Hi girls, how are you?
Today I want to talk to you about a little habit that has changed how I perceive my daily skincare and personal self-care in general. It is a seemingly long process that involves as many as 10-steps, but that to me is a real night treat. I am talking of course about the 10-step Korean skincare routine.
WHAT IS THE KOREAN SKINCARE ROUTINE
If you have never heard about it, let me quickly run you through the process. This specific skincare routine is used by the ladies in Korean and is famous for its many steps in order to reach perfection (that beautiful glass skin effect).
Indeed, if there is one beauty hack that our lovely Korean friends are known for is their seemingly perfect skin that would make any Kardashian’s botox jealous.
The steps consist of a double cleanse, exfoliating, tonifying, hydrating, and a few other little secrets.
If you’re thinking 10 steps is wayyyyyy too much and that you can barely remove your makeup with face wipes before going to bed, hear me out. I was just like you, but now what used to feel like an obligation has become a real pleasure of mine.
I honestly can’t wait to come home from work, sit in bed and start my little self-care routine. When I’m done, I feel so relaxed, clean and comfortable with myself that it feels like an immediate reward form the long day I just had.
If you keep reading this post, I will also give many of my personal tips on how to make this whole process all the more enjoyable, so that you can also appreciate taking care of yourself every night just as much as I do.
Are you ready to revolutionize your skincare habits? Then keep on reading!
HOW I STARTED ADOPTING THE KOREAN SKINCARE ROUTINE
Before we dive into the process itself, I think it is valuable to quickly tell you exactly how and why I started doing the Korean skincare routine (because no, I did not just wake up one day and randomly decided to add 8 more steps to my regular skincare habits).
Up until two years ago, I was never exactly sure on what order to apply my skincare cosmetics. I was never really sure if I should first apply the hydrating creme and then the serums, or was it the pimple creme before all that stuff?
It was a nightmare.
So I started googling the order in which I should apply my already-owned products when I ended up discovering the Korean skincare steps. My curiosity of course got the best of me and I started reading a bit more about what were the girls in Korea doing differently from us to achieve their beautiful glowy skin and seemingly look forever young.
That was when my jaw dropped.
‘‘What on earth? 10 steps? No freaking way” was my first reaction. However, I further started reading about each and every product, what it was for and how important it was in the skincare routine. By the end of the post, I was already convinced I needed those other products in my life. That day I went to Kiehls after work and my skincare routine has never been the same again.
(PS- It’s worth mentioning that this post is not sponsored by Kiehl’s or any other brand in any way. I mentioned Kiehls because they were my initiation into the skincare world and I am a huge fan of their products in general ton this day, restocking at their store every Black Friday because I can buy more for less, lol ).
THE 10 STEPS OF THE ROUTINE, EXPLAINED
It’s important to convey that these 10 steps, in reality, don’t take long at all and I could do the entire process in around 6 minutes, which is totally worth it considering we are talking about our skin (and we should try to take care of it as much as possible).
Further on, you are always free to skip a step if you don’t feel like doing it. You are your own boss, so do whatever makes you feel good about yourself. This should not feel like an obligation to you and I admittedly have days in which all I do is cleanse, add a serum and call it a night. So don’t put too much pressure in yourself. This is supposed to feel like a treat!
I like to see it as a little time for myself, in which I sit down in my bed in my PJs and nice clean socks, light a little candle and start taking care of myself (and maybe even eat a little Lindt chocolate truffle, for an extra notch)
Girl, listen to me: you gotta treat yourself a lil’ bit every now and then. You deserve it too!
What are the 10 steps of the Korean skincare routine:
- Oil cleanse
- Foam cleanse
- Exfoliate (once a week)
- Serum & Ampoule
- Facial Oil
- Eye Cream
- SPF / Sleeping Mask
If you don’t fully understand what some (or any) of the above items mean, do not sweat. We will go over them one-by-one right now.
STEP 1 – OIL CLEANSE
Wait, wait, don’t run away just yet!!
Even if you have oily skin, like yours truly, this is a very important step in your skincare routine, and in fact, it quickly became my favorite one too (even if I can fry eggs in my forehead on a normal day).
Oil-based cleansers are amazing as the first step in makeup removal and as well any extra sebum that is on the surface of your skin. Apply it to your dry face, gently massage it around for about one minute, and rinse it away with warm water.
Tip – If you want to take this one step further (as I of course have), you can go to the extent of buying 7 small towels, for you to alternate for each day of the week. The trick here is to place the towel in the warm water and instead of washing off the oil from the sink, you place the warm towel in your face and let it gently absorb it out. This process is great especially if you have blackheads because it helps soften them out and they come out easier on their own (don’t press them out!!!).
