The 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine Simplified

I was introduced to Korean skincare back in high school. Whenever my Korean friends would travel back to Korea, they used to always bring me back cleansers, masks, serums, and other skincare products as gifts. 

When Korean skincare finally caught on in the west, I was really excited because it meant (in my mind) that it would be easier for me to get ahold of the products. And while that was true, I noticed a lot of my friends who had never heard of the 10 step Korean skincare routine were still confused by the necessity of all the steps. 

So, in part, I’m dedicating this post to them and anyone else who has ever wondered “Why is this so complicated?! Why do I need so many products?” 

I hope to anyone reading this that this extremely simplified guide clears up any confusion for you. 

The 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine

10 step korean skincare oil cleanser
Banila Co. Clean It Zero Oil Cleanser










Step 1: Oil cleanser

Purpose: To remove your makeup and any grime that’s accumulated on your face throughout the day. Most cleansers and wipes don’t do a very good job, which is why you keep waking up with mascara smeared around your eye every morning. (Don’t worry, I’m not judging.) 

How to: Massage the oil cleanse over your dry skin to dissolve makeup. Add a splash of warm water to emulsify and massage the cleanser around your face. Wash off with water. 

Product recommendations: Banila Clean It Zero Sherbert Cleanser, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil 

Step 2: Water-based cleanser

Purpose: To clean away any remaining residue and impurities following the oil cleanser. Think of it as the oil cleanser cleaning away the makeup/oil/etc., and the water-based cleanser cleaning your actual skin. 

How to: Lather and massage on face.

Product recommendations: Neogen Real Fresh Foam – Green TeaMissha Super Aqua Refreshing Cleansing Foam

skinfood exfoliating mask
Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator













Step 3: Exfoliator

Purpose: Exfoliating once or twice a week is necessary for smooth, clear, and soft skin. By sloughing off dead skin cells, you allow for other skincare products to work better.

How to: Gently massage the exfoliant into your skin.

Product recommendations: Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator

Step 4: Toner (aka Refresher)

Purpose: To balance your skin’s pH and allow for better absorption of products.

How to: Sprinkle the product into your hands and gently pat it onto your skin. Alternatively, you can also gently swipe the product around your face with a cotton pad.

Product recommendations: Son & Park Beauty Water, MISSHA Time Revolution Clear Toner

Step 5: Essence

Purpose: To hydrate skin and aid in cell turnover, thus helping the skin repair process.

How to: Apply to freshly toned skin and gently tap it in.

Product recommendations: MISSHA Time Revolution The First Intensive Moist Treatment Essence

missha time revolution ampoule
Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule













Step 6: Treatment

Purpose: Concentrated formulas that treat the issues you’re most concerned about. (Eg. wrinkles, pores, acne, etc.)

How to: Gently tap these into your skin!

Product recommendations: KLAIRS Freshly Juiced Vitamin C SerumMissha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule

Step 7: Sheet mask

Purpose: To nourish and moisturize your skin. (And to help you unwind and relax!)

How to: Use once or twice a week

Product recommendations: Manefit Bling Bling-Energizing Rose

Step 8: Eye cream

Purpose: To provide the delicate eye area with the extra hydration and treatment it needs. 

How to: Using your ring finger, gently pat the cream around the entire orbital bone. 

Product recommendations: Skinfood Royal Honey Essential Eye Cream

mizon all in one snail repair cream
Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream













Step 9: Moisturizer/Cream

Purpose: Hydration, hydration, hydration. 

How to: Pat a moisturizer onto your face and neck every day, in both the morning and evening. 

Product recommendations: MIZON All In One Snail Repair Cream

Step 10: SPF

Purpose: Even if you won’t be out in the sun for too long, protecting your skin against the sun’s rays is important for the prevention of wrinkles, sun damage, irritated skin, and discoloured skin. Not to mention skin cancer!

How to: Apply in the morning before you leave the house. Put this on after your other products so that it can fully shield your skin.

Product recommendations: Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk


I hope this post was helpful to some of you! As always, let me know if you try this out!

With love,