Ever wondered how some Korean celebrities always seem to have an almost doll-like complexion 365 days of the year? Some famous beauties like model Honey Lee and K-pop idol Seolhyun of AOA are known for using this trick to achieve their "glass" skin.
Korean beauty bloggers have been hyping up this skincare regime since 2017 when it was first introduced and has since become a Kbeauty trend around Asia. It first started as the “3 Skin” method but has now evolved into a “7 Skin” method because, well, more is always better.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS “7 SKIN” METHOD?
The “7 Skin” method basically involves applying thin layers of a rich toner, essence or essence toner to your face seven times, hence the name "7 Skin". The name actually comes from the fact that in Korea, toners are called “Skin” (스킨) and therefore the “7 Skin” method could be more accurately translated as the “7-Toner” method.
Think it sounds crazy? I thought so too when I first heard about it too so I decided to give it a go and there is an element of magic to it!
HERE ARE THE “MAGICAL” STEPS OF THE “7-SKIN” METHOD
Step 1: Cleanse your face as you usually would daily.
Step 2: Pat dry your face, but slightly damp is better compared to totally dry. Apply the first layer of toner thinly using a cotton pad gently or your fingers. Start from the inside and gently sweep upward and outward gently tap your skin until fully absorbed.
Step 3 - 7: Repeat five or however many times you're comfortable with. After the last layer, you can play around with other products like serums or moisturizers.
Though it’s called the “7 Skin” method, there isn’t a hard and fast rule on how many times you should repeat the steps. If you live in the tropics, you should keep in mind that the climate is very different from the temperate climate in Korea. Skin needs and concerns can also differ between individuals so if at first it doesn’t feel right, adjust the number of times or the products you use to discover your own personalised routine.
FIVE? SEVEN? WHAT’S THE IDEAL NUMBER OF LAYERS?
I have tried doing up to 7 layers on a typical hot and humid dry in Singapore with essence, and my skin hated it. I could only conclude that more isn't always better, as too much skincare products can also irritate the skin and make it more oily and causing a variety of skin flare ups.
I recommend trying and testing to find the number of layers that works for you. I started out with three layers and saw my skin handled that just fine. I then increased it to four layers and eventually five and loved it. I tried six and seven but eventually stuck with five except on days where my skin felt particularly arid after wearing makeup for long hours.
On some days, I might just go with three layers, there really isn’t any specific magic number and if there was, I would imagine that it would be different for each one of us. The rule of thumb is to add as many layers till you feel your skin has absorbed as much as it can and that is what makes this method so interesting.
This is what makes the “7 Skin” method so excellent because it encourages you to get to know your skin by analyzing and playing around with the number of layers your skin soaks in and loves. There's no fixed amount or layers to apply to, making it flexible compared to other skincare routines.
HOW DOES IT WORKS?
Seven layers?! I know it sounds ridiculous and like a waste of precious time and product. Yes, it can be a little time consuming and may be a little tedious to do daily. But it's also worth all the trouble for that porcelain, glass skin effect that has seen many hooked to this routine, religiously practising this method daily after experiencing its impact on their skin.
Yes, you would definitely use up more toner or essence. But it's not as much as you imagine it to be. There's a misconception that if it's seven layers, the product would be used seven more times but that's not the case. The “7 Skin” method is based on the principle of layering on your skincare slowly to give your skin sufficient time to absorb and adjust before the next layer.
When a hefty amount of skincare product is applied to your skin, sometimes your skin won’t absorb them all as the product would evaporate from the skin or simply sit atop the skin. In the “7 Skin” method, with each application, a smaller than typical amount of toner (or essence) would be used, with each layer applied thinly to help your skin absorb it quickly and fully.
By reducing the amount of product used in each layer and increasing the number of layers you’re better able to maximise the absorption and skincare benefits of the product that you’ve applied. Compared to a single heavy layer, you do end up using quite a bit more product but despite the increase in product used, it’s totally worth it!
