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10 Step Korean Skincare Routine

Written by Elizabeth Lynn

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Posted on December 27 2018

When you have the attention span of a squirrel and you're a perfectionist it’s difficult to form a skin care routine. 
Let's get real. 10 STEPS in a skin-care routine seems a little extreme.
I’ve always struggled with my skin and it’s honestly the one thing about me that isn’t perfect. I was nervous about attempting the Korean 10-Step Skin-care Routine... started from the bottom (aka 3 steps) and now we’re here at 10 steps.
The Korean Beauty Routine is more of a mindset then a rule book. 
 Let’s face it -- your skin is NO joke
I am just like any other human, though - I thrive when I'm in my normal routine/on a schedule. Most of us never get into a routine.
We waste time in these phases that we all know a little too well, "trial periods". Honestly, I can't think back to a time when I was in a trial period that actually turned into a habit or routine.
I’ve gone through phases: diet regimens, romantic & business relationships, and my personal fav, "I am the Queen of Pilates" phase. 
As we all know these trial periods come to an end and we never receive a beneficial ROI. Yep, return on investment, babes. Trial periods come to an end when you do not set goals, realistic expectations for yourself, or know what result you want. 
When you do not set intentions, you waste your own valuable time - with no results. Trial periods CAN form into habits, which result in a routine.
I decided to start taking my skin care regimen seriously. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve damaged the largest organ in the integumentary system (outer/physical body) and it’s the one body part that you can’t replace.
I can officially say that I have a skin care routine and I am sticking to it. 
 
Aging Like Fine Wine
I own two companies, which leaves me minimal time to spend time on a skin-care routine. 
I've incorporated the 10 steps into my morning/nightly life by integrating the steps into my every daily schedule. 
I don’t just sit in my bathroom while I execute each step. I put on a face mask, work on the computer or take my dog out.
By incorporating each step into my morning routine I was able to immerse myself into the 10-step Korean Skin-care Routine.
 
1. Trial -> Habit = Routine
 
2. Test Product for each step before you add in the next step
Example: You probably already have a foaming cleanser (second step) you like, but you don’t have the first step, an Oil Based Cleanser. Amazon Prime that bitch (that’s a verb right?) & add it into your normal routine. If your skin reacts well to the product, then it’s time add in step #3 - toner.
 
3. Be vulnerable -- true beauty hides behind no one.
I tried the K-Beauty Routine. For Christ’s Sake, I've had their book "10 Steps to Korean Beauty" for almost 4 years now.
It makes sense. Our faces battle the sun (#1 cause of skin aging) every day, we cake on makeup, and never give our skin the TLC it deserves. 
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You need to remove ALL your makeup. Massage the cleanser over a DRY face (seems weird I know) and neck to break up the makeup particles and then add a splash of lukewarm water to emulsify the cleanser. I only use an oil based cleanser at night. If I workout during lunch I will come home & use an oil based cleanser to remove all the sebum off my face.
 
Day if needed/Night - all skin types
 
 
Saturated fatty acids are essential for true moisturi-zation and our skin does not produce this on its own. From a chemical standpoint, oils & fats are unstable and break down due to oxygen/heat.
They oxidize into fatty acids, which creates that awful stale aroma -- there is no shelf life. That's why SqualEne goes through a hydrogenation process from a unsaturated oil into a 100% saturated oil.
Personal Recommendation: all skin types - this is a great Cleansing Oil to start with if you have sensitive or acne prone skin.
Night
For the first time ever you'll be excited to melt your face off . The Farmacy Green Clean is a balm-to-oil cleanser that smells like summer in a jar and looks like sorbet. No, I will not be your guinea pig and taste it. That doesn't mean I didn’t test it on my skin for you! 
The formula contains sunflower and ginger oil remove your makeup (even waterproof) while hydrating your skin. It also contains Moringa, which extracts the dirt, grime, & impurities without stripping the skin.  
It's Travel Size -- what's good TSA??! Thanks to Green Clean Melting Cleansing Balm I look forward to taking off my makeup when I get home from a long day at work. Thanks Farmacy!
Personal Recommendation: all skin types 
2. WATER-BASED CLEANSER
- - As per usual wash your face with a water-based cleanser in the morning & at night.
 
Day/Night - all skin types
If you have sensitive skin then Joanna Vargas specifically formulated the Cloud Bar Cleansing Bar for your face + body. I've been a guilty of  "doing the most" when it comes to taking care (more like fixing) my skin. Drug store products contain TOO many ingredients, most of which aren't good and sometimes all we need is to just get back to the basics.
 
