My (Modified) 10 Step Korean Skincare Routine

Hi Socialites! If you’ve googled skincare or any particular skin concern over the past few years, no doubt you’ve heard about the 10 Step Korean Skincare routine that promises its devotees glass skin: Skin that’s blemish/wrinkle free, and so dewy smooth that it resembles glass! K-beauty has been all the rage lately, because each step in the regimen provides an essential benefit to the skin that gives you visible results in a short amount of time.

If you haven’t heard about it, don’t fret! I’m going to lay it all out here for you in the simple, modified format that I use. The 10 Step Korean Skincare regimen sounds complicated and time consuming, but I assure you, it isn’t! Worried about expensive products? You’d be surprised: Many of the staple products involved in the regimen are now readily stocked at places like Amazon and Target! Ready to get started on achieving your best skin yet? Keep reading!

*My modification: I perform these steps at night before bed, and not during the day. Most proponents of K-beauty do, in fact, perform these steps in the AM to have glowing skin during the day, but I have found that it is easier for me to commit to the routine when done at night. In the morning, I simply wash, tone, and moisturize my face with SPF.


10 Step Korean Skincare

Step 1: Oil Cleanse

The science behind oil cleansing is that as water cannot combine with oil, the best way to remove excess sebum and dirt from the skin is through oil cleansing. I have found that oil cleansing breaks down and removes makeup better than wipes or foam cleansers. Oil is not a moisturizer, but it serves to protect and nourish your skin, and sets the foundation for the remaining 9 steps.

For this step, wet your face and apply an oil of your choice, or a specialized oil cleansing product. Rub the oil into the skin the same as you would with any foam or cream cleanser. You’ll be able to see the oil removing any makeup that you’re wearing, as well as feel a softening effect. There are numerous oil cleansing formulas that I’m going to list below, but when I first started this regimen, I used a $3.99 bottle of Vitamin E Oil that I picked up at Target, and it worked just fine! Currently, I’m using Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm, which feels fabulous!

Modification: After I’ve rubbed in the oil, I like to apply a steaming hot washcloth to my face for 1 minute, for further skin softening. After the minute is complete, I wipe off the excess oil and prepare for step 2!
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Step 2: Foam Cleanse

After I complete my oil cleanse and rinse off the excess oil, I use a foam cleanser to remove any remaining traces of oil, dirt, and makeup. This step is pretty simple and you’ll just use your foam, cream, or clay cleanser as you’ve always done! Right now I’m using this cleanser, but I’m linking a few recommendations in the widget below!

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Step 3: Exfoliate

So, before I began the 10 Step Korean Skincare regimen, I used to exfoliate as my first step, followed by a quick cleanse. I now see where it makes more sense to exfoliate after your cleanser has already lifted much of the grime and dead skin away. Right now, the skincare community favors gentler chemical exfoliation (lactic acid, glycolic acid, etc.) over scrubs, but I still stick to my tried and true St. Ives Apricot Scrub for this part. Whichever formula you choose, make sure you follow the directions for the best result!

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Step 4: Toner

Once the skin has been properly cleansed, you want to make sure that it is prepared for additional steps (moisture, etc.). Enter: Toner! Toner helps to reset your skin’s pH balance, refines the pores, and prepares the skin to absorb treatments. Toner is another area where I feel you can skimp a bit, with regard to cost. Offhand, some of the best toners I have used have been from Mary Kay, Clinique, and Neutrogena. Currently, I’m using Dickinson’s Witch Hazel, which is my go-to during the hot weather months!

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Step 5: Essence

Raise your hand if your concept of the word Essence is the magazine found in every African American woman’s bathroom-reading-material-basket. ??‍♀️ Just me? LOL. Essences are actually lightweight, liquidy (often watery) substances chock full of hydrating, anti-aging, brightening, and healing ingredients! As part of the 10 Step Korean Skincare regimen, you’ll use Essence to help hydrate your skin, and prepare it for cell turnover. Essence is hard to find at typical places like Target or Walgreens, but I’m listing the best reviewed Essences below! Currently, I’m using SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and it feels amazing!

