10-Step Korean Skincare Routine: Does it Work?

10-Step Korean Skincare Routine: Does it Work?

The 10 step skincare routine sounded daunting to me when I had first heard it.  I was always fine with the way I took care of my skin. A charcoal mask one day followed by a sheet mask the next.  Toning with Witch Hazel then using Clinique Moisturizer felt entirely fine for me. Though I still dealt with breakouts every now and then.  Transitioning between Hong Kong’s climate and New York’s climate took such a huge toll on my skin and I decided it was time to actively make a change in my skincare.

I’ve been practicing the 10 step skincare routine for the last month and I’ll outline what I’ve noticed and the products I’ve been using!

  1. Banila Co Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm

  2. Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes

  3. Soy Face Cleanser

  4. Bioderma Micellar Water

  5. Peter Thomas Roth Peeling Gel/Tarte Frixxxtion stick

  6. Witch Hazel Rose Toner / Fresh Hydrating Rose Toner

  7. Tatcha the Essence

  8. The Ordinary Buffet Serum

  9. Innisfree Eye Serum

  10. Clinique Hydrating Jelly

  11. Rosehip oil / tea tree oil / Lush’s Grease Lightning

Though I’ve listed 11 steps I rotate between two and so the process really becomes 10 steps.

If I’ve been wearing a lot of makeup I will take my time cleansing my skin.  I had no idea how clogged your skin can get with makeup; using a makeup wipe then washing your face doesn’t do enough to get primer and foundation out of your pores.  I’d gone to get a facial in May and when my Esthetician showed me all the excess makeup that had been trapped in my skin I was horrified.

So now I will have 2 - 4 makeup removal steps depending on how much makeup I’ve worn.

Let’s assume I’ve worn a face full of makeup,

I’ll first start with a cleansing balm - anything will work honestly coconut oil does a great job.

I will then use a towelette to remove the makeup that has been melted down by the balm / oil.  After that has been wiped off i’ve go in and wash my face with a regular cleanser. After this, you may think your skin is clean but there are most definitely traces of makeup along your jaw, chin, and forehead.  I take a cotton pad soaked in micellar water and wipe off all the excess makeup I find. Depending on the day of the week (I exfoliate 3 times a week) I’ll exfoliate with either the Peter Thomas Roth Peeling Gel or the Tarte Frixxxtion Stick.   

Now I go in with the products that really make a difference in the quality of my skin.  I begin with a toner and apply with a cotton pad all over my face. Once I’ve let the toner sink in, I take essence in between my hands and apply it all over the face tapping it in.  I describe essence as a primer for skincare. Just as makeup primer gets your skin ready for foundation, essence allows your skincare products to really soak in beyond the surface level.  Now I use a serum and apply all over my face and let it sink in again. I’ll go under my eyes with an eye cream or serum (though I’ve found I prefer a serum). I’ll end with a moisturizer; in the summer, gel or “jelly” moisturizing products work better for me.  Depending on what’s happening with my skin I’ll use rosehip oil or tea tree oil. Tea tree is clarifying and can be applied over blemishes to help heal them and prevent scarring (not an overnight zit-zapping treatment). I use rosehip oil on areas where I have acne scarring as rosehip oil essential fatty acids fight pigmentation.


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