How To: Full 10-step K-Beauty Routine

Learn the K-Beauty skincare routine step by step

In South Korea skincare is very important as the beauty ideal is healthy, glowing and porcelain-perfect skin. The skincare industry is very advanced in their formulations. That’s why K-Beauty has been gaining more and more attention around the world within the last few years and has made it into the Western market as well. Whether the full 10-step skincare routine is necessary to get and maintain healthy skin is up for debate. Learn about the skincare basics here. In this post you’ll learn the full routine step by step.

1. Oil based cleanser

Cleansing is the first step of any K-Beauty routine. The oil based cleanser helps to break down all the makeup, sunscreen and dust, that accumulates on the face throughout the day. Massage the oil onto your face to really work it in and break down everything. Wash it off with warm, not too hot, water.

I recommend:

Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil

Great to battle blackheads!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil

Flowery scent, slightly heavier oil, feels nice on the skin and easy to wash off!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

2. Water based cleanser

You’re not done with cleansing yet! Apply your second cleanser, this should be a water baser cleanser to really get a clean base for the rest of the routine. Choose a gentle, low pH cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin off of its natural oils. Massage it in and wash everything off with warm water. Make sure you rinse thoroughly. I personally recommend to leave the face damp and not dry it with a towel.

Atoclassic Real Tonic Soothing Multi Cleanser

Gentle and effective cleanser, doesn’t dry skin out!

Shop: Peachandlily

Youth to the People Age Prevention Superfood Cleanser

Very gentle and comfortable to use!

Source: Sephora

3. Toner

The classic toner that you are used to if you use Western skincare, is astringent and used as another cleansing step. In my experience these are rather irritating the skin, than doing it any good. K-Beauty understands the toner as preparation for the following steps. The skin is immediately hydrated after cleansing, which however gentle it may be, can potentially still be stressful on the skin. Like the second cleanser, the toner should ideally be low pH. This way the skin can be prepped for the layers of hydration.
Pat the toner the K-Beauty-way with your hands onto the damp skin. Pat, pat, pat – until everything is absorbed. Follow with another layer for a real hydration boost. Keep the layers thin and keep patting.

I recommend:

Klairs Supple Preparation Toner

All time HG Toner!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

I’m from Rice Toner

One of my favorite toners for colder months.

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

4. Exfoliator

Exfoliating is important to help rejuvenate the skin, accelerate cell turnover and clear pores from the inside. Take it slowly and don’t over exfoliate, this only causes irritation and may harm your skin in the long run. There is physical and chemical exfoliation. I avoid physical exfoliation, for example a toner with grains, because I don’t want to harm the natural skin barrier or risk rubbing it too hard on my skin. Chemical exfoliators are just watery liquids that you can apply. If you’re still in your teenage years, don’t use aggressive exfoliators, that your skin doesn’t even need. The older you get, the more support your skin needs to stay more youthful. There are AHA, BHA and PHA exfoliators, each targeting the skin differently.

I recommend:

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Huge bottle, gives the skin a pretty glow!

Source: Deciem

COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

Clears pores out, great value size!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

5. Essence

Essences are lightweight liquids, that hydrate the skin. They’re key in the K-Beauty routine. You can choose other beneficial ingredients to take care of your individual skin concerns. If you have acne, choose a healing and soothing essence. If you struggle with fine lines, go for something revitalizing and plumping.
Here are my choices for acne prone skin with uneven skintone:

COSRX Snail Mucin

Best snail essence, hydrating and healing!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

COSRX Galactomyces 95 Toner Balancing Essence

Fermented goodness to brighten the skin!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

6. Serum / Ampoule

Serums and ampoules are more viscous than an essence and they contain ingredients in a higher concentration. You go from the lightweight products to the more viscous products so that each layer can sink in perfectly. Choose hydrating and beneficial ingredients for your personal skin concerns.
My choices:


Best hyaluronic acid product, worth the price!

Source: Deciem

ELF Booster Drops

Affordable option for hydration and anti-oxidant power!

Source: Douglas

Lamy Witch’s Red Ampoule

Nice ampoule, that doesn’t get enough love on social media for brightening and anti-aging purposes.

Source: Kmall24

7. Sheetmask

I wouldn’t recommend sheetmasking daily. If you need a sheetmask everyday, there is something lacking in your routine and you should look for more intense products and observe what your skin needs. The sheetmask is another level to deliver beneficial ingredients and really give them time to work on the skin. Don’t wear the sheetmask for longer than it’s advertised, even if you still feel there’s essence left. If you leave it on, it may cause the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve and take moisture from your skin. So remove it on time and pat the remaining essence in.

Some of my go to brands:

A by Bom

Amazing sheetmasks you can wear for a long time with visible results!

Source: Be Mused Korea


Impressive quality, generous amount of essence in each sachet!

Soure: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

8. eyecream

Eyecreams can be a controversial topic. Do you need them or not? Whether it’s a special eyecream or just your regular skin product, hydrate and moisturize the delicate eye area. Be extra cautious and don’t tug the skin! It’s extremely thin and you don’t want to put pressure on it. Use your ring finger to pat the product in lightly.
I’m currently enjoying:

Klairs Fundamental Nourishing Eye Butter

Lightweight and fluffy, smoothes the are around the eyes.

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

9. Moisturizer / Sleeping Pack

Finish your K-Beauty routine strong. Now it is time to seal in all the hard work you just did. To keep the hydration locked in, you need to apply a final moisturizer or sleeping mask. This is your occlusive layer to make sure the hydration stays in your skin. Choose the right moisturizer for your skin type and concerns. A night cream or sleeping mask is more concentrated and often richer than a daytime moisturizer. Other than that, there’s no significant difference and you can use your moisturizer day or night, whatever works for you.
My choices:

The Inkey List Hemp Oil

Fluffy and lightweight moisturizer, yet very nourishing!

Source: Cult Beauty

Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel

Lightweight soothing gel, great for summer!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream

Calms angry skin down reliably, cooling and lightweight.

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

10. Sunscreen

Your K-Beauty morning routine should be concluded with this last, but very important, step: Sunscreen. Remember to apply it in the required amount. It should be 1.2 g of product. Many people like to measure with their hand and apply 2-3 finger lengths. If this is a lot of product for you, try to apply it in two thin layers. Make sure you’re applying at least a product with SPF 35 or higher to get effective protection. Here is a list of some favorites.
Two options:

Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence

Elegant and effortless sunscreen with no fuss.

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)

Missha All Around Safe Sun

Great performance for a great price!

Source: Yesstyle (code: ‘SKINSOUL’ for 2-5% off ‘affiliated’)


Pat, pat, pat. Repeat. It seems overwhelming at first, but soon you’ll know what to do in your sleep and even find comfort in the K-Beauty routine. How many steps does your skincare routine have? I personally don’t do such an extensive routine daily, but my skincare routine definitely has several steps.

Do you want to learn about all of these steps more in detail? Start with double cleansing here!

How many steps does your skincare routine have?

4 thoughts on “How To: Full 10-step K-Beauty Routine”



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