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Do you dream of plump, glowy, or – dare we say – juicy skin? The Korean 7-Skin Method is a technique out of Korea that claims to give just that. With nothing more than a hydrating toner and a bit of time, it’s a skincare technique for all skin types. Below, we delve deeper into the 7-Skin Method, how it benefits the skin, how to incorporate it into your routine, and recommended products to get you started on your 7-Skin journey.

What is the Korean 7-Skin Method?

Simply put, the Korean 7-Skin Method is a skincare technique where, rather than applying a few heavier layers of skincare product, you apply seven (or more, or less) layers of a lightweight toner or watery essence to the skin after cleansing.

In Korea, toners are often referred to as “skins” because toners act as a temporary skin, hence the name 7-Skin Method. The idea behind the Korean 7-Skin Method is that by applying multiple thin layers of lightweight toner or essence, your skin is actually able to absorb more hydration, more deeply which gives your face a more hydrated, plump, glass-like glow.

The 7-Skin Method came out of Korea around 2016, and is an evolution of the 3-Skin and 5-Skin Methods which are the same idea as 7-Skin but, with three or five layers rather than seven.

How to Do the Korean 7-Skin Method

The Korean 7-Skin Method is really as straightforward as it sounds and while it can be time-consuming the benefits are well worth it.

Since this method involves gentle, hydrating products it’s suitable for both morning or night with no concern of a negative reaction, as frequently as you see fit.

Step 1 – Cleanse

Cleanse your face as you normally would, with a gentle, pH-neutral cleanser suited for your skin type. This can include double cleansing with an oil-based cleanser, or using your favorite cleansing cream, gel, or foam.

Step 2 – Tone

This step is where the magic begins to happen.

After cleansing, while your skin is still damp, apply your first layer of hydrating toner or lightweight watery essence. While you can choose to apply your product with a cotton round we recommend gently patting it using your hands. This both prevents wasted product that gets soaked into the cotton round, and reduces the chance of irritation.

If you want to use an exfoliating toner, apply it as the initial step after washing your face. Limit its usage to a single layer before continuing on to the 7-Skin Method. Alternatively, use the exfoliating toner separately when you are not following the 7-Skin Method.

Step 3 – Tone (Again)

Continue to apply (and reapply) thin layers of your toner, about a minute apart.

Some people with more balanced skin may find they only need three layers of toner or essence, while some with very dry or dehydrated skin can go to 10 layers or more. Seven layers is just a general guideline. However, there is no real concern with over-applying products when it comes to lightweight hydrating toners or essences. Since these products are water-based, they shouldn’t clog the pores, and as long as you avoid any harsh or active ingredients or drying alcohols it won’t cause sensitivity or irritation.

While you can apply the same toner seven times, you can also mix it up if you have a few hydrating toners or watery essences you enjoy using.

Step 4 – Continue With Your Skincare Routine

Following your seven (+/-) layers of hydrating toners or essences, you should feel that your skin is plumper, more hydrated, cool, and soothed.

From here, you can continue with your skincare routine as you want. Some people choose to go straight to moisturizing, to lock in all that hydrating goodness you just flooded into your skin, while others may find that they don’t even need moisturizer. However, the Korean 7-Skin Method really primes your face for other serums, lotions, ampoules, or sheet masks so don’t be afraid to continue with products more targeted for your skin type like peptides, antioxidants, or probiotics. Though make sure your skin is fully dry before applying retinol or tretinoin.

Recommended Toners and Essences for the 7-Skin Method

Whatever toner or watery essence(s) you choose to use when doing the 7-Skin Method, it’s important to make sure they are free from drying alcohols or active ingredients that can cause irritation from over use. Your choice of toner or essence should, instead, be hydrating, gentle and soothing.

Look for toners or essences that contain beneficial ingredients including:

While it’s not mandatory for your 7-Skin product to be from a Korean brand, it’s worth considering that the 7-Skin Method originated in Korea. Therefore, Korean brands and products are often well-suited for this technique due to their gentle and hydrating ingredients.

Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist

While not necessarily Korean, Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist is packed with four types of hydrating hyaluronic acid in a lightweight, watery consistency which makes it the perfect product for the 7-Skin Method. This fan-favorite (that, while called a “lotion” is more of an essence) softens, smoothes, and preps the skin for your next steps in your skincare routine.

Buy Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist

Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner

Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner is available in both scented and unscented for sensitive skin. It contains many of the good ingredients to look for when choosing a 7-Skin toner or essence including licorice root, centella asiatica, beta-glucan, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid as well different botanical extracts, all in a pH-neutral toner.

Buy Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner/a>

Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner

Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner is a simplified essence that only contains seven essential ingredients to hydrate, strengthen the skin barrier, and soothe inflammation in sensitive and acne-prone skin. What sets this essence apart is the astragalus root water that’s used instead of purified water. Astragalus root has been shown to heal the skin, reduce inflammation, and increase collagen production to improve skin elasticity.

Buy Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner

Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence

Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence is a single-ingredient soothing essence that only contains fermented artemisia annua (commonly called mugwort). Mugwort is a less commonly used skincare ingredient, though it is popular in K-beauty products. It soothes stressed out skin, while also offering antibacterial and antifungal properties to heal blemishes, irritation, and inflammation.

Buy Time Revolution Artemisia Treatment Essence

What are the Benefits of the Korean 7-Skin Method?

Though it may seem time consuming, all skin types can benefit from the Korean 7-Skin Method.

Dry and dehydrated skin receives deep hydration, while acne-prone or oily skin may find that heavier moisturizers are unnecessary, avoiding potentially clogged pores. For mature skin, the plumping effect can help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and the gentle nature of the products used makes it suitable for soothing sensitive skin.

In general, however, the benefits of the 7-Skin Method are:

  1. Hydration: The most obvious benefit to the Korean 7-Skin Method is that it deeply hydrates the skin, giving it a more plump and supple appearance.
  2. Preparation: The 7-Skin Method preps your skin for other products and ingredients, allowing for better absorption and enhanced efficacy.
  3. Protection: The 7-Skin Method can help heal and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, which protects against environmental irritants and pollution, reduces skin sensitivity, and prevents transdermal water loss.

Tips for the Korean 7-Skin Method

Before jumping into the 7-Skin Method, there are a few more things to keep in mind.

Do What Works for You

As always, listen to your skin when trying a new product or method of skincare. If you have dehydrated or dry skin, you might need to use the 7-Skin Method every other day while more balanced skin might only need to use it once a week. You may find that your skin is fully hydrated after three layers, or drinks up the product for 10 or more layers. This can also change over time, as seasons change or as your skin changes.

Pat, Don’t Rub

Gently patting your toners and essences into your skin prevents tugging and pulling. When you rub products into your skin this can disrupt the moisture barrier, cause irritation, and even lead to wrinkles. By patting the products into your face, with your hands, you can also focus on areas that might be more dry or need a little extra hydration. In contrast, don’t pat too aggressively either as this can also cause irritation and redness. The entire idea of the 7-Skin Method is gentle and soothing, from the types of products used to how you apply them.

Be Patient

The Korean 7-Skin Method may be time-consuming but you will only see the benefits if you’re patient during the process and give each layer time to absorb into your skin. The point of this method isn’t to add multiple products on top of each other, but rather to give your skin the time and ability to absorb as much hydration as possible. At minimum, wait 30 seconds between applying layers, but you might need to wait one or two minutes for full absorption.

Be Mindful of Ingredients

As stated, make sure your toner or essence is lightweight, hydrating, and free from harsh ingredients or drying alcohols. The 7-Skin Method isn’t the place for active ingredients, exfoliants or chemical acids, blemish control, vitamin C, or anything else along these lines. Applying seven layers of alpha-hydroxy acid to your face, for example, can cause irritation and damage the skin barrier. If you do want to use an exfoliating toner, either use it at a different time, or in one layer before starting the 7-Skin Method.