Chapter 2: 10-Step Korean Skincare

As a mum of a teething 9 month old, I think it’s safe to say I’m currently being held together by coffee, hope and dry shampoo.

So when I saw Farmers had started stocking K-Beauty brand, TONYMOLY, it reminded me of something I’d heard on the Jules and Sarah Podcast.

The Legend of Zorro Korean Skincare

I’m a ride or die member of the Port Salut Crew (niche podcast reference), and a couple of lols back, Jules mentioned in passing that Korean eye masks (especially when kept in the fridge) were G.O.A.T for giving a tired bleugh face a much needed pep up.

Korean skincare, I thought at the time … I must remember this … I shall tuck it away in my mind next to “i before e, except after c” and the lyrics to every Spice Girls song ever made.

(Definitely not next to how to work out statistical significance, because when I have I ever needed to do that, University? Never, that is when.)

But back to the TONYMOLY display:

There was a moisturiser in a tiny banana, black eye-patch masks for dark circles that make you look like a bandit panda, and a range of sheet face masks (probably) developed by Bruce Wayne’s R&D team – plus loads more.

I was so happy I nearly started singing Spice up your life, and snaffled up the panda eye mask and a hydrating sheet mask – both of which promised to get me glowing like J-Lo and Jun Ji-hyun.

But, like – what is it?

South Korean women love skincare like Kanye loves Kanye.

So much so that they are the inventors of the 10-step skincare regime.

And it is  T H O R O U G H – with a focus on promoting hydration, layering products, preventative aging, natural and cutting-edge ingredients, super cute packaging, and holistic health (I downed two cups on green tea while writing this, and surprisingly, didn’t hate it).

Fun fact: we owe BB cream to the South Koreans.

I managed to do the morning and night routines using a random range of products I had lying around the house, because I like beauty and I have a problem. But – that does mean there were a couple things missing, so this is:

Kate’s #basic version


I’m not a morning person.

When I wake up I want coffee and silence. Which is veryyy unfortunate when you have a 9 month old.

I find washing my face soon after getting up really helps the whole feeling like an alive person thing though, so the longer skincare process was actually quite a nice way to ease into the day.

Here’s how they do it in Seoul:

  1. Wash your face with just water
  2. Toner – pop some on a cotton pad and wipe over your face
  3. Essence – this is one I didn’t have. It’s like if toner and serum had a baby. Apparently it’s amazing for skin hydration
  4. Ampoule – serum on steroids. A ‘sometimes (skin) food’, these are packed with active ingredients for some targeted intervention. You don’t use all the time
  5. Serum – like a wheatgrass shot to the face. These are concentrated formulas to help tackle specific concerns (I picked up the Natural Instinct Rejuvenating Rosehip Oil from the supermarket for under $20)
  6. Eye cream – no sebaceous glands to produce oil + the thinnest skin = very needy on the moisture front (Nutrimetics’ Ultra Care+ Platinum Tight Firm & Fill Eye Serum is  L E G I T)
  7. Moisturiser
  8. Sunblock – particularly necessary in New Zealand where we basically don’t have an ozone layer.
The products I used for my evening routine.


The evening routine is utterly onerous and indulgent. And. I. Loved. It.

Little man was in bed, and it was just the loveliest and most relaxing way to wind down from the day.

  1. Oil cleanser – to remove makeup. I think the Tailor Oil Cleanse is delish, and it’s made in NZ #chur
  2. Water based/foaming cleanser – this is called a “double-cleanse” and it’s all the rage. You could use a micellar water, or something like the foaming cleanser from Olay (which is M A G I C for removing the last of your makeup)
  3. Exfoliant – not every day though
  4. Toner – Korean skincare aficionados will aim to tone within 10 seconds of getting out of the shower. Apparently the longer you wait, the more dehydrated your skin becomes
  5. Essence 
  6. Ampoule
  7. Serum 
  8. Sheet mask – my TONYMOLY one was one of the nicest, and less murdery looking, I’ve ever used. Just don’t wash off the residue serum afterwards – that stuff is gold. I did a little facial massage with it myself – as instructed by Meghan Markle’s facialist (and Jules’ pal) Nichola Joss
  9. Eye cream
  10. Moisturiser 

Kate Rates: The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

I really enjoyed my foray into Korean Skincare. I probably won’t be following the 10-steps every day, but I will actually keep quite a good chunk of it.

I loved the double-cleanse and morning water wash, more regularly using toner and eye cream, and the introduction of rosehip oil and delicious delicious sheet masks.

I’m doing all of it.

I’m pretty much doing all of it.

Disclaimer: I did a lot of research before writing this, but obviously, I’m a white chick from New Zealand, so I’m hardly the go-to expert on Korean Skincare. My only hope is that I do anything as offensive as this.

Let me know if you give it a go, and what you think! 

Kate x

Ps. To my pals from Instagram (@beforekateturns30) who are like … uh, this isn’t eating a Big Mac or contouring like a Kardashian, to you I say. Soz. I had dry, tired skin and got amped when I saw the panda eye patches. What’s a girl to do?

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