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10 Step Korean Skincare Routine
Here is Waseyo’s cheat sheet to the 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine we created just for starters! “10” sounds scary, we know. And that’s why we’re here to break it down for you, and maybe shortcut it to 4-5 for you! Remember, while we show the classic 10 step Korean skincare routine, it’s not about following all 10 steps every day. It’s more important that you understand the purpose of each step, and choose based on your own skin goals and needs.
1. What is my skin type?
This is the most important question you should be asking yourself first. Broadly, there are 5 skin types. Identify your skin type if it is Normal, Dry, Oily, Sensitive, or Combination. Then decide what kind of products and ingredients you should be using.
- Compatible with most skincare products. The skin is neither oily nor dry, and is important to maintain good state of the skin via regular skincare routine
- Moisturising is key and using oils might be a good way to keep the skin extra hydrated
- In Korean skincare for oily skin, it is important to exfoliate, and keep the pores clog-free. Avoid comedogenic (pore clogging) ingredients and always ensure your skin is sufficiently hydrated to control excess sebum production, perhaps with water based cleansers and moisturisers!
- Need more work to find the perfect balance of products that works well on different parts of your skin! Customisation is key and do not follow blindly!
- Keep skincare routine to basics and focus on simplicity and good ingredients instead. See here on what kind of ingredients to choose and to avoid!
2. Focus on 4 key steps in your skincare routine
3. Customise your own 10 steps
Be flexible and do what works for your skin depending on your skin type and the activities that you do in a day. You don't have to necessarily stick to 10!
All this information might sound dry, but if there is one thing to remember, it is HYDRATION (bad pun but not sorry). The 10 step Korean skincare routine revolves around layering the right products in the right order to maintain a high moisture level throughout the day. Hydration is the most important factor in dealing with common skin problems like large pores, dull skin, saggy skin, anti-aging, and hyper-pigmentation.
Each step has its role in helping your skin feel younger, healthier and glowing from the inside out. It might mean you spend 10 minutes in the bathroom at night, but if you can’t spare 10 minutes for yourself, we need to head back to a lesson on loving yourself first.
It’s time to begin your journey to healthy and glowing skin with some of Korea’s most effective skincare products!
THE KOREAN 10 STEP SKIN CARE NIGHT TIME ROUTINE
Step 1: Oil-based cleanser
You are just back home tired, and the only thing you want is to crash into your bed! BUT before that, remember to remove your makeup! Koreans use this double cleansing method to keep the skin clear from any impurities and excess sebum.
Select an oil based cleanser like Huangjisoo Pure Perfect Cleansing Oil to start with as this will work to remove oil- based makeup and impurities from the skin. Makeup removers are the base of Korean Skin Care and is the first of any step! One essential oil to look out for in your ingredient list is Jojoba Oil which helps protect the skin from harmful waste and repair the top layer of skin, thanks to its natural fatty acid.
Step 2: Water-based cleanser
After the oil cleanser, use a water-based cleanser to gently remove the oil residue and water-based impurities from the day. Remember earlier about customizing skin care based on your individual skin types, Huangjisoo Cleansers are made specially in 5 different types to cater to individual skin’s problem. Ranging from moisturizing (for dry skin) to deep cleanse (for oily skin) and anti trouble (for sensitive skin), Koreans are using this foam cleanser as a mix and match solution to cleanse their skin. It is important to know how to pick the right cleanser for your skin type.
Step 3: Exfoliate
How often should you exfoliate? The good news for lazy peeps is that exfoliation is meant to be done only 2-3 times a week, so yes save yourself some time from this step. BUT it is still an essential step!
You could use a physical exfoliating device, like our most highly rated Labelle L5 Ultrasonic Facial Cleanser Device. It is a facial cleanser machine that uses ultrasonic waves to purge out impurities deep within the pores. Alternatively, you can pick out chemical exfoliators that contain AHA, BHA or PHA to help remove the dead skin cells that can make the complexion appear dull.
