We tried the 10-step Korean skin care regimen for 7 days - Here’s what happened
If you’ve ever watched a K-drama or seen the endorsers of K-beauty brands, you’ve probably wondered about the secret to that Koreana glow. Well, the not-so-simple answer lies in the 10-step Korean skin care routine. Yes, ten steps composed of ten different products. You’re certainly not alone in thinking that that sounds a bit excessive, but another look at that dewy, clear Kpopstar skin will make you wonder if it’s truly worth it.
Wonder no more – I tried the routine for an entire week and documented the results to find out if it actually works or if it’s just hype. Spoiler alert: I’m now a former skeptic with glowing, bouncy skin! The before and after photos prove it (you'll see them in a bit).
My skin condition and care routine before I started the challenge
I have combination-dry skin with big pores and hyperpigmentation. When I started the challenge, I had just finished my period and still had traces of hormonal breakouts on my forehead and chin, as well as dry patches on my cheeks. My skin care regimen consisted of five steps previously: cleansing gel, cleanser/face wash, toner, serum/emulsion, and moisturizer/sleeping pack. I do exfoliate and use sheet masks but only about once a month, when I actually remember to do so.
Here's what we used for the 7-day challenge! (You can get these from the Tony Moly online store)
- Tony Moly Pro Clean Soft Lip & Eye Remover (P298)
- Tony Moly Clean Dew Blueberry Foam Cleanser (P178)
- Tony Moly Floria Brightening Peeling Gel (P428)
- Tony Moly Floria Nutra Energy Toner (P1,098)
- Tony Moly The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Essence (P848)
- Tony Moly Floria Nutra Energy Emulsion (P1,098)
- Tony Moly My Sunny All-in-One Sun SPF45 PA+++ (for day use; P528)
- Tony Moly Floria Nutra Energy Sleeping Pack (for night use; P748)
- Tony Moly Pureness 100 Hyaluronic Acid Mask Sheet (every 2 days; P78)
- Tony Moly Naturalth Goat Milk Premium Eye Cream (P1,528)
Day 1: I’m glad that I spent all day at home because it took about 15 minutes to get through the day time routine and another 15 minutes before I turned in for the night. Following the rules of layering skin care properly, I let my face air dry after cleansing then patted on some toner, followed by the essence, emulsion, and sunblock with two to three minute intervals between each product. Longer intervals are said to be better for allowing the products to be fully absorbed by the skin but I’m not that patient. As long as my skin felt dry and the product seemed to have set, I applied the next layer of product.
The Clean Dew Foam Cleanser smells like blueberry milk candy or blueberry yogurt, and it leaves my skin feeling clean, if slightly tight. I liked that the Floria Nutra Energy Toner is a gel-type toner that refreshes without any stinging. For daytime, I prefer to pat it on with fingers while I use a cotton pad at night to help remove leftover makeup and to lightly exfoliate. My Sunny All-in-One Sun SPF45 is a light cream formula that’s easily absorbed by the skin, but it leaves a white cast. I’m a little nervous to use it underneath makeup but I know it will offer excellent protection.
Day 2: I had to rush off to an event, so I definitely felt how long the process took! Solution: I sat in front of a fan while applying the products to speed up the process. Luckily, it worked and everything was set and dry by the time I left the house. That left me free to do my makeup en route to the venue without having to lug around extra skincare products with me.
After spending most of the day outdoors in humid weather, my face felt really icky and I looked forward to deep-cleansing when I got home. The Pro Clean Soft Lip & Eye Remover is a micellar water that melts light makeup quickly. To my relief, it didn’t sting my skin or my eyes and actually removed my makeup quite well. To give my skin a thorough cleansing though, I used two pea-sized amounts of the Floria Brightening Peeling Gel and appreciated that the gommage exfoliator felt gentle yet super effective at stripping away dead skin layers. To compensate for the sloughed-off skin, I tried the first of the Pureness 100 Hyaluronic Acid Mask Sheet that night. After exfoliating, my skin is usually extra sensitive to creams and masks but I am happy to say that this particular sheet mask did not cause any irritation. It also got unintentionally chilled by the room’s airconditioning and it was super refreshing!
