For the past few months, I’ve been following a “strict” 10-step Korean Beauty Regimen, as prescribed to me by Amorepacific, and I’ve loved nourishing my skin with an extra healthy array of beauty products. While my 10-step Amorepacific Skincare Regimen is a rather lengthy process, I’ve found it to be the perfect time to unwind after a long day. I like to make a cup of matcha green tea to enjoy while I do my routine; I play my favorite music, and take the time to pamper myself. Setting aside these 15 or so minutes once or twice a day has helped me feel calmer and more at peace, as it’s really the only time in my day I take to focus solely on myself and my wellness. I’ve partnered with Amorepacific to try out their skincare products and share the results with you, while also educating my readers on why putting so much work into a skincare routine really is worth it.
I’ve always taken excellent care of my skin, and I very rarely have blemishes as a result. Even as a teenager, I believe Amorepacific has helped improve the health, radiance, and texture of my skin even further.
What is Korean Beauty?
Korean beauty refers to a whole new world of incredible skincare products made famous, and often produced in South Korea. Korean Beauty products are for everyone, young and old, men, women, and even kids can have fun caring for their skin with Korean Beauty, or K-Beauty, products. You can find everything from bubbling sheet masks, fruity-scented toners, and even exotically scented masques, cremes, and serums. The hallmark of K-Beauty is layering products that work symbiotically together in order to achieve better results by providing the skin with a varied diet of extracts, moisturizers, and soothing compounds, rather than hoping the formulation of one or two products will be sufficient for each person’s unique skincare needs.
The best K-Beauty regimen is one that’s carefully tailored to your skin’s own specific needs. This guide is just an example of how the 10-step beauty regimen can look, but feel free to tailor it to address your own unique skin concerns, or product preferences. The steps and order should remain the same, but use whichever products fit your needs, budget, and lifestyle best.
Goals of the 10-Step Skin Care Regimen
Achieving “glass skin” is the end goal of following this regimen. This term refers to healthy, blemish-free skin that is fully moisturized, appears poreless, and looks luminous, as though it’s lit from within. Picture an even complexion, free of any imperfections, that glows and feels healthy. That’s glass skin, and that’s the goal. By following this 10-step process, you can achieve this state of dermatological homeostasis without the need for professional interventions, although it’s important to regularly visit your dermatologist, of course.
When following this process, I always take care not to pull, pinch, stretch, or exert too much pressure on my skin. Having good skin is all about having even coloring, whatever your natural skin color may be, reducing redness, and preventing wrinkles. Being gentle with your face, neck, and décolletage will help you achieve these skincare goals. Rather than using force, pulling your skin, or pushing into it too deeply, consider your skincare process to be the perfect opportunity to give yourself some extra love, by gently massaging each product into or onto your skin.
My 10-Step Korean Beauty Regimen with Amorepacific Skincare
Step 0. Hydrate
Arguably the most important step of this skincare regimen, staying hydrated not only helps your skin produce and hold onto collagen, which helps maintain a youthful appearance, but staying hydrated also prevents dark circles, wrinkles, redness, and dryness. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of pure water every day, and even more during the summer months or on days you workout heavily. Being hydrated helps in numerous other areas of health and wellness, by improving the quality of sleep, aiding in digestion, preventing redness and inflammation, and it can even help you look slimmer.
The app “Plant Nanny” is a fun way to grow plants and build a garden by logging how much water you drink in a day. Its timer function is a great, subtle way to be reminded to take a drink throughout the day.
Step 1. Oil Cleanser
What it Does:
Oil cleansers help remove oil-based impurities from the skin, such as makeup, sunscreen, air pollutants, and any excess of your skin’s own oils, known as sebum. It may seem counterintuitive, but this step is doubly important for those who have oily skin, or oily patches. Most makeup removers rely on various oils to remove makeup, so if you’ve ever used makeup remover wipes, you’ve already used this step in your routine.
