Korean women are known for having good skin, partly (or mostly!) because they diligently follow a very thorough 10-step skincare routine morning and night. The routine is treated as more of a lifestyle rather than simply a task. Such a long routine may sound intimidating at first, but it can be your key to healthier, glowing and youthful skin. As an added bonus, regularly pampering yourself twice a day can be quite therapeutic!
Although the full routine is 10 steps, it can be tailored and shortened as well to suit your skin's needs. For example, in the mornings you may skip the first step. Some prefer to exfoliate only 2-3 times a week. Some prefer to sheet mask only once a week. Sunscreen can be skipped if you are staying indoors all day.
1. Makeup Remover/Oil Cleanser: The first step of the double-cleanse. An oil-based cleanser will effectively melt down and remove oil-based makeup, SPF, sebum and other impurities from your face. Massage all over your face and rinse off with water.
2. Water-Based Cleanser: Follow with your second cleanser to ensure that your face is completely clean and all remaining residue is gone. The cleanser should be gentle and not dry or your skin.
3. Exfoliator: Dead skin cells should be regularly removed for brighter, smoother and glowing skin. Regularly exfoliating (physical and/or chemical) will unclog pores and also help your other skincare products absorb better.
4. Toner: After cleansing, it is important for your skin's pH level to be re-balanced. A toner will do just that, as well as hydrate and moisturize your skin. Properly prepping your face with a toner will help the following products and treatments work more effectively.
5. Essence: An essence is like a hybrid of a toner and serum. They are usually more lightweight than serums and meant to hydrate and aid cell turnover. Some also include ingredients to improve your complexion.
6. Serums and Ampoules: These products are formulated with active ingredients to target specific skin concerns. There are serums and ampoules meant for: acne, hyper pigmentation, dryness, anti-aging, fine lines/wrinkles, dark spots and more. This step is where you can customize your routine based on the skin issue you are currently experiencing.
7. Sheet Mask: Similar to serums and ampoules, sheet masks are single-use sheets soaked in active ingredients to treat various skin concerns. They adhere comfortably to your face and should be left on for about 20 minutes. When in prolonged contact with your face, your skin will fully absorb the mask's nutrients and moisture.
8. Moisturizer: Moisturizers help to lock in all the ingredients applied to your face during the entire routine, plus keep your face moisturized. They can come in the form of a gel, cream, or sleeping mask.
9. Eye Cream: The skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most delicate, and should be protected with extra care. Regular use of eye cream will help treat any possible under-eye concern you may have; dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, etc.
10. Sunscreen: Wearing sunscreen every day can be the secret to keeping your youthful glow well into your 60s and beyond. It effectively helps to combat premature aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen should be applied as the last step of your routine if you are to be going outdoors, and applied after every few hours of sun exposure.