Korean skin care routine – 10 steps for flawless skin

Korean skin care routine – 10 steps for flawless skin

First of all, I’m no beauty guru. Yes, I’m interested in natural products, however when I buy a face cream I’m not spending 2 hours debating the INCI (I wouldn’t know where to start, ah!).

I was always interested in skin care, thou. I love trying new products and experimenting. Maybe someday I’ll tell you all about my epic fails.

One thing that changed my life (and my skin) was discovering the Korean skin care routine.

Let’s be honest, Asian women (all of them) have flawless skin. They all look forever in their twenties without using Photoshop. Of course I got hooked up on that.

At the very beginning I did some research and I found out the official Korean skin care routine is made of 10 steps to follow every day. Of course everyone is different, so I took those steps and adapted them to my specific needs. For example, I have dry skin and the London winter does not help at all.

It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve started this routine and I must tell you, my skin looks completely different. It’s more elastic, soft, hydrated and I have less impurities too. In general, I can see a healthy glow that was never there before.

A thing I want to specify is that no one is paying me to write this article. Everything I’m going to share with you I bought with my own money and tried on my own skin. I use a mix of Korean products, Japanese products and other brands.

My 8 daily skin care steps + 2 extra weekly steps

1. Eye make up remover

I’m keeping this step separated from the others because to me the eye make up remover is super important. I have very sensitive eyes and I absolutely need a good product, something gentle but also able to easily remove a hardcore mascara.

I’m currently using Missha’s “Coral Water Lip&Eye”, a Korean brand I really recommend.

I love this eye makeup remover. It gets rid of everything, including my mascara. It doesn’t sting and it’s super gentle. I’m going to buy it again for sure.

2. Oil based cleanser

First real step of the Korean skin care routine: remove the makeup with an oil based cleanser. I’m currently using Missha’s “Ye Hyeon Cleansing Oi”.

Another oil cleanser I really like is BANILA CO’s “Clean it Zero”. Both very good, they melt and remove your makeup very easily.

3. Water based cleanser

When I first started doing research on Korean skin care, this was the step I thought was useless. Two cleansers? Meh.

Well, I really changed my mind. Using two cleansers made me realize how deep you need to actually clean the skin to remove your makeup properly. Sometimes by the time I reach the toner step, my cotton pad is still dirty!

I’m currently using an olive cleanser by InnisFree, another Korean brand. I alternate it with a Clinique cleanser.


4. Toner

After two cleansers it’s time for a toner, another fundamental step.

I’m currently using this toner from Kiehl’s with calendula. It’s a life saver, I bought it twice already.

Another one I did like very much was the Ultra Facial Toner, also from Kiehl’s and slightly less expensive, if you are looking for a good product with a reasonable price.

5. Essence

Another step that at the very beginning I didn’t understand but that changed my life. Apparently it’s the heart of the Korean skin care routine itself.

An essence is something in between a toner and a serum, made for hydrating and aiding skin repair and cell turnover.

I’m currently using an essence from SK-II that I bought in Japan. Quite pricey, but I love how it leaves my skin, so soft and elastic.

Another essence I really love and that I super recommend is the Time Revolution Essence from Missha. It’s waaay less expensive and it is seriously amazing. Just use a few drops of essence on a cotton pad, tap your face and neck gently and voilà.

6. Serum

Another fundamental step. I was using a serum even before I started the Korean skin care routine. There are tons of serums out there, from all different brands and for all skin types and needs.

The one I personally love is Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, my must have.

7. Eye cream

Another must have in my routine. I love trying new creams and I have a completely different set for the day. Right now I’m using a natural eye cream alternated with the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery eye cream that goes with the serum.

8. Moisturizer

Like with the eye cream, I love trying new face creams. I tried so many I lost count, Koreans, Japanese, other brands… a little bit of this and that. Right now I’m using a natural cream from a brand I’ve never heard. I like it, but I prefer more heavy creams for the night, so I think I’m going to buy a new one and switch them daily.


+2 weekly extra steps

1. Peeling

Exfoliating is tricky. I don’t do it often, and I try to listen to my skin and use a peel when I feel like I need it.

I have two I’m currently using. One is  a natural face scrub that I use once every week and a half.

The other one that I love is Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel from DR. JART+. This is a gentle peel, you apply it using a cotton pad and remove it after a couple of minutes with lukewarm water. It’s super delicate, you don’t even feel it, and leaves your skin soft and glowing.

 2. Sheet mask (and face masks in general)

I love sheet masks and I use them once a week, usually on Sundays when I want to take some time to pamper myself.

I have sheet masks from all different brands, especially because I went to Japan in April and I came back with a suitcase full of beauty products (and food, duh).

Tony Moly has a good quality/ price balance. You can easily buy the 11-pack masks in Amazon, and they are all different.

And with the sheet masks my beauty routine ends.

One thing I want to say is that doing all of this doesn’t take more than 15 minutes at most.

Tons of friends were interested in this routine, and they all got scared from the amount of products they would have had to use.

Thing is, it is really fast. I usually do my double cleansing as soon as I get home and I know I won’t have to go out again for the day. I save the other steps for when I’m ready to go to bed, and they take me 5-7 minutes tops.

Personally, I love taking that time to take care of myself. It helps to shut down my brain.

The step that takes more time I think is the sheet mask, because I usually leave it on for at least 20 minutes. That’s why I like to do it on Sundays, so I can chill watching a movie while I wait for the magic to happen.

What about you? Are you following a particular skin care routine? Do you have some products you love? Leave me a comment with some recommendations, I’m always eager to try new things!


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