Since becoming a makeup artist, I’ve learned a ton about skincare. I used to rely solely on my Aveeno exfoliant, Olay moisturizer and Burt’s Bees makeup wipes (all of which I still like!!), but since meeting other people in the industry and reading The Little Book of Skin Care (highly recommend), I’ve come to learn just how important that 10-step skincare regimen is. Specifically a k-beauty (korean beauty!) 10-step skincare regimen.
A 10-step skincare routine seems grueling, I know, but I promise it will become your new favorite ritual (or maybe that’s just me but at least you’ll have plump skin and prevent wrinkles??). But seriously, starting your skincare routine NOW opposed to when you actually start to have skin concerns will help you look younger for longer, and you won’t have to use as much makeup since your skin will be glowing from the inside out.
The 10 steps are to be performed twice a day – once in the morning and once at night. Here’s what the 10 steps consist of, and which products I recommend for each step:
1) Oil-based cleanser
This is the step that removes your makeup. This step honestly ~changed my life~ as I no longer have bits of mascara hanging out under my eyes at all times! I use Banila Co’s Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original and Knours Your Only Cleanser for this step.
2) Water-based cleanser
Water-based cleansers come next to remove all of the dirt from your face and any excess makeup. I use Wander Beauty’s Drift Away Cleanser for this step, and in the past have used Neogen’s Cranberry Real Fresh Foam Cleanser.
We all <3 an exfoliant, which is used to scrape away dead skin cells as well as brighten the skin. My favorites are Neogen’s Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling + Saturday Skin Rub-A-Dub Refining Peel Gel. If you have super sensitive skin, I’d recommend Kate Somerville’s Liquid ExfoliKate. Read the instructions for whichever exfoliant you decide on, as the amount you need to use will differ for each product.
4) Face Mask
Click here for my deep dive on face masks.
Toner is used to balance the pH level of the skin. If you already know what that means, stop bragging, and if you don’t, it means that the toner basically works as a neutralizer for your skin by getting rid of any unwanted texture while also (you guessed it!) hydrating your skin. I looove the Mamonde Hydrating Beauty Water because it literally feels like a glass of cold water for my skin. Dare I say it might even be my favorite part of my k-beauty 10-step skincare regimen! And I love the packaging.
This is the step that I had noooo idea about until I read up on k-beauty. It sounds like some serious white girl shit. But an essence is actually super important as it not only hydrates the skin, but allows whatever you put on top of the essence to absorb more deeply into your skin. My favorite is the Hanskin Hyaluron Skin Essence. What makes this essence unique is that it contains “an advanced form of hyaluronic acid called sodium hyaluronate that’s comprised of smaller molecules, allowing it to hold 1,000 times more moisture than water.” (The SokoGlam website said it best). Basically, your face will be plump and hydrated AF after this stuff.
The main thing you need to know about retinol cream is that it is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps prevent wrinkles, so errrbody should be using it. But, it is SUPER IMPORTANT TO KNOW HOW TO USE IT! Key things to know include:
Start off using it 1x/week, and then slowly build up to 3-4x/week. Your skin needs to build up a tolerance to the cream.
Only use a pea-sized amount across your whole face. If you use more you will burn and your skin will probably start to flake.
Use SPF! It’s suuuuper important to use SPF with retinol or else your face will for sure burn since this stuff makes you super sensitive to the sun.
Use retinol at night before you go to bed for the above reason.
My fav retinol cream is Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream.
Serum is fun because there are so many different types of serums with different benefits, and it’s fun to switch it up and try all of the different kinds out (that IS fun, right…?). I alternate between 2 types of serums daily:
Vitamin C Serum: If you use a Vitamin C serum, you’ll look young 4evaaa. Vitamin C is crucial to keeping your skin plump and healthy looking, for some scientific reason along the lines of it helping your “body to repair damaged skin cells” (ok maybe I googled that one). My fav is the InstaNatural serum, and I use it every other day in the morning only. It’s also super important to use SPF with this stuff.
Hydrating Serum: I alternate my Vitamin C with a classic hydrating serum. My all time favorite is Lancome’s Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum. This stuff literallyyyy got rid of the fine lines on my forehead – it’s definitely worth the price. Also, hate to say it, but the La Mer Concentrate is pretty bomb and smells like the sea which is kewl.
9) Eye Cream
Unfortunately, the only thing that can fix dark circles + bags under the eyes is more sleep. Otherwise, it’s mostly genetic (SRRYY). But, some extra hydration under the eyes can’t hurt. I use Skinfood’s Royal Honey Eye Cream, but I also like the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Green Tea Eye Cream because you can put it in the fridge first for a cooling effect.
We all know WTF moisturizer is so I’ll spare us more writing. I love the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream.
BONUS But Not Really Because You Should Be Using It Everyday – SPF
I’m as sickeningly obsessed with tanning as the next gal, but SPF is honestly so important – especially if you’re using all of these skin products. Sun damage is a result of exposure to the sun over long periods of time, not just basking in the sun at the beach. So, that means SPF is important even for that 5-minute walk to the subway. I can’t believe I love a sunscreen, but I genuinely am obsessed with Neogen’s Day-Light Protection Sun Screen SPF 50 since it’s not greasy at all and I can barely feel it on my face.
BONUS #2 – Night Mask/Night Oil
Click here for my top 5 favorite night masks.
There you have it: my recommended K-Beauty 10-Step Skincare Regimen! I know this is long but I really wanted to create a one-stop-shop for all things #10stepskincare. Hope you enjoyed!