Shea, Coconut, and Chamomile
They work together to cleanse and deliver collagen stimulating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging components to the skin.
 
Vegetable Glycerin
Absorbs its own weight in water and stabilizes collagen + accelerates the healing process of your skin. It also has exfoliating properties with a keratolytic effect, helping the skin's natural process that breaks down skin cells, preventing dull, flaky skin without being abrasive.
 
Personal Recommendation: all skin types
Day/Night - all skin types
You finally get to meet the first cleanser I ever fell in love with. After 30 days I start having mixed feelings about a particular cleanser I've been using and we break up. 
I've had a hard time finding a water-based cleanser that removes all the dirt/sebum off my skin. 
This formula is powered with pore-perfecting French green clay and Moroccan Rhassoul clay and has a water base.
The Neroli essential oil balances, calms, & soothes skin, while antioxidant-rich Vitamin C helps brighten the appearance of your skin. The ingredients combined will give you a brighter & even complexion, while leaving the skin moisturized.  
Personal Recommendation: all skin types
3. EXFOLIATOR
- - Tap product lightly into your skin in the morning & at night. 
If you have super sensitive skin then be careful when it comes to exfoliating. You must exfoliate your face 2x a week to have clear/polished skin. 
When it comes to exfoliating you have two different types of exfoliators to choose from:
physical - scrub or chemical - lactic acid. 
Why do you think guys have the best skin ever around their beard area -- they exfoliate weekly when they shave. I will get into shaving your face in another blog. Yes, babes shave their faces. Marilyn Monroe did. #micdrop
 
Day/Night - all skin types
I've only tried cream based exfoliators and coffee scrubs to exfoliate. I was super excited to try this dual-action Illuminating Face Polish by DOLL FACE Beauty when it arrived in my mailbox. It smells AMAZING & is infused with Jojoba beads is great for acne prone skin. 
 
Super FruitActiv
it’s loaded with Alpha Hydroxy Acids & Citrus enzymes to help refine your skin naturally. AHAs dissolve the upper layer of cells to trigger repair. Any exfoliator with AHA is key if you have sensitive skin - like the DOLL FACE Beauty Enzyme Peel
Personal Recommendation: all skin types
 
Day/Night - all skin types
Where the F has this been my entire life?!It's a 2 in 1 (cleanser + exfoliator) sponge.
If this Puff is technically a sponge, then consider it the Four Seasons of sponges. It's a 2 in 1 (cleanser + exfoliator)
Every time one of my girlfriends come over I make them use this. Is that gross? Yes, I don’t recommend sharing your puff.  I just felt like it was a cardinal sin if I didn’t tell the squad about this life changing product.  
 
WOAHHH NOW - - 
Does this mean the 10 Step Korean Beauty Routine is now only 9 steps? Yep.
When you open up the bag the Pretty Puff is already wet. I didn't even think twice and placed it under warm water and moving it around my skin in a circular motion, as if this puff was a space saucer and my skin was mars.
Puff is a safe bet to use daily & nightly. Rinse the puff with cold water - sustains the Puffs shelf life.
 
EVERY friend who tries this magic PUFF says, "OMG. How much is this?"
That's the craziest thing -- it's only $8.
I'm surprised other brands haven't tried to replicate these puffs. I'm a die hard puff fan.
I use the Doll Face Beauty Puff before the Brilliance Face Polish + Exfoliating Peel
Personal Recommendation: all skin types
Day/Night - all skin types
This remarkable multi-tasking exfoliating peel makes your complexion brighter & plump after just one use. If you have an event or just need a skincare miracle -- look no further. 
I use the DOLL FACE Enzyme Peel daily and love the way it makes my skin look and feel. Not only do I believe this product is brightening the dark spots I have from acne/sun damage it really does shed and exfoliate dead skin.
I've always suffered from cystic acne -- not anymore. Once you start exfoliating your skin properly the cystic acne will surface and as you keep trucking along the exfoliating train it will eventually go away. 
One of my girlfriends who works at a med spa says her skin feels like it just got a chemical peel -- minus the harsh side effects of shedding your face off.
You also want to make sure to "feel" a peel.
Peels dissolve the upper layer of cells to trigger repair. Just remember if the acid is penetrating into your skin, you're going to feel something.
Personal Recommendation: all skin types
4. TONER
- - Spray onto a cotton pad or like me and just spray a trillion times on my face
PH balance is key. You want to balance your skin before you treat your skin. Toner provides a base layer of hydration, which is crucial after removing all the dirt/natural oils from your skin. It's primary function is to get rid of any other impurities left behind on your skin from cleansing.
Toners are typically very affordable. Just try to find one without alcohol.
 
