3. Exfoliator

    After double cleansing comes exfoliating, which cleans debris from pores and removes dead skin cells. I don’t exfoliate everyday since that may strip off the natural oils from my skin, but rather I use exfoliator every other time I do my skincare routine. I use the St. Ives Energizing Scrub with Coconut and Coffee, and the back of the bottle says that coconut extracts soften the skin while coffee extracts are known for energizing the skin.This may be the best drugstore exfoliator I have come across so far! After using my water-based cleanser, I take a pea-sized amount of the exfoliator and scrub my face, focusing on my nose and the visible pores on my cheeks before rinsing it off and drying my face with a towel.

  4. 4. Toner

    Toning your skin acts as a “prepping” for your skin for the moisturizing products to come afterwards. Toner removes any leftover residue from the cleansers you used while also repairing your skin’s barrier to absorb the moisturizers that follow. Toner also helps balance your skin’s pH levels and moisture. I used to use the Thayers Witch Hazel Alcohol Free Toner before switching to the L’Oreal Paris Hydrafresh Toner and both work great for dry skin like mine. I soak a little bit of the toner on a cotton pad and swipe it across all parts of my face.

  5. 5. Essence

    I have never heard of essence before learning about the Korean skincare routine, and I really wish I did because this is a game-changer to my everyday skincare routine and a savior for my dry skin. Essences are lightweight and are a blend of hydration, anti-aging formula, and complexion-enhancing ingredients. It was hard to find an essence at a local drugstore, and I was about to resort to Amazon to look for one, but I finally found one at Target, which is the Pacifica Coconut Essence Hydro Mist, and it is designed to help tone and balance the look of the skin, leaving it with a dewy finish. Not only can this spray be used after your toner, but it can be used as a pick-me-up to feel you energized or to set your makeup in place. I spray 3-5 times all over my face, and I fan my face as it is sinking in.

  6. 6. Serum

    After essence come any treatments for the skin, which consist of serums, boosters, and ampoules. These treatments aim to target specific skin concerns such as acne, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Usually, I would never use a serum since I don’t have any serious skin issues at the moment, but I received a free bottle of Vitamin C Radiance Serum from Honest Beauty, and it has worked out great for me! This serum is infused with a blend of artichoke and clover extracts to make your skin’s complexion more radiant and bright. I take about two pumps of the serum and apply it all over my face.  

  7. 7. Moisturizer

    This step speaks for itself, but the last step of my skincare routine is moisturizer, which is something I couldn’t live without since my middle school years of skincare. Moisturizer can come in many forms, like a lotion, gel, or a sleeping mask, and it also plumps skin and smooths out fine lines. I use the Ponds Dry Skin Cream, and a little bit of it goes a long way. I take a tiny bit of the moisturizer and pat it all over my face.

For more information about the 10-step Korean skincare routine, visit