Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine: Is It Worth Your Time?

The reason I got into Korean Skin Care (or skin care in general, I just happened to be a fan of all things K) is because in 2015, my skin was at its worst. I mean absolute worst. I could insert pictures here but it might just gross you out. One thing is for sure. It was baaaaaad. 😦 I had a face full of dark spots and pimple marks; and before they even got a chance to heal or fade, new pimples arise due to my hormones. They were cystic and inflamed. I just did not know how to handle them. I was hopeless. My mom even encouraged me multiple times to go visit the dermatologist; which was and is still the best thing to do when you have any skin issues or problems. I just thought it was a waste of time and money back then. I told myself that I had to figure it out on my own; and if it doesn’t work, I’ll go see my dermatologist. It did not take me too long to discover a cure for my pimples, which were my main problem back then. What worked for me (which may or may not work for you) was Maxipeel™ exfoliant solution (price differs depending on the variant but a 60 ml bottle will not cost more than 72 pesos). It is basically a tretinoin solution that exfoliates the skin and gets rid of any imperfections. (blackheads, whiteheads, pimples) For me it works best for my pimples. Note that this is painful (stingy) when you put it on your skin. I suggest trying out the “mild” version (#1) and see for yourself if you can handle the sting before going for the #2 (for moderate pimples) and #3 (for severe pimples). I personally like the #3 the most because I can just put some (1-2 drops) on a cotton ball and apply (DO NOT RUB!) it on the spot or pimple I want to get rid of. I don’t apply it on my entire face because I find it too strong for that. Some people do, especially those who have large affected or troubled areas to take care of. It also exfoliates the skin, (micro-exfoliation) which means that the affected skin will peel off 2-3 days after use; so if you are wearing makeup while using this exfoliant solution, that may emphasize the “peeling” that your skin is going through. I suggest skipping makeup altogether (or if you really NEED to wear makeup, stick to products that do not emphasize dry patches or texture on the skin aka dewy/moisturizing formulas) but NEVER the SUNSCREEN. Sunscreen will not only protect your skin from the harmful UV rays; but it also creates a protective layer on your skin (that you’re currently treating with the solution) so the sun will not cause any further damage to or even burn your skin. (Skin will be extra SENSITIVE while using this solution so it would be easier for the sun’s rays to damage it) Now I got rid of my pimples, what do I do with the marks and scars that they leave? For a time my entire forehead almost looked like a map because of dark spots and pimple marks that just won’t go away! It was horrible. But I found a cure! It was Skinmate™ shark oil. (55 pesos for a 7.5 ml bottle, 100 pesos for a 15 ml bottle) It also exfoliates the skin like the Maxipeel™ solution but I find that this is more concentrated than Maxipeel™. It causes the skin to peel off; which was scary at first but once I learned the right way of using it, I already got used to it. I just followed all the instructions written on the bottle (I applied it using my fingers, NEVER USING A COTTON BALL, I apply it only on the affected or troubled area and I only use it every other night) and I was able to see results in less than a week. In less than a month, my skin cleared up (both pimples and spots were gone) and from then on, my breakouts became easier to handle and the best part is: THE PIMPLE SCARS AND DARK SPOTS FADE UNTIL THEY ARE NO MORE. 🙂 Yay!

Now that I’ve shared my acne story, let’s move on to the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine. After clearing my skin up, I’ve noticed that the shark oil did not only exfoliate my skin, but also lightened it (about half a shade lighter). Although I was not expecting that result, I was happy and I wanted to continue caring for my skin. Furthermore, I wanted to achieve that healthy and natural-looking glow and radiance of the skin that I only saw in commercials. That’s when I turned to Korean Skin Care. It just made sense because I’m a K-pop, K-drama and Korean makeup fan. And I’m grateful I discovered it, because it was the best thing that happened to my skin. And who knows, it might be for yours as well? 😉

First question: What is the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine? Simply put, it is a routine which follows the principle of layering skin care products onto one’s face one by one starting from the products with thinner consistency to products with thicker consistency. There are a lot of versions of this routine but the important thing to remember is: thinner->thicker.

