How to Do a 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine With Products You Already Own

Updated 12/01/17
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the now-famous Korean skincare routine taking the beauty industry by storm. The intricate regimen includes 10 steps—from double cleansing to exfoliating and more—which promises an incredibly smooth, glass-like complexion. But as enticing as clear, soft skin is, swapping your entire routine for 10 new K-beauty products is no easy task—nor is it cheap.

That’s why Rachel Nguyen, the beauty and fashion blogger behind That’s Chic, is proving the routine doesn’t have to be restricted to Korean products, and—spoiler alert—you probably already own everything you need.

“I just wanted to show the versatility that this entire 10-step process doesn’t have to be with only Korean products,” Nguyen explains at the beginning of her now-viral video. “It can also be with anything that you have in your medicine cabinet.” Nguyen walks through the 10 steps—oil cleanser, water-based cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essences, serums, sheet masks, eye cream, moisturizer, and SPF—but rather than difficult-to-track-down Korean products with steep price points, she swaps in Western products with the same properties. 

Ahead, we rounded up all 10 of Nguyen's product picks, as well as application tips and tricks. Shop them all, and check out her video, below.

1. Oil Cleanser

Milky Jelly Cleanser
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser $18
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Unlike the oil-based cleansers that most Korean beauty routines begin with, Nguyen gravitates toward milky formulas. Among her favorites is Glossier's cult-favorite Milky Jelly Cleanser, which Nguyen smooths across damp skin to remove makeup and dirt. 

2. Water-Based Cleanser

Face Cleanser 8 oz
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser $32
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To strip her skin of any remaining makeup, Nguyen uses First Aid Beauty's Face Cleanser. The formula, which is loaded with skin-soothing aloe and calming allantoin, is gentle enough for sensitive skin types.

3. Exfoliator

Kate Somerville Resurfacing Peel Pads $52
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Nguyen doesn't use an exfoliator daily—but when she does, she uses Kate Somerville's chemical formula. Each pad uses lactic acid to naturally exfoliate and soften the skin while sage extract calms and cools it.

4. Toner

Humphrey's Witch Hazel $16
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Nguyen tones her skin with witch hazel, an astringent that helps combat redness and inflammation. "Since I don't exfoliate every day, I like to use a cotton pad that has a little bit of an abrasive touch to it," she explains. 

5. Essence

Yonka Facial Spray $33
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"This is basically the Western essence," says Nguyen of Yonka's Facial Spray. The alcohol-free mist blasts skin with a blend of lavender, geranium, and rosemary.

6. Serum

Age Arrest Anti-Wrinkle Serum 1 oz/ 30 mL
Kate Somerville Age Arrest Anti-Wrinkle Serum $95
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Next comes serum. Nguyen says that they should be tailored to your specific skin concerns—her favorite is Kate Somerville’s lightweight formula that supports natural production of collagen and skin elasticity.

7. Sheet Mask

Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Overnight Repair Mask $149
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"Masks don’t always have to come in a face sheet form. In fact, I prefer it in a jar because it’s less waste," says Nguyen. She recommends smoothing this vitamin-rich formula across the face until clear. 

8. Eye Cream

100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream $26
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This vegan and natural eye cream is spiked with green tea and coffee to reduce swelling and promote circulation.

9. Moisturizer

Ceramidin(TM) Liquid 5 oz/ 150 mL
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid $39
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This moisturizer is incredibly lightweight, says Nguyen, so its best to treat it as a base. Dr. Jart's formula combines licorice root extract to reduce redness, as well as calming aloe vera.

10. SPF

Invisiblur(TM) Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++ 1 oz
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 $65
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The last of Nguyen's steps requires a top-notch sunscreen—her favorite is Murad's Invisiblur. "It blurs out your skin and it magnifies your skin while protecting it from sun rays," she says. 

Next up, check out our favorite eye masks for dark circles.

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