Why should you exfoliate? Proper exfoliation removes the barrier of dead skin cells clogging the skin and uncovers fresh new cells below. This allows your moisturizing products to penetrate more deeply into the skin, which makes them more effective. In short, a regular exfoliating routine will leave your skin looking fresh and you wouldn’t want your expensive products to be going to waste right??
Step 4: Toner
Prep is a MUST stage. Does your skin become sensitive and ‘tight’ after cleansing? Toning is required to calm your sensitive skin and act as a booster by hydrating your skin for better absorption of skincare products. In the same manner, our Huangjisoo Caviar Toner helps to maintain the magic pH number of 5.5, which is optimum for your skin barrier to prevent infections, seal in moisture, and keep skin firm.
Did you know our skin absorbs other hydrating products when it is wet, which is why the Korean 7 step toner method is so popular! This toner-layering method allows for your skin to absorb the hydration before the product evaporates from the skin or sits atop the skin and doesn’t truly get absorbed. Tip: The idea behind this technique is to help your skin drink in the product, so you can adjust as you see fit. Some do the seven-skin method weekly and do a three or five-skin method every day instead.
Step 5: Basic Essence Treatment
Now that you skin is all prep, its time to let your skin absorb all the goodness! At Treatment stage, it is all about active ingredients and what it does for your skin! And then deciding the order of products depending on consistency, starting from the lightest to the thickest to maximize absorption efficiency. Normally it is Essence > Serum > Ampoule, but do note terminology differs for each brand.
OMG.. Essence, ampoule, serum & booster? Did they all sound the same to you because it does for our editorial team as well! But essence-tially, we generally refer to essence as of the lightest consistency and the lightweight basic treatment for the lazy peeps! Think of Step 5 as the bare minimum before we move on to Step 6 for the hardworking girls. Do we all agree that “there are no ugly women, only lazy ones”.
Step 6: Intense Targeted Treatment
Now for the supercharged Ampoule, Serum & Booster, which are products with super high concentration of goodness! They are normally packed with higher concentrations of key active ingredients that targets specific skin concerns such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, blemishes, dull skin and acne etc!
Take for example our NEW Labelle Stay-C50 Vita Serum that is specifically targeted at helping to lighten acne scars, dull pigmentation and blemishes! By applying this super charged serum at night, your skin will be able to absorb all the Vitamin C it needs following a long day's work.
Step 7: Sheet mask
The sheet mask is a Korean beauty must-have – and who doesn’t love a quiet and meditative ritual of relaxation to end the day! With just about any mask type available to suit all skin types, everyone can benefit from these masks which deliver a deeply hydrating and anti-ageing treatment. The key to sheet masks is the sheet, which when in prolonged contact with your face allows the skin to fully absorb all the nutrients!
Choosing a face mask is always a headache with so many different types available. Let us start by knowing the sheet material and their benefits. Here are the 4 most common facial mask in the market.
Step 8: Eye cream
“Can you use a normal moisturiser as an eye cream?” The answer is you should avoid doing so! This is because the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most sensitive on your face, hence we should be treating it with eye creams that are formulated to be extra gentle and non-irritating. Eye creams are typically concentrated with beneficial active ingredients similar as moisturisers, but they’re usually made with lower doses or aren’t as potent.
The eye area is one of the first places where you will see signs of aging and regularly using an eye cream can help keep wrinkles, crow feet, puffiness and dark circles away. When looking for an eye cream, the safest option is to choose something that’s hypoallergenic, like Tahpre Dream Cream, which is 5 FREE from parabens, artificial preservatives, fragrance, mineral oil and artificial dyes.
Also, what ingredients should I look for in eye cream?
- Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides. For plump youthful looking skin, nothing beats hyaluronic acid and ceramides which are excellent for hydration. Studies have shown that dehydrated skin can speed up the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on skin.
- Retinol. A vitamin A derivative, retinol stimulates cell turnover and collagen production, helping to strengthen skin and reduce complexion imperfections like sun spots and fine lines. TIP: retinol creams make skin more sun-sensitive and you might experience dryness or tightness initially, so apply sparingly as a little goes a long way.
