Korean Skin Care and 10-Step Skin Care Routine: Your Guide to Glowing Skin

For many, the first thing that comes to mind from a Korean skin care routine is the so-called 10-step routine, where the skin is pampered with various masks, ampoules, eye serums, lymphatic massage, and so on. In reality, you don't have to do all these steps every day, you can tailor your skin care routine to your own needs.


The steps of a Korean 10-step skin care routine

  1. Make-up removal with an oil-based cleansing product
  2. Skin cleansing with a water-based cleansing product
  3. Peeling
  4. Mask (wash-off or sheet mask)
  5. Toner
  6. Serum, ampoule and essence
  7. Eye cream
  8. Moisturizer (and emulsion)
  9. Night masks and lip masks
  10. Sunscreen


Easy Korean skincare routine in 3 steps:

  1. Double cleansing: Remove makeup with an oil-based cleanser and cleanse the skin with a water-based cleanser.

  2. Moisturizing: Use toner, serum and moisturizer.

  3. Sunscreen: Remember to protect your skin with sunscreen.


Skinfood Pear Mask


Why double cleansing is worth it

The two-step cleansing regime is an essential part of an authentic Korean skin care routine. Oil-based cleansing effectively removes make-up, sunscreen and dirt accumulated on the skin during the day. After this, the skin is cleaned with a water-based product.


Skin hydration: all skin types need moisturizer

Every skin type, including oily and prone to impurities, needs and benefits on the use of moisturizing products. For example, acne skin can often be sensitive and dry due to repeated infections, especially if various acne treatment products are used a lot. In this case, it is important to take care of moisturizing the skin so that the protective layer of the skin remains in good condition, because damaged skin is even more susceptible to infections and bacteria.

If you want the simplest possible skin care routine, choose an oil-based cleansing product suitable for your skin type tonermoisturizer and sunscreen.


Toner - how to use it

The first step of moisturizing the skin is toner. A toner is by no means intended for wiping off make-up residues, but it brings the first dose of hydration and caring ingredients to the face and prepares the skin for the following treatment steps. Toner can also balance the pH balance of the skin after washing.

Korean toners come in a wide variety of formulations, from watery to thicker emulsion-like consistencies. We recommend applying moisturizing toners by patting with your hands, exfoliating ones should instead be applied to the face with a cotton pad in circular motions.

Toner pads are popular in Korea and are very convenient. Toner pads have the essence water already saturated on the pad, so they are ready to use. Toners pads can be used either like regular toner or they can be left on the face for a few minutes like a mini-mask.

If you're ready to invest a little in your skin care routine, we recommend choosing a toner, serum and moisturizer suitable for your skin type. With this combination, you can already go a long way in the pursuit of glowing skin.


What is the 7-skin method?

You may have heard of the Korean method where toner is layered on the skin more than once. Even though the method talks about seven, it is not really intended to layer seven layers of face water on the skin.

The idea is more that if your skin feels very dry, you can add two or three layers of face water, or even more if you want.


What is the difference between toner and essence

Essence is the next step in the skin care routine after toner. It contains active ingredients that treat desired skin problems, such as dark spots, hydrate or prevent the first signs of aging.

Even though the essence has a water-like composition, it is not the same as toner, because the essence has more moisturizing and skin-care ingredients than a toner.

As a difference to the serum, an essence is typically lighter and has a more liquid consistency. The active ingredient concentrations in the treatment liquid are also not as high as in the serum or ampoule.

The essence is a water-based care product that is applied to the skin after toner. Essence is applied to the face by patting with hands, just like the serum.


The difference between serum and ampoule

Apply the next treatment product to the skin while the skin is still moist from ftoner or essence.

Serums and ampoules contain active ingredients that are absorbed deep into the skin. Active ingredients, i.e. for example Vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid and so on, are chosen according to the needs of one's own skin.

Ampoules contain active ingredients in high concentrations, which are intended to treat a specific skin concern, such as uneven skin tone or lines. Ampoules often contain only one active ingredient, such as centella, but in higher concentrations than in serum. Serums, on the other hand, often combine many different active ingredients, so you get the benefits of several ingredients at once.

If you want to treat several different skin concerns or if you want more benefits with your skin care routine, you can layer several different serums and ampoules. A good rule of thumb is to layer different serums and ampoules no more than three at a time.

