My Korean 10 Step Beauty Routine

Happy Monday! I posted on Instagram last week about my Korean Beauty Routine that I had started following and how much I was enjoying it. While I can't say that it has completely changed the makeup of my skin, it has made me a feel a lot more confidant about going makeup free as well as giving me a relaxing and much needed self care routine in the evenings. This is a little different than what I usually post on the blog, but so many of you asked what my routine was like, so I figured I might as well share it! (:

It was a big change for me. I've had a lot of relationships with beauty products. While I am a clear companion to jumping on bandwagons that I find meaningful to my own personal preferences, I have changed those habits quite a lot over the past couple of years. I say it was a big change because I went from being a person that wore heavy makeup every single day to someone who never wore any makeup at all within the past two years. I have been transitioning to makeup free from when my pregnancy started up until today. It wasn't to make a statement, but I remember reading some article about how French women try to heal their skin and bodies rather than cover up blemishes. Like, if they have blemishes, they eat foods that prevent breakouts from happening, or instead of covering up dark circles, they get more sleep and use an eye cream to prevent it from happening. I thought that made sense, and I will vouch for eating whole foods to the cause of changes within my own body. 

I've been complaining about my breakouts on this blog for over a year now, trying to find ways to prevent it. I had a lot of really painful acne since giving birth, the red and irritated kind. I was starting to get little pimples all over my forehead, the kind that were under the skin. It was just starting to get worse the more I did to it. When I stopped eating processed food, it all disappeared within a week. It was such a transformation! My parents even stopped to say, "Your skin is so clear!" 

Which brings me back to my initial statement of this routine not changing the makeup of my skin. Because I still get pimples. I woke up this morning with two new ones on my chin, but they're a lot less painful or irritated. I still breakout before my period, but it's back to like it was when I was younger. There's not so much irritation or discoloration. I don't feel as oily or like I need to prevent anything strange that my skin is doing. I think that's the most important part of this entire routine and change in diet! I am just embracing what my skin is already giving me and giving back to it, replenishing what is lost and using the oils to my own advantage. 

I first heard about this routine from The Daybook. I've been following along with Sydney's blog for years now and have always loved her posts. As I started reading, I began to realize that I already had most of what was in the routine, but I was using it wrong. I didn't really have a routine. I had products that I used sparingly and every now and then because I figured that was better. There were days in a row where I wouldn't wash my face at all, which would result in puffy eyes and just blah skin. So I gathered up the products I already had, read a little more into what the big deal was, took a deep breath, and ordered the other items I needed. It was a little expensive, I won't lie to you. Instead of purchasing all of the really expensive items, I settled on products that were as natural as my wallet could afford but maybe not fully all natural and paid the big dollars for the products that I thought were the most important. 

While this routine has been coined with the name "Korean 10 Step," it's really just about keeping healthy skin in a gentle way. It's just the same as what I've read about the French as well; just feed your skin well on the inside and give it a little hug on the outside. My skin has brightened and my dark circles are diminishing. It's nice to see happy, bright skin rather than what used to be a bit sallow, puffed, and broken out. So let's talk about the steps and the order it is recommended you perform them in.


The routine begins with two cleansers, one oil based and the other water based. Here's the theory, remove all of your oil based impurities like makeup, dirt, and soot with an oil based cleanser. Have you ever really read the ingredients on your makeup? Most of it is oil based, and when you wash with a water based cleanser, which is pretty typical of the face washes at the store, then you're not getting everything off. That makes sense! While I don't wear makeup anymore, I still find that by the end of the day, I've collected a little more oil than what I started with. If you are a heavy makeup wearer, then I would suggest using a makeup wipe or gentle makeup remover first. Wipe off that hard-to-remove mascara and eye makeup before washing your face. It will just make everything else easier. 

Start with your oil based cleanser. I purchased the Banila Clean It Zero cleanser, and all of the reviews are true. It's light as a feather. When I first gathered a bit up in my hand, I thought that I was going to need a lot more product, but a little goes a long way. Therefore, I didn't feel bad purchasing this one. It will last for some time! I just really love how gentle it is on my skin, and I will definitely purchase it again.

Next, I was with a water based cleanser. Truth be told, I do not recommend the cleanser I'm currently using - Biore Baking Soda Pore Cleanser. It's filled with not so good things for your skin and has a gentle exfoliator factor to it that I don't like. It does wash my face well, and I honestly don't remember why I bought it. It was a product that I already have on hand and is oil-free. I will have to purchase something new to add into my routine that's a little less harsh on my skin!


The next step in super clean skin that's free of dead cells and debris is exfoliation. This only has to be done once or twice a week. I wouldn't recommend more than that! Exfoliation can be really harsh on your precious, sensitive face skin and just end up causing more problems. I have been using Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub, which I bought at Target. It was something that I already had in my bathroom, and it's actually really nice. It's mostly natural and is suitable for sensitive skin, which I like. I think the biggest thing to remember with using exfoliators is that you don't have to scrub hard. It's already doing the work for you, so just be gentle!

