Many of us have seen the latest ‘glass skin’ trend- flawless skin with not a pore in sight, but is it actually achievable? Using the increasingly popular K-beauty 10 step skincare routine, you can have glass skin too! The routine has become a global sensation, with many beauty experts promoting the benefits of layering your skincare; Safiya Nyagaard, a popular vlogger, explained that she would try to “incorporate more steps” in her normal routine and quickly saw results. With these 10 steps, you too will see a noticeable change in your skin!
With so much information at our hands, it may be difficult to decipher what the routine actually involves - online blogs often tend to gloss over the details of each step. Don’t worry though, this guide will cover it all, including the benefits of each step and how often you should use each product too. The 10 step routine does not have to be a laborious task, it can be fun and enjoyable - just follow this guide and you will achieve fantastic results!
Step 1 : Remove and Cleanse
As we start, there is nothing complicated to begin with, just removing makeup and cleansing our skin. Although this may seem like common sense to many of us, it is actually crucial in achieving a smooth, clear complexion, and luckily, it is already implemented in most of our routines! To ensure you have completely rid your face of any makeup, reach for an oil cleanser. Gently massage it onto your face while it is dry for 30 seconds, before adding a splash of water - this will emulsify the cleanser. Massage again for 30 seconds then rinse off. Super easy!
WHAT IT DOES
Using an oil cleanser will break up not only your makeup but other impurities built up on your skin. Although it may not be visible to the naked eye, even pollution from our daily activities can sit on our faces throughout the day, damaging our skin and its texture. With an oil cleanser, these impurities will be swiftly removed, allowing for beautifully polished skin. Consequently, the other products in your routine will be MUCH more effective.
P.S. It is important to note that many koreans do not use an oil cleanser in the morning- water or a foam cleanser will adequately remove all the dirt trapped in your skin from the previous night!
Step 2 : Clean and Cleanse
Now, for a double cleanse! This idea may be new to many of us, but it has significant effects on the quality of our skin. Here you should aim to find a cleanser best suited to your skin type, to ensure you are not stripping your skin of any essential oils. Using a foam cleanser will ensure sure you are treating your skin with the utmost care - simply massage and rinse off, just like the step before. Washing twice ensures that any excess residue is removed after your initial cleanse, leaving your skin squeaky clean!
WHAT IT DOES
Koreans clean their skin twice, once with an oil based product and once with a water based product, a technique which is often recommended by dermatologists too. Each product is used to target different impurities that may build up in our skin. Foam cleansers tend to focus on removing sweat and dirt, while oil cleansers (from the previous step) focus on removing oil based impurities, such as SPF and pollution. This makes them ideal to use at the end of the day.
Step 3 : Scrub and Exfoliate
Before we begin, keep in mind that this step only needs to be done 1 - 2 times a week. Exfoliating too regularly can often irritate the skin, which will actually lead to the opposite of what we want! Here, you can use a physical exfoliant or chemical exfoliant: these should be personalised towards your skin irregularities, for example, someone with blackheads may use acid exfoliants containing BHA’s to clean the dirt from within. Gently rub the exfoliator on your skin, concentrating on your nose and any areas with visible pores. If opting for a physical exfoliant, gently wash off with lukewarm water.
WHAT IT DOES
Scrubbing and exfoliation will remove any dead skin cells and clean your pores, leading to smoother, more even skin. It will also allow the products from the rest of your steps to absorb into your skin more efficiently, leaving you with a radiant glow!
Step 4 : Soften and Tone
Toning is becoming increasingly popular, however many people are not aware of the benefits it brings. For this step, you can apply your toner with a soft cotton pad (this is the typical method korean beauty experts would advise). However, some people choose to apply with their hands; both methods will give amazing results (if you do opt for your hands, make sure they are freshly washed). Gently swipe the toner across your face, ensuring you are not pulling your skin- you don’t want to be too harsh as this can lead to premature wrinkles! This step is recommended to be done every day.
P.S. if using an acidic toner, e.g. one containing glycolic acid, you should use it only 2-3 times a week rather than daily. It may be harsh on the skin if used too often.
WHAT IT DOES
A toner is a thin layer of moisture that balances pH levels in your skin and also rehydrates, which helps with absorption. There are many different types of toners, which all work differently depending on your skin type. Some toners contain AHA’s and BHA’s which fight against aging, acne damage and wrinkles, however, these may not be suited to sensitive skin types. More natural options include rose water, a popular choice for many, as it is super gentle on your skin. It is important that you find the right one that works for you!
