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Guide To Korean Skincare- Decoding 10-Step Skincare Routine

By Vidhi

Updated - May 9, 20248 min read

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Decoding the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

The 10-step Korean skincare routine is a comprehensive system designed to address every conceivable skin need. The routine begins with an oil cleanser to remove oil-based impurities, followed by a water-based cleanser for deeper cleaning. Exfoliation comes next to slough away dead skin cells, paving the way for the toner to restore pH balance. Essences, with their active ingredients, target specific skin concerns, while serums and ampoules offer a more concentrated treatment. A sheet mask is then used for its therapeutic and hydrating properties. The eye cream that follows focuses on the delicate eye area. Moisturizer seals in all the beneficial ingredients, and finally, sunscreen protects the skin from harmful UV rays.

korean skincare rountine

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Step 1 - Use An Oil-Based Cleanser


How It Can Help: Oil-based cleansers are gentle and effective in removing oil-based makeup, sunscreen, and debris without irritating the skin. They facilitate blood circulation, promoting bright and healthy skin.


How To Use: Apply a small amount to your face, massaging in circular motions for 2-3 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.

korean skincare

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Step 2 - Cleanse Again!


How To Use: Use a foaming or water-based cleanser to remove sweat and dirt, ensuring to maintain your skin's pH balance.

korean skincare

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Step 3 - Exfoliate Your Skin


How It Can Help: Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, brightens skin tone and improves texture.


How To Use: Gently massage a scrub into your face, then wash it off after a minute or two.

korean skincare

Image courtesy: lia beauty

Step 4 - Apply Toner


How It Can Help: Toner removes residual impurities, balancing skin pH levels.


How To Use: Pat a few drops of toner onto your skin with your fingers or a cotton pad.

korean skincare

Image courtesy: Beauty Bam



Step 5 - The New Thing In Town - Essence


How It Can Help: Essence soothes and hydrates the skin, speeding up cell turnover.


How To Use: Pat a few drops of essence into your skin.

korean skincare

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Step 6 - Use A Serum/Ampoule/Booster


How It Can Help: Serums contain active ingredients targeting specific skin concerns.


How To Use: Pat a small amount of serum into your skin.

korean skincare

Image courtesy: medium

Step 7 - Put On A Sheet Mask


How It Can Help: Sheet masks are hydrating and packed with vitamins and minerals.


How To Use: Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 20-30 minutes.

korean skincare

Image courtesy: Beauty Barn

Step 8 - Use An Eye Cream


How It Can Help: Eye creams prevent signs of aging and hydrate delicate under-eye skin.


How To Use: Gently tap a pea-sized amount of eye cream under your eyes.

korean skincare

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Step 9 - Moisturize


How It Can Help: Moisturizer locks in previous layers of skincare products.


How To Use: Apply moisturizer in circular motions, massaging into the skin.

korean skincare

Image courtesy: kaizenaire

Step 10 - Don’t Forget The SPF


How It Can Help: SPF protects against harmful UV rays, preventing skin damage.


How To Use: Pat sunscreen onto your face and neck to shield your skin.

korean skincare

Image courtesy: prevention


While the 10-step routine may seem daunting, each step serves a purpose to promote the ultimate goal of healthy, glowing skin. Adapting the routine to fit your own skin's needs and lifestyle is entirely possible, making it a flexible skincare regimen that has gained global popularity.



Choosing the Right Products for Your Skin Type

The beauty of Korean skincare lies in its customization. Knowing your skin type—oily, dry, combination, or sensitive—is crucial when selecting products. For oily skin, lightweight, water-based products can provide hydration without excess grease. Dry skin benefits from richer creams and oils that lock in moisture. Combination skin requires a balanced approach, often involving multiple products targeting different areas. Sensitive skin types should look for gentle formulations free from irritants like alcohol, fragrance, or dyes. By understanding your skin type, you can curate a Korean skincare routine that harmonizes with your skin's unique needs.

