korean skincare routine

The 10+ Step Korean Skincare Routine—Worth the Hype? Part 1: Overview

While browsing the internet or walking into your local Ulta, you’ve probably noticed products or signs catering to one of the hottest trends in the beauty industry: K-beauty. Between all the mystery, the hype, BB Creams, the 10+ step skincare routines, it can all become quite confusing. 

What IS the point of Korean skincare

Is it a gimmick or something everyone could benefit from participating in? This post is by no means absolute or the be all end all on the topic and it is not an attempt to convince you one way or the other. It is simply as a way of explaining the method and its perceived benefits.

Korean Skincare Routine

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First, let’s get the big question out of the way. Why the excessive skincare routines? All the serums, essences, ampoules, sheet masks—Is all of this really necessary? 

It depends.

The reason for the many products is for three reasons: thorough cleansing, hydration, prevention, and targeting. In a basic routine, a person cleanses, tones, and applies moisturizer. Sometimes masks or serums make an appearance too. 


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A Korean routine begins by cleansing twice. Once with an oil to remove makeup and once with a traditional cleanser to remove oil residue and to deep cleanse. Out of all of the steps, besides SPF use, this is possibly one of the most effective parts of the routine. 

Makeup removal, especially eye makeup, is often considered difficult to remove. Oil cleansers make this a breeze because they are much more effective than cold creams, wipes, or the traditional eye makeup removers. The second cleanses seals the deal and once completed, your skin will already be glowing.


The second possible benefit of Korean skincare is hydration—intense hydration. Many skin issues as a whole, for all skin types, sprout from dehydration. Oily skin gets more oily because it feels dehydrated after cleansing. 

Dry skin is lacking in moisture and needs a boost. By layering multiple products, you are slowly building layers of hydration with products that progressively become thicker and thicker, building a barrier of moisture that the skin will eventually ingest.

Lastly, the multiple-step routines are meant to target specific skin concerns. Say one person is having some issues with oily skin and pores and another with dry skin and dark circles. By only applying one serum, you are only addressing one skin concern. The layering of products allows you to accommodate many concerns at once. 

It is important to research ingredients, to be sure the products will mix well. Certain chemicals are not safe to mix together on the skin. 

Aging Prevention

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An important thing to mention is the SPF emphasis. Hands down, multiple sources stress the effectiveness of SPF in preventing aging. Korean skincare really pushes SPF use, and so besides the double cleansing, this is another verified method in the routine that is guaranteed to have a positive effect.


Hopefully, this explanation has helped inform you about this ever-growing trend. Stay tuned for part two—an explanation of all the different products you may see in a Korean skincare routine.


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