- Peptides. Sensitive skin types might opt for a peptide-packed eye cream instead of retinol. Similarly, peptides also stimulate collagen and elastin production, but are gentler on the dermis. In studies applying various peptide solutions directly to the skin, there was visible improvement of the skin's resilience, tone, and texture almost immediately upon application." Try Tahpre Dream Cream, which contains 10% of peptides, just enough to optimally and safely reduce wrinkles for you!
- Vitamins C and E. Besides Vitamin A (in the form of topical retinol), Vitamins C and E are also powerful anti-aging ingredients. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which aids in natural regeneration process and help repair damaged skin cells. That said, many agree that the best Vitamin C skin-care product to use is in the serum form, because Vitamin C serums generally are more stable and effective than creams or toners. Adding Vitamin E into the mix further soothes and protects the skin barrier.
Step 9: Moisturiser
It’s almost the end so hang in there! The last stage is to protect the skin, and moisturisers are an essential part of every skin-care routine. Applying a moisturiser helps to seal in all the layers from previous steps and prevent moisture loss. Amongst many reasons, moisturizing helps fight wrinkles and gives you the plump firm feeling in your face! Freshly moisturized skin also has a healthy glow, which can even out any existing blemishes.
Using the right kind of moisturiser for your skin can help maintain its balance and here’s a quick guide on how to choose your moisturiser! Some people might choose to use different moisturisers at different time of the day.
Day Moisturiser – Try gel moisturisers during the day as they are lightweight and more refreshing on the skin. It is also absorbed better and allows you to start your base makeup with a smooth and hydrated complexion.
Night Moisturiser - The formula of a night moisturiser can be much thicker than a daily moisturiser, as it contains much more potent ingredients that your skin can absorb through the night so that you can wake up to a beautifully rejuvenated complexion every day.
More importantly, the type of moisturiser you use depends on your skin type.
Dry Skin - Choose a moisturiser that soothes dryness and has a long-lasting all-day hydrating benefits. Cream tends to be thicker in texture and leave a slight oil feel on your face.
Oily Skin - Opt for a lightweight gel moisturiser that is oil-free or non-comedogenic, to prevent clog pores. Preferable that it absorbs fast into the skin and does not leave an oily feeling after.
Sensitive Skin - Look for a lightweight moisturiser that will help ensure your skin does not get irritated. Key ingredients to avoid might be parabens, artificial preservatives, fragrances or ingredients like AHA, BHA and retinol. A gentle, creamy moisturiser will also help lock in moisture to further strengthen your moisture barrier.
Normal Skin - If your skin is neither too oily or too dry, you have normal type and are the envy of people with other skin types. Keep your moisturiser neutral, light, and non-greasy. Or you might opt for moisturisers made for normal skin that contain lightweight oils.
Combination Skin - Refers to having normal skin type around your cheeks but an oily forehead and area along your nose, also known as the T-zone. If treating one skin type is not enough, you now have 2 different types. There are no one size fits all solution, and its a lot of trial and error to find a moisturiser that can have a balance for both! Let us know if you have found solutions and we will be glad to let our fellow beauty community know!
Step 10: Sunscreen
Should you choose a physical or chemical sunscreen? Each one has its benefits. And honestly, it really comes down to preference and lifestyle. But just make sure that when you are selecting, choose one that has at least SPF 30 or higher, and protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, are going to absorb into the skin and act like a sponge to absorb sun rays. It converts UV rays into heat and releases it from the skin.
- Lightweight, easy to apply and transparent on the skin.
- More suitable for active lifestyle or swimming and need water resistant formulation
- Can irritate and cause reactions in those with sensitive skin
Physical sunscreen ingredients, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, that sit on top of your skin to deflect and prevent UV rays from entering your body.
- Very little risk of skin irritation and a better fit for sensitive skin
- Often leave a white cast on the skin, particularly in those with darker skin tones.
Finally, we know it has been a long read if you have survived till here, and its probably going to be an even longer process to diligently follow each of these steps every single day! So, if you are lack of time, or patience, fall back on our 4 most essential steps! Like most Singaporeans looking for shortcuts, this is it!
- Exfoliation (once or twice a week)
And in the day, never skip your suncare, just because Singapore’s sun is so scorching hot!