Day/Night - all skin types
Sweep away product residue, excess oils, dead skin cells & blemish causing bacteria from skin and pores with this powerful botanical PH balancing skin refreshment. Leaving your skin feeling fresh AF.
Personal Recommendation: all skin types
 5. ESSENCE
-- Apply freshly & tap it in
Literally wtf. Essence?? I was honestly so confused on this product category.
Essence is a pre-moisturizer that hydrates your skin to help other products absorb -- the best way to prepare your skin for the rest of your routine. It makes your skin like a sponge and is the key component of the Korean Skincare Routine.
Oily Skin: Look for salicylic acid or witch hazel 
Dry Skin: hydrating ingredients like sodium hyaluronate, amino acids, and sodium PCA
 
Day/Night - all skin types
Prepare to jump on the bandwagon once you try Essence - - a mix between a toner/serum formulated to heal your skin & increase cell turnover.
The Black Tea Kombucha treatment is formulated with potent antioxidants: Kombucha, black tea extract, blackberry leaf extract, and lychee seed extract.
These ingredients work together to fight free radicals, pollution and improve your skins elasticity. The formula is water-based and very light compared to any serum you will use.
Difference between Toners, Essence, and Serums
Traditionally Essence is more lightweight, tend to not have active ingredients and are less concentrated than serums. 
 
Essence --
Lightweight booster containing active ingredients that promotes cellular turnover, while targeting skin concerns like fine lines, dull skin, and wrinkles.
 
Toners --
balances PH levels. Super light. Less Ingredients
 
Serums --
highly concentrated + thicker 
 
The latest gossip in Korean Beauty is that they've added in even more steps such as pre-essence and post-essence. Oh hell, no. 
6. TREATMENTS
- - Massage serums, boosters, and ampoules
 
Day/Night - all skin types

“Daily Serum is my ‘green juice’ for the skin to keep skin clear and is a natural way of oxygenating the skin. The greens in here are also rich in minerals that stimulate the lymphatic system. I use it all the way up to the eyes for depuffing effect” says Joanna.

You know every babe in LA dropped their Moon Juice for a Daily Serum when they heard, "green juice". This plant-based formula has a gel-like consistency, which makes it perfect to use before you moisturize.

Super rich in hyaluronic acid and infused with vitamins A,C, E & F. Then of course Joanna spiked it with chlorophyll, galactoarabinan, & green tea.

Personal Recommendation: all skin types

 

JOANNA VARGAS SKINCARE

RESCUE SERUM - $150

Day/Night - all skin types

If you haven't gotten your hands on the best-selling Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum yet, at this point, it's time. After I used this clarifying Rescue Serum I can truly say that Joanna Vargas has a special place in heaven.

I watched a Youtube video and she personally uses this under the Daily Serum. Obviously I am doing the same now. 

My friend Kara and I used the Rescue Serum the night it arrived in my mailbox. The next morning we both woke up the next morning and had an overall brighter & even complexion.

This is a NO BRAINER. Everyone must add this serum into your skincare routine.

This is a NO BRAINER. Everyone must add this serum into your skincare routine.

The primary function of this serum is to repair your skin from the day's damage with a Vitamin C & E based serum.

These fatty acids are held together in an oil based formula for absorption, preventing cell mutation that occurs from sun exposure and pollution -- preventing your skin to age. You can undo the damage, but you can protect and heal your skin.

 

7. FACE MASK

1-2x weekly. Leave on for 20 min. 

Spend 1/2 of your time cleansing and the other 1/2 focusing on tightening & firming skin.

 

JOANNA VARGAS SKINCARE

FOREVER GLOW MASK - $75

Day/Night - all skin types

Consider the Forever Glow Anti-Aging Face Mask by Joanna Vargas the one night stand of skincare that will leave you smitten.
Trust me your skin will never be same.
 If you don't know anything about Joanna Vargas -- welcome to planet Earth. New York City-based skincare expert Joanna Vargas has a A-list roster (starting with me #iwish) and a skincare line that is taking off.
What I admire most about her is that every client leaves the office with a customized regimen -- curated by Joanna. Plus she gives her clients access to a full-body LED light bed. Sign me up!! 
The foundation of Joanna's skincare line is you are what you eat -- detox. Formulated to firm and smooth skin, this hydrating face mask instantly diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Infused with metabolism-boosting and antioxidant-rich ingredients, this bamboo sheet mask strengthens collagen and increases circulation to deliver flawless, glowing skin.
Joanna gets facials every 3-4 weeks and alternates between a Triple Crown Facial and the Forever Facial. Now that she offers a facial service in a bag -- I knew I had. to try it.
I had a huge event the next day and slept in my face mask just like the Koreans do. 
 
