10 Step Korean Hair Care Routine

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. For more information, see our Disclosure Policy

Most people have heard of the 10-step Korean skin care routine, but did you know that there’s a 10-step routine for hair as well? That’s right, breaking out of the typical shampoo and conditioner routine can vastly improve the health of your hair and scalp.

Benefits of a 10-Step Routine

Having to go through 10 different steps for any routine sounds daunting, but it’s worth the effort.

The biggest benefit of this routine is that it focuses not only on hair, but on the scalp as well. There are multiple steps that are designed to help keep your scalp moisturized and free of build-up.

Another benefit of a good hair routine is that you’re being proactive in your styling.

Most of the hair care market is focused on being reactive. There are plenty of oils and creams to moisturize your scalp, add shine to your hair, and eliminate frizz. Most of these are designed to be used on dry or wet hair, right before styling.

A good hair routine is proactive in the sense that healthy hair will naturally be shiny and smooth. This saves you the trouble of loading up your hair with products before styling.

Plus, a lot of reactive products don’t have any lasting benefit for you hair. In fact, they can stick around and cause build up in your hair over time, which isn’t good for hair health.

Having a proactive routine is a great way to get the look your after, while taking care of your hair.

What is the 10-Step Routine?

If you’re interested in trying out a hair routine, here are each of the steps, listed in order.

Scalp Scaler or Exfoliator

As the first step in the routine, using a scalp scaler is fittingly, one of the most important.

A scalp scaler is essentially an exfoliator for your scalp. These typically contain salicylic acid, and may even contain some sort of natural scrubbing element, just like skin exfoliants.

The reason this step is important, is that it removes pesky scalp build-up. Build-up can come from a lot of sources, be it old product, dead skin cells, and sweat, and it leads to flakes. Periodically exfoliating can eliminate those flakes, and also helps you keep your scalp follicles happy.

If you do decide to incorporate this product into your routine, pay attention to the directions. Scalp scalers don’t need to be used daily, and they may or may not need to be applied to dry hair.

Regardless, this step is a great way to keep your scalp healthy and flake free.

Shampoo and Scalp Massage

For this step, apply whatever shampoo you know works for your hair type.

But there’s a second, equally important part to this step. Take the opportunity to give yourself a scalp massage while you’re shampooing.

Scalp massagers are usually made of plastic or similar materials, so they’re a cheap, one-time purchase. Using a scalp massager for this step has two main benefits: it’s lathers up your shampoo, and it keeps your scalp healthy.

By massaging your scalp, your ensuring that the shampoo properly reaches all areas of your scalp and hair, for maximum benefit. You’re also help to promote blood flow in your scalp, and keeping it clean of dead skin and other build up.


At this point in the routine, add whatever conditioner you typically use. If you’re not currently using a conditioner, then take this opportunity to start! Conditioners can detangle your hair, and are necessary for keeping it moisturized.

In order to find the right conditioner for you, pay attention to your hair type. There are a lot of different types of conditioners, so you want to use one that’s going to work for your specific hair type.

Deep Condition/ Hair mask

In addition to conditioning daily, you’ll want to deep condition, or apply a hair mask periodically. (How often you do this step will depend on the product your using. Typically though, you can expect to do it once a week.)

For this step, you’ll want to figure out your hair’s porosity. This indicates how easily your hair absorbs and loses moisture.

There are a lot of different formulas for conditioning treatments, and each of them benefits a different type of porosity. You don’t want to end up with something that won’t condition your hair effectively, so make sure you’re doing your research.

This step is also a great time to introduce any homemade or natural products that your prefer. There are plenty of great recipes for natural, effective hair masks that are worth considering. They’re a great way to save you money, and cut some chemicals out of your routine.

Vinegar Rinse

People have been praising the benefits of using vinegar on your hair for ages, and for good reason! It’s a great way to help your scalp maintain it’s ideal pH balance.

An unbalanced scalp can get oily, dry, and super flaky. Doing a vinegar rinse can help prevent these issues and keep your scalp happy.

This is also another step that you don’t want to do every day. Like deep conditioning, you should aim for around once a week, depending on the product you use.

This step is also another one that you can easily DIY. If you don’t want to purchase one, look into a recipe that uses apple cider vinegar instead.

Scalp Mask

A scalp mask is just like a hair mask, but targeted to handle scalp issues instead. It’s another way to help clear out any additional build-up, and to balance your scalp’s pH.

