For some of us, even maintaining a simple four-step basic skincare routine can be a hassle sometimes, let alone the infamous Korean 10-step skincare routine?


Well, the Korean 10-step skincare routine has often been attributed as how you can achieve the coveted glass skin and followed by some of your favourite Korean actors and K-pop idols. It is no wonder skincare enthusiasts all around the world were ecstatic to try out all these extra steps to achieve healthy, glowing skin.

And if you’re motivated to try the 10-step Korean skincare routine, thanks to the promise of glowing skin, Daily Vanity has broken it down for you so you know exactly what you have to do.

But bear in mind, though it is easy to follow through this 10-step Korean skincare routine, it is also important to understand what each of these steps is for. It’s not that using more products gives you better skin, but rather using the right product that works best for your skin and in the correct sequence.

Step #1: Oil-based cleansers


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Whether you are using makeup or not, oil cleansers are essential and should not be skipped in the 10-step skincare routine. Though most people might say it would be better to use it only at night, you would still need to use it during your morning skincare routine to remove any sebum and impurities that are accumulated on your skin overnight while you’re sleeping.


Also known as the first step for double cleansing, you first start off with using an oil-based cleanser to remove your make-up (if any) or any dirt and nasties found on your face, including sunscreen. You could consider using an oil-based cleanser as your makeup remover if you are too used to using one already. 

How to

Massage your oil-based cleanser directly on your dry face. You can mix it with lukewarm water as well to emulsify. Rinse it off after.

Step #2: Water-based cleansers


The second step of the 10-step skincare routine would be using a water-based cleanser, both during your morning and night skincare routine. We are constantly excreting perspiration from morning to night, especially in this humid weather. Hence, this step helps to basically clean up your face to make sure there’s no makeup remnants or sweat lingering.


Oil-based cleansers have their own limitations when it comes to removing certain impurities. Hence, the second step to double cleansing is using foam or water-based cleansers to clean the dirt that oil-based cleansers aren’t able to remove such as sweat and dirt.

How to

Apply the cleanser on your damp face in circular motions. Rinse it off with lukewarm water after.

Step #3: Exfoliator


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The third step of the 10-step skincare routine involves exfoliating your skin. There are two types of exfoliators: physical and chemical. Both work well for any skin type. Look out for products that include salicylic acid, lactic acid and black sugar for maximum effectiveness.


Our skin sheds dead skin cells on a daily basis. This step helps to remove the dead skin cells to make your face look brighter and smoother, preventing dullness. By removing all the dead skin cells, it will allow your skin to absorb other skincare products more effectively.

How to

You are only supposed to perform this step at most twice a week, and only once if you have sensitive skin. If you exfoliate your skin too often, it could damage your skin due to the harshness of most exfoliators.

Step #4: Toner

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This step is also in any basic skincare routine, so it probably isn’t surprising that it is also a part of the 10-step skincare routine. There are many types of toners available, from ingredients such as snail mucus, plant or fruit extracts; choose the toner that works best for your skin type.


If there is any remaining residue left from the previous skincare products you’ve used, a toner helps to remove them and allows better absorption of the products you’ll apply later. Toner helps to keep your skin hydrated by balancing your skin’s pH level as well.

Hence, when your skin is dried up from the cleansing and exfoliating, toner helps to make it easier to rehydrate your skin.

How to

Apply the toner using either a cotton pad or gently pat it on your face with your hands until it’s dry.

Step #5: Essence


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If you’ve been following Korean skincare routines, you’ll know that Koreans love to use essences. You could even say that applying a essence is the heart of the 10-step Korean skincare routine, so be sure to not skip this step!


Similar to a toner, essence contains properties that balance the pH of our skin, and many of them offer benefits including brightening, anti-ageing, hydrating, just to name a few. Though it serves the same function as a toner does, which is to hydrate the skin, an essence has more active ingredients, which often include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and so on.

How to

Gently pat the essence on your face and neck using your hands. You are not required to use a cotton pad just like how you would with a toner.