Second question: Do I really NEED to do ALL 10 steps? The answer is no. In my previous Skin Care post, I talked about the importance of Skin Care and listed the skin care steps that anyone can easily follow, beginner or not. There I also mentioned the Basic 3– and 5– Step Skin Care Routine. You can always start with that. From there, build up your routine, constantly testing out and trying new products and sticking to those that already work for you and give you the best results. Just make sure that you read product labels and directions carefully. Read product reviews and consult your dermatologist for product recommendations and list of ingredients to look for and avoid in choosing skin care products.

Third question: What are the STEPS that comprise the routine?



(Picture taken from onmogul.com)

Legend: d-daytime n-nighttime

  1. Makeup Remover (n)
  • Do not ever forget to remove your makeup before going to bed. This is part of the “double-cleansing” method that you should do to effectively remove all traces of dirt and makeup on your face. This will ensure that all the other products you apply afterward will be fully absorbed by your skin.
  • I obviously skip this step during the day.


  1. Cleanser (d,n)
  • Foam, gentle and deep cleansers fall under this category. I use a mild, gentle facial wash during the day and a foaming cleanser at night.


  1. Exfoliator (n)
  • Exfoliating the skin is a must. This step removes all the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin to ensure smooth skin care and makeup application. Some people exfoliate during the day as well (using exfoliating devices) but I only use manual exfoliators so I only do this step at night, ONCE to TWICE a week. Over-exfoliation is also bad for the skin. It might strip off your skin’s moisture and might do the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.


  1. Toner/Refresher (d,n)
  • I personally use a basic alcohol-free toner with watery consistency.
  • Lotions also fall under this category, I use mine at night.


  1. Essence (d,n)
  • Essence is a skin care product that is only found in Korean brands. (or they are the ones that started this trend) It is basically a skin care product that is thicker than toner but thinner and more lightweight than serums and moisturizers. There isn’t really a more detailed description of such product but for some reason, many people swear by its effectiveness. At present, there are tons of essences in the market that claim to do different things. Choosing one just depends on one’s preference and skin needs. There are exfoliating, acne-fighting, anti-aging, brightening, whitening, pore tightening, firming, lifting, hydrating and moisturizing ones out in the market. You pick. 😉
  • I use a more lightweight one during the day and a thicker one at night.


  1. Ampoule/Serum (d,n)
  • Serum is a concentrated skin care product that targets specific skin needs. (listed above, see Essence)
  • I use a more lightweight one during the day and a thicker one at night.


  1. Sheet Mask/Mask/Pack (n)
  • I could dedicate an entire post about sheet masks but we already know about this popular skin care product because of the rave and attention it’s getting all over the beauty community.
  • You could use a sheet mask during the day as well (especially if you have an important event or party to attend) but I find that to be a luxury.
  • You could also use one sheet mask a day but that is also a luxury for me, so I only use it ONCE to TWICE a week.
  • I also use a peel-off mask once a week.
  • I also use a charcoal nose pack once a week.
  • Carbonated and clay masks also fall under this category but you have to use them AFTER TONER.


  1. Moisturizer (d,n)
  • I use a lightweight (gel) moisturizer during the day and a thicker one at night, so it won’t affect the way your makeup applies.


  1. Eye Cream (d,n)
  • I use a more lightweight one during the day and a thicker one (with firming/lifting properties) at night.


  1. Night Cream/Day Cream/SPF (d,n)
  • Do not forget your SPF during the day and night cream at night. I actually prefer using facial oil over a cream at night because it’s not as thick.

Some Other Steps:

-Lip Exfoliator

-Acne Spot Treatment

-Facial Mist

-Lip Balm/Lip Treatment


There you go! I hope this post about the Korean 10-Step Skin Care Routine was helpful to you.:) If you want to know My  Own Daytime and Nighttime Skin Care Routine (+list of products and brands I use), stay tuned because I will be posting them soon! 🙂 As always I hope you guys are having a wonderful day. Stay happy and healthy! Annyeong! :*


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