Also, good to note, if you're going to do all of this work on your face, you might as well do it to your neck as well. I think a lot of women forget to treat their neck skin just as nicely, and that can really show your age later on in life if you forget it's there! But that's up to you (:


I don't like toners. They've always left my skin feeling dried out and just covered with more acne. Turns out, I was doing it wrong before and stripping my face of its natural oils, the good ones, when I used a toner and didn't moisturize afterwards. It also didn't help when I didn't use any toner and just replenished my skin with facial oils... that was too much oil. It's all really confusing, but here's the quick version:  your face needs oils, but it also needs some balance if your diet is subpar. So give it some toning and then feed it some yummy serums and moisturizer. Okay? Okay. With this in mind, I tried to find the most gentle and easy going toner I could. I came along to Lush's Eau Roma Water. I wanted a rose water toner that wasn't going to be harsh on my skin or essentially dry it out. I've heard about how wonderful rose water can be and plan to just get some straight rose water to lightly wash my face in the morning. So far, I'm really liking it. I just squirt a few spritzes into the palm of my hand and gently pat it onto my face and neck. I don't use cotton pads or anything like that. This toner uses lavender water and rose water!


Essence is the part of a Korean Skincare Routine that most people have never heard of. At least, I hadn't heard of this type of product before! It is a combination of toner water and a serum that helps to repair, protect, and hydrate the skin. It helps prepare the skin for all of the moisture its about to absorb in the next steps, which I have to say, is completely true. Just wait. It gets worse/better/a lot wetter. I have been using MISSHA Time Revolution First Treatment Essence, which I found somewhere on Sokoglam for only $19, yet I can't seem to find that page any longer. But you can get it on Amazon a lot cheaper than through their website! 

Serums, Boosters, and Ampoules

Here is where the skin treatment comes in. Everyone's skin is different, and while I wanted to treat my skin in the best possible way, sometime we all just can't afford that - and this post is not sponsored by anyone except me LOL!! So what skin issues do you have? I have irritated, red acne and discoloration around my eyes, nose, and chin. I have combination oily/normal skin. I'm not wrinkling yet, I'm only 21, but I decided that instead of trying to just cure my acne, it was probably smart to start working on anything age related now rather than after it has already started. Going along with my promise to purchase things that were gentle, I purchased Lush's Full of Grace solid serum. It is SO buttery! Like really buttery. As soon as I touch it, it starts to melt in my hand, which I like, because that means I can use it for a long time. A little goes a long way! It has a lot of tropical butters packed inside along with chamomile essential oil and portobello mushrooms. Weird, right?
I've also been using Biossance's Vitamin C Rose Oil + Squalane Oil, which I really love. I used squalane oil for a while in high school and was really fond of it before I ran out. It's a bit pricey, and I definitely bought the two free samples. It was $4 to ship, and I will probably end up purchasing the big bottles once the samples run out. It's worth it!
Mixed in my hand, I also add the Beauty Diva Face Serum by Braid Batch Remedies and Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I ended up getting the Kiehl's product as a sample in my order (they give you like six samples! so awesome!) and fell in love with it, as well as all of the others. They have really amazing products, surprised I never tried them before. The Beauty Diva Face Serum smells so good, too. Just like herbs and essential oils, and it goes on so smooth. If I'm feeling like my skin can take a little more moisture, I roll on a little Beauty Babe Roller.


While I was chatting this routine up with my cousin, she mentioned one of her good friends from Korea who loved using sheet masks. She was telling me that in Korea it's pretty normal to purchase this type of mask rather than a wet mask, like the kinds we typically use here. I am wanting to look into these to see what the hype is about! Instead, I have been using my own green mask recipe once or twice a week. I really love this mask. It's easy to whip together and it applies nice and thick. I love the cooling sensation after washing it off, too! My matcha green tea mask recipe is perfect for helping in preventing age.

Moisturizers + Eye Cream

 After all of the serums and masks and whatever else you decided to use is finished, you have arrived at the end of the tour. It's time to replenish and rehydrate the skin with a fancy eye cream and some moisturizer. This is my favorite part. My skin feels so nice and soft afterwards! I have been using Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Cream at night and Lush's Enchanted Eye Cream in the mornings. I'll talk about my morning routine below - it's not the same as this! After my eye cream has been applied, I use a little bit of Indie Lee's 100% Squalane Oil and finish the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. This is probably my favorite product of all of them! It's a very light mask, which really just soaks into my skin and feels so soft and delicate. I wake up refreshed and ready to start the day every morning. I highly recommend this product!

In the morning...

I usually just rinse with some lukewarm water and then apply a spritz of rose water toner followed by the Biossance Vitamin C Rose Oil + Squalane Oil and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, maybe some of Lush's Enchanted Eye Cream, too. If I'm feeling really oily in the morning, I'll double cleanse again. I haven't really had a problem with that yet! I try to be gentle to my skin in the morning, especially since I now wake up feeling pretty refreshed in comparison to when I started the routine.

In all, I am liking this. It's been a bigger change than expected, that's for sure, but I've been pretty good about keeping up with it. I don't know if my skin will necessarily need all of the moisture I've been adding now that the summer months are approaching. I tend to get more oily in humid weather. Again, this is about working with what you have and not trying to eliminate anything. I haven't necessarily noticed less acne, but I have noticed more supple and lively looking skin, which I think is going to have to work for me since I was starting to look more and more haggard. Having a toddler will do that to you!

I hope you found this helpful. I would definitely check out the other products The Daybook mentions if you have the extra dollars to spend! (:

xoxo Kayla