Step #6: Serum/Ampoule


The difference between the two is that ampoules are more like a booster compared to serum as they contain a higher concentration of active ingredients than serums.


Known to be highly concentrated, serums and ampoules are primarily used to combat specific skin problems such as wrinkles, dark circles, or spots found on your face.

How to

Instead of rubbing it on your face like other skincare products, for serums or ampoules, it is advisable to gently pat it onto your skin to allow it to absorb better. 

Step #7: Sheet Mask


Whether you are following the 10-step skincare routine or not, most skincare enthusiasts will include sheet masks as a part of their skincare routine. Many Korean skincare followers even swear by using a sheet mask every day, as a way to keep their skin in tip-top condition. If you ask us, we also think there’s no easier way to unwind at the end of the day than putting on a cooling piece of sheet mask. 


Sheet masks are infused with concentrated ingredients. There are many different types of sheet masks, each serving a different purpose. Some of the most common sheet masks you can consider using include hydrating masks to help to rehydrate your skin and brightening sheet masks that are infused with Vitamin C to brighten up your skin.

How to

Simply peel it off from the packet and place it onto your face. Relax by either laying down or sitting up for around 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the sheet mask itself, best to refer to their instructions on the packet).

After that, remove the sheet mask and pat the remaining essence onto your skin. You might have to rinse off the essence from the sheet mask if the instructions tell you to, otherwise, you could just leave it on your skin after patting it gently.

Take note not to leave it on for too long such that it dries up on its own. The evaporation process can draw out moisture from your skin, making your skin drier than before. So always stick to the recommended amount of time to rest it on your face.

Step #8: Eye Cream


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Say goodbye to dark, panda eye bags with the help of eye creams! Though your under-eye area is extremely sensitive and delicate, you could take care of it by applying eye cream even before you start seeing signs of ageing.

If you’re tired of hearing people commenting on your bad eye bags and dark circles, this step in the Korean 10-step skincare routine would surely help you out!


Eye creams can help to remove fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes. While many eye creams promise to solve a variety of concerns around the eye area, generally those with caffeine helps with dark eye circles and puffiness and those with antioxidants prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

Research about the ingredient properties of the eye cream you’re interested in to find one that caters exactly to your needs.

How to

Using your ring finger, apply the eye cream gently by tapping it on instead of rubbing or dragging it around the under eyes. It should feel like a gentle massage and you can consider using a eye massage tool if that helps you feel more relaxed.

Step #9: Moisturiser

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The 10-step skincare routine won’t be complete without applying a moisturiser. Moisturisers come in many forms such as cream, gel, lotion and emulsion, so be sure to choose a moisturiser that suits your skin type.


This helps to maintain and lock the skin’s moisture in order to achieve smoother skin.

How to

Apply the moisturiser with gentle strokes on your skin and pat it to ensure maximum absorption.

Step #10: Sunscreen

Ah, some of us may think sunscreen is only needed when you’re out and about but did you know that even by being indoors, you could be exposed to sun rays through your windows? You wouldn’t want your skin to age faster, so make sure to apply sunscreen as an important anti-ageing step.


It prevents UV rays from harming your skin, reducing the chance of skin cancer and skin ageing.

How to

You don’t have to use sunscreen at night, of course but don’t forget to apply a sunscreen during the day and re-apply if necessary throughout the day. If you are going to bed, you can skip this from your skincare routine.

When it comes to the 10-step Korean skincare routine, it’s all about pampering and taking good care of yourself. Some who have tried the 10-step skincare routine said it made their skin look brighter and healthier, while others mentioned it didn’t really affect much. But whichever camp they’re in, most of them attest that it puts them in a much better mood knowing they are making an effort to look good.

At the end of the day. whether you want to make the 10-step skincare routine a part of your lifestyle or to stick to your regular basic skincare routine because a 10-step one is too overwhelming, what matters is that you have some sort of basic daily skincare routine going on and are taking care of your skin based on its needs!