Like hair masks, you can also tailor your mask to whatever specific issues your scalp is having. If your scalp is super dry and itchy, get one that can help alleviate those issues. If you find that you’re having a lot of build-up, then get one that has exfoliating properties. Whatever your need, there’s a mask that can help you out.

For these products, you typically use them anywhere from once a week to twice a month. How often really depends on the specifics of the product you’re using. Either way, just try to do them on a different day from your deep conditioning or scalp exfoliation.

Scalp Tonic

The benefit of this step is that it preps the skin on your scalp to better absorb the products that come next. It’s also the perfect way to calm your scalp after your shower.

For this step, lightly tamp the extra moisture from your hair around the scalp. (Try to avoid rubbing your hair with the towel, as this can cause extra frizz.) From there, spray the product as close to your scalp as you can get it. If you have thick hair, you may have to section your hair as you go.

Scalp Serum

If your scalp needs some extra love, you can use a scalp serum. Serums or oils are designed to be used as regular treatment for issues like scalp dryness or excessive oil. They can help you maintain a healthy, balanced scalp.

As with the previous step, you’ll want to make sure you’re sectioning out your hair to really reach your scalp. You’ll also want to spread the serum around, to make sure it’s distributed evenly.

Hair Serum

This step is similar to the last one, except it’s meant to maintain your hair. In this case, choose a serum or oil that can help with whatever hair issues you’re having. There are products for a lot of common issues, like dryness, dullness, and frizziness.

When choosing a serum, remember to select one appropriate for your hair type and porosity. Different products work on different hair types; you don’t want to buy something only to find that it’s ineffective for your hair.

Hair Protection

For the final step in the process, use a product that’s going to protect your hair.

If you have a hair type that needs a lot of moisture, try an appropriate overnight or leave-in conditioner.

If you plan on styling your hair after treating it, use a heat protectant spray. Depending on your hair type, you can also use a texturizing spray or a volumizer.

This step is really all about personalization, so go with whatever will work well for your hair.

Should You Try a Hair Routine?

For a lot of people, the deciding factor in whether or not they start a hair routine is whether or not it’s realistic.

Frankly, a 10-step routine isn’t realistic for most users. Even though you’re only doing about half of the steps with your regular washing schedule, most people don’t want to devote the extra time and energy it takes.

Budget is also a consideration. A full routine will cost anywhere from $50-100, just to get started. And that assumes that you’re sticking to budget friendly options for each product.

Of course, that’s also just for a one time purchase. You’ll have to keep spending money to replace products as they run out, especially the ones you’ll be using with your regular washing. Overall, that’s quite a cost commitment to make.

But that doesn’t mean that a hair routine is entirely out of reach. There are plenty of ways to adjust a routine to better fit your time and budget concerns.

Alternative Options

The easiest way to adjust a routine, is to simply cut out steps. Don’t pressure yourself to start out will all ten steps right off that bat. Rather, focus on what you can incorporate, and what would be best for your hair.

You’re likely already shampooing and conditioning you hair regularly, so adding in a scalp massage would be easy. Along with that, you can try another interval step, like a scalp scaler, or a hair mask. These are also easy to incorporate, since you can plan out the days when you have a little extra time.

From there, you can continue adding in steps, to see what you’re comfortable with. Focus on adding either the scalp steps or the hair steps first, depending on what areas you want to improve.

Once your hair and scalp are healthy, you can also start eliminating steps, like the serums and deep conditioning. These steps are certainly helpful, but not necessary for well-maintained hair.

To offset some of the cost, you can use DIY recipes for some of the steps. As mentioned previously, certain steps like the vinegar wash and deep conditioning can be made at home, with basic ingredients.

No matter what your hair type, there’s a way to adapt a 10-step routine to suit you.

Using a Hair Routine

Most of us use shampoo and conditioner regularly, but that’s just the most basic routine. It also ignores a major contributing factor to hair health: your scalp. That’s why having some type of hair routine is a good idea.

How serious your hair routine gets, really depends on you and your budget. There’s a lot of room for adjustment and personalization in any routine. You can leave out certain steps, or make certain products at home, with simple ingredients.

The fact is, even casual styling can put your hair through a lot. Do your hair and scalp a favor by giving them the care they deserve. Change up your routine by adding a few new steps, and see if it makes a noticeable difference in your hair.

SHare This Post


Related Videos

Leave a Comment