The Legendary 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

By Asavari Bhardwaj

Asavari is a beauty & style aficionado, apart from being Chief Writer over at PinkQuil. Reach out to her at pinkquil@gmail.com for any of your beauty/skincare queries. 

I was recently introduced to the 10 step Korean Skincare routine of Innisfree. It is a Korean skincare and make up brand that makes organic and easy-on-the-skin products. To be honest, the whole routine is a little exhaustive and I was dragging myself to complete it every day, but it really works, and that too, immediately. It’s like investing in something that gives you immediate returns. So today’s post is going to be all about the routine and how I traced similarities in traditional Korean and Ayurvedic skincare.

The 10 step Korean Skincare Routine

We all know that Koreans are known for their “baby faces”. They believe in having soft and youthful baby skin. Korean women work really hard for their flawless skin, following a multi-step beauty regimen that has generated a lot of beauty industry buzz.

In the ancient times, Koreans used plant extracts and different oils in the same routine. Something that surprised me was that oil happens to be an extremely important ingredient for your daily skin care, irrespective of the kind of skin you have. This concept is similar to Ayurveda and Persian Skincare regimes, where there is heavy use of almond oil and coconut oil.

The 10 Steps aka Commandments:

  1. Oil cleansing – Cleaning your face with an oil based cleanser is the best way to remove excess impurities and makeup. Its similar to milk cleansing in Ayurveda. If you think this will make your face too oily, trust me, the next step will make up for it. I am currently using Aroma Magic’s Mint Cleanser. It has a very milk-like base that removes all the makeup without harming your skin. I did not find a compatible oil cleanser at Innisfree.

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2. Water based cleansing – Cleaning your face with a water cleanser washes out all the excess oil from your face from the previous step and leaves your face only with the necessary oils required. In the Korean routine, the most popular cleanser is is a green tea one. The intake and external use of green tea helps your skin become clear and youthful. In Ayurveda, a similar cleanser is used which is called Fullers earth or Multani Mitti. I would recommend Innisfree’s Bija trouble facial foam. It is the perfect foam wash for blemish removal. It has a lovely fragrance and leaves my face feeling cool and fresh.

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3. Exfoliation: Exfoliating is crucial for a polished complexion. Sloughing off dead skin cells and debris makes it a cakewalk for the rest of your skin care products to make love to your pores and really get down to business. You can do this step at the most two times in a week. If you are a sucker for using kitchen supplies on your face, do try turmeric powder with besan and mix them well with curd.Voila!  (I don’t think you should invest much in an exfoliator from the market when you can make an organic one at home. Do write to me if you wish to know more about a good exfoliator for your skin type)

4. Toner: A Toner helps balance your skin’s pH levels and prepares your skin with a bit of hydration to better absorb your other skin care treatments. The key to keeping your skin youthful for years, according to Koreans, is Hydration. The more liquid content in your skin, the younger it will look. Traditional Indian toners are Cucumber water and Rose water. The Jeju Volcanic pore toner is a blessing to this world. Living up to it’s reputation, it controls excessive sebum to keep your skin looking fresh and soft. I’m definitely buying this again.

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5. Essence: Consider essence as the heart of the Korean skin care routine. It works well both as a toner and serum. It is made for hydrating, skin repairing and cell turnover. In Ayurveda we have oils to do this work. The KumKumadi oil has all the necessary ingredients for skin repair and cell turnover. But this oil gives the best results if used at night and you can’t possibly use it during the day as it is really thick and sticky. I use the Innisfree White Tone up essence. Its always best if you tailor make your routine rather than using all products of the same range. I mostly focus on acne and tone up ranges because they work both to give me an even tone and remove blemishes. Try this tip!

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6. Serum: This is basically the step for you to be specific to your skin’s need. So if your skin is ageing, you will need to put a youth activating serum, if your skin need has acne, then you will go for an acne repair serum with less oil content. The kind of serum you use is also directly proportional to moister in the air/weather. In Ayurveda, the most natural form of youth activating serum is almond oil and aloe vera gel. You can also use aloe vera gel as a perfect eye cream/gel.

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7. Sheet Mask: A sheet mask is the soul of Korean skincare routine. It is a meditative, skin-nourishing ritual that imparts maximum treatment into your skin while you chill out for 15-20 minutes. Most websites will tell you that you must use it 2 to 3 times a week, but the latest trend is 2 sheet masks a day!!! Yes, you read that right. Many women are taking on this challenge to see if it really works. Its counterpart might not be available in Ayurveda, but you can surely try a put a cool towel to let all the goodness that you put before this step freeze into you skin. You could definitely skip this if you are a busy woman who is rushing to office. If you wish to try a sheet mask though, I would recommend Innisfree sheet masks. They have a numerous range to choose from, but my personal favourites are Cucumber and Green tea.

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8. Eye Cream: We know that the skin around our eyes is the most delicate skin on our face and we must pamper it with extra helpings of hydration and protection. Most of us are working in front of a computer screen all day long. Our eyes become dry, tired and lose their hydration. Hence using eye cream daily is a must. For starters you can use a simple aloe vera gel as it is rich in Vitamin E, which works wonders to lighten and refresh your eyes. I recommend the Green Tea Seed eye cream. Its works brilliant as an eye mask at night. During the day, I’d rather use my go-to Aloe vera gel.

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9. Moisturiser: If you haven’t understood this yet, Hydration is the key to youthful skin. Finding the perfect moisturiser that works for your skin type is a very important step for protecting your skin. Moisturisers come in many different forms —like an emulsion, a lotion, gel or cream. If you are prone to acne – chuck the rest – and pick a gel moisturiser. If you have a really dry skin, a cream based or emulsion based moisturiser will work best for you. You can stop at this step if you are doing you night time routine. If you are on your day time routine then the next step is of utmost importance for you before you step out of your house.

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10. Sunscreen: To prevent premature ageing of your skin, you must protect it from the harmful rays of the sun or else all your previous steps will go to waste. This shield is very important to lock in your skin’s goodness/hydration. A gel sunscreen is your buddy if your skin is acne prone.

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You can also make your own sunscreen at home if you wish to avoid excess chemicals on your skin. Do write to me if you want me to do a special post on HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN CHEMICAL FREE SUNSCREEN.

Write to me at pinkquil@gmail.com if you have any queries about this post or about product information.

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