The Korean ‘7 Skin Method’

Since summer of 2016, I’ve been tracking a trend called the “7 Skin Method”, which is effectively a hyper-charged take on the same theme. This trend has been just blowing up in Korea over the past few months and I wanted to share it with you guys!

So, what is the ‘7 Skin Method’?

In a nutshell, this is a skincare regimen where 7 layers of your toner are patted on and layered in succession. (Interesting note: ‘skin’ and ‘toner’ are the same word in Korean.) The idea behind the 7 layers is that the moisture level of skin can be increased in an efficient and effective way without the heaviness or greasiness that may come from traditional creams and oils. It’s also a great way to hydrate all skin types, providing the optimal balance of hydration and skin’s natural oils with a subtle dewy glow and firmer skin.

One of my favorite Korean YouTube creators is Da Yeoung Kim, and I think of all of her skincare videos are ‘must watch’s. She recently vlogged about the 7 Skin Method, joining other outlets such as Powder Room in singing its virtues.

Which ‘skin’ should I use?

The importance of finding your toner with a suitable ingredient list is magnified as you are using the formula on your skin over multiple layers. I recommend using an essence toner, which is a key category in K-beauty. Traditionally, it serves as the first leave-on step after facial cleansing, used to jumpstart the skincare routine with a very watery, yet viscous formula that infuses hydration. Avoid toners with alcohol, as they will dry out the skin or potentially cause irritation if layered more than once.

My favorite essence toner and our very first official ‘Glow Gamechanger’ is Whamisa’s Organic Flower Deep Rich Essence Toner. I’ve been personally using this beautiful blend of botanical extracts with cushiony and bouncy texture for the 7 Skin method. It’s not only great for applying with your hands to pat into the skin, but can also be used with cotton pads to wipe away. This formula goes beyond balancing skin’s pH level and replenishes the moisture loss that takes place immediately after cleansing.

Some of our other favorite toners to use include Blossom Jeju’s Camellia Soombi Essence Toner and Blithe’s series of Treatment Essences, all of which have that ‘bouncy’ and ‘cushiony’ texture for equal parts hydration and nourishment.

How do I apply the ‘skin’?

Use no more than a dime’s width of the product when poured onto your palm. An excess amount will not only waste the product but not allow the gentle and effective patting to take place.

The most common application method is to wipe the skin with a cotton pad drenched in ‘skin’ or toner first, and patting with hands for the rest of the 6 steps.

The cotton pad method in action!

I personally like to gently rub my two hands, increase the temperature and press the skin to complete each step.

My preferred way is to directly dispense into my palms to warm it up!

The great surprise factor here is that there is no wait time between the layers as the dime-sized amount quickly absorbs into the skin with the patting action. It’s actually a simple routine that is not at all as intimidating as it sounds!

The result

While the full process took perhaps 30 more seconds longer than normal, I absolutely fell in love with how my skin felt after. I had a dewy glow that looked lit from within. My skin felt tighter, plumper and bouncier. I couldn’t stop pressing my cheeks with my fingertips – they felt like a plush yet firm cushion, soft like a baby’s bottom. Also my skin felt healthier than ever. Do you know that feeling of being ‘fit’ after working out for a few months? There’s definitely that “Wow I got it!” moment as your body feels lighter, tighter, and more energized. My cheeks felt this way. I felt like I didn’t need a moisturizer after.

What do you apply after the 7 Skin method is complete?

I tried a few options.

1) I didn’t apply anything and went straight to sunscreen + makeup. It was wonderful. My skin was that hydrated and makeup-ready.

2) In drier weather, I used an oil-based moisturizer, Whamisa’s Water Cream with Natto, to complete the routine and this helped my hydration last all day long. I loved how my makeup looked good even at 5pm!

3) At night, I used Whamisa’s Water Cream with Natto, but also an eye cream and I woke up with brighter skin the next day.

Conclusion

The 7 Skin method WORKS. If you’re a skincare junkie and willing to try anything to maximize the products or the few minutes of your day, I definitely recommend it. Am I currently doing the 7 steps? At least every three days! For beginners to K-beauty, or a newbie to the hydrating toner category, I suggest giving this a try with 3 layers of your toner, vs 7. Then you can customize the process by adding incremental layers until you find your personal equilibrium – especially important if you have sensitive skin.

Get your glow on!

About the Author

Sarah Lee (@sarah_glow) and Christine Chang (@christine_glow) are co-founders and co-CEOs of Glow Recipe, with a combined 22 years of experience in global beauty, working both in Korea and the US. Beauty is their passion, and their goal to create a rigorously yet lovingly curated destination site that makes natural Korean beauty products and the latest skincare trends accessible, easy, and fun to beauty-enthusiasts around the world.