The Skin Care Diet: The Secret Korean Skin Care Routine For Glowing Skin

The Skin Care Diet (the biggest and baddest Korean skin care routine on the scene) has been making lots of noise in the big names of beauty. Allure, Vogue, Byrdie, and plenty of other beauty giants have covered this new craze.

However –> Before we jump into the latest Korean skin care craze that’s recently landed in NYC (AKA The Skin Care Diet), lets rewind and review some Korean skin care basics.

When it comes to Korean skin care you might have heard the phrase:

10 Step Skin Care Routine.

korean beauty

You might be thinking…Wait what? 10 steps? That’s got to be a typo right?

Nope you read that right. Korean beauty moguls have long boasted that the sacred 10 Step Skincare Routine has lead to lasting results for clear, youthful, & glowing skin.

10 steps of a skin care routine seems a little daunting.

But after oogling gorgeous Korean models + K Pop Stars and their gorgeous, dewy skin….

They may be on to something…

korean skin care routine

What is The 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine?

The 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine is a mix of cleansers, elixirs, essences, moisturizers, and perhaps a sheet mask or two. I think the easiest way to detail this delicate and rewarding process is to list it out below.

You can also check out this adorable video tutorial as well by Youtuber @ HauteD0ll


        • STEP ONE: Remove Make Up + Oil Cleanse: The first step is to gently remove make up and then use an oil based cleanser to remove any residual make up and draw out oil based impurities (this can include excess sebum and even pollution related toxins).


        • STEP TWO: Water Based Cleanser: The second step is to wash your face for a second time, but this time by using a water based cleanser. Even though this may seem like a superfluous second step, many dermatologists actually highly recommend cleansing twice. Why? The second wash is likely to remove an residual impurities that may cause a potential break out. H2O based cleansers are also wonderful for the pores as they dissolve water based impurities that your oil cleanser did not pick up (this could include dirt, sweat, etc.).


        • STEP THREE: Exfoliate: An exfoliation scrub helps to clean + open up pores while also getting rid of dead skin cells that could cause break outs. Regular exfoliation leads to brighter and smoother skin. It will also help your other skin care products to be more easily absorbed. Be mindful to only exfoliate 1-2X per week.


        • STEP FOUR: Toner: Toners help to remove any left over residue from your cleansers and is the ultimate hack to repairing your skin’s barrier to readily absorb the moisturizer in the steps to come. Your skin is like a sponge. It is more apt to absorb moisture is it is already a bit damp. Toner is also wonderful at balancing moisture and pH levels.


        • STEP FIVE: ESSENCE: This seems to be the step that I find most interesting. Maybe it’s the name? Essence just sounds so magical and nourishing for the skin! Essences are essentially lightweight liquids (that usually come in the form of a spray) that contain a mix of concentrated hydrating, anti-aging, and anti-acne ingredients. Essence is meant to aid hydration and cell turnover. The best method to apply Essence is to sprinkle a small amount onto hands and lightly pat into face and neck.

        • STEP SIX: Treatments: Boosters + Serums are perfect for supporting a flawless complexion. These treatments are typically packed with super food ingredients for the skin and are perfect for spot treating trouble areas. Treatments are typically used to treat problem areas involving acne, hyper pigmentation, or fine lines.


        • STEP SEVEN: Sheet Mask: Sheet Masks are the heart of the Korean skin care routine. Sheet masks work wonders to allow the skin to fully absorb essential nutrients and moisture. It’s also a great step in the routine to de-stress and relax as you quietly mediate as the sheet mask works it’s magic. After you apply the sheet mask sit back and relax for about 15-20 minutes. Also after you remove the sheet mask make sure to pat in any excess essence.

        • STEP EIGHT: Eye Cream: This is an essential skin care step that I think A LOT of beauty routines are missing. Regularly using an intensive eye cream can help to keep dark under eye circles, excess puffiness, and any encroaching crow’s feet under control. The skin around your eye is extremely delicate so it’s important to lightly apply eye cream with your pinky finger (never rub!).


        • STEP NINE: Moisturizer: A loaded moisturizer is important to ultimately seal in moisture. This will help to plump the skin and smooth out any fine lines. It is important to apply moisturizer generously onto the face and neck 2x per day.


        • STEP TEN: SPF: Applying sunscreen is a must in most (if not all! Seriously!) Korean skin care routines. Regularly wearing a protecting sunscreen is the easiest way to maintain flawless skin and prevent premature aging. Applying a strong SPF should always be your last step in your skin care routine so it does not get diluted by other products.

      10 step Korean skin care routine


The latest buzz on K-Beauty is the new routine commonly called The Skin Care Diet. Luckily for you and I, this routine has nothing to do with keto, counting calories, or staying away from gluten.

Instead the Skin Care Diet seems to be the exact opposite of the famed 10 Step Beauty Routine heavily outlined above.

It pushes hard against the traditional components of K-Beauty and touts a simpler look at skin care.  Essentially the Skin Care Diet is a streamlined habit that focuses on a routine that has 3 steps MAX.

Why would this new wave of K-Beauty cut out so many steps?

According to Liah Yoo, the face behind The Skincare Diet, the more steps and products you add to a skin care routine, the more likely you are to promote irritated skin.

Heightened skin sensitivity to do a elongated routine can be a valid concern.

Dermatologists have agreed that unknowing patients that create complex routines (with conflicting ingredients) have certainly ended up with irritated and even inflamed skin.

By cutting down all of the steps in the previously glorified 10 step routine, you are able to go back to the basics and give your skin a bit of a breather.

It also gives you a chance to reset and understand what your skin truly needs.


korean skin care

A typical routine following The Skincare Diet looks a little something life this:

  1. Remove make up + Cleanse using a moisturizing cleanser.
  2. Moisturize
  3. Apply SPF


That’s really it.

Simple Routine + Simple products with natural ingredients = The Skin Care Diet in a nutshell.

The beginnings of the Skin Care Diet came three years ago when Korean dermatologists started recommending their patients to simplify their skin care routines. These recommendations were given specifically to patients that were experiencing redness and increased sensitivity due to their complex skin care routines.

The popularity of the Skin Care Diet has grown so much that many K-Pop stars are starting to swear by it.

So….Which is Better? The 10 Step Skin Care Routine or The Skin Care Diet? 

+++There honestly isn’t one straight answer. Please note that everyone’s skin is different and sometimes it takes a bit of trial & error to formulate the perfect skin care routine that matches your unique skin type+++


I think a balanced combination of both of these K Beauty routines is the way to go.

Here is the balanced combo I’ve adopted that’s been working like a charm:

(My skin is definitely sensitive and highly acne prone but sticking to this routine has worked out well. Break outs are very rare and my skin often has a dewy feel + look)

korean beauty secrets


Morning AM Ritual

  1. Use a Moisturizing Cleanser
  2. Apply Light Moisturizer (for sensitive skin)
  3. Apply SPF if needed (if and only if I will be spending a majority of my day outside)

Night PM Ritual

  1. Remove make up + Use an Oil based cleanser
  2. Cleanse twice – this time with a water based cleanser
  3. Apply Essence
  4. Apply Eye Cream
  5. Apply Moisturizer

Weekly Rituals

  1. Practice Oil Pulling 1-2x per week
  2. Exfoliate 1-2x per week
  3. Use a sheet mask or amazonian clay mask at least 1x per week. (For me it’s more economic to purchase a tub of amazonian clay pwd vs buying individual sheet masks. Although they have amazing benefits, they can be expensive and it’s important to find sheet masks devoid of harmful chemicals.

What Does Your Skin Care Routine Look Like? Comment Below! 


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