Korean beauty

Explaining the 10-step Korean skincare routine


Korean skincare and make-up became big news for beauty journalists and experts around the UK in 2018, with the industry throwing their support behind these high-performance products. We predict 2019 is going to be the year when the K-beauty phenomenon really takes off for us mere mortals, with all of us finally able to get our hands on products previously only available at the end of a very long flight.

Here at QTowers, we’ve become fascinated with decoding the infamous 10-step Korean beauty regime, as this is truly the key to getting the most from your skincare purchases. This K-beauty routine is all about flipping the time spent on skincare and make-up, so instead of a speedy cleanse, tone and moisturise plus 30 minutes of make-up in the morning, think of investing your time in a skincare routine instead. It can be done morning or evening, leaving you with results you won’t want to cover with layers of foundation, concealer and bronzer.

Let’s hop right in and explain why your skin will thank you for this.

Step one: oil cleanse and step two: foam cleanse

Why? The purpose of a double cleanse is to ensure skin is completely bare of any daily oil build-up, make-up, or other products.

What can I use? We’re all about making life easier, so with just the Double Cleanse Kit from Erborian you can get both of the cleansers you need to kickstart your new skin journey. Use the Solid Cleansing Oil to loosen stubborn make-up and grime, before going in with the Double Mousse for a foamy treat that will leave skin feeling refreshed and super clean.

Step three: exfoliate

Why? Your skin is clean, but there’s still dead skin cells that need sloughing away.

What can I use? Black Scrub from Erborian is an exfoliating mask with a fresh gel texture. This isn’t a super grainy formula that will leave your skin feeling stripped, but rather a micro-exfoliant that helps to clear pores and leave your skin ready to absorb all the goodness to come.

Step four: tone 

Why? Sweep away any residue left behind from your exfoliation and treat your skin to a burst of moisture.

What can I use? Algenist Hydrating Essence aims to improve the appearance of skin texture and firmness, and contains alguronic acid, witch hazel and chamomile. There’s no need to stick to just Korean beauty brands when tailoring your routine, it’s more important that the product works for your skin type.

Step five: treatment essence

Why? The purpose of a treatment essence is to add a targeted element to the skin post-cleanse and prep it for any oils, or serums that come after.

What can I use? All skin types can benefit from an extra dose of hyaluronic acid, courtesy of Pestle & Mortar’s Pure Hyaluronic Serum. This is easily absorbed and won’t overwhelm skin as it has just one ingredient and is fragrance-free.

Step six: serum

Why? Helps to address any specific issues you have with a concentrated formula. Tailor this to your skin type and choose one that fights a specific problem.

What can I use? Mizon Collagen 100 aims to improve the appearance of fine lines as well as the feel of skin elasticity, so it’s a good all-rounder.

Step seven: sheet mask 

Why? Sitting back and relaxing with one of these on for a few minutes will allow time for absorption of the treatment essence and serum.

What can I use? Erno Laszlo Firm & Lift Sheet Masks are ideal for allowing your skin time to soak in what you’ve applied so far, plus they have additional bonus ingredients to impart, with argan oil and botanical extracts of grapefruit and algae.

Step eight: eye cream

Why? Where to start! Eye cream is an essential for every skincare routine because it helps to protect the delicate skin around the eye area, which is most likely to show the first signs of ageing.

What can I use? Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream is a moisturising boost with a brightening secret. Soft focus pearl pigments help to blur imperfections, so you won’t feel the need to add as much coverage if you’re planning to wear make-up.

Step nine: moisturiser 

Why? This is your final step if you’re doing your routine before bed. The serums have prepped your skin to absorb product so it’s time to provide it with the care you need.

What can I use? Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Cream is designed to help soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and will leave your skin with a silk-like finish.

Step 10: SPF for daytime

Why? Protecting your skin from the sun’s rays is excellent preventative skincare, and something your complexion will thank you for in years to come.

What can I use? IT Cosmetics Full Coverage SPF 50+ CC+ Cream creates a gorgeously dewy finish, and is a wonderful time-saver with its combination of coverage and SPF.

We’d love to hear what you think of the 10-step routine, is it something you would try? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Loraine December 1, 2018 at 1:28 am -  Reply

    I tried the Korean skin are regime last winter with good results, but the face masks are inexpensive there but not here. However my dry/eczema prone skin loves layering so the addition of an essence really helped. I use the decleor liquid moisturiser after my serums but before y richer cream with very good effect.

  2. Roger Lloyd Thompson December 1, 2018 at 7:41 am -  Reply

    Well, with the routine priced at a collective £343.06 including p+p I suspect not!

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