Use Amorepacific’s Treatment Cleansing Oil, using cool water, add a few droplets to wet fingertips, and massage the oil cleanser onto the face in gentle circles. I tend to have an oily chin and T-zone (the t-shaped region between my eyebrows and down my nose), so that’s where I focus using this first cleanser. Use this wherever your skin tends to be oiliest, or all over. Rinse everything off with cool water.
*During this stage, I like to massage my face and neck gently with my fingertips for a moment or two in order to help drain the lymphatic glands and ensure the oil cleanser has time to work its magic, and it’s also believed that clean, massaged skin is the best palette for applying skincare products.
Step 2. Foaming Cleanser
What it Does:
The second cleanser removes everything else that’s left over from the initial oil cleanser, such as dirt, sweat, leftover oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells. If you’ve ever washed your face and not felt like it was completely clean, you’re going to love how clean your skin feels after a second wash.
You’ll know you’re using a good cleanser if your face feels comfortable and smooth afterward. If your skin feels tight or itchy, that means the pH of your product is too high and can damage your skin. Select low pH or pH-balanced skincare products. All of Amorepacific’s skincare products are specifically designed to balance the skin’s pH.
Using Amorepacific’s Treatment Cleansing Foam, place a small amount on your fingertips and massage over the entire face. I’m always careful to never pull or rub my skin too hard in order to prevent wrinkles or irritation. Rinse with cool water.
Step 3. Toner
What it Does:
Toner helps revitalize and prep skin for more treatments, making it receptive to the revitalizing properties of proper skincare. It also helps regulate your skin’s pH level, ensuring that it doesn’t go outside of the ideal pH of 4.1 to 5.6. Korean toners do not burn or sting when applied like other toners might, but rather soothe the skin and help even the tone. When your skin’s pH balance is off, skin ailments such as acne, irritation, flakiness, or sensitivity can arise. After everything “bad” is stripped away in the cleansing stages of this regimen and fresh, receptive skin is revealed, toner helps begin the process of building up the skin with “good” things like moisture, collagen, and soothing extracts.
Using Amorepacific’s Time Response Skin Reserve Toner place 4-5 drops of toner into the palms of your hand, and gently pat the product onto your face, applying it evenly over the entire skin’s surface. Do not wash it off. I don’t use cotton balls, cotton pads, or anything absorbent during this step, because I don’t want to waste any product by allowing it to be absorbed by cotton rather than my own skin.
Step 4. Exfoliate
What it Does:
Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells, which, if left on the skin’s surface, can cause the skin to appear dull, uneven, or even dry. Removing dead skin cells helps reveal, healthy, living skin underneath, allows your skin to breathe better, and encourages expedited cellular turnover, which helps maintain a youthful, glowing complexion.
I use a clean, soft, bristled toothbrush (it’s only ever used for skin care, not brushing teeth), and very gently go in circles around the oiliest parts of my face, such as my T-zone, chin, and nose. I then rinse with cool water to ensure all the dead skin cells are removed. Typically I combine this step with the oil cleansing step, step number 2, as I find the oil helps cling to and remove dead skin cells.
Avoid using spinning exfoliator brushes, as the speed, pressure, and rigidity of the bristles can cause micro-tears in healthy, living skin, which can in turn, harbor bacteria and cause infections or acne.
Step 5. Essence
What it Does:
Essences add another layer of pure moisture to the skin and help nourish the skin. Typically more watery than a serum, essences penetrate the skin better and deliver moisture to deeper levels of skin than regular moisturizers that just sit on the skin’s surface, or only moisturize the top layer of skin. Korean beauty regimens strip away gunk and grime and build healthy, nourished, and hydrated skin from the deepest layers of skin on up, which is why the order of application is so important.
How-to: Essences are another product I like to add on with my fingertips. Using the Vintage Single Extract Essence, which is made from organic green tea leaves cultivated on Jeju Island off the South Coast of Korea, this essence helps diminish signs of aging and hydrates deeply. I dispense 2-4 drops of product onto my palm and apply in the same way I apply a toner, evenly across my face.
