A Beginner's Guide to Korean Beauty
Yes. We all love sheet masks. They really are the best. BUT - that’s not all there is to Korean skincare. At the heart of Korean beauty and skincare is the 10-Step Routine.
At first glance, any intro to a Korean 10-step skincare routine can look daunting and overwhelming. Don’t worry - each of these steps are NOT performed every time you wash your face. This 10-step guide is a simplified way to form better habits with your products and adding a few steps that enhances what you’re already using, as well as incorporating a few other steps to help get you the results you want.
Step 1: Makeup Removing Oil Cleanser
The first two steps of a Korean skincare routine is called the ‘double cleanse.’ First comes an oil-based cleanser. Washing your face with a makeup-removing oil cleanser will be the first step of deep cleansing for your daily routine. An oil-based cleanser helps break up and remove any makeup, dirt, or anything else you may have encountered during the day. This does not replace your regular face wash - it only improves it!
Wash PM Only
Step 2: Water-Based Cleanser
The second step in the Korean skincare routine is a water-based cleanser. This will gently remove any dirt, residue, or other impurities left behind by the oil cleanser.
Wash AM / PM
Step 3: Exfoliator
Exfoliation is necessary for any skin type, especially as you age. Exfoliating removes dead, dull skin cells from the surface and encourages new cell turnover. You should exfoliate your skin 3-4 times a week. Any more than this can cause damage as your skin needs a break for recovery.
Use 3 - 4 times / week
Step 4: Toner
Toners are very important in your korean skincare routine. They contain wonderful, simple ingredients that balance the skin’s PH and prep it for next steps. There is a wide variety of toners suitable for each skin type.
Apply AM / PM
Step 5: Essence
This step is referred to by some as the ‘heart’ of the 10-step Korean skincare routine. Toners are used to balance your ph, while an essence is used to provide added moisture to the skin, improving the results of products used in later steps.
Apply AM / PM
Step 6: Treatment
This is where all of your targeted products come into play. Whether it’s anti-aging serums for fine lines, a brightening serum for dark spots, or an acne treatment peel, this is when you use it.
Use treatments as directed.
Step 7: Sheet Masks
Sheet masks are a great way to give your skin that extra ‘umph.’ Some like to do one every day, some just a few times a week. It’s really up to you. If you have a special event coming up, we recommend doing a sheet mask every day for the entire week leading up to your event. You can also switch up your masks and try new ones until you find the ones you love - ANY SHEET MASK IS A GOOD SHEET MASK!
It’s also important to note that this might be done before your treatment step depending on the concern - please read the directions of your treatments before putting a sheet mask on over them.
Use as often as you’d like.
Step 8: Eye Cream
You know the phrase, “the eyes are the window to the soul.” So if eyes are the window to the soul, then the delicate skin around them are the drapes. As some of the most delicate skin we have, using an eye cream consistently provides you with that added help to prevent fine lines, puffiness, and circles. If you go with an eye mask in place of a normal eye cream, we recommend putting them on as a last step and leaving them on while you finish getting ready.
Apply AM / PM
Step 9: Moisturizer
All of the prior steps need to be sealed in with your moisturizer. It provides your skin with one more added layer of nourishment and hydration. If you have a moisturizer with SPF for added benefit, that’s even better.
Apply AM / PM
Step 10: SPF
Don’t think you need SPF because it’s cloudy out or you don’t spend a lot of time outside? Wrong. Everyone needs an SPF every single day. Harmful rays, regardless of weather, cause more damage than anything else. A daily SPF can protect your skin from further damage by the sun. There are many options for SPF, including a combination of SPF moisturizer and tinted SPFs if you prefer to not wear makeup.
Keep in mind that if you’re active outdoors (regardless of season) you should reapply your sunscreen every 90 minutes.
Apply AM - reapply during the day as directed.