Most of the active ingredients can be used at the same time, but when using stronger ingredients such as retinoids (retinol, retinal) and peeling acids, you should use judgment in the combination. This is mainly so that you don't accidentally stress your skin too much at once, with products that are too strong. This easily leads to damage to the skin barrier. If you are unsure about the combination of products or ingredients, you can always ask for advice in our store or from our cosmetologist.


Numbuzin Collagen Pudding Serum


The face cream and Korean emulsion - What is the difference?

Moisturizer is an important last step in moisturizing the skin. Choose a product suitable for your skin type, for example a face cream for aging skin should improve skin elasticity and contain ingredients that fade fine lines. The best moisturizer for oily skin is light, often gel-like, and does not clog pores. The busiest and those who want a skin care routine as simple as possible can test a face cream with spf. However we always recommend a separate face cream and sunscreen to get the best result and protection.

What is Korean emulsion and how to use it

Emulsion is definitely one of the most confusing Korean skincare products out there, as it can't be directly categorized into a specific purpose. Essentially and simplistically, an emulsion is (in most cases) a very light moisturizer. Its composition is water-like and much lighter than a cream, but thicker than a serum, and it absorbs into the skin quickly. In this case, the emulsion is added after serum, before moisturizer or sunscreen.

However, emulsion may also mean a product that prepares and softens the skin quite like essences do. In that case, the product is then intended to be used after toner and essence, before ampoules and serums. The intended use of the product can be found most easily directly from the product instructions and description, but can be deduced also based on the composition. If it resembles light moisturizer, then it's exactly that. If it's really water-like, almost like an essence, then it's supposed to be added before ampoules and serums.

For some, an emulsion alone may be enough as the last moisturizing step of skin care, but emulsions are at their best when used as an addition to a moisturizer in a skin care routine. Emulsion is by no means the most important steps of skin care, but rather a special supplement that can be used to get additional benefits out of your skin care routine. So you can also replace face cream with an emulsion, if it's moisturizing properties are sufficient for your skin's needs.


Sunscreen is the last step in your skin care routine

Sunscreen completes the skin care routine. Whether you prefer chemical or physical protection, the most important thing is to use sunscreen regularly and sufficiently.

For the face and neck, a rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen with a two-finger-sized tube squeezed. The problem with this measuring method is, of course, that the cream comes out in different amounts from different tubes. If you hesitate, then according to the instructions, you should apply 0.25-0.5 teaspoons of sunscreen on your face.

The official guidelines of different countries about the necessity of sunscreen in winter vary, but the sun's rays are proven to cause a large part of the signs of skin aging, so there is absolutely no harm in using it in winter.

Inside, on the other hand, sunscreen is not needed, if you are not in front of a window in direct sunlight for most of the day.

Tinted tone up creams with SPF protection and a light BB cream-like coverage, speeds up busy mornings tremendously or can give an extra boost for your makeup base routine.



All skin types benefit from exfoliation, including dry and sensitive skin. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and thus prevents clogged pores, which cause blackheads, among other things. In addition, skin care products can work more effectively when you remember to exfoliate your skin regularly.

When we are younger, our skin is able to effectively remove dead skin cells, but as we age, our skin starts to need help.

You should also remember moderation when exfoliating. Excessive exfoliation can cause, among other things, skin infections and worsen acne. Read more about peeling.


Using a face mask

You can choose according to your own taste either wash-off or disposable sheet mask. A mask is an effective addition to your skin care routine, although not essential. However, if you dream of Korean glass skin, the mask will add a good boost to your skin care routine.

You can use the masks every day if you want! You will get the best benefit by adding a mask or several to your skin care routine every week.


Anua Peach Sheet Mask


Order in which the skin care products are put:

Skincare products are always added starting with water-based products and oil-based products are added last. This ensures that all products are absorbed into the skin.

So the products are added from the most runny to thicker compositions: face water, serum, moisturizer, oil and sunscreen.

Products with a water-based composition are absorbed deeper into the skin (such as a serum or an ampoule) and if a thick face cream were added before them, its stronger molecular structure would prevent thinner skin care products from being absorbed where they belong.


The best products for a Korean skin care routine for different skin types:

Here are our recommendations for different skin types. However, remember that no product is guaranteed to be suitable for everyone, even if the skin type is the same. If you want tips and individual advice regarding your skin care, come to our expert Yeppo & Soonsoo store or ask for advice from our cosmetologist.

For all skin types:

For skin prone to impurities and oily skin:

For dry skin:

For aging skin:

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