A cornerstone of the Korean Beauty, or K-Beauty, trend is the 10-step skincare regimen which is credited with creating the infamous Korean flawless skin.
Ten steps might sound a little intensive, but Charlotte Cho, the founder of Soko Glam (a hugely influential blog in the rise of the K-Beauty trend), has been careful to clarify that while you can incorporate these 10 steps, they don’t need to be used every time. Instead, Charlotte states that the key to success with K-Beauty is to understand the purpose of each step and to pick products which meet your personal skin goals.
1: Oil Cleanser (Morning and Night, Daily)
An oil cleanser forms the first step of the double cleanse on this routine. Oil attracts oil and when massaged in, an oil cleanser will break down make-up or other dirt and melt it away.
Recommended product: Missha Super Off Cleansing Oil
2: Water Cleanser (Morning and Night, Daily)
In the second step of the double cleanse, a water cleanser helps to thoroughly remove any remaining residue on the skin and gives a deeper clean.
Recommended product: NEOGEN Real Cica Micellar Cleansing Foam
3: Exfoliator (Twice Weekly)
Exfoliators purify pores and make skin brighter. Exfoliation can be physical or chemical for this step but by taking away dead skin, these products help smooth the skin and allow other skin care steps to work more efficiently. Over-exfoliation can be harsh on the skin though, so don’t overdo it!
Recommended product: My Mentor Dr. G Brightening Peeling Cream
4: Toner (Morning and Night, Daily)
Toners remove any leftover residue from the cleansing process, while preparing the skin to absorb moisturizers or serums to follow.
Recommended product: Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner
5: Essence: (Daily)
Essences are somewhere between a toner and a serum, aiming to help cell turnover and brighten the skin. Essences contain a concentrated blend of ingredients to suit your skin type and can be a great hydration step.
6: Treatments (Daily)
Pick a serum or ampoule to suit your specific skin concern, e.g. hydrating, anti-aging or anti-blemish. These products pack a treatment punch and can be targeted successfully at problem areas.
Recommended product: Liz K First C Pure Vitamin C Total Care Serum
7: Sheet Masks (Twice Weekly)
Relaxing and indulgent, the Korean sheet mask delivers better absorption of products by prolonging exposure against the skin. They typically are left on for 15-20 minutes and skin feels revived and plumped afterwards. Again, these are made for a variety of skin concerns.
Recommended product: Dr Jart Hydration Brightening Infusion Hydrogel Mask
8: Eye Cream (Daily)
Skin around the eye is very delicate and prone to fine lines. Therefore, an intensive cream can help fight the signs of aging and tiredness. An eye cream should be concentrated with a potent mix of skincare ingredients and should be tapped into the skin rather than rubbed.
Recommended product: Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
9: Moisturizer (Morning and Night, Daily)
Moisturizer is the final step, sealing in moisture and the benefits of other products you’ve used. Look out for a formulation containing Hyaluronic Acid (a moisture magnet ingredient which per gram can hold up to six litres of water) and always remember to moisturize your neck as well as face!
Recommended product: SUR.MEDIC+ Super Hyaluronic 100TM Aqua Emulsion
10: Sun Protection (Morning, Daily)
Wearing SPF every day (even without being out in the sun) is the best way to prevent premature aging on delicate facial skin. It should be the last step in every routine and applied religiously to protect from harmful UV rays.
Recommended product: Lagom Cellus Sun Gel
Hopefully, the 10-step skincare regime now seems less daunting and you may already be using a lot of these steps in your daily routine. Korean brand products only are mentioned above, but western brands have also created a huge range of products which deliver similar benefits and can be swapped in.
As for the effort involved, lots of followers of the regimen have reported that it becomes second nature and even takes on a meditative quality! We can’t vouch for that but ultimately, if you can stick to it, the myriad of skin treatments being delivered can only be beneficial!
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