By now you’ve definitely heard of the promise of your best skin via the Korean 10-step skincare routine. But we’re here to show you how customizable the regimen can be. Even though it may seem high maintenance at first, the secret is that you’re not supposed to do every step on a daily basis. Take a look at our step-by-step breakdown for more details.
1 and 2. Cleansing! Double cleansing is one trend that has come out of this routine that I am a big advocate for. Using an oil-based cleanser first is necessary to remove makeup before working in a water-based cleanser to remove daily grime. Without the former, the water-based cleanser just pushes old makeup around without actually removing it from the skin.
For days when my oily-combination skin feels extra congested, the One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover smells amazing and feels especially gentle considering that it’s full of exfoliating enzymes in addition to breaking down oil. I pair this with the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser, which warms up in your palms and really works on pore cleansing and minimization.
On a normal basis, I like using the Dermalogica Precleanse (get it as part of the holiday Skin Brightening Duo here), which really works at removing my waterproof makeup without leaving a film on my skin. I follow up with the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser (click here for 20% off), which has a really cool bouncy jelly texture that conditions skin and lashes!
3. Eye Makeup Remover! This is one of those optional steps and only for days when I’m wearing glitter or an extra amount of eyeliner. The Kleenex Eye Makeup Removers are the perfect size and thickness for wiping off waterproof eye makeup and don’t irritate my eyes. The Kopari Coconut Melt (get it part of this kit here) is perfect for when I’m wearing extra mascara since I feel like the pure oil just helps mascara glide off my lashes instead of ripping them out. The Skyn Glacial Cleansing Cloths for Eyes is comforting to puffy eyes and for really lazy days when I just want to get everything off now.
4. Exfoliation! Again not a step for everyday. I only exfoliate three times a week, but you may need less depending on your skin type. The Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel is a strong chemical peel that I use once a week to really buff away dead skin cells and impurities. The Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant (get it here) is a rice powder enzyme mix that you mix with water and transforms into a creamy physical exfoliant that gently polishes your skin into baby new. Skin Food Black Sugar Mask Wash Off is technically a mask that you leave on for 10-15 min? But I use it as a crazy smooth exfoliator that smells amazing, like most people.
5. Face Mists! This is probably my favorite part of the 10-step regime. Spraying on a mist toner/essence/water is a great way to prime the skin to lock in moisture after you’ve stripped down to a clean, bare face. The Avene Eau Thermale is the most basic formula (perfect for sensitive skin) but feels really great with a fine mist mechanism. The Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist is a luxurious and rose-perfumed toning mist that I find especially relaxing to use at night. Farmacy Skin Dew is a spray-on essence, meaning a more vigorous spray that really pushes skin-boosting ingredients into the skin, so I like to use at night to really absorb the benefits. Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist offers a super fine mist and works perfectly as a primer and refresher for makeup. I like using this moisturizing mist on days when I want my makeup to last all day. Saturday Skin Hydrating Essence Mist feels extra nice on pampered skin, so I tend to use it after masking. Edible Beauty Citrus Rhapsody Toner Mist smells amazing and works well morning or night for a light hit of toner.
6. Eye Cream! I have three types that I like to rotate through. The One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm has a shea butter base which feels really plush and rich for the eye area. The balm is a solid that melts with the heat from your fingertips so I recommend for night time only. The Skyn Icelandic Relief Eye Cream on the other hand is a cooling, lightweight formula that works well under makeup so I recommend for morning use. I’ve been using the Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado for the longest time because it has a perfectly creamy texture that absorbs quickly as a daily use, no-fuss eye cream.
7. Essence! Although some people like applying essences before eye cream, I like to do so after since I find that the eye cream doesn’t absorb as nicely with this super liquid-y, potent serum sitting underneath. The Missha Time Revolution Essence is a great budget venture into essences. The key is to be consistent and use them for at least two months to see glowy skin that absorbs products better. The Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence is a luxurious step up that offers brightening and toning properties, which I’ve noticed in the form of a much more even skin tone.
8. Treatments! These are the powerhouse skin fixers, whether your concerns are anti-aging, blemish fighting or pore tightening, and meant to be applied after your skin has been primed for nutrients by your essence of choice. Amore Pacific Future Response Age Defense Serum is a light serum that packs a heavy punch with free-radical-fighting green tea to help counteract environmental aggravators: essential for city-living. Edible Beauty Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum is a slippery serum with Hyalouronic acid for instant plumping and firming action. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is a good liquid exfoliant serum-type that sinks into skin, especially effective following a good physical exfoliation session. One Love Organics Vitamin C Brightening Facial Serum is an essential oil-based serum that brightens dark spots and evens skin tone. Rodin Olio Lusso is a potent once-a-week beauty oil to press into skin for extra nourishment when skin looks dull and dry.
9. Masks! This is something I typically do once or twice a week when I want an extra pampering boost. For masks that need to be rinsed off, insert this step after step 1/2 and for sheet masks apply after step 8 so that the mask’s treatment is a final application of product before sealing in with a night cream. Nerd Skin Repair Master Mask is luxuriously thick and just feels like it helps its cocktail of skin healing ingredients penetrate the skin further. Boscia’s Mask it All set is a good way to get your hands on a variety of mask types to rotate for a comprehensive routine. The Charcoal Pore Pudding is one of my favorites for refining my oily skin texture. Sometimes I leave the Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask on my face and let it sink in rather than washing off, because it’s that skin quenching. I like to stick the Skyn Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels in my fridge before resting them on my undereyes for maximum depuffing benefits. Tony Moly I’m Real Masks are an inexpensive and fun way to try out and get into a habit of using sheet masks.
10. Night Creams! Ever since I’ve started my 10-step skin regimen, I haven’t needed as rich night creams. I prefer using a lighter formula to seal in all the serum/essence nutrients I’ve already applied, rather than relying on my night cream to do all the work. The Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial works while you sleep to brighten the complexion and just smells amazing. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is a classic, non-irritating formula that seems to work for my combination skin. Lastly, I’ve been using the Somme Neckline Neck & Decollete Cream recently because our necks and chest are subject to hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, loss of firmness, etc. just like our facial skin. The texture is non-tacky and the formula features AHA for skin cell turnover as well as a mixture of vitamins to maintain a smooth and even tone.
How would you tailor a 10-step skincare routine for your lifestyle? Have you tried all of these steps?