I tried the Korean 10-step skincare routine for a month and this is what happened

It was time consuming, to say the least.

By Erin Cook

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but Koreans take their skincare very seriously. So seriously in fact, that they’re known for their 10-step skincare routine.

Yes, TEN steps. As in, more than nine steps but less than 11.

That’s a lot.

However, Korean women do seem to have above average skin. And do you know what? I wouldn’t mind having above average skin either. So, for the sake of ~investigative journalism~ I put my body on the line and road-tested the Korean 10-step skincare routine for an entire month.

Name your weapons

When you put it that way, it sounds like a lot

Well, that’s only because it is a lot.

For the last month my daily routine has consisted of this:

  • Apply cleansing oil to dry skin before washing off with warm water and drying with a towel.
  • Wash face with cleanser and dry again.
  • Exfoliate face and dry for the third time AND/OR apply sheet mask and wait for 15 minutes.
  • Spritz face with toner. Wait for it to dry.
  • Pour a few drops of essence into hand and then rub into face. Now, wait for that to dry.
  • Gently pat eye cream into eye area. Wait a few moments for it to sink in.
  • Apply moisturiser. Just for fun, wait for that to sink in too.
  • Spread a thick layer of sleeping mask over entire face.
  • Pat self on back with left hand for service to journalism.
  • Finally, pat self on back with right hand for such excellent skincare.


I received compliments! Not many but a few! There were two over the space of a month, but hey, who’s counting?

Just three days into the trial, my parents came to town to visit me. [Author’s note: A lovely time was had by all, thanks for asking.] I hadn’t seen them in a few months and within about two minutes of greeting the pair, my mother said to me, “Wow, your skin is really glowing.” It is worth noting that my mum is a 10/10 human being and just nice in general but still, she doesn’t usually say anything about my skin.

The second compliment came right at the end of the month long trial when I caught up with a former colleague over drinks. She said, “For what it’s worth, it looks like you’ve had a face lift,” with no knowledge that I had switched up my skincare products. Coincidence?

As you may have gathered, this 10-step process was quite time consuming. But it did force me to treat myself. Face masks are so relaxing. Also, slowing down every evening to apply 10 products is weirdly therapeutic. You just can’t rush! Your skin doesn’t care if you’re tired or running late, it will take its time to absorb the products, thank-you-very-much.


The time and effort required just to wash one's face was quite something.

Sometimes, I just didn’t feel like it. And look, I’ll be honest, there were three nights where I went to bed with makeup on just because I didn’t want to walk to the bathroom and spend 15 minutes washing my face.

Will you keep it up, at least for a little bit?


Stop being such a grump, it can’t have been *that* bad

Okay, so worse things have happened to better people. But this routine was time consuming, god damn it. I want my life back!

The takeaway

Despite receiving an entire TWO compliments over the course of the experiment, I don’t have it in me to keep up the 10-step routine.

However, I did fall in love with a few products along the way. For one, essence is brilliant. I’d never tried an essence before because I thought it was superfluous. However, I will definitely keep using the Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Essence Treatment from now on. It’s so light, soothing and easily absorbed. It just feels like you’re doing something really good for your skin and doesn’t make it the least bit oily.

The other MVP of this whole thing is the For Beloved One range. I used the For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Eye Cream, Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Serum, Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Surge Cream and Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Bio-cellulose Mask.

As promised, these products hydrated the shit out of my skin with minimal greasey-ness. And they didn’t irritate my (occasionally sensitive) skin.

So, the Korean 10-step skincare routine in not a wrought. Using 10 products will make your skin look - and feel! - like a million bucks. BUT it is a lot of effort.

For me, I’ll keep these products on hand a pick and choose a few each day as I feel.

Mission accomplished.