With its hallmark products and trends like the BB cream and the 10-step Korean skincare routine, K-beauty boasts the largest market share of skincare product exports in the Asia Pacific as of 2021.
How do we
What is the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine?
The 10-step Korean skincare routine consists of the following:
- Wash face with an oil-based cleanser
- Cleanse face for a second time with a water-based cleanser
- Exfoliate the skin using a gentle scrub
- Apply toner to tone and prep the skin for product application
- Apply skin essence (light formulation)
- Apply serum, booster, or ampoule (heavier formulation)
- Use a face mask (sheet mask if possible)
- Apply eye cream
- Apply skin emulsion or heavier moisturizer, depending on skin type
- Finish off with sunscreen or night cream, depending on the time of the day
Watie, a 34-year-old compositing artist, and Susan, a 42-year-old project management consultant have tried to adopt the 10-step Korean skincare routine.
“I used to do all 10 steps, but never quite got to all of them consistently. Trying to achieve, afford, and stick to the 10-step skincare routine was an exercise in futility for me. Hence, I adapted it to my preference, schedule, and budget instead,” Susan shares her honest opinion. Watie admits she too, tried the 10-step skincare routine but stopped as it was very
Interestingly, both women didn’t do away with the routine completely. “I distil it down to the most important steps, and for me,
Watie has a different adaptation. “My routine consists of makeup remover, cleanser, toner, essence, serum, eye care, moisturiser, and facial oil. Sometimes I add a face mask when I have time,” she divulges.
The products work, but 10 steps may not be necessary
“I could feel my skin tone
A key feature of K-beauty is the use of naturally occurring ingredients like green tea, bee venom, liquorice extract, and tiger grass extract to achieve long-lasting healthy, bright, and youthful skin. Incidentally, many of these ingredients also exist in ancient traditional herbal medicines, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Something that Susan shares
She ensures she maintains a healthy diet of nutritious foods and herbs as well as hydration. TCM
Skincare is Healthcare
“Our face is like a mirror that reflects our state of
“For example, if the patient has a green shade to their complexion, this could mean that the Liver may not be functioning well. Hence, by working on rebalancing the Liver, a TCM regimen can help the patient achieve a healthy complexion,” he elaborates.
At its very core, TCM focuses on beginning the practice of health preservation and maintenance earlier rather than later, to slow down ageing. The anti-ageing property of TCM modalities such as acupuncture and herbal remedies is what makes
Physician Goh shares four TCM herbs that are essential for skin care:
Panax ginseng (ren shen, 人参)
- Reduces wrinkles and signs of ageing
- Promotes elasticity and collagen production
- Reduces puffiness and inflammation
- Brightens skin
Astragalus (huang qi, 黄芪)
- Invigorates skin qi to flush toxins
- Prevents the breakdown of elastin fibres, a key factor in helping skin maintain its firmness, elasticity, and flexibility
- Promotes the production of blood and body fluids to relieve Blood Stagnation, which helps reduce water retention, including in puffy eyes
Angelica sinensis (dang gui, 当归)
- Promotes blood production to brighten skin
- Reduces melasma due to better blood circulation
Bird’s nest (yan wo, 燕窝)
TCM herbal formulations also sometimes include collagen products. A randomised, placebo-controlled blind study published in 2019 in the MDPI Nutrients journal was able to show that a collagen supplement significantly improved skin hydration, elasticity, texture, and density in the trial group.
As for the 10-step Korean skincare routine, it surely
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- WowSkinScience.com. 2022. 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine: Step-by-Step Process and Product Recommendations. [Accessed on 17 August 2022]
- Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2020. Bioactive ingredients in Korean cosmeceuticals: Trends and research evidence. [Accessed on 17 August 2022]
- Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2022. Anti-Wrinkle Efficacy of Edible Bird’s Nest Extract: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Comparative Study. [Accessed on 17 August 2022]
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