A Step-by-Step Guide to Korean Hair Care Routine

by Ramona Sinha

Maintaining your hair the Korean way is as intense as their 10-step skincare routine. The Korean hair care routine is all about promoting healthy hair. It involves 10 steps that meticulously focus on maintaining scalp health and improving hair health and appearance. If you want to give it a try, here is a complete guide to the 10-step Korean hair care routine.

The 10-Step Korean Hair Care Routine

1. Scalp Scaler

Scalp scalers are used to clean and exfoliate the hair follicles and clean dirt, grease, and buildup. They may contain salicylic acid or other exfoliating agents for thorough cleansing.

How To Use: Before shampooing, apply the product to your dry scalp. Spread it evenly to cover the entire scalp. Leave it on for the prescribed time or 20 minutes before washing off.

Product Suggestion: Esthetic House CP-1 Scalp Scaler

This product contains sea salt and tea tree oil. It exfoliates and soothes the scalp and keeps it feeling refreshed.

2. Shampoo And Scalp Massage

After exfoliation, shampoo your hair and scalp to cleanse them further. Scalp massaging helps remove any residue and stimulates the scalp and hair follicles. You may use your fingertips for massaging or a scalp brush.

How To Use: Apply shampoo to your scalp and spread it evenly. Use your fingertips or a scalp brush to massage and stimulate the scalp in a circular motion.

Product Suggestion: LG Reen Yungo Hair Cleansing Treatment

This shampoo-cum-hair treatment contains red ginseng extract that prevents scalp infection. It is also enriched with other hydrating ingredients to keep the hair moisturized and smooth.

3. Conditioner

Conditioning is a crucial part of the Korean hair treatment to moisturize the hair and keep it soft and healthy.

How To Use: After shampooing, squeeze out the excess water from the hair strands. Apply conditioner from the mid-length to the hair ends. Leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing it off.

Product Suggestion: Nature Republic Argan Essential Deep Care Conditioner

This conditioner contains 100% argan, rosehip, and primrose oils. It nourishes dry and damaged hair, minimizes frizz, and keeps the hair soft and healthy.

4. Hair Mask 

Hair masks are deep nourishing treatments for protecting your hair from environmental damage. They contain potent ingredients that strengthen the hair strands and help them recover from any damage.

How To Use: Use a hair mask once a week. Apply the mask throughout your hair after shampooing. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and wash off.

Product Suggestion: Mediheal Hair Sheep Steam Pack 

This deeply nourishing treatment is best for dry, damaged, and processed hair. This hair mask contains goat’s milk and hydrolyzed collagen. It increases your hair’s protein content and strengthens it.

5. Hair Rinse 

Maintaining the scalp pH levels is essential. A vinegar rinse can help balance the scalp pH and minimize itching, irritation, and excessive dryness. This, in turn, leads to healthy scalp and hair. 

How To Use: After shampooing and conditioning, wash your hair with a vinegar rinse. However, use it only once a week.

Product Suggestion: Esthetic House CP-1 Raspberry Treatment Vinegar

This vinegar rinse controls excess scalp sebum, maintains the oil and moisture balance, minimizes irritation, and improves scalp health.

6. Scalp Mask

Scalp masks or scrubs are just like hair masks. They are applied directly to the scalp and contain gentle and hydrating ingredients to nourish and soothe the stressed scalp.

How To Use: Use this mask once a week after shampooing and before conditioning. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse.

Product Suggestion: You may check out Peppermint Fresh Scalp Cooling Mask by SKINFOOD. It contains cooling peppermint extract that refreshes the scalp and provides intense cleansing.

7. Scalp Tonic

The concept of scalp tonic is similar to skin toner in Korean hair care routine. A scalp tonic balances the scalp pH levels and preps it for the next steps.

How To Use: Use a towel to remove all excess water from your hair. Spray the tonic on your scalp. Massage the scalp and do not rinse the product.

Product Suggestion: Whamisa Organic Seeds Hair Scalp Tonic

This hair tonic is enriched with lactobacillus, oat kernel, soy, and rice ferment filtrates. It minimizes excess sebum secretion, cleanses the scalp, and strengthens the roots. This hair tonic contains 96.8% organic ingredients.

8. Scalp Serum

A scalp serum works exactly like a facial serum. It helps heal, hydrate, and calm your scalp, minimize dryness, and regulate excess sebum.

How To Use: Rub the serum all over a clean and dry scalp.

Product Suggestion:  TROFREE Intensive Scalp Serum

This scalp serum has 18 active ingredients to reduce scalp irritation. It contains tea tree and argan oils, allantoin, and rosemary leaf extract to moisturize and soothe the scalp.

9. Hair Essence

Hair essence keeps the strands hydrated, smooth, and soft.

How To Use: Apply hair essence all over your hair, especially the ends. Avoid applying it to the roots.

Product Suggestion: Nature Republic Argan Essential Deep Care Hair Essence

This hair essence contains argan, primrose, and rosehip oils. It makes your hair healthy, silky, and shiny.

10. Overnight Treatment

Overnight hair masks nourish, rejuvenate, and heal your hair while you are lost in your dreams. If you have oily hair, rinse it off the next day, or you may leave it on until your next hair wash.

How To Use: Apply a pea-sized amount of the product on your hair and leave it on overnight.

Product Suggestion: TONYMOLY Haeyo Mayo Hair Nutrition Pack

This product makes the hair softer and manageable without weighing it down. It is best for damaged and dry hair and helps minimize frizz and split ends. It contains macadamia nuts and vanilla that leave your hair smell heavenly.

Here are a few more tips to keep your hair healthy and strong.

Korean Hair Care Tips You Should Follow

1. Use Moroccan Oil Every Day

To prevent split ends, use Moroccan oil on the hair ends.

2. Mask Therapy

Using a hair mask once a week will keep your hair healthy and shiny. It helps repair damage caused by regular heat treatment or dyeing.

3. Use An Oil And Water Combo

If you have an oily scalp, mix 2-3 drops of oil with a few drops of water, rub the blend between your palms, and apply it to your hair. This provides instant shine and nourishment without greasiness.

4. Sun Protection

Use UV-protectant sprays to minimize damage and color-fading.

5. Get A Wig For Different Looks

If you do not want to cut your hair or expose it to chemical dyes and treatments, use wigs. This will allow you to change your look without damaging your hair.

6. Use A Suitable Shampoo

There are different shampoos for different hair types. Do not forget to check the label before you buy the product.

7. Air-Dry Your Hair

Avoid hair dryers and heat treatment tools. Let your hair air-dry to minimize hair damage and dryness.

8. Avoid Sleeping With Wet Hair

Sleeping with wet hair causes friction and hair damage. Moreover, wet hair is prone to breakage and bacterial infections.

9. Regular Conditioning And Treatment

This is the best way to keep your hair tangle-free and smooth. It also protects your hair from environmental stressors and is beneficial for over-processed and color-treated hair.


The 10-step Korean hair treatment may appear intense. However, unlike the Western hair care routine, the Korean hair care routine gets to the root of the problem and maintains scalp health as a healthy scalp can nurture healthy hair. Follow the steps mentioned in the article to keep your hair beautiful and healthy.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can I include any essential oils in my Korean hair care routine?

Yes, you may use any hair oil to condition and moisturize your hair.

Should I stop using shampoos with sulfate to follow the Korean hair care routine?

Not necessarily. You may use clarifying shampoos once in two weeks to deep cleanse your scalp.

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.