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Step 6: Serums & Treatments

Here’s where it gets fun! You can use any serum or treatment in this step, so have at it. Problem skin? Try serums with Tea Tree, garlic, or oregano. Uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation? Apply serums with turmeric, licorice, or mushroom extract. Got a case of the dull-drums? Get a glow up with serums that include snail mucin, Vitamin C, or lemon! Whatever your problem, I’m linking the solution in the widget below! Right now, I’m using Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Glow, but I also really like Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair.

10 Step Korean Skincare


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Step 7: Masks

Most 10 Step Korean Skincare guides will tell you that sheet masks need to become your bestie, but you can still use clay, peel off, or whatever mask you have handy! Not gonna lie: Sheet masks do feel wonderful, and they are usually soaked in serum that can double as your moisturizer and save you a step. Some of my favorite sheet masks are those that include collagen, oxygen, or skin brightening ingredients. When I’m not using a sheet mask, I alternate using Turmeric face masks, or my favorite Freeman Beauty Overnight Brightening Mask! Apply as directed.

Please note: This step does not have to be completed daily! Most regimens recommend that masks be used 2x weekly.

10 Step Korean Skincare

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Step 8: Eye Cream

Woo hoo: An easy and recognizable step! If you already have a favorite eye cream, there’s no need to change! My favorite eye cream is Magic Eye Rescue by Charlotte Tilbury, as it is heavily hydrating and helps with minimizing dark circles. I also love Mario Badescu’s Hyaluronic Eye Cream because it is super hydrating, fights wrinkles, and is under $20! I’m linking a few other faves below!

*Tip: Apply eye cream in 3 or 4 little dots beginning at the outside corner of your eye. Why? Because this is the area where wrinkles form first due to the skin being thinner and drier in this area. Use your pinky or ring fingers to gently tap the cream into the skin under your eyes. Never rub!

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Step 9: Moisturizer

We’re almost there folks! I’m in my 30’s, so a good moisturizer is a MUST to help me avoid dryness, dullness, and other visible signs of aging. You can use any form: lotions, gels, emulsions, or rich creams. Just make sure that your moisturizer seals in moisture, and that your skin feels supple and moist a minimum of 12 hours after application. Moisturizer should be used day and night, and contrary to popular belief, oily skin needs a good moisturizer as well. I’m currently using Estee Lauder’s Revitalizing Supreme Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Creme, and I looove it! I’m linking a few other faves below!

10 Step Korean Skincare

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Step 10: Sunscreen

You can skip this step if your moisturizer or foundation contains SPF 25 or better, as they commonly do. If your fave moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF (mine doesn’t), you’ll need to apply sunscreen as a final step for day. Don’t break the bank: Try Olay Whips or Neutrogena!

We’ve reached the end! *Whew!* 

I know that 10 steps (and layering products) can be tricky when trying to learn from written form. If you’re the type who learns best from watching others, check out this video by Chriselle Lim, as she shares her easy 10 Step Korean Skincare routine!


I have seen immense changes in the texture, tone, and clarity of my skin since incorporating the 10 Step Korean Skincare regimen. In the photos above, I’m not wearing makeup, and my skin is clearer and smoother than its ever been! Leave me a comment with your results if you try out the regimen!


See you next time!


Fashion, Lifestyle, and Travel blogger, based in NC.


  1. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ this post
    My night cream is Shea butter – works like a charm.

    Your face is light and vibrant. I can see the difference.

  2. Hello, Amber, thank you for sharing such good information about your skincare routine.
    And thanks for remembering that sunscreen is an important part of skincare that should be applied as a final step. Solar exposure is bad for the skin and causes wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer. It should especially not be neglected if you have any scars on your face, for example, after plastic surgery or post-acne.

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