Lifestyle

The 10 Step Skincare Routine K-Beauty Swears By – And Our Fave Products To Use!

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We’ve all heard of K-Pop, with the likes of BTS & Blackpink, taking over the charts… But have you heard of K-Beauty?

K-Beauty, short for Korean Beauty, is a term used for skincare products that are derived from Korea. And what makes it so special is that it’s focused on skin aesthetics – with healthy, hydrated, glowy, ‘glass skin’ being the most prominent. Instead of applying layer after layer of makeup, K-Beauty is about perfecting the perfect skincare routine.



Korean Beauty first hit the western market in 2011 – and 10 years later, K-Beauty has taken the UK by storm! Especially after a year of lockdowns, where skincare became more popular than ever. Thanks to its forward thinking, unique, rare ingredients and the intensive research before the release of a product, K-Beauty is thriving! 

And, if you want to give it a try yourself, listen up! Because there’s a 10 step beauty routine K-Beauty swears by which we’re eager to share. Not only will we take you through these steps, we’ll tell you exactly why you should start this routine today!

The 10 Step Skincare Routine K-Beauty Swears By!

  1. Oil based cleanser – oil based
  2. Water based cleanser
  3. Exfoliator
  4. Toner
  5. Essence
  6. Serum
  7. Sheet Mask
  8. Eye Cream
  9. Moisturiser
  10. SPF

Step 1: Oil Based Cleanser

The first step to a Korean beauty skincare routine is to cleanse – a double cleanse to be exact, starting off with an oil based cleanser. Why? Well because this type of product will rid your skin of makeup and SPF, as these products are also oil-based. It’ll do this, without drying your skin too.

In fact, it’ll actually do the opposite… It’ll hydrate and soften and is a great alternative to other makeup removers. An effective oil based cleanser will also delve deep into your pores, and won’t strip your skin of the oils your complexion requires

Right now, I love the AROMATICA Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil. Suitable for all skin types, it uses lavender oil and 10% organic coconut oil to nourish, cleanse and to form a protective layer over your skin, for a supple and soft complexion.

AROMATICA – a Korean beauty brand itself! – is a pioneer in innovative and sustainable beauty. Simply apply two pumps of the cleanser into your hands and massage into your face in circular motions to dissolve makeup and clear impurities. Then rinse off with warm water!

Step 2: Water Based Cleanser

The second step of double cleansing is to use a gentle water based cleanser. This will wipe away any remaining water based impurities that oil cleansers can’t touch, i.e. makeup, SPF, dirt and sweat. It only takes a minute or two to double cleanse, so don’t skip this step! It’s a huge help in stopping you from having breakouts as well!

When double cleansing, why not try the AHC Aqualuronic Facial Cleanser for Dehydrated Skin. This foaming cleanser quenches skin gently and deeply hydrates and is infused with French sea water to fortify your skin’s moisturiser barrier. Glossies, it also includes our favourite skincare ingredient Hyaluronic Acid, which penetrates multiple layers of the skin’s surface to deeply clean and cleanse.

AHC is an evolving Korean beauty brand that was originally developed in high-end aesthetic clinics in South Korea – so you know this cleanser is rich and high in quality!

Step 3 – Exfoliator

Exfoliating is an important step in any skincare routine. Why? Because it rids your complexion of dead skin cells, so you can benefit from the rest of your skin regime! And if you regularly exfoliate, the results are immense! The most obvious benefit being your other skincare products will absorb into the skin much easier.

Holika Holika is my favourite Korean beauty brand due to its unique ingredients, cute packaging and the amount of different products it offers! Holika derives from English suffix “-holic” meaning addiction and Korean “holida” means temptation – so these come together to form the brand name and its concept! Skincare is addicting, therefore can I tempt you to try Holika Holika Pig Nose Clear Blackhead Cleansing Sugar?

If you want a healthy looking complexion then this product will be your best friend! This facial scrub contains pink clay, aloe vera and lemon extracts which brighten and absorb excess oils. Think nourished and smooth skin too, as this exfoliating scrub uses soft white sugar to gently remove blackheads and dead skin cells. 

Step 4: Toner

You haven’t toned until you’ve used a Korean toner. Milder and gentler than other toners, Korean toners not only balance out our skin’s PH but they are also designed to hydrate your skin! This aids your following skincare steps too – again, ingredients will absorb into your sink quicker and deeper for better results!

The Holika Holika range varies from value for money skincare products to luxury beauty treats you’ll want to indulge in. And one of these is the Holika Holika Prime Youth Black Snail Repair Toner, which is infused with one of K-Beauty’s go-to ingredients – Snail Secretions! Yes, you heard right!

This unique ingredient hydrates, helps keep acne at bay and increases suppleness. This repair toner has been formulated with pearl extract too – so expect a brighter, fresher appearance in no time.

