The 10-step beauty routine has been one of the buzzwords that made a name for K-beauty. We believe that layering of products is effective and allows to adapt to the individual skin needs. But suggesting that 10 steps are needed to be beautiful and well is misleading and counterproductive.
Caption: STAY Well explains 10-step K-beauty routine and what really matters
For a recap of the 10-step K-beauty routine, check our Instagram post on the topic 10-step Korean skincare routine.
We celebrate the diversity and wide range of different products that we have at our disposal to take good care of our skin. But we are also realistic. Many people lack the time to go through 10 steps on a regular basis. We also think that their skin does not need it.
Telling people that 10 steps are needed to get good skin can be counterproductive. In today’s world, we are already overloaded with the constant flow of information and struggle with the fear of missing out. Now we should also worry about not missing out on our 10 steps. But life sometimes has different plans. We believe that you should not worry about having the perfect skincare routine. Do what is right for you to be well.
Here is our opinion on layering steps in your beauty routine:
During the day our face is exposed to dust, dirt, sweat, pollutants, and other unwanted particles. Cleansing is the first step and a must-do.
Some people swear on double cleansing: Oil-based cleansers remove sunscreen and water-proof make-up, followed by a water-based cleanser. Even in Korea, the opinions are divided about this. While some people definitely benefit from using oil-based cleansers, we see that for the majority of people a basic, water-based cleanser gets the job done.
In addition to daily cleansing, Koreans swear on the power of exfoliation. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and leaves a smooth, glowing skin. Experts recommend exfoliating at most 2-3 times per week to avoid damage to the skin barrier.
The fourth step in the 10-step routine is toning. Toners re-balance the pH-level of the skin after cleansing and provide intense hydration. The focus on intense hydration makes Korean toners different from Western toners which often have a cleansing effect. We believe that one can live life perfectly fine without a toner – but once you try a good toner, you will fall in love with it!
The next step would be to apply essence. The formulation of essences looks quite similar to toners. But their purpose is to smooth the skin and to accelerate skin cell turnover. Very few people in Europe use essences but there are many Korean women who regard this step as essential in their skincare routine.
Serums and ampoules are highly concentrated formulas to address specific skin concerns. For instance, collagen serums can increase skin firmness, elasticity and reduce fine lines. Vitamin C serums have a skin-leveling effect and support skin radiance. Hyaluronic Acid serum provides hydration for dry or dull skin.
Sheet masks are single-used products that boost the moisture level of your skin. The liquid which the sheet mask is soaked in, is basically a serum. Leaving the sheet on the skin for 15-20 minutes optimizes the absorption rate and maximizes the moisture level.
The skin around your eyes is thinner and more sensitive than the rest of your face. Eye creams can help with dark circles or dry parts around the eye area.
Moisturizing and protection
Moisturizer is applied after the previous products are settled in. Their main job is to seal in the moisture and active ingredients. There is a wide range of different moisturizers in terms of effectiveness and texture. For instance, in STAY Well there are Vitamin C+B3 Emulsion Cream (very light texture), Triple Hyaluronic Acid Watery Gel Cream, Vegan Collagen Cream, and Tea Tree Cream (rich texture).
Multiple scientific studies show that UV light is a major factor in premature skin aging and increases the risk of getting skin cancer. Applying sunscreen creates a shield all over your skin and protects you from harmful UV lights. Korean sunscreen is very different as it has a light, pleasant texture. It spreads easily and absorbs quickly. Korean apply sunscreen multiple times during the day to maintain the best level of protection.