Favorite Ingredients
Hyaluronic Acid
holds 1000 times its weight in water
 
Cabbage Rose Extract
circulation & strengthens capillary walls
 
Kelp
Stimulates the lymphatic system to drain inflammation making you less puffy
Gingko Biloba + Olive Leaf Extract - antioxidants & anti-inflammatory,  skin hydration & rejuvenation
Day/Night - all skin types

Those pores be LURKING -- Now if only I could get rid of my ex boyfriends like this mask gets rid of the dirt and sebum in my pores. Ahhh, the struggle is real. Anyhow, we all know that technically you can't get rid of your pores, but we can agree that clean pores look 10x better/less visible.

 

Kaolin based Clay Mask

Contains Willow Bark, which is a natural salicylic acid that helps detox & minimize your pores. I LOVE a good clay mask and feel super clean and refreshed after using this mask. During my "mask time" aka while it's attempting to perform a miracle it does feel SUPER DRY, but once you wash it off you feel moisturized & confused -- in a good way. How can you be moisturized after using a clay based mask? Hint: answer below.

 

Hyaluronic Acid

I won't drop acid, but I will 100% drop any product on my face that has Hyaluronic Acid. Babies are actually born with a high amount Hyaluronic Acid so give me that baby face. 

Hyaluronic Acid is a moisture “magnet” that holds up to 1000x its weight in water.I use this mask day/night and it's TOTALLY a safe bet. Rinse off after 10 minutes.

Otherwise you will look like you're in a Head & Shoulders commercial from the white flakes that shed from your face. 

 

Personal Recommendation: all skin types 

 

FARMACY

BRIGHT ON VITAMIN C MASK- $38

Day or Night - all skin types

I need all the Vitamin C I can get after all the sun damage I've managed to get over the years.  The Bright On Face Mask contains antioxidants and AHAs that remove buildup & impurities. 

Squeeze a quarter size of this creamy formula onto your hand and then start massaging into your skin. You will notice the moisturizer turn from lavender to green as the Vitamin C capsules burst into skin to help brighten & clarify your complexion.

 

VITAMIN C

Helps with dark spots and overall gives your skin a brighter complexion. It's a great mask to use during the summer is for the fact it has superfoods and aloe to help cool, soothe, & moisturize skin. 

Personal Recommendation: all skin types 

 

BOSCIA

CHARCOAL PORE PUDDING MASK- $38

Day or Night - all skin types

Charcoal is known to absorb 1,000 times its weight in impurities and minimizes the growth of bacteria. Which means if you have oily skin then you need some charcoal in your life.

 

THIS FACE MASK IS THE BOMB 

Binchotan is a white charcoal that moisturizes and balances your skins hydration levels. When combined with Kaolin Clay gives a radiant complexion and baby smooth skin. Clay is key for detoxing & purifying your pores.

Personal Recommendation: Ideal for Acne prone skin. If you have dry skin stick to a mask that focuses on hydration rather than cleansing/detoxing. 

 

8. EYE CREAM

from the inner to outer corner of the eye

You can't get rid of the dark circles, but you can sleep & depuff with the right eye cream.

 

FARMACY

DEW IT ALL- $32

Day/Night - all skin types

I would personally like to take a moment and thank Mark Veer, CEO of Farmacy for his farm in New York with 30,000 acres of Echinacea plants.

 

Echinacea GreenEnvy™

Is in ALL of Farmacy products and contains a high concentration of the phytochemical cichoric acid, a potent natural antioxidant. It helps protect & firm the skin by inhibiting the enzymes that break down collagen.

 

Dew It All Eye Cream

Contains algae and rose hip extract to help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The gel-like consistency is perfect to use during the summer since it's HOT AF... something has to cool me down...and these bags under my eyes! 

 

9. MOISTURIZER

As the weather heats up, the idea of putting on moisturizer might make you cringe. Adding

light-weight hydration is critical to keeping a balanced complexion.

 

GLAM GLOW

VOLCASMIC™  MATTE GLOW MOISTURIZER $49

Day- all skin types

Consider this moisturizer the holy grail for daytime. I have acne prone skin and have the biggest fear of breaking out after I try a new moisturizer.

If you have oily skin you need to use a water-based formula and say BYE to formulas with synthetic oils that will clog your pores.