Step 5: Essence

The purpose of an essence is to drown your skin with hydration – which again helps your skin to absorb the ingredients in the products of your following steps. An hydrated skin is also brighter, healthier and more glowy.

My go to Korean toner is the TONYMOLY The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Essence. Uniquely formulated with K-Beauty fave ‘ChungTaeJeon’ – fermented green tea extract – which is the most effective ingredient in any Korean skincare product when it comes to hydration!

It’s high in antioxidants and as it’s naturally fermented through sunlight over the course of a year, it develops immense hydrating benefits! Your complexion will be nourished and have a fresh finish. Added ingredients lemon seed and rosewood oil also soothe and balance the oil production of your skin.

Step 6: Serum

Now your face is clean, clear and fresh, you can start targeting any specific skin issues – ageing skin, hyperpigmentation, acne, dullness… whatever yours may be. Serums are usually more concentrated in their ingredients and a strong serum will directly treat any problem area.

The Oh K! SOS Oil Balancing Solid Serum is a mix of white tea and witch hazel which together purify and tighten your pores. This serum helps keep your face matte (a perfect base for makeup) and keeps your skin looking bright and clean, ideal for no makeup days. This unique solid serum also minimises shine and is a definite must-have, especially for oily skinned Glossies.

Oh K! is the most innovative Korean skincare brand out there – plus it’s always got adorable packaging!

Step 7: Sheet Mask

Not only do sheet masks aid your skin’s hydration, they also promote the ritual of relaxation! Meditate, take a moment of quiet or read a book for 15 minutes and enjoy the benefits.

Celebrating its 16th birthday this year is K-Beauty brand Dr Jart+, founded by dermatologist, Dr. Sung Jae Jung and architect, Chin Wook Lee. Together they combined art and dermatological science, to build the brand that we all know and love today.

My go-to SOS treatment from this brand is the Dr.Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Soothing Hydra Solution. This mask plumps skin to remove fine lines and wrinkles, while key ingredient aloe vera soothes and gives instant relief to blemishes, acne, and even sunburn! Your complexion will be hydrated, clarified and dewy.

Step 8: Eye Cream

Late nights, early mornings, long days… After a while, these can start to show around your under eyes. K-Beauty recognises that the skin under your eyes is the thinnest and the most sensitive, so ingredients in Korean beauty inspired eye creams are soft, gentle and non-irritating.

I love Korean beauty brand Erborian – founded by Korean cosmetic scientist, Hojung Lee and French beauty guru, Katalin Berenyi. Erborian is a French/Korean hybrid brand, mixing quality skincare ingredients (which we know Korea is known for), with a simplistic, chic touch which we know the French are all about.

The Erborian Ginseng Total Eye Cream energises and replenishes your under eyes. Using ginseng extract and centella asiatica, this cream reduces signs of fatigue whilst also smoothing out your eye contour. This cream also has anti-ageing qualities, targeting unwanted dark circles and puffiness. This product is revolutionary, rejuvenating and radiating!

Step 9: Moisturiser

The step we’ve all been waiting for! Moisturisers come in many different forms, including creams, gels and lotions, but their main job is to create a shield. The occlusives in moisturisers form a thin layer of oil, preventing moisture from leaving your skin. You don’t want to spend steps one to eight hydrating your face to then not lock it in. That’s what step nine is all about!

The Benton Let’s Carrot Moisture Cream is an innovative Korean beauty find! Infused with vegetable oil (yes, vegetable oil!), it’s ideal for combating any excess oil production. I love this velvety moisturiser as antioxidants also provide protection against harmful environmental aggressors – think pollution, UV rays and, of course, blue light!

You may be wondering… ‘Carrot? Really?’. Well did you know carrot extract plumps and moisturises to give you a healthy, youthful complexion? You do now!

Step 10: SPF

They say never leave the house with your keys and phone – and you should most definitely add ‘without applying sunscreen’ to that list too! Because it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways of protecting your skin! Whether you’re spending the day inside or out, regardless if it’s summer or winter – wear SPF! And it should always be the last step in your routine too, otherwise it’ll end up diluted by all other products and not be able to work its magic!

COSRX’s Aloe Soothing SPF50 PA+++ Sun Cream mixes skincare with SPF. It’s ultra-hydrating, moisturising and soothing too, all thanks to added ingredient aloe vera. COSRX has been around for the last eight years, gaining a cult following not only in Korea but around the world, as well as winning numerous beauty awards worldwide.

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Sophie Page

Sophie Page

Beauty & Lifestyle Writer

You know how people say putting on your favourite clothes can instantly boost or change your mood? Well that's how I feel when I put on my favourite makeup. Makeup isn't to cover up, it's to show off our personality - and I love how everyone does their makeup in their own unique way! I never leave the house without a tinted lip balm in hand, and just like everyone right now, I love a good dupe!


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