The Entire Korean Skincare Routine Explained + Tips to Achieve More With Less

The 10-step Korean skincare routine has been gaining immense popularity around the world. Backed by dermatologists as well as success stories, it has positioned itself as the ultimate skincare regime, ruling over every other fad that has come and gone. However, many people tend to immediately dismiss it under the assumption that 10 steps are ‘just too much!’ If you’ve had the same thought, you’re definitely not alone. Yes, 10 steps is definitely a little bit lengthier than your regular CTM routine, but the results are oh so worth it! We have put together a completely doable (we promise) 10 step Korean skincare routine for morning and night to help you achieve the skin of your dreams.

Trust us, the few extra minutes this takes are nothing when weighed against the benefits for your skin. Nevertheless, if you still think you can’t pull off the entire routine, stay tuned till the end for a quick and easy 7 step and 5 step version as well. You can find everything (yes, absolutely everything) that you’ll need for this routine over at Maccaron, so there’s really no excuse left to not give this a shot!

10 Steps Morning Routine

1. Cleansing

Cleanse your skin with just water in the morning as that’s usually sufficient to remove any minor impurities that settle on the skin overnight. Or you could opt for a gentle cleanser like the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser.

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2. Toning

toner works to balance the skin’s pH levels, hydrate it, and prepare it to absorb the products you’re going to apply next. You can opt for one like the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner for everyday use.

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3. Essence

Considered the heart of Korean skincare, the essence is a hybrid between a toner and a serum. It hydrates the skin while aiding with cell turnover. The Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence is a popular pick in this category.

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4. Ampoule

Ampoules contain a higher concentration of actives than an essence, making them perfect to target specific skin concerns like acne or aging. If cell repair is what you’re looking for the Secret Key Multi Cell Night Repair Ampoule is a great pick.

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5. Serum

Serums are oil-based or water-based products with a high concentration of active ingredients and deep penetrative abilities to deliver better results. Vitamin C serums are immensely popular for their brightening properties. The Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop is a highly raved Vitamin C serum that you can find on Maccaron.

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6. Sheet Mask

If you have some extra time to spare, a sheet mask is a perfect addition to your skincare routine. Soaked in serums made of nourishing ingredients, a sheet mask will greatly boost your skin’s hydration and help it heal faster. Try the Farm Skin Superfood Honey Sheet Mask.

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7. Spot Treatment

If you’re battling skin concerns like pesky acne breakouts, you can use a spot treatment to give those areas some extra attention. The COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch is a great way to deal with breakouts in a jiffy.

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8. Eye Cream

The delicate skin around the eyes is thin and doesn’t produce sebum, so a good eye cream is essential to keep this area hydrated and prevent wrinkles. You can try using the Benton Fermentation Eye Cream.

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9. Moisturizer

A light and hydrating moisturizer is a better option during the day to keep your skin supple and refreshed while locking all the moisture in. We recommend the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream

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10. Sun Protection

Skipping this step could make your entire routine go to waste. Sun protection is absolutely crucial to prevent the sun’s rays from damaging your skin and worsening your skin’s condition. Go for a wide spectrum sunscreen like the Suntique I’m Pure Perfect Cica.

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Don’t want to do all the 10 steps? No worries! You can go ahead and take it down a notch to just 7 steps and still achieve fabulous results. You can just choose between serum or ampoule, and omit your sheet mask and spot treatment if you don’t need it, and you’re still good to go.

Are you even more pressed for time? There’s still a way for you to pull off the best of the Korean skincare routine in just 5 steps. After you cleanse and tone, you can opt for a serum or an ampoule and go ahead with an eye cream. Choose a moisturizer with SPF so you don’t have to use them separately.

10 Steps Night time Routine

1. Oil Cleanser

First, cleanse your face with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup, SPF, and excess sebum. You can try the Heimish All Clean Balm.

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2. Water Cleanser

Follow up the oil cleanser with a water-based cleanser like Real Barrier Control T Cleansing Foam to purify the skin by removing dirt, pollution, and other impurities.

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3. Exfoliator

Exfoliating your skin every week with a gentle product like the Klairs Black Sugar Facial Polish is a great way to get rid of dead skin cells, leaving your skin soft and supple.

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4. Toner

Use a pH balancing toner like the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid, just like you did in the morning to prep your skin.

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5. Essence

Now apply your hydrating essence such as the Accoje Whitening Capsule Essence to nourish your complexion. A good essence will deliver essential nutrients into your skin while also preparing it to absorb more products.

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6. Ampoule

The active ingredients in the ampoule will work to repair your skin all night. You can try the COSRX Propolis Light Ampoule.

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7. Serum

You can now go ahead and apply a heavy-duty serum like the It’s Skin Power 10 Formula GF Effector Serum and let it work its wonders while you sleep. This serum provides deep hydration while soothing and restoring the skin.

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8. Overnight Mask

If you can find some time to spare, we recommend you apply a layer of any nourishing overnight mask like the COSRX Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask. This will give your skin some extra love and care with its soothing and healing properties- all while you get your beauty sleep!

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9. Eye Cream

Gently slather on your eye cream on the delicate skin that surrounds your eye. Pro tip: Storing your eye cream in the fridge would make it feel cool and soothing when you apply it after a long day. We recommend the It’s Skin Power 10 Formula GF Eye Cream.

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10. Moisturizer

Go for a more nourishing formulation for your nighttime routine to intensely hydrate your skin and keep all the goodness locked in. Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream is a perfect option for this step.

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You can condense your nighttime routine into 7 steps by omitting the exfoliator (which you only need 1–2 times a week anyway) and overnight mask and choosing between serum or ampoule. If that’s still not doable, you can drop it down to just 5 steps by skipping out on essence and by cleansing just once.

Now that we’ve broken down the whole process, we hope the routine doesn’t seem as scary as it used to. We promise, the results are so worth it, and all it takes is just a few extra minutes of your time. If you have commitment issues (don’t we all), you can start with the 5 step version and slowly evolve to 7 steps before finally upgrading to doing all 10 steps like a pro. You can find everything you need to get started and so much more on Maccaron.

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