My skincare ritual, a clean version of the 10-step Korean skincare routine, is a fundamental part of my self-care practice. A clean skincare routine transformed my skin and made make-up largely unnecessary. I used to be a full coverage foundation girl, and now I wear nothing at all or a light SPF BB cream at most. But my skincare routine is more than that to me. It’s not just a means to glowing skin. It’s an everyday luxury, a moment I can thank and honor this body that has served me so well. A body that has birthed, created, loved, lost, survived, and thrived. It is a way of saying daily “I am worthy. I am grateful.”
Read on to see how my skin looks these days and learn what the 10-step Korean skincare routine is, my exact morning and evening routine, and my favorite clean skincare products!
A Note on Practical Magic
I’m a believer in practical magic. That means practicing mindfulness during daily routines and treating them like sacred rituals. It’s a lifestyle. A small shift in perception can transform mundane chores into opportunities for grounding and gratitude throughout our day. The keys to making more of these everyday moments from making the bed to washing your face is to focus on the physical beauty—think taking the time to really appreciate scents, textures, and sensations whether it’s massaging a beautiful oil into your skin or smoothing your sheets—and using those moments to set intentions, practice gratitude, or simply be mindful in the present moment.
My Skincare Journey
When I started exploring the much-hyped “10 Step Korean Skincare” routine, it was because I’d developed contact dermatitis after using some drugstore make-up wipes on the road. My skin never seemed to go back to normal. It was so bad, my dermatologist recommended prescription skincare. But I decided I wanted to see if I could find a clean skincare routine to solve my problem without medical intervention first. That’s when I discovered the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine, and I think the results speak for themselves! These pictures were taken with absolutely no skin make-up on (brows, lips, and lashes only!) And for the record, I’m 36 years old.
Not only did it transform my skin from blotchy to glowing and even, it’s something I deeply enjoy doing. Starting and ending the day with a luxurious ritual and caring for yourself is a wonderful way to cultivate self-love.
How to Do the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine
The 10-step routine has essentially 3 parts: cleanse, nourish, and protect. The first three steps cleanse the skin, the middle four nourish it, and the last three protect it. You don’t need to do every single step every single day. Certain steps are only done a few times a week, so it’s not as daunting as it seems.
This entire clean skincare routine only takes me 5-10 minutes max unless I do a sheet mask, which I try to leave on for 20 minutes while I do other things. I do the first 3 steps in the shower, and then do the rest after I get out. To speed it up, you can use a mini handheld fan to get the products to absorb into the skin more quickly, but I’m a user of the “wildly fan my face with my hands” method.
- Oil Cleanser – to remove oil-based impurities like make-up and sunscreen. This can be skipped in the morning if you do not have any make-up on and did your routine the evening before. But I do it every morning regardless because I enjoy it, and I think I get better results.
- Foam Cleanser – to remove water-based impurities like sweat and dirt.
- Exfoliant – to remove dead skin skills. Exfoliation should not be done every day. I use a physical exfoliant 2-3 times a week in the morning and a chemical exfoliant once a week in the evening. I do not do the chemical exfoliant on the same day I’ve used the physical exfoliant. If I am not exfoliating that day, I gently wipe my face with a cica pad after cleansing.
- Toner – to prep the skin. Instead of using cotton to apply this (or any products) I just put a little in my hand and rub it on my face gently. I find this helps me not waste product and is more gentle on my skin.
- Essence – to nourish the skin. Essences are packed with ingredients to hydrate skin and promote cell turnover.
- Serums & Ampoules – to target any specific issues like aging, acne, dryness, redness, reducing the appearance of pores, etc.
- Sheet Masks – to deeply nourish and hydrate. I also use wash-off masks, but if I am using a wash off I use it before my toner so that I don’t lose all that goodness when I wash it off. If I’m using a sheet mask, I use it now. I use sheet masks about 3-5 times a week.
- Eye Cream – for firming, brightening and protecting the fragile skin around your eyes
- Moisturizer – this seals it all in and hydrates, smoothes, and plumps skin
- Sunscreen – do not skip this step! If it isn’t night time, I can guarantee you I have on sunscreen! This is perhaps the most vital thing you can do to prevent aging caused by damaging UV rays.