Day 4: I have gotten a bit more used to this routine. It’s still a struggle to do in the morning when I’m rushing about but I love the nightly ritual. I relax and catch up on my reading while waiting for each layer to set, sometimes allowing it to sit a little longer before applying the next one. The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Essence and Floria Nutra Energy Emulsion both have consistencies that are a step thicker than toner, making them hydrating but light enough to still be comfortable. I’ve also developed a new appreciation for emulsions; I don’t really understand why or how but the products I apply after that layer seem to be more effective than without the emulsion. It's the real deal! Now I know why they call it a skincare booster.
Day 6: I’ve used each and every single one of the products daily but I’ve hardly made a dent in any one of them. A little bit goes a long way so I expect this stash to last me another few months with regular use. The Naturalth Goat Milk Premium Eye Cream might even last me six months, since the large-ish 30ml pot contains a LOT of product. The texture is also a cross between a cream and a balm, so a very thin coating around the eye area is enough to do the trick. As for Floria Nutra Energy Sleeping Pack, it has a thick gel consistency that has no greasiness whatsoever. I do like the texture a lot and it really feels like it seals in all those other products. After slapping it on at night, I wake up with soft, velvety skin the next morning. I can even still feel it as I wash my face!
The verdict: My skin condition after seven days on the 10-step skin care routine
The most obvious change I noticed was the level of hydration I got from the potent combination of moisturizing products. My complexion is brighter and more radiant, and I can’t keep admiring how it seems clearer altogether. I wasn’t expecting to see much of an effect in just seven days but consistently doing the routine twice a day were amazingly quick to yield results! The dry patches that I usually get after applying liquid foundation and face powder have disappeared completely.
There’s also a lot less redness and my blemishes healed fairly quickly. No more dryness and no more breakouts! And since most of the products are quite lightweight and applied in thin layers, I was comfortable using all of them under my makeup, with the exception of the sunblock because I’m really paranoid about that white cast.
I’m totally loving the results of the 7-day challenge but I admit it’s not for everyone. A 10-step regimen means having to buy all those products, and even with budget-friendly options, each one adds up to your expenses. When you finally have all the products, it takes effort, patience, and discipline to apply each one and waiting in between each layer. Every single day. But if the only thing that’s been holding you back is the question of whether it actually works, it totally does.
I honestly think that this is a worthwhile splurge. Thanks to this routine, there’s a healthy glow to my complexion that no amount of makeup can ever duplicate. Remember, I’ve only been using these products for a week so I’m excited to see what my skin will look like in a month! There’s also the overall good vibes from feeling pampered and relaxed from the ritual. Most of the products I used were also lightly and pleasantly-scented, so it also felt a bit like I was being treated to some aromatherapy.
If you’re on a tight budget, I suggest you work out the frequency of use for special items like sheet masks. At upwards of P50+ a pop, single-use sheet masks can be an expensive habit. Get a sleeping mask or sleeping pack instead for your nightly application, and reserve sheet masks for a once per week treat. Make sure to also check out Korean skin care sets for good deals.
Have you set your heart on this routine? Well, there's no need to get everything in one go. We suggest pacing your purchases, focusing first on the basics and moving up to more specialized products (the essences and emulsions for instance). You should also wait for sales, as Tony Moly regularly holds promotions and sometimes BOGO deals. Actually they just recently LOWERED the price of ALL their products by 15%, permanently. Crazy. Give them a visit soon! You may find their stores in the following locations.
Thank you to Tony Moly for providing the products for this experiment. <3 Special thanks to Gael for accommodating our request!
- Are you a fan of the Korean dewy skin look?
- Would you try this routine to achieve it?
- What Kbeauty products have you already incorporated in your routine?