Step 6. Serum or Ampuole
What it Does:
Serums and ampoules are very concentrated products that help deliver moisture to all of the layers of the skin. Be sure to choose a serum or ampule that is non–comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores, and it won’t prevent other products from working along with it.
What’s an ampoule?
Ampuoles are typically used to address acute skin issues, such as a breakout, but can also be used as part of a regular routine. They are kept in small, one-time-use containers, typically made of glass, that must be broken open before use. This is because these products can not be exposed to air or outside factors before application, as they are delicate and will degrade if left open over time. Once they touch the skin, they do their job and either evaporate or are promptly absorbed by the skin.
Using the Youth Revolution Radiance Concentrator, I apply this product to the driest parts of my face, like my forehead, cheeks, and just under my orbital bones. These deliver even more moisture to my skin and help keep it hydrated all day long. Since this serum is so concentrated, I don’t apply it to my chin, nose, or T-zone in the summer, when my skin is oiliest. I apply this serum to my face all over in the winter, because my skin tends to be much drier where I live, and even the normally oily parts of my skin need an extra boost.
Step 7. Sheet Mask
What it Does:
Sheet masks are used to add extra moisture to the skin over an extended period of time. The purpose of a sheet mask is to prevent products from evaporating before they can be absorbed by the skin.
How-to: I love to store my sheet masks in my beauty refrigerator (it has a shelf specifically made for sheet masks!), so that the chilled sheet mask can calm any redness or inflammation I might be experiencing. Choose your favorite sheet mask and apply it to your face. I recommend the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Creamy Mask, by Amorepacific’s sister brand. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes, peel it off, and throw it away. I like to gently massage the product into my face with clean fingertips, as another measure of self-care. I don’t use a sheet mask every day, but rather 2-3 times per week.
Step 8. Eye Cream
What it Does:
Eye creams deliver extra-gentle moisture to the delicate under-eye region while reducing dark circles and de-puffing, and also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Take a small amount of Time Response Eye Reserve Cream or Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel, and apply it sparingly under the eyes, and around the radius of the eye, up to the eyebrow. Be sure not to get the product in your eye. This is another great opportunity to gently use a cold facial roller under and around the eye to really reduce the appearance of under-eye bags and dark circles or puffiness.
Step 9. Moisturizer
What it Does:
Moisturizers, as the name implies, deliver moisture to the surface layers of the skin, and help the skin appear radiant and firm.
If I’m headed to bed, I use the Youth Revolution Radiance Creme & Mask with white peony extract to gently deliver moisture to my skin all night long while I sleep. I simply apply it like any other face cream using clean fingers, and leave it on until I wash my face again in the morning.
If I’m not heading to bed and getting ready for my day, I use the Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Cream to plump, firm, and nourish my skin. It should go without saying that this product should remain on the skin all day, and not be washed off.
Step 10. Sunscreen & Makeup
What it Does:
Sunscreen protects skin from harmful UV rays, prevents sunspots and discoloration, and helps maintain an even, healthy complexion. Avoiding the sun by wearing hats, or loose, covering clothing can help reduce your risk of skin cancer as well, and help prevent premature aging.
Apply your favorite SPF along with makeup that prevents damage from harmful UV rays. I love how easy to use Amorepacific’s Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist 30 SPF is because all I have to do is mist it under and over my makeup, and I’m safe from the sun for up to 80 minutes. My current favorite foundation is the Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, because it provides even color coverage and sun protection, doesn’t clog my pores, and is the perfect size to carry with me on my travels. For a sun-kissed look, I occasionally also apply my color-illuminating compact, but I usually just embrace my pallor and go makeup-free. When we work so hard to have nice skin, why cover it up all the time?
Shop My Favorite Skincare Products from Amorepacific below:
How soon you can expect to see results depends on the quality of your skin at the beginning of this self-care adventure. If you have multiple skin ailments and challenges to overcome, of course, it will take longer to solve than someone who doesn’t have a lot of issues. Consult with your dermatologist to determine which products and level of care will work best for your unique needs, and remember that if you’ve neglected your skin for a long period of time, it will take a while to fix it. But don’t despair. It’s better to start now rather than later!
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