Need support?

Please leave a message


Exploring K-Beauty: The Popular Routine for Flawless Skin Listen with ReadSpeaker

K-Beauty - Part 1

When K-Beauty grew in popularity, its famous 10-step routine left people intrigued. Korean beauty standards are incredibly high, and this multi-step approach to skin care, which was extremely popular in the East, caught the attention of the West and became a global phenomenon.

There are a host of routines and practices to keep your skin looking and feeling young, with one of the most popular ones being the various steps in the K-Beauty routine. We have all heard about the advantages of Korean skin care routines. Developed from the passion Koreans have for healthy skin and backed by decades of scientific research and advancement, the steps that make up the K-Beauty routine have become a lifestyle in Asia and across the globe.

K-Beauty has been around for centuries. High-tech formulations and ingredients may be a thing of the present, but skin care has always been considered very important in Korean culture. The emphasis is on looking and feeling healthy. 


In the early days, Korea was primarily an agricultural society. People were required to be outside in the sun. Searching for ways to heal sun damage has since been embraced by Korean culture. Natural ingredients like camellia, mung bean, and rice were popular for their rich antioxidant benefits and hydrating properties.


Cleansing soaps were made from ground mung beans, eyebrow ink was made from soot or plant ash, while blush and lip colors were made from safflower. In fact, in 2016, archaeologists discovered intact porcelain containers in the tomb of Princess Hwahyeop (1733 to 1752), located in Namyangju, Gyeonggi in South Korea.


The containers contained cosmetic residue. After testing, these were concluded to be a face cream made from beeswax and other materials with moisturizing properties, a face powder made from lead carbonate and talc, and blush and lipstick in the form of a red powder, which was made from cinnabar and safflower.


In the 21st century, Korean beauty products and practices are an example for the world to follow. The West has noticed how innovative K-Beauty products are, and today, the U.S. is the third-largest market for exports from South Korean beauty companies.


According to a report published on, the global K-Beauty products market size was valued at USD 9.3 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 21.8 billion by 2026. The report adds that a rise in awareness of the benefits and uniqueness of K-Beauty products among consumers across the globe has resulted in new beauty trends and innovations along with sophisticated ingredients and appealing packaging being introduced into the market. This allows the manufacturers of K-Beauty products to further grow within the Asian market and even expand their business into new global markets.

Koreans employ a holistic approach to their skin care that includes consistent routines, proactive vigilance, and healthy skin care habits practiced from an early age. 


Much like how we seek a balanced diet comprising the right nutrients and vitamins that cater to our body types, a balanced skin care routine involves using the right mix of products and ingredients that work for our skin type. Everyone's skin is different, and understanding your skin is a big focus of the Korean beauty philosophy.


Before you can begin the multi-step process that makes up the K-Beauty routine, you first need to take stock of what you're currently using and note any allergic or negative reactions to a product. By paying attention to the ingredients in your products, you can identify the ones your skin dislikes and those it needs.


The key factor of the K-Beauty routine is respecting your skin. Instead of using harsh ingredients that can damage the skin's natural barrier, the Korean skin care philosophy suggests working with your skin's natural ecosystem by cleansing, hydrating, nourishing, and protecting it. 


Another important element in K-Beauty is consistency. The routine would generally include a balm or oil cleanser, foaming cleanser, exfoliant, toner, essence, ampoule or serum, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer, and either a thicker night cream, sleeping mask, or an SPF cream.


Contrary to popular belief, the Korean routine is not necessarily a 10-step process: it can be five or even 15 steps long. The number of steps in the K-Beauty routine can vary based on either what your skin needs or the time you have at your disposal.

K-Beauty has seen many innovations over the decades ensuring it stays the most popular skin care routine. DKSH offers a wide variety of innovative ingredients that cater to the latest advancements in Korean Beauty and the personal care industry. Contact us to learn more about our innovative personal care solutions.

Tris Shin

About the author

Tris Shin is based in Seoul, Korea. He is currently the Technical Service Manager, Personal Care Industry, Performance Materials at DKSH Korea.