Menu

I had heard about the wildly popular 10-step Korean skin care routine, but never considered it. I am a mom of three—the only thing in my life that I spend 10 steps on is getting my kids to bed at night. That, and I am really more of a wash-and-go kinda lady. I don't wear much makeup, never blow dry my hair and almost never have my nails done.

But a lesson I have learned in my life: When a stylish friend mentions that they are loving a new product or trend, pay attention.

So when my friend with the most gorgeous skin casually commented that he was using the 10-step Korean skin care, I not-so-casually decided to dive in and try it.

What I found was that I loved it 😍.

1. My skin has not looked this good in a long time.

I have sensitive combination skin that tends to look a bit dull, and I almost always have bags under my eyes from lack of sleep. After using this regiment for a few weeks, my face looks a lot brighter—dare I say even glowy at times—and, it's a lot easier to fake the "I got 8 hours of sleep last night" look.

2. It's not as time-consuming as I thought.

It turns out that you don't have to do all of the steps every day. For example, I only exfoliate a few times a week, and use a mask once a week. Most of the steps are quite fast!

3. It has become my self-care ritual.

This might be my favorite part. Right when I wake up, before the hectic time of the day, this routine forces me to take 3 to 5 minutes to myself—alone—taking care of me. I try to incorporate some deep breaths and mindfulness into the process, and it always elevates my mood. At bedtime, it is my wind-down. A chance to be nice to myself after spending a day (trying to be) nice to everyone else.

So, how in the world do you do the 10-step Korean skin care routine? Here's our step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Oil cleanser (Clean it zero)

Clean it zero

Different types of cleansers remove different things from your face. Starting with an oil cleanser helps to remove makeup, built-up oil and dead skin cells. I love this cleansing balm for this—it takes any makeup off completely, and doesn't burn my eyes at all, which happens with a lot of other products I've tried.

$17.70

 Step 2: Foam cleanser (Kiehl's ultra facial cleanser)

Kiehl's ultra facial cleanser

After an oil cleanser, water-based cleansers remove any remaining dirt and oil, helping your skin to be truly clean. Foam cleansers are great for fighting occasional breakouts, without drying out my skin. I love that it's formulated with squalane (that's filled with powerful anti-aging properties), apricot kernel oil, vitamin e and avocado oils that keep my face moisturized.

$21

Step 3: Exfoliate (Skinfood black sugar mask)

Skinfood black sugar mask

Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, leaving your skin looking brighter. It can also help with breakouts and it allows products to get deeper into your skin because those dead cells aren't in the way. The Skinfood Black Sugar Mask is grainy and awesome for eliminate blackheads and clogged pores.

$9.99

Step 4: Toner (Whamisa organic flower deep rich essence toner)

I had previously overlooked the power of adding a toner to my routine, but I am so glad I use it now. Toners balance the skin's pH, shrink pores, moisturize and help the products to absorb easier.

I chose Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner based on the reviews, and it has not disappointed. It has a light fermented smell to it because it is made from fermented flowers, but my skin looks all dewy after I use it, and I have definitely noticed a difference in my pores.

$39.99

Step 5: Essence (Saturday Skin freeze frame beauty essence)

Saturday Skin freeze frame beauty essence

Soko Glam, a company dedicated to getting Korean skin care into the homes of women everywhere says that essence is the most essential step to skin care because it targets skin at the cellular level.

There are a ton of essences out there, so you'll have to spend some time looking for the one that meets your specific needs. Saturday Skin Freeze Frame Beauty Essence is super popular (and how cute is that bottle?).

$33

Step 6: Treatment (Bliss bright idea vitamin c + tri-peptide brightening serum)

Bliss bright idea vitamin c + tri-peptide brightening serum

Serums are also called treatments because they are meant to target a specific problem area. This vitamin C and tri-peptides duo works to boost skin's natural elasticity and defend from future free radical damage. YES to all of that. 🙌

$21.99

Step 7: Sheet mask (Missha super aqua snail hydro-gel mask)

Missha super aqua snail hydro-gel mask

This is the most time-consuming part of the routine (you'll leave this on for around 15 minutes, depending on the brand), but you only have to do it one or two times per week.

I usually do this on a Sunday night, after the kids are in bed as a way to really unwind. Since I am new to this, I started with these because it was so inexpensive. And I have to say, I am loving Missha's super aqua snail hydro-gel mask. It has snail extract, but it's not as gross as it sounds. It works hard to fight redness, dark and dull skin.It also wards off dryness which is great when the weather is super drying.

Pro-tip: DO NOT go into your kid's room, in the dark, with this mask on your face, unless you are ready to share your bed with a terrified toddler for the night.

$4.20

Step 8: Eye cream (Edible beauty gold rush eye balm)

Edible beauty gold rush eye balm

Next, you'll care for the delicate skin around your eyes. When you apply eye cream, always pat it on gently with your ring finger—never rub—in an effort to be as gentle as possible. This eye cream is a favorite because it hydrates and fights fine lines that are trying very hard to creep onto my face.

$65

Step 9: Moisturizer (Algenist regenerative anti-aging moisturizer)

Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer

The next step is applying a moisturizer to lock in the products and keep skin hydrated all day. Algenist regenerative anti-aging moisturizer is substantial enough to really hydrate my skin, but doesn't leave it greasy. I also love that the alguronic acid, combined with vitamin C helps smooth my overall skin texture.

$94.00

Step 10: Sunscreen (Bare Republic mineral SPF 70 face sunscreen lotion)

Mineral SPF 70 face sunscreen lotion

Last, but absolutely positively not least, is sunscreen. Applying sunscreen to your face every day is the number one way to prevent signs of aging (and of course, keep your skin healthy). In an effort to reduce steps, I started using this product and the sheer finish is enriched with antioxidant-rich hydrators that doesn't look chalky. I have been raving about it ever since.

$14.99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.