A water-based product means the formula uses water as a medium to deliver its ingredients. That way you will reap the beneficial ingredients and retain moisture from the water since it's the best hydrator around. 

I usually test all products at night. In hopes that it will pass my first test - not to break me out and if it doesn't then it's time for the grand finale - will I look sexy or shiny. Meet a moisturizer that does it all: hydrates, primes, and controls shine.

Honestly the consistency feels like butter, but once you apply it into your skin the volcanic minerals absorb the oil on your skin like microscopic sponges. Leaving you with a matte canvas for makeup application. 

 

DOLL FACE BEAUTY

DEFEND INTENSIVE MOISTURIZER $28

Night - all skin types

It's literally jelly time minus the peanut butter -- sorry if I just made you hungry.  Our primary goal is to achieve great skin, not gains.

 

This age-defying moisturizer has a water-based formulas that uses modern polymers to give it a jelly-like consistency, which helps the product hold much more water than typical moisturizers.

 

Hyaluronic Acid

One of the most powerful and effective humectants that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water and helps stimulate collagen production. Now you can officially say goodbye to those fine lines and LOL at those creases.

 

Personal Recommendation

Dry skin- I recommend a heavier nightly moisturizer

Oily skin- night use only

 

FARMACY

LIGHTWEIGHT MOISTURIZER $45

Day/Night - ideal for dry skin

Water based gel-cream with a triple hyaluronic acid complex

Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its water weight. Mind blowing, I know. As you apply the light-weight moisturizer tiny cupuaçu butter beads burst & absorb into your skin.

This formula is very light-weight and you really do feel moisturized after you've applied it. It also lays well with makeup and doesn't look super greasy.

Farmacy uses its patented Echinacea GreenEnvy™ in all of their products, but in this particular product its primary function is to be a natural humectant (helps retain moisture), fight free radicals, and increases collagen. 

 

Echinacea GreenEnvy™

Anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants. Back in the day people would use Echinacea (plant) to treat acne, fight wrinkles, & soothes sunburns. 

 

is butter a carb?

Either way I will let anyone spread this butter all over my body. Cupuaçu butter is extremely high in anti-oxidants (combat the free radicals that lead to wrinkles) and can attract upwards 240% more water towards your dried out skin. 

 

Personal Recommendation

Dry skin - day or night

Oily skin or Acne Prone: no 

 

10. SUNSCREEN 

WHITE GIRL SUNSCREEN

30 SPF $14.99

Day - all skin types

Co-Founder, Solongo Erdenekhuyag is from Mongolia and grew up with amazing skincare advice from her mother and grandmother. In the Mongolian culture (Korean too) sunscreen isn’t optional - it’s essential.

In Korean beauty, sunscreen is the LAST product they use before applying makeup. Exactly why we developed a formula that we could easily incorporate into our daily beauty routine.

Honestly their youthful-looking skin should be all the convincing you need to take the same stance. Before heading out each morning, you should apply a facial sunscreen.

The key to incorporating a sunscreen into your daily beauty routine is to find one that can act as a primer. Make sure to wait 2-5 minutes for the sunscreen to set before applying your foundation.

 

BEHIND THE FORMULA

During the process of developing the formula for White Girl Sunscreen we realized that beauty brands had us fooled. Unless you know ingredients that are in most beauty products. 

 

DO NOT FALL FOR WHAT IS MARKETED ON THE LABEL

Example A

SPF 50 provides only 1% more protection than SPF 30. No SPF over 50 works.... crazy right?

 

Example B

Organic - Is something really organic if you can’t put it in your mouth? ... That's what I thought

 

KEY INGREDIENTS

Helianthus Annus Seed Oi

Antioxidants A, C and E prevent free radicals from damaging your skin and help fight signs of premature aging.

 

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract

 Helps with conditions such as acne, pimples and rosacea.

 

Vitis Vinifera

Rich in linolenic acid, which promotes cellular repair. It also makes it easily absorbed by the skin, and therefore effective as a skin moisturizer.


Persea Gratissima Oil

Offers high quantities of sterols, which can help reduce the appearance of age spots. It’s been used for  centuries to heal all sorts of topical ailments from psoriasis to sunburns.

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ADDITIONAL TIPS 

1. Keep your Essence, Serums, Masks  in the fridge

2. Stop windexing your face. It's not a. window. Tap product onto your face, it enhances absorption

3. Acne prone skin - use a wet paper towel instead of drying your face with the same towel, less bacteria 

4. Stop trying to thrive off those Neutrogena wipes and start forming a legit skincare routine.

5. You will only need to buy these products 1-2x a year. In the long run Botox is more expensive.