Looking for a 10 step routine on a budget? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve created affordable routine for each skin type right here.
Starting a 10-step Korean skin care routine can be daunting, especially when you’re not entirely sure you’re wallet can handle all ten steps. But one of the great things about Korea having a massive skin care industry is that you can get effective products for every step at pretty much every price point, from super affordable to high-end and pricey. Today, we’ve compiled your guide to the 10-step so that neither your wallet nor your skin have to suffer.
But first, what does the 10 step routine consist of?
The 10-step skin care routine is a morning and evening skin care routine that begins with a double cleanse: an oil cleanser and a water based cleanser. The oil cleanser removes any oil-based debris (sebum, SPF, makeup, pollutants) from the skin, while the water cleanser removes any excess residue from the oil cleanser and water-based debris (sweat, dirt). This is followed by an exfoliator. Exfoliation is a key step in getting clear skin because it rids the skin of pore-clogging dead skin cells sitting on top of the skin. This step is not meant to be done every day, both day and night, as this can cause over-exfoliation, irritation, and sensitivity.
We follow this up with toner, to re-hydrate the skin, and essence, to prep the skin for moisturization. For optimal skin hydration, use your toners, essences, and serums in order from most watery to most viscous. Treatments come next. Treatments are used to target specific problem areas in your skin, like hyperpigmentation, acne scars, acne, premature aging, etc.
Now comes the sheet mask, arguably the most popular step of the Korean beauty routine. Sit back, relax (but not for too long) and let the sheet mask restore hydration and moisture back to your skin. You’ll be shocked how drastically a 20 minute masking session can change your skin for the better. Follow up with eye cream. The skin around your eyes is super delicate and thin and is prone to dryness and fine lines. It’s much better to take care of this area earlier rather than later. After, make sure to finish up with moisturizer, so you can lock in all that hydration and not undermine the rest of your steps.
During the day, don’t forget your sunscreen! Your skin care routine is all for naught if you’re not protecting your skin from the sun.
Acne-Prone Oily Skin
Total Cost of Routine: $160.20
The oily skin care routine is focused on products that effectively cleanse and calm skin at the same time. If you have oily skin, you want products that feel lighter weight, and don’t sit heavy on the skin. These products have great ingredients like snail mucin, glycolic acid, centella asiatica (cica), and bee venom, for helping to heal acne and soothe the skin whilst still leaving you feeling hydrated and not greasy.
For your oily skin routine on a budget, start out with the Etude House Real Art Cleansing Oil Mild and the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Cleansing Foam. Follow up with the Neogen Dermalogy Real Cica Pad. The cica pads are gentle physical exfoliator, which is great for active acne because harsh scrubs can move the infection around to other parts of your face. Then, move into the Etude House SoonJung pH 5.5 Relief Toner and the Benton Fermentation Essence. The Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask is a great option for oily skin to deeply nourish and soothe, while still hydrating.
For eye cream and moisturizer, use the Erborian Seve de Bamboo Eye Cream and the A’Pieu Glycolic Acid Cream, and for sunscreen, opt for the Missha All Around Safe Block Sebum Zero, which won’t leave your skin feeling sticky or greasy (like many sunscreens do). If you have acne, the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches are a game-changing treatment for your acne. Apply them after your moisturizer at night, or after your sunscreen in the morning. Just make sure the area is free from product. These will adhere to the skin, and pull the gunk out of your pimples without leaving you with any dry patches.
Total Cost of Routine: $141 (with sale)
Combination skin is tricky because you may need to target a bunch of issues all at once. You want products that are super hydrating but also ones that won’t irritate any acne or sensitive skin.
Start off with the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Classic and the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser to ensure that your skin is clean, balanced, and prepped for your other products. Follow up with the Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash Off. If your skin is particularly sensitive or acne-prone, you may want to opt for a different mask and definitely don’t use this one every night as physical exfoliators make us more prone to over-exfoliation which is a skin issue you definitely want to avoid. Follow up with the COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol Free Toner and the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.