Step 5 : Nourish and Essence
This step is probably the least familiar to all of us- but using an essence is at the heart of the Korean skin routine. A combination of both a toner and a serum, an essence is the key to achieving beautiful skin. It allows your skin to breathe more easily, whilst simultaneously stopping your pores becoming clogged. It should be applied every day, by lightly patting it into the face and neck.
WHAT IT DOES
Essences are packed with all essentials for your skin, from anti ageing ingredients to hydration and moisture. It encourages cellular turnover for a fresh, youthful appearance, and will enhance your already glowing complexion. Like your toner, an essence will also aid with the absorption of the next products in your routine.
Step 6 : Boost and Serum
Now we have reached step number 6. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of this new information, fear not, we are almost there! Serums are something many of us will be familiar with; they target specific skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation or acne. You should apply your serums daily to achieve the best results but simply patting into the skin. Here, you can also use it on your neck in an upward motion to avoid early signs of ageing on the neck too!
WHAT IT DOES
Serums are customised to you and are the ultimate products to perfect your skin with- they will directly treat the issues you are most concerned about. Whether you are suffering from dull skin, large pores, hyper-pigmentation, wrinkles or acne, serums are the ideal skin-perfecting step. They are packed with all the best ingredients to give you the flawless complexion you deserve!
Step 7 : Eye Cream
Eye cream is an essential step to prevent early ageing and combat wrinkles. It should be applied with your ring finger directly under your eyes. Here, it is important to pat in a good amount of product as it can dry out very easily, and the skin in this area is extra sensitive. Make sure you take care when applying- by exerting too much pressure, you could damage your skin by creating more fine lines! Ensure this is done daily-once in the morning and of course once before bed.
Lip and nose products are optional, but if you want to use them, apply them at this stage. Pat into your skin gently to achieve desired results.
WHAT IT DOES
Eye creams are concentrated with powerhouse ingredients that are gentle to the skin. They are used to tackle a range of issues- from puffiness, dark circles to crow’s feet - you could look 10 years younger if you implement this into your routine!
Step 8: Hydrate and Moisturise
Here, a product we all know- moisturiser! Simply rub the moisturiser into your skin and neck to hydrate your skin. This will ensure you are not flaky throughout the day, but make certain you pick a moisturiser suitable for your skin type (this is usually made clear on the packaging).
WHAT IT DOES
Moisturisers are essential in combating most of our skin issues- however, it is important to find a moisturiser that works for your skin type. They come in many forms - from an emulsion, lotion, gel or cream - all of which work to seal in moisture to plump up the skin and smooth away any fine lines. Often, people with oily skin choose to skip this step- this is a big no-no! By skipping moisturiser, your skin will overcompensate and in fact produce more oil! Instead, you should find an oil free moisturiser to quench your skin whilst remaining oil free.
Step 9 : Protect and Prep (Morning Routine)
Sunscreen is an important tool that is often overlooked in our society, especially by those of us who don’t burn easily in the sun. It is often referred to as the most important step in your routine, as it is the easiest way to avoid ageing. It should be applied every morning, and reapplied as needed throughout the day. It should never be skipped, even if you’re only going out for a few minutes! You should also apply sunscreen to any other exposed areas of skin, e.g. the hands or neck.
WHAT IT DOES
Sunscreen is the most effective anti-aging product. The sun’s rays are incredibly harsh to your delicate skin, so it is important to use sunscreen to massively reduce your risk of skin cancer- it protects your skin from harmful UV rays and also reduces the appearance of skin issues resulting from sun damage, like discolouration and dark spots. If you have used any products containing acids, e.g. an AHA toner, your skin may become more sensitive to the sun, so sunscreen is a MUST!
Step 10 : Mask and Sleep (Night Routine)
If you are doing your skin care routine at night, you can use a face mask 1 - 3 times a week. Simply open the mask from the pack and position it over your face. Feel free to relax for 10 - 20 minutes (this will usually be advised on the pack) and catch up on some time for yourself, before peeling it off for super smooth and hydrated skin.
P.S. sheet masks can make you look crazy!
WHAT IT DOES
During the night, your body goes through major repair. To help this process, and enhance the results of your overnight repair, use a sheet mask. The sheet mask adds a layer of hydration to your skin to keep it smooth and healthy, and many are specified to target different skin concerns.
Realistically, the famous 10 step korean routine can be minimised to 5 - 8 steps, however this is all dependent on your skin care goals and time of day. Some steps are only required a few times a week, while some can be skipped entirely. If you are willing and able to put time into your skin, you WILL see results. Remember, everyone's skin is different, so don’t be disheartened if you do not see a change straight away- stay consistent with your skincare and eventually you too will achieve a glass complexion! And now ..you may rest!