Here is a great video I found on youtube in which a girl explains the process very well. Watch it and I dare you not to feel tempted to try it out.
I use the Kiehls lavender facial cleanse oil for this and the added Lavender smell is just the cherry on top of the cake for a completely relaxed sensation. Cris my boyfriend loves the lavender smell and usually enjoys hanging out in the bathroom with me while I do the oil cleanse, lol. It is adorable.
STEP 2 – FOAM CLEANSE
This was a step I usually avoided before I ever jumped into the Korean skincare routine. In fact, I hated washing my face before going to bed (it feels counter-productive to get my face wet when my end goal is to fall asleep).
This all changed when I found a store here in Barcelona that sells exclusively Korean products, called Miin Cosmetics. After my Black Friday Kiehls haul, my next stop to spend what remained of my money was this skincare store. There I discovered an amazing foam cleanser that changed my entire mindset around washing my face. The soap smells so delicious that cleaning my face is a real treat. My face feels as clean as it could ever be, smooth to the touch and smelling fantastic.
If before my end-goal was to go to sleep, my new goal is to go to sleep well.
And having clean, smooth skin is the way to go on about it.
Simply put a small droplet of the foam into your palm and gently rub it around your face in a circular motion for a good minute in order to remove all of the remaining impurities.
STEP 3 – EXFOLIATE
Exfoliating is a necessary steps because it helps increase blood flow and remove dead skin.
I have quite a bit of blackhead on my chin and lately I’ve been getting breakouts on my cheeks (damn you adult acne!!), so once a week I enjoy using an exfoliator to more aggressively penetrate the pores to clear them out.
This is a step that must be looked into with a certain word of caution, though!
Bear in mind that exfoliating too much can have counter effects on your skin and cause you to break out.
If you wish to do it daily, try a dedicated sponge or brush.
STEP 4 – TONER
The toners hydrates and increases the absorption of the remaining steps of your skincare routine. It is used to help bring some hydration back into the skin and get its pH level back to its ideal level of 5.5.
HOW TO USE IT
Apply it gently to your face with a finger or cotton pad.
WHAT PRODUCTS I USE
I use two toners (guess from where): Kiehls Calendula Toner and the Beauty Water (purchased at the Korean skincare shop here in Barcelona I told you about).
STEP 5 – ESSENCE
Considered the heart of the Korean skincare, yet overlooked by most people as a non-essential step, this is where the real magic happens, girls!
While the prior steps were all about cleaning your skin, in this step we add nutrients back into our skin to brighten and tighten things up, and to prep our skin for the next steps.
Essences are water lotions that are filled with beneficial ingredients. The application is fairly quick and easy. Just apply a few droplets to your hands and gently pat them to your face until it’s absorbed.
STEP 6 – SERUM AND AMPOULE
These are high-concentration formulas that address specific skin care needs. This is the part where you have to do our own research in order to buy one that will take care of whatever need you might have, be it dry or uneven skin, wrinkles, etc.
Apply them directly to the skin and pat it until fully absorbed.
STEP 7 – FACIAL OIL
Again, don’t overlook this step if you have oily skin, just do your research accordingly.
Facial oils are deep nourishing oil extracted from nutrient-rich flowers, plants, and fruits. Apply 2-3 droplets on the skin in combination with your moisturizer (this ideally is a night-only step).
STEP 8 – EYE CREAM
Our good ol’ friend. If you’re not using one yet, let me tell you it is never too early (or late for that matter) to start. Eye creams should be a must in every girl’s daily life, in my opinion.
Apply a pea-sized amount and be sure to use your ring finger to gently dab it on the under-eye and eyelid are.
The use of the ring finger is because this finger applies the product with less pressure, thus less harshly to your skin.
STEP 9 – MOISTURIZER
Finally, and very importantly, a daily moisturizer enhances the hydration by locking in the moisture.
Girls, don’t overlook moisturizing your face. Again, even if you have oily skin this is an important step (especially in winter times or if you live in countries which are very dry).
HOW TO USE IT
I use a pea-sized amount of product, spread it all over my face (and neck!!) and gently pat it in until fully absorbed.
When I wake up in the morning, my face always feels so soft and glowy. I also apply a day moisturized, which is a bit lighter, in the morning time.
STEP 10 -SPF
Now as the last step (and only to be used in the morning time for obvious reasons), please never forget to use SPF! It is so important to apply sunscreen on a daily basis. Following my mother’s wise instructions, I use it even when it is rainy.
You should see my mom’s skin, it’s unbelievable. In fact, I will share a pic of me and my mother below:
As you can see, I have high standards to achieve. And SPF is one of the ways to do it.