These two will pack some serious hydration without irritating your skin. For your sheet mask, opt for the Acwell Rice Brightening Mask. Follow your masking sesh with the Goodal Moisture Barrier Eye Cream and the A’Pieu Madecassoside Cream. For sunscreen, try out the Missha Near Dustless Defense Sun Block. For your treatment step, use the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches to target any active acne without drying out your skin. This set comes out to a total of $141 (using the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Sale Price, $146 without sale).
Total Cost of Routine: $155 (with sale)
With dry skin, we want to focus on packing as much moisture into the skin as possible and locking that hydration in without feeling heavy. Focus on ingredients like honey and ceramides which wrap the skin in luxurious moisture and keep your skin feeling hydrated all day.
Start off with the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Classic and the Klairs Rich Moist Facial Soap. A good double cleanse will hydrate your skin. Cleansers should never leave your skin feeling tight or taut. Use the Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash Off to buff away any dead skin cells and keep your pores clean. Follow up with the Etude House SoonJung pH 5.5 Relief Toner and the Missha First Treatment Essence Mist. For your treatment step, use the Neogen O2 Energy Power Serum Spray. This will restore and brighten your tired, stressed skin with some deep hydration.
You can use most sheet masks for dry skin as their primary job is to amp up the hydration, but to get even more serious moisture and keep that moisture in, you should try out the Acwell Honey Daanje Mask. Follow up with the COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream and the Etude House SoonJung 2x Barrier Intensive Cream. For sunscreen, use the Tony Moly My Sunny Watery Essence which won’t leave you feeling greasy or dry. The full total of this ten step comes out to $155 (with Banila Co. Clean It Zero at sale price, otherwise $160).
Total Cost of Routine: $156.60 (with sale)
Normal skin people are the lucky ones in skin care. If you have normal skin, most products will work well for your routine; you really only need to change up based on your skin issues at the moment.
For your general routine, start out with the Banila Co. Clean It Zero Classic and the Benton Honest Cleansing Foam. Follow this up with the Skinfood Black Sugar (or Rice) Mask Wash Off. Make sure that you’re not exfoliating every day with this. While the granules in this are pretty small and gentle, using this everyday is too harsh even for normal skin. Then go in with the COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol Free Toner, COSRX Advanced 96 Snail Mucin Power Essence, and Neogen O2 Energy Power Serum Spray to amp up the hydration and deal with any stray acne or hyperpigmentation and scars.
The Sally’s Box Loverecipe Acai Mask is a great budget sheet mask that will treat your skin with the hydration it deserves. Then follow up with the Goodal Moisture Barrier Eye Cream and the Etude House 10 Free Moist Emulsion to lock all your skin care steps in. For your daytime routine, end with the Missha Mild Essence Sun Milk to protect your skin from those harmful UV rays.
Total Cost of Routine: $144
If you have sensitive skin, the last thing you want is a reaction to an ingredient in a product. It’s important to patch test everything before you put it on your face. Wherever possible, it’s also better to stay away from common irritants like parabens and artificial fragrance. The goal here is to soothe irritation and hydrate. It’s worth noting that these products may not work for everyone with sensitive skin.
For your sensitive skin routine, start with the Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil and the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Cleanser. Follow up with the Neogen Dermalogy Cica Pad to soothe irritated skin and alleviate redness, while still providing very gentle exfoliation. For your toner, use the Missha Near Skin Therapy Mist Toner. Follow that up with the Missha Near Skin Simple Therapy Essence Lotion. This will serve dual purpose as both your essence and lotion, so use it after your toner and then again following up after your eye cream. For your treatment step, opt for the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum, then follow up with the Sally’s Box Loverecipe Aloe sheet mask to calm the skin.
For eye cream and moisturizer, try the COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream and then again go in with the Missha Near Skin Simple Therapy Essence Lotion. For sunscreen, the Missha Near Skin Dustless is a great option since it’s super lightweight. With the essence and lotion combined into a single product, this full routine comes out to a total of $144.
The Bottom Line
The 10-step routine may be daunting in steps, but it doesn’t need to be daunting in price. Your Korean beauty routine can be effective without breaking the bank.