The cornerstone of K-beauty is the 10-step Korean skin care routine. While 10 steps may seem like a lot (do you really need to add seven more steps to your skin care routine?), layering the right products in the right order can make a world of difference in the look and feel of your skin. Here’s our guide to following a multi-step Korean skin care routine using Eminence Organics classics.
The Korean Skin Care Routine
A 10-step routine boils down to skin care basics: Cleanse, prep, treat and protect. The beauty of a multi-step routine is that you can mix and match depending on your skin’s needs. The products you choose (and steps you follow) are entirely up to you. These are the skin care steps we recommend to get the most out of your 10-step Korean skin care routine.
Skin Care Steps
A multi-step Korean skin care routine includes (of course) multiple cleansing steps. In addition to a daily double cleanse, you should add an exfoliant to your skin care routine two to three times per week to encourage healthy skin cell turnover and brighten your complexion.
1. Oil Cleanser
The first step of a Korean skin care routine is cleanse your face - twice. Double cleansing ensures you remove every last spec of makeup and dirt from your complexion before continuing with the rest of the products in your routine.
To double cleanse, first use a cleansing oil or balm to remove makeup, excess oil and other impurities. Like attracts like and an oil-based cleanser like our Stone Crop Cleansing Oil will lift oil-based cosmetics and other pollutants from your skin gently and effortlessly.
2. Gel/Cream Cleanser
Complete your double cleanse by washing your face a second time with a gel or cream cleanser. The purpose of a second cleanse is to sweep away impurities lingering on your skin’s surface and dive deeper into pores to clear congestion.
Gently massage a cleanser of your choice into your skin to clear away residual dirt and grime. Our pick: Stone Crop Gel Wash builds into a gentle lather that removes impurities without stripping your skin of necessary moisture.
In addition to a daily double cleanse, you want to exfoliate your skin two to three times per week. Young skin cells naturally turn over every 25 days but as we age, this process slows. Exfoliating regularly encourages healthy skin cell turnover: It removes dead skin cells and clears the way for young, healthy cells to rise to the surface.
You can choose a physical or chemical exfoliant for this skin care step. We recommend combining two shakes of a powder exfoliant (like our Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant) to your secondary cleanser to combine two skin care steps in one.
Once you’ve thoroughly cleansed your skin, it’s time to prep it for the rest of your routine. This includes balancing and hydrating your skin with a toner then moisturizing and priming it with an essence. While these steps may seem similar, they have distinct purposes in a Korean skin care routine.
First, apply a toner. Eminence Organics Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar refers to toning as the “conditioning” step of your skin care routine. A toner removes lingering impurities, balances your complexion and provides a base layer of hydration.
An essence is the backbone of the Korean 10-step skin care routine. Essences help maximize your skin’s moisture and hydration as well as improve the absorption of your other leave-on treatments. They also contain plenty of beneficial ingredients that plump the skin and protect it against the drying and aging effects of environmental stressors.
Our new Birch Water Purifying Essence contains purifying birch water, botanical collagen, snow mushroom and reishi mushroom to restore moisture levels, increase elasticity and improve barrier function. Simply warm a few drops of essence between your hands and gently press the product into your skin before moving on to the treatment steps of your routine.
Now that your skin has been prepped and primed, it’s ready to drink up the beneficial ingredients found in your favorite masks and serums. This is when you can really start to customize your skin care routine: These products contain a high concentration of active ingredients that target specific skin types and concerns.
Just like a serum, facial oil or concentrate, a mask delivers highly concentrated actives, vitamins and nutrients to the skin. The difference here is that face masks are occlusive; they create a physical barrier that locks in beneficial ingredients, helping the skin absorb them more efficiently.
Face masks provide a variety of benefits, from hydrating and moisturizing the skin to refining large pores and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The type of mask (or masks, if you choose to layer or combine them) will depend on the skin concerns you hope to tackle. We suggest including a face mask in your skin care routine two to three times per week.
7. Serum, Oil Or Concentrate
Next up in your 10-step Korean skin care routine are your serums, oils and concentrates. These potent formulas contain a high concentration of active ingredients to target skin care concerns and neutralize the effects of environmental stressors. As with a face mask, the serum, oil or concentrate(s) you choose will depend on the skin concerns you seek to prevent or correct.
If you choose to apply more than one serum, oil or concentrate, be sure to layer in order of viscosity, from lightest to richest. Our picks: Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum, Facial Recovery Oil and Bamboo Firming Fluid.
After putting so much care into your complexion, it’s important to protect it from damage. This includes locking in hydration to fortify your skin’s moisture barrier and applying sun care to protect it from the drying effects of environmental stressors.
Moisturizers create a barrier that helps lock in hydration and beneficial ingredients, as well as keep out harmful irritants. This step seals in the product layers before it, helping them to fully absorb and work their magic.
In a K-beauty routine, cream and gel moisturizers are applied using facial massage techniques that boost blood flow, stimulate the lymphatic system and enhance the skin’s strength and elasticity. For an effective massage, we recommend using a moisturizer with plenty of slip, like our Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream.
9. Eye Cream
The skin around your eyes is thinner and more delicate, so it should be treated separately. Using your ring finger, gently smooth an eye cream of your choice across the brow and socket bone, moving from the inner to outer corner of your eye.
Our pick: The new Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream. This fluffy eye cream contains super-hydrating snow mushroom and botanical peptides to smooth roughness, decrease puffiness and diminish the appearance of under eye bags.
10. Sun Care
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Sunscreen is a must in any and every skin care routine. UV rays can cause short and long term damage in the form of sunburn, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles and, in the most serious cases, skin cancer.
Applying sun care daily is an essential step to keep your skin healthy and protected. You can achieve this with our Lilikoi Mineral Defense Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 or keep things separate with our Sun Defense Minerals.
What's the most important application for you in a 10-step Korean skin care routine? Let us know in the comments or share with us on social media.