10-Step Korean Skincare Routine: Is It worth the Hype?

Shiloh Garcia
Written by
Shiloh Garcia

The Origin Story Behind the 10-step Korean Skincare Plan

If I were to ask how many Korean skincare products you have used, your answer might be none. Now, if I asked, “Have you ever used a BB cream?” You’d probably say, “All the time!” Surprise! BB cream is Korean skincare!


A serious game-changer for many of us, the BB cream was probably our first introduction into Korean skincare. Since 2011, Korean products have slowly integrated into the American mainstream and become our newest obsessions, even if we didn’t know where they came from. 


It was really no surprise when the 10-step skincare routine came out, that it shattered the norm. But the one question we all have is, what is this routine? 


If you’re like me, your routine probably consists of washing your face, using a toner of some sort, and adding a moisturizer. 


But, we all know there are times when breakouts, blemishes, and dark marks persist, and the regular routine just isn’t cutting it, honey. That’s why the 10-step Korean skincare routine was invented. In a technique of prioritizing the skin over supplemental tactics, like makeup that just hides imperfections, this system was designed to help the skin thrive on its own. 

While some skincare brands have claimed this routine as their own, others testify that this concept has been around a long time. Dr. Kraffert, a board-certified dermatologist, claims that Korean multi-step routines go back to 700 BCE! Now, if that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is!


It seems as though there is a lot of stock in Korean skincare routines, so let’s see what this one is all about! 

The 10 Steps Explained


Ten steps for a skincare routine seems like a bit much, right? Well, let’s dive into what these steps are and how they can benefit your skin!  

1. Makeup Remover and Oil-based Cleanser

Makeup remover, what would we do without you? It comes as no surprise that the first step in this routine is taking off your makeup. Now, if you are starting this routine in the morning, you can skip this part (unless you didn’t take off your makeup from the night before, and sleep was calling your name. We all know the pressure!). 


For the morning routine, start with an oil-based cleanser. Nothing works quite like an oil-based cleanser to bring out oil-based impurities such as sebum, makeup, and sunscreen. 

2. Water-Based Cleanser

After you use an oil-based cleanser, you will follow up with a water-based cleanser to clean your skin of water-based impurities like sweat and dirt. So essentially it's a win-win. I mean, who doesn’t want extra clean skin?!

3. Exfoliator

Easily, one of the best secrets to brighter skin, an exfoliator, is excellent for helping you get a youthful appearance. 


Choose an exfoliator of your choice and then gently massage it around the entire face. The massaging motion works to take away dead skin and clean out pores, leaving your skin feeling baby soft. We recommend this step 1-2 times a week. But, it is seriously addicting, so you’ve been warned! 

4. Toner

A toner helps to even out the pH balance of the skin. Aiding in lifting and removing any remaining cleanser residue, it will help restore the skin’s natural defenses. 


As an added bonus, a toner can gradually reduce the appearance of dark marks. So for those of you that have dealt with the scarring after-effects of acne, this step will especially help you. 

5. Essence

A mix between serum and toner, an essence is a lightweight concoction full of active ingredients that helps with signs of aging, hydration, and pH balance. If you’re looking for a more even skin tone, adding an essence may not be a bad idea.

6. Treatments

Ok, now this is the point that some quit and decide this routine just isn’t for them. But friend, we’re almost done! 

While the name is very vague, treatments are boosters and serums of any kind that work to treat specified conditions. For example, acne, dark marks, or hyperpigmentation. 


Treatments are like the additional spritzes of setting spray you add to a good makeup day. It just makes everything better!

7. Sheet Masks 

Let’s move on to the sheet masks. Now, this step you’ll use only a few times a month. I had a sigh of relief too!


A sheet mask can stay on your face for 10-20 minutes so the nutrients infused in the mask can soak into your skin. 

8. Eye Cream

Eye cream is ideal for the prevention of dark circles, inflammation, and crows feet. 


When applying eye cream, using caution can’t be stressed enough. Make sure to apply to the areas around your eyes only. That way, you won’t get the product too close to those beauties! 

9. Moisturizer

Finally, a product we recognize! Hydrated skin is happy skin and a good moisturizer is the key to get there. Korean Beauty moisturizers are different in their texture and formulation. They tend to be lightweight and fast-absorbing. Sounds good, right?

10. Sun Protection

Now that we have come to the end of this journey, the final step is to add an SPF. Only for the morning routine, an SPF will protect the skin from harmful UV rays and exposure. Everyone, regardless of skin tone, needs an SPF in their lives. 

The Reviews

While this 10-step routine has generated a lot of mixed reviews from skincare gurus, the longstanding Korean multi-step traditions have stood the test of time. Sally, a social media wizard at Averr Aglow, recalls seeing her mother with many skincare products that she eventually learned were all part of the K-beauty skincare routine. Knowing that this routine has been around for a while, she expresses that the 10-step process goes hand-in-hand with Korean beauty standards that have transcended into the American culture. “Every step just works together well for glowing skin!” 

For Sally, Korean skincare comes down to having a system that works for all skin types. She explained her frustration in going into stores and finding products that were not catered to her skin.  She has found a love for Korean skincare and its ability to take care of her skin. 


Many people, just like Sally, have found success in Korean Skincare, and are surprised by the results they have been able to achieve. More than anything, the philosophy of Korean skincare resonates with people and makes them feel as though this could be the answer to healthy skin. 


Korean skincare is about prevention before the problem shows up. The philosophy is to create healthy skin from the start. Why wait for acne to occur when you can attack it at the root. 


This philosophy is not just one that we agree with, but the whole reason Averr Aglow was started. Getting to the root doesn’t just provide bandaids to the problem; it changes the problem forever. 

The Result?

Whenever a new skincare craze comes into the beauty world, it catches the attention of people who have especially struggled with their skin. The key is figuring out what works for you. 


The co-founder of, Charlotte Cho, provides some advice to newcomers. She says, “Don’t feel overwhelmed. First, get to know your skin. Figure out what it needs. Slowly add products to your routine and see if the consistency and ingredients are beneficial to your skin. The fun is in the discovery of new skincare products and finding the one that works best for you.” We couldn’t agree more! No matter where you are in your journey, always pay attention to your skin and how it reacts to new products. 


We believe that your skin is worth every investment. No matter what you have dealt with for years, there are products that can work. You might just be surprised. 

Shiloh Garcia
Written by
Shiloh Garcia
Shiloh is a Copywriter at Averr Aglow. A wordsmith by day, she loves all things creating. If she's not blogging or writing an Instagram post, then she's singing to everyone and dreaming of California summers. If there is ever a time that you can’t find her, know that she is somewhere talking to complete strangers. Seriously.


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