We have seen the terms “glass-skin” and “10-step Korean skincare routine” much on our social media feeds as new skincare trends emerge. The thing is, Koreans are obsessed with beauty, and they’re not afraid to show it. 

They’re all about maintaining fresh, clear, healthy skin and dedicate a lot of time and money to their skincare routine. The 10-step Korean skincare routine is high maintenance but effective for getting that extra lit-from-within glow! This article will teach you how to get that dewy K-Pop look by following the 10-step Korean Skincare Routine.

What is it?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. Luckily, there are tons of ways to take care of it. Some people do a full-blown 10-step Korean skincare routine daily, while others prefer a subtle 3-step regimen. These routines aim to make one’s skin glossy, sleek, fresh, and clear.

The routine starts with cleansing. First, a balm or oil cleanser removes oil-soluble impurities, followed by a foaming cleanser to eliminate grime and sweat. Then an exfoliant, a toner, an essence, serum or ampoule, a sheet mask, an eye cream, a moisturizer, and then a thicker night cream or sleeping mask as part of a nighttime routine or sun protection in the morning.

Regardless of your skin type, location, or budget, you’ll find something in this blog post that will ensure your best skin ever! To be in sync with the glass-skin regimen, follow these ten steps.

Step 1: Oil-based cleanser

These generally come in the shape of cleansing balms or oils and work to eliminate makeup and grime. If you have a dry skin type, remember to soothe it into your face before rinsing it with lukewarm water.

For oily skin, experts recommend double-cleansing to reap the maximum benefits of a 10-step Korean skincare routine.

Some recommendations: The Face Shop’s Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil, Innisfree Green-Tea Cleansing Oil.

Step 2: Water-based cleanser

To put it in simple terms, this is your everyday face wash. When performing this step, there has to be a balance. The cleanse should not strip off essential skin components, and the cleansing should be sufficient to remove residual dirt and impurities left behind by the oil-based cleanser. 

Tip: Use a cleanser without fragrance if you have sensitive skin.

Some recommendations: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam, Cosrx Low-Ph Good Morning Cleanser.

Step 3: Exfoliator or Scrub

Exfoliating removes worn-out skin cells revealing a brighter complexion. The most effective scrubs contain natural, abrasive ingredients that physically “sand” the skin. Look for scrubs with ingredients like rice powder, sugar crystals, or coffee beans.

Korean Skincare Face Mask

Tip: Avoids harsh exfoliators that contain chunks of extract as they cause further damage to your skin. Popular chunky exfoliators to avoid include walnut or apricot face scrubs.

Tip: Skin exfoliation if you have breakouts. Resume only when the breakouts have cleared. 

Recommendations: Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment, Klair’s Youthful Glow Sugar Mask.

Step 4: Toner

It is important to use a toner before you apply your first serum. Toners make the skin feel refreshed and prepare it for what’s coming next. Serums have more concentrated ingredients than those found in moisturizers or sunblock, so it is essential to use a toner beforehand to pave way for better absorption. 

Tip: If you have oily skin, use a mild strength toner with reduced emollient attributes.

In dry skin, toners rich in humectants such as hyaluronic acid are a bonus!

Some recommendations: Laneige Cream Skin Toner, Innisfree Bija Trouble Skin Toner.

Step 5: Essence

When people talk about skincare, they usually think about moisturizers and cleansers, but the essences are an equally crucial step. Essence also has superhero status because this is the first time your skin comes in contact with actual skincare actives that address specific concerns.

Some recommendations: Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.

Step 6: Serum or Ampoule

Serums provide holistic nourishment and hydration to your face while tackling specific issues. They help repair the skin barrier and address skin concerns from a deeper level. Pick your serums according to your skin type and concern.

Tip: Current trends point towards natural ingredients like bakuchiol, snail mucin, and green tea for clear, healthy, and nourished skin. They all have anti-aging properties. Bonus!

Some recommendations: Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum

Step 7: Sheet Masks

We’ve all seen programs and K-dramas where our favorite characters sit about with moisturizing masks on their faces. Get your own and enjoy a soothing spa-like moment while also locking in the moisture and goodness from the earlier steps. 

Tip: Enjoy this 1 -2 times weekly, preferably in the morning or evening. Leave your hydrating mask on for 15 minutes at most. More than 15 minutes with a sheet mask on may disrupt your skin barrier.

Some recommendations: Celavi Sheet Mask, Innisfree Sheet Masks.

Step 8: Eye Cream

Eye creams are denser than regular moisturizers and work as a protective covering for the skin around the eyes. They address specific issues around the eyes, such as dark circles, wrinkles, and age spots.

Tip: The best time for applying eye cream is before bed for maximum benefits.

Some recommendations: Innisfree Jeju Orchid Under Eye Cream, Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream.

Step 9: Moisturizer

The other step in your Korean skincare routine is moisturizing. The amount of moisturizing varies, but the best technique to get glass skin is to use a good moisturizer.

Explore a variety of creams with the most cutting-edge skincare actives like azelaic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and ceramides.

Some recommendations: Etude House Moistfull Collagen Cream, Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb.

Step 10: Sunscreen or Sleeping Masks

Koreans are devoted to protecting themselves from the sun. It is the number one foe to the skin. There’s no use in the previous steps if you’re not shielding the skin from sun damage. Therefore, cap off the routine by applying a potent sunscreen. Sun safety holds even indoors. In place of sunscreen, use a sleeping mask in your PM routine.

Some recommendations: Innisfree Sunscreen Cream SPF 50+, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.


The Korean skincare routine has a fair count of stages. A glance at the routine can be overpowering, but it does not have to be. The most important aspect of Korean skincare is identifying needs specific to your skin.  Then using appropriate products to get that much cherished glow.