Product choice can also be influenced by concerns such as acne, aging, or hyperpigmentation. Korean skincare offers targeted treatments with ingredients like snail mucin, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide that cater to these specific issues.

korean skincare

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Incorporating Korean Skincare Techniques into Your Routine

Beyond products, Korean skincare emphasizes techniques that maximize skin benefits. The 'double-cleansing' method ensures thoroughly cleansed skin, while 'patting' rather than rubbing products in helps increase absorption. Another technique is the '7-skin method,' which involves applying up to seven layers of toner to deeply hydrate the skin. Adopting these techniques can significantly boost your skincare routine's effectiveness while providing a more indulgent self-care experience.

Korean skincare also focuses on preventing skin issues before they begin. This proactive approach means that techniques and products are geared towards maintaining skin health and vitality, not just addressing problems as they arise.

korean skincare

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The Evolution of Korean Skincare: Trends and Innovations

Korean skincare is ever-evolving, with trends and innovations frequently hitting the market. From snail mucin to bee venom, Korean beauty is known for pioneering unique ingredients that make a splash globally. The recent trend towards 'clean beauty' has also seen Korean brands developing products with non-toxic and environmentally friendly ingredients.

Technological advancements have played a part too, with new product formulations that improve stability and absorption of active ingredients. This constant innovation keeps Korean skincare at the forefront of the beauty industry, offering consumers an ever-expanding array of options.

korean skincare

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Korean Skincare Tips for Sensitive Skin

For those with sensitive skin, Korean skincare offers a variety of gentle yet effective solutions. Products with soothing ingredients like Centella Asiatica, aloe vera, and green tea can reduce inflammation and irritation. It's also important for sensitive skin types to introduce new products slowly, one at a time, to monitor the skin's reaction. Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free options are widely available, ensuring that even the most reactive skin can benefit from the Korean skincare approach.


Regularly using sunscreen, avoiding harsh physical exfoliants, and opting for products with a low pH are other key tips to keep in mind for maintaining the health of sensitive skin.



Korean Skincare in India

Korean skincare has made a significant impact in India, with its products gaining a loyal following for their effectiveness and innovation. Indian consumers appreciate the focus on gentle formulations and the layering techniques that Korean skincare advocates. With India's diverse climate and environmental stressors, the adaptable nature of these products meets a variety of skin needs.


The availability of Korean skincare has increased in India, with many products being sold online and in specialized beauty stores. This accessibility has made it easier for Indian consumers to explore and incorporate Korean skincare into their daily routines.

korean skincare

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10 affordable Korean skincare brands (in point)

Korean Beauty is renowned for combining quality with affordability; numerous brands exemplify this.

Some affordable Korean skincare brands include:

  • COSRX, known for their effective acne treatments
  • Etude House offers a range of playful cosmetics and skincare
  • Innisfree, with its nature-inspired products
  • The Face Shop, which merges science and nature
  • and Missha, famous for their Time Revolution line.  TonyMoly, for their quirky packaging and reliable ingredients
  • Nature Republic, with its soothing aloe vera gel
  • Benton, focusing on natural beauty
  • Holika Holika, for their alluring aesthetics and quality formulations
  • Mizon, which specializes in snail repair creams and essences.

korean skincare

Image courtesy: Nykaa


Each of these brands has a unique offering, but all maintain the high standards of innovation and care that Korean skincare is known for, without breaking the bank.



Where to Buy These Skincare Brands in India


If you're interested in trying out Korean skincare brands in India, there are several options available. Many Korean skincare brands have expanded their presence globally and have official online stores that ship to India. Additionally, there are several e-commerce platforms and beauty websites that offer a wide range of Korean skincare products. Some popular online retailers in India include Nykaa, Myntra, and Amazon. It's important to ensure that you purchase from authorized retailers to guarantee the authenticity of the products. By exploring these options, you can easily access a variety of Korean skincare brands and incorporate them into your skincare routine.