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Korean Skincare Routine

Your Ultimate Guide to the Korean 10-Step Skincare Routine

Korean skincare routine is famous around the globe. Beautiful, hydrated and glowy skin needs a bit of work to achieve but is totally worth it. At glance, 10 steps might seem hard work but once you get started, it becomes a lifestyle. You don’t have to follow all ten steps but you can choose the ones that your skin needs.

The general rule is that the products are applied from the thinnest consistency to the thickest. If you are uncertain in which order to apply the products, you can follow our guide below.

double cleansing

The key to clear skin and a succesful 10-step routine is proper cleansing. That's why the double cleansing method is so popular: the use of an oil-based cleanser followed up by a water-based one leaves your skin clean and without residue. Let's go through the steps:

1. Oil Cleanser

An oil-based cleanser removes oil-based dirt, makeup, sunscreen and excess sebum. Oil-based cleansers come in many forms, but the most common ones are cleansing oils and balms. Massage a small amount of oil or balm onto dry skin until your makeup has dissolved. Rinse away with lukewarm water.

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  • Skinfood | Black Sugar Cleansing Oil

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You may notice after this step that some oil is still left. No need to worry, because we're going to take care of that in the next step, which brings us to a...

2. Water-Based Cleanser

After using an oil-based cleanser, a water-based cleanser deeply cleanses the pores and removes water-based dirt. A water-based cleanser makes sure that there is no cleansing oil or makeup residue left on the face. A water-based cleanser can be for example a foam or a gel-like consistency.

  • COSRX | Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

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  • My Orchard Mochi Cleansing Foam Peach

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exfoliating

3. Exfoliating

Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and prevents them from accumulating in your pores. It also improves the absorption of other skincare products and helps you get a smoother makeup application. Exfoliate the skin 1-3 times a week depending on your skin's needs.

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toner

4. Toner

Toner restores the skin's natural pH level and moisture balance after cleansing. It also improves the absorption of the following skincare products.

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    Mizon | Cicaluronic Bubble Toner

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essence

5. Essence

If you're a total newbie, this is where k-beauty can get a bit confusing. Toners, essences and serums can often come in similar packaging. The easiest way to distinguish the different product types is the consistency: an essence will usually be a bit thicker than a toner, but thinner than a serum or a lotion.

Essences are ofted described as "the heart of Korean skincare", and not without reason. An essence boosts the skin's cellular metabolism, moisturizes and repairs the skin. Pat the essence to the skin with hands for the best possible absorption.

  • Purito Galacto Niacin 97 Power EssencePurito Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence

    Purito | Galacto Niacin 97 Power Essence

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serums and ampoules

6. Serum & Ampoule

Serums and ampoules are the perfect way to treat specific skin concerns, for example dull skin, acne, blackheads, signs of ageing etc. They contain a higher concentration of active ingredients, which sink deep into the skin.

Korean serums and ampoules often have an even higher concentration of ingredients, for example, a Western hyaluronic acid serum may only contain 20% hyaluronic acid, whereas a Korean one will have 80 or 90%! They absorb quickly just like essences while moisturizing and nourishing the skin.

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  • Klairs Vitamin Drop C SerumKlairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop C Serum

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sheet mask

7. Sheet Mask

Sheet masks give a quick boost to your skincare routine. Sheet masks are a true Korean invention, and they come in all shapes, sizes and purposes. Don't be fooled by the playful packaging: sheet masks are a real treat to your skin.

Use at least once a week to improve the skin condition and to prevent skin concerns. Can be used after toner, essence or serum. To use, apply the sheet onto your skin and let it work for 10-20 minutes.

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    Dr. Mola | Red Fruits & Veggies Smoothie Sheet Mask

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  • Don’t Worry Healing Mask

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eye cream

8. Eye Cream

The thin under-eye area needs special care and protection. That's why it's best to use products developed specifically for the under-eye area to keep it moisturized and protected.

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    Laneige | Eye Sleeping Mask

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  • Vita C Bright Eye Cream

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face cream

9. Face Cream

We reccommend using a lighter emulsion or gel-cream during the summer and a more nourishing, thicker cream during the winter. That being said, if you face feels dry in the summer, feel free to use a thicker cream then, too! Face cream protects the skin, moisturizes and locks in all the previous products and their active ingredients.

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  • COSRX | Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream

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sunscreen and sleeping mask

10. Sunscreen in the morning

One of the key players in the Korean skincare routine in addition to cleansing and moisturizing is sun protection. Sunscreen protects the skin from the sun's harmful UV rays and prevents premature ageing of the skin. Make sure not to skip this step! Apply a tea-spoonful of SPF in the morning. If you're in the sun all day, make sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours.

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    Coxir | Ceramide Daily UV Sun Block

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  • UV Protection Sun Block The Skin HouseThe Skin House UV Protection Sun Block

    The Skin House | UV Protection Sun Block SPF50 PA+++

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10. Sleeping pack in the evening

At night, the last step of the routine is a night cream or a sleeping pack that helps the skin to utilize the active ingredients in your skincare routine. While you sleep, your skin is hard at work: nighttime is the most active time for skin rejuvenation. Don't let those special hours go to waste: invest in you beauty sleep (literally!)

The consistency of a sleeping pack is similar to face cream and it effectively absorbs the nutrients to the skin during the night. Korean sleeping masks don't feel sticky and won't dirty your pillow. Use a sleeping pack 1-2 times a week or every day if needed.

  • laneige water sleeping mask textureLaneige Water Sleeping Mask

    Laneige | Water Sleeping Mask

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  • Purito Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping PackPurito Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping Pack

    Purito | Dermide Cica Barrier Sleeping Pack

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I know the basics. How do i get started?

There you have it - your complete guide to the Korean 10-step skincare routine. If you're used to soap and lotion, this all may seem a bit much. But the results speak for themselves, and millions of people around the World swear by k-beauty.

If you're just starting out, start small. Introduce your skin to one new product at a time. Once your skin has adjusted to, for example, double cleansing, you can add a toner into the mix and so forth.

Saturating your skin with a dozen new skincare products at once may not only cause a negative skin reaction, but it will also be more difficult to determine what products and ingredients your skin actually needs.

If you have any questions, feel free to message us on Instagram @bearelcom or via email info(at)bearel.com. We're happy to help!