By applying thin layers of your favourtie toner or essence three to seven times, your skin will soak up the thin layers each time, getting an increased and healthy amount of hydrating ingredients, which end up giving your skin that porcelain, glass skin look.
Compared to the single thick layer method, the “7 Skin” method is a more effective application method as your skin ends up soaking up more of the product and benefits so even though you use more product, you’ve actually wasted less of it as it is more fully absorbed.
The result? Higher hydration levels, healthier skin, glowy porcelain skin and a lot less time and money spent on facials! After trying this method for several months, I understand now why the “7 Skin” method is so popular amongst many celebrities and beauty bloggers and how they manage to achieve that radiant and glossy skin that looks unreal.
SO DO I USE A TONER OR AN ESSENCE?
Toners, traditionally a part of western skincare routines are used to remove any last traces of dirt and residue that your cleanser missed and to balance the pH level after cleansing; Essences, on the other hand, are more commonly found in Asian skincare lineups and are lightweight skin boosters that come with a variety of skincare benefits. You can find out more about the differences between Toners and Essences in this article.
The “7 Skin” method is best used with Essences, Toners or Essence Toners that are alcohol-free and free of other irritatns such as synthetic fragrances. Toners with astringents such as alcohol can lead to dryness and irritation. Because you are applying the product multiple times, more than usual, there is a risk that ingredients that you are generally ok with might cause a reaction so always take it slow when you are starting out with the “7 Skin” method.
While it did feel a bit tedious in the beginning, after adjusting the number of layers and building my new routine around this “7 Skin” method, I have begun to enjoy and reap the benefits of it. After 2 months, my skin has never felt more soft and supple and that dewy glow has definitely upped my insta-game.
One of the drawbacks that I have definitely noticed that I am using up my favourite toners faster than usual. Some days, when I am particularly tired, I tend to cheat a little as well. It does take a little bit of effort but the results do speak for themselves. I would encourage you to give it a go and find out why so many are obsessed with this skincare trend for yourself. Do let us know what you think at abx.official.
WHAT PRODUCTS SHOULD I USE? THERE'S TOO MANY TO CHOOSE…
While this method will work well with just about any product, here are some of our favourites:
A light, hydrating and refreshing toner packed with Hyaluronic Acid and other nutrients to help moisturise and nourish. Using Haruharu Wonder's patented Ultra Deep Technology, this unique fermentation formulation penetrates deep within the skin to deliver its active ingredients for healthy skin that glows from within.
A unique concentrated organic essence toner, the Reviving Rose Infusion Treatment Toner is formulated with hydrating Damask Rose Water and Essential Oil to help soothe and soften your skin as it helps treat uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation.
Contains 85.5% Lotus Leaf Extract, a natural antibiotic rich in Flavonoids that protects your skin against environmental free radicals and promotes healing and regeneration. This luxurious moisturising essence helps balance your skin’s pH level and leave your skin brighter and healthier.
A triple-action essence toner that helps moisturizes, nourishes and firms your skin to help you achieve more youthful looking skin. Containing the patented ingredient Aqualiciathis toner has a pleasant citrus scent that helps invigorate your skin and senses promote skin elasticity and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
A double layered toner with a cream and essence blended at an optimal ratio to protect and enhance skin elasticity and maintain your skin’s natural moisture and oil balance. Contains 9 types of natural oils such as Jojoba, Sweet Almond and Rosa Canina that will leave your skin feeling smooth, healthy and looking dewy and radiant!
A moisturising toner formulated with Houttuynia Cordata or Heartleaf Extract (77%) to help soothe sensitive skin and protect your skin against external irritants. The sub-acidic formula matches the skin's natural pH and helps maintain the natural oil-moisture balance of your skin. Suitable for all skin types.
8 types of Hyaluronic Acid penetrates deep into the dermis allowing this rich essence to be quickly absorbed without the sticky or oily feeling of many essences. The intense moisturising effect plumps skin for a more youthful appearance and builds a protective layer that prevents further moisture loss.