Morning 6-Step Routine (Overview)

One of the main insights that brought K-beauty to the forefront globally was the multi-step skincare routine.  I still remember a few years ago when this became a “thing.” How many questions I’d get from people asking me whether this was the real deal and what my specific steps were.  Well, the truth is, this is definitely a “thing.”  It’s so fundamental to the culture of K-beauty that it’s more like an obvious, “duh, you do the multiple steps,” rather than a “thing” to be discussed or fussed over. 

If you told a Korean woman you felt like it was too much or you felt too lazy to do them all, it would be perplexing.  To the Korean ear, it would be like expecting to have a fit body while refusing to exercise for 30 minutes a day.  It’s a tradition passed down from mother to daughter and personally, I’ve been keeping to this regimen for so long as I can remember.  It’s a fundamental act of self-care that’s deeply rooted in Korean culture.  I don’t have one friend who grew up in Seoul who doesn’t follow this routine.  It’s like a daily shower or drinking coffee in the morning.  I can’t remember when I started, but it was as natural as learning to ride a bike, and I haven’t skipped a day.  Assuming I had the capacity to brush my teeth, I was doing the multi-step routine.

Let me break it down for you – again, keeping in mind that it’s not just about the products, but also how you apply them and the habits and mindset that go along with the process.  I don’t like the existing content out there that covers all steps in one simplified article – only focusing on product and not taking the time to convey the nitty gritty of the true intent, techniques and benefits behind each step. 

In addition to respecting each step and related process, hopefully you’re taking the time to truly enjoy and indulge in this basic self-care ritual.  Only then can this fundamental part of your skincare journey go from a necessary chore into a ritual that delivers genuine joy.  If you can give yourself the time and space to truly feel the nourishment of these steps and show your skin the proper care and affection it deserves, then you will be engaging in soulful skincare.  I believe soulful skincare is the only type of sustainable skincare that will lead to glowing skin for a lifetime.  You must find the depth and magic in skincare. 

I personally utilize a 6-step routine in the mornings: toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, face oil and sunscreen.  You might have heard of the 7-step, or even 12-step routine.  They basic philosophy is the same and the steps just increase or decrease based on whether you include cleansing steps, a sheet mask, multiple serums or more products.  Here, I’ll go through the standard six steps since I categorize face washing as a separate art and process entirely, sheet masks are hard to do daily and especially in the busy mornings, and lastly, not everyone wants or needs to use multiple serums or more product – less is more these days. 

You’ll see what I mean as we get into the details, in the following posts to come.  For now, please make sure to think about the mindset of self-care and respect that is necessary for you to maintain a successful multi-step routine. The amount of love you give your skin matters and time is love.  If you take the time and put in the effort, your skin will reap all the benefits, and you certainly deserve this. 

If you're ready to proceed, here's Step 1.