If you’ve spent any time reading beauty blogs or binge-watching skincare tutorial videos, then you’ve probably heard of the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine, also known as K-beauty or Korean skincare.
It took the United States beauty and skincare world by storm around the year 2011, and the Korean influence on skincare products has remained ever since.
So, what is K-beauty, and why has it become such a big deal?
K-beauty is a ten-step process for cleansing, treating and nourishing the skin. Koreans, known for having beautiful, flawless, glass-like skin, created the multi-step regimen and have practiced it for generations, and once it showed up in the United States, it quickly became a phenomenon.
One of the biggest misconceptions-and the most daunting notion-about K-beauty is that you have to do all ten steps, every day, twice a day; but that’s not true.
Here’s the truth: there is some flexibility in the routine, so while you can try all ten steps, some beauty experts recommend starting with just a few, then adding and adjusting according to your skin’s needs.
So, let’s take a look at all ten steps and talk about how each one can benefit your skin, whether you’re a man or a woman.
Step 1: Oil Cleanser
This is the first step of the double cleansing process. The oil draws out dirt and impurities and removes makeup. You can oil cleanse as part of both your day and night routines. For women, try our Floraison Women’s Facial Oil. For men, try our Nikao Men’s Multi-Action Beard Oil, which can be used as a facial oil cleanser. Gently massage it into dry skin and then cleanse with warm water and a washcloth.
Step 2: Foam or Water-Based Cleanser
The second step of the double cleanse is a water-based cleanser. Why cleanse a second time? Because this cleanser dissolves water-based impurities that the oil cleanser doesn’t remove, like sweat. Use your second cleanser both day and night, applying in circular motions and then rinsing with lukewarm water.
If you need a men’s product for the second cleansing step, our Adam Men’s Dual-Function Shaving Bar is a highly nourishing cleanser that removes grease, oil and dirt. It also exfoliates dead skin with high alpha hydroxy acid content from goat’s milk, which leads us to our next step.
Step 3: Exfoliator
Exfoliating breaks up and removes dead skin cells and reveals brighter, fresher, smoother skin. Regular exfoliation also helps your skin absorb the remaining products in the 10-step process.
This is one of the steps you don’t have to do every day, so you may want to start slowly and see how your skin responds. For some skin types, exfoliating once or twice a month is plenty. But for others, once or twice a week may yield better results.
Step 4: Toner
Your toner removes any product leftover from steps 1-3, and it prepares the skin to absorb the products in the next steps. Apply your toner with a cotton ball or pad, wiping your face and neck in gentle, upward motions.
Step 5: Essence
Some people skip this one because they don’t understand it, but this is actually one of the most important steps in the process. Essences are key for cell turnover.
They work like exfoliators, but they’re gentle enough for daily use. Essences contain anti-aging ingredients that improve your complexion and also prepare the skin for the next products in the process.
Step 6: Treatments (Ampoule/Serum)
Treatments are exactly what they sound like-concentrated products that target and treat problem areas. Serums and ampoules can address issues like acne and hyperpigmentation, and you can also use treatments like our Dynami Intensive Rescue Eye Serum to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
You don’t have to apply treatment products all over your face; just tap them gently into the areas of concern.
Step 7: Sheet Mask
Sheet masks contain moisturizing nutrients that are absorbed into your face while you wear the mask for about 10-15 minutes. And this is a great opportunity for you to kick back and relax for a little while, too.
After the time is up, simply peel off the mask and pat any excess nutrients into your skin-don’t rinse or wipe them off. You can gradually add this step to your process and see how your skin responds. This is another step that you can do periodically, not daily.
Step 8: Eye Cream
Now, you may be wondering why you need a separate cream for your eyes. Here’s the thing most people don’t know: the skin around the eyes is the most delicate skin on your face, so it needs a specially formulated treatment product.
Gently tap the cream around the entire eye-but remember, the skin is delicate, so don’t rub or press too hard. A lot of eye treatments are made for nightly use only, so you can skip this step during the day.
Step 9: Moisturizer
You’ve got lots of options when it comes to moisturizers. There are lotions, gels, creams, and you can even try overnight masks. You might be tempted to skip this step after everything else you’ve already applied, but keep in mind that the moisturizer seals in moisture and hydrates your skin.
And the eight previous steps boost the hydrating power of your moisturizer as well. Apply it day and night, lightly patting it into your face and neck.
If you’re looking for a lightweight moisturizer for men, our Adonis Men’s Youth-Preserving Face Gel helps balance the skin and prevents oiliness and breakouts. Its formula includes nourishing essential oils that help prevent wrinkles and the appearance of aging. For a deep moisturizer, try our Nikao Men’s Multi-Action Beard Oil for men.
Step 10: Sunscreen
The final step goes without saying, right? It’s important to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, so be sure to apply sunscreen each morning. Not only does sunscreen protect your skin from harmful sun damage and help prevent skin cancer, but it also slows down the aging process and keeps your skin looking more youthful.
So that’s it-now you know the basics of the 10-step Korean beauty process and how you can get started. We’d love to hear about your skincare journey and your results, so leave a comment below and tell us what you’ve tried and how it worked for you!