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Skin Care Routines

Meticulous Skin Care: Is it worth the hype?

October 16, 2020

If there’s one skin care trend that made the world rethink their entire skin care routine as a whole, it’s the 10-step Korean […]

If there’s one skin care trend that made the world rethink their entire skin care routine as a whole, it’s the 10-step Korean skin care routine. Thanks to this Korean skin care regime, we’re now looking at skin care routines as a multi-step process—and it goes beyond your basic cleanse-tone-moisturize routine. But what is the Meticulous Skin Care Routine, and how does it work? 

It’s not about the number of products

Just because you see the words “meticulous” or “10-step” in the name doesn’t automatically mean you’re counting based on the products that you’re using. Naturally, you’ll be using more than the usual number of products just because you’ll be following more steps, but it doesn’t mean you use ten products if you’re following ten steps altogether.

The concept behind the Meticulous Skin Care Routine comes from Korean skin care: It’s a routine that takes into consideration both the types of products you put on your skin and the order in which you apply them. The second part is especially important, because you’ll be checking for compatibility of products with each other, as well as the most effective way of applying it so that your skin absorbs each product effectively and lets the products do the work. 

Additionally, the products used in the Meticulous Skin Care Routine are products that clear, refine, exfoliate and smooth. These could be in the form of products that you put all over your face or serums, creams and concentrated oils used as spot treatment—more on that in a bit. 

What’s in the Meticulous Skin Care Routine? 

This is where this skin care regime takes its name: the Meticulous Skin Care Routine is very strict with the order in which you apply the products. The original 10-step Korean beauty routine is as follows: 


  • Makeup removal and oil cleanse: The first step is always to remove the makeup thoroughly. Oil cleansers are the preferred makeup remover in the original 10-step routine because apart from lifting makeup off the skin more effectively, they also draw out other oil-based impurities such as pollution, sebum clogs and sunscreen that’s stuck in your pores. 
  • Water-based cleanse: The original 10-step routine follows a double-cleanse wherein you use a water-based product such as a foam cleanser after cleansing with oil. This helps break down the makeup and oil-based impurities that your oil cleanser wasn’t able to remove, as well as remove water-based impurities that can cause breakouts such as sweat and dirt. Both oil and water-based cleanses are done twice a day—at morning and night. 
  • Exfoliation: This isn’t something that you will do every day (so essentially, you won’t be doing all 10 steps every day of the week) but is an important part of the 10-step skin care routine nonetheless. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and impurities and reveals younger skin underneath. For this step, you can either use an exfoliating wipe, a facial scrub made of natural ingredients like black sugar or chemical peels with active ingredients like salicylic acid or lactic acid. Avoid harsh commercial exfoliators with beads as this might end up doing more harm than good for your skin. The SMACNE Exfoliating Aloe Cleanser is a good example of an effective exfoliator—you can read more about it here.

Skin prep

  • Toning: At this point you’re done thoroughly cleansing the skin, and you move on to prepping your skin to receive further treatment. A toner removes the residue from your cleansers and repairs the barrier of your skin by rebalancing your pH levels, allowing it to absorb moisture as you move further down these steps. Aloe is one of the most popular ingredients for toners because it heals the skin, cools and calms rashes and redness, and provides that first layer of moisture. 


At this point, we move on to different forms of nourishment. Note that you may not need to do all of these—it will depend on your skin’s unique needs. 

  • Essence: These are lightweight, highly concentrated products that deliver active ingredients for hydration, anti-aging, and addressing dark spots and discoloration. One of the most popular ingredients used in essences is hyaluronic acid—it is extremely hydrating and best delivered to your skin as an essence.
  • Serums / Spot Treatments: This includes an entire group of general and spot treatment products, namely serums, boosters and ampoules, which have a slightly thicker consistency than essences, but are just as packed with active ingredients that address specific skin concerns. You should pick treatments based on the concerns that you have, such as fine lines and wrinkles, acne and hyperpigmentation. Some ingredients that are popularly used in serums are tea tree oil and vitamin C.
  • Sheet Masks: Sheet masks are infused with emollients in the form of a thicker essence, and are designed to help your skin absorb these nutrients better. The contact with your skin keeps the essence in place and makes your skin feel refreshed and rehydrated afterwards—and it’s relaxing to use as well.
  • Eye Cream: This is a gentle but highly concentrated cream formulated to go on the skin around your eyes. Because this part of your face has the thinnest skin, it’s prone to wrinkles, discoloration and puffiness—and eye cream addresses all of that. Look for one with highly hydrating ingredients like honey or with potent ones such as ginseng for the best results. 


  • Moisturizing: After you’ve layered all the treatments based on your skin’s needs, you need to lock everything in with moisture. These come in different forms, from cream to gel to emulsions—pick the formulation that’s suited to your skin type. Hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, and bamboo are some of the popular ingredients you’ll want in your moisturizer.
  • Sun Protection: Finally, you need to protect your skin from UV rays, even if you’re expecting to be indoors most of the day. Just because you’re not directly exposed to the sun doesn’t mean you’re not exposed to UV rays. Make sure to use broad spectrum sunscreen to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays, and if you’re going to be outdoors, use sunscreen with at least SPF 30—and don’t forget to reapply. 

Is it for you?

Let’s be honest: Not everyone will have the time nor the patience for this kind of routine. It’s a lifestyle change, and one that requires commitment and discipline! But as previously mentioned, this isn’t about the number of steps you follow—it’s choosing the right products for your skin concerns and applying them in the correct order to ensure their effectiveness. 

If you’re looking for a simpler routine, or if you just don’t have the time for something more elaborate, then check out our blog on minimalist skin care routine—and pop on over to find out how you can take care of your skin the same way, but in just three steps

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