10-Step Korean Skin Care

I’ve always had good intentions with skincare, but was never able to fully commit.  This was mostly due to laziness.  It’s not that I’m a lazy person, but once I’ve got my PJ’s on and I’m comfortably relaxing, the simple act of removing my makeup before bed seems to be a mission.  Going into 2015, I made a promise to myself to be better about this and decided that it was all or nothing.  Just washing my face and slapping on some moisturizer wasn’t enough anymore.  Intrigued by the idea of the 10-step Korean skin care plan, I planned to revamp my entire routine and set time aside in my schedule (pre-nighttime laziness, of course) directed solely to skincare.  I did a ton of research and read hundreds of reviews to find the perfect products and (thankfully) was able to use the holiday VIB 20% discount at Sephora towards the majority of my new regime.

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking “who the hell has time for ten skincare steps every night?”  Honestly, it really isn’t as time consuming as it may seem and the benefits are worth the extra time.  I’ve been religiously following this routine, day and night, and it quickly becomes second nature.  Besides, you’re probably already doing most of these things and it’s definitely worth the extra effort for glowing, radiant skin.  So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

The first step is to remove all traces of makeup at the end of the day using a cleansing oil.  Using an oil to cleanse your face may seem counterproductive, but a cleansing oil gently removes all of your makeup without stripping that natural oils from your skin, leaving your face feeling soft. Work a small amount over your skin with your fingers in circular motions, then rinse or wipe with a soft cloth.

A second cleansing with a gentle, foaming cleanser will ensure a clean face.  I use my Clarisonic once every other day during this step with Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser, which is gentle enough for my sensitive skin.

This was one of the steps that I used to think of as unnecessary, but have worked into my new routine.  A toner restores your skin’s PH balance, absorbs oil, tightens pores and rejuvenates your skin.  Just be sure to look for an alcohol free toner.  Splash your toner onto a clean cotton pad and brush it across your entire face and neck.

The facial treatment essence is one of the essential steps in this routine and shouldn’t be skipped.  The essence helps to moderate surface skin renewal, brighten and firm your skin.  I’ve noticed a huge different in my skin since I’ve added this step into my routine 12 weeks ago.  I invested in the popular and most well known Facial Treatment Essence by SK-II, but I’ve read incredible reviews about the Missha brand essence, as well.

This is where you can mix it up a bit and target your specific skin concerns. You can layer products to address multiple skin problems. Ampoules are generally lighter and more concentrated than serums and should be applied first, to allow for maximum absorption and better results. As a rule, you should apply your products from lightest to heaviest, in terms of consistency. It’s best to try and wait 20 minutes between each serum, but if you don’t have the time, try to wait at least 5 minutes before applying your next step. To apply, place a few drops on your fingertips and massage the serum into your face, starting in the center and working outwards.

Keeping the eye area hydrated is a must! The trick here is to tap the product with your ring finger onto the eye area, instead of rubbing. This allows for a gentler application and less pulling on the eye area, which causes fine lines. I am still in search of the perfect eye cream. Any recommendations?

Hydrating your skin is so important. Being a girl who has “glowing skin” (aka oily), I used to skip this step, but I’ve learned with age that everyone should moisturize. It seems counterproductive, but adding moisture to your skin will actually help to lessen oil production. I keep two moisturizers in my beauty pantry – one with SPF for daytime and another creamier product for evenings.

Yup, another seemingly unnecessary step. I mean, didn’t we already moisturize? But adding a night cream on top of your normal moisturizer will help to lock in moisture while you’re sleeping. You will wake up to gorgeous, glowing, baby soft skin.

Technically, this step should fit right in between cleansing and toning, but I’m tossing it in at the end because it’s something that I don’t do daily. You can make a decision as to how often you need to do this step based on your needs. As I stated earlier, I use my clarisonic every other day, which helps to polish my skin. I use a gentle scrub once, maybe twice a week to keep it smooth and soft. I’m completely obsessed with the new Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Powder, which I received as a sample from Sephora. It can be mixed with your cleanser or with water to gently exfoliate your face.

Again, not a daily step, but an important one. I treat myself to a mask twice a week, but you can use one as often or as little as you’d like. Lately, I’ve been alternating between a hydrating sheet mask and rotating GlamGlow masks. Sheet masks are popping up everywhere. Sephora has a great selection, priced at an affordable $6 a pop, for a number of different skin concerns. The SK-II Treatment Mask, although pricey, is definitely worth the investment if you’re preparing for a big event or want to pamper yourself.

And there you have it, folks. If you’re setting out to try to work this into your life, I promise, it isn’t as difficult or time consuming as it sounds. I try to start as early in the evening as possible. Once I know I’ll be home for the night, I’ll usually make a point to cleanse, exfoliate, tone and use the essence. Since I’ve gotten a head start, I can spread out the application of the remaining products. It’s been about three months since I’ve added these additional steps and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve added a list of the products that I’m currently using below, along with other products in every price range for each step.