I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” That’s a great motto to live by, but sometimes, exploring outside the bounds of what is considered standard practice can pay off in a big way. I’m grateful to people who take the time to constantly experiment with skin care techniques and reveal new ways to use products. Some optimized skin care practices of note are Jude Chao’s three-finger sunscreen application method and Michelle Wong’s handy tip for sunscreen application on the go.
The 7-skin method is one of such enhancements and can be a gamechanger for all skin types. Employing this technique only extends your routine by an extra five minutes, and it’s super simple too.
The 7-skin method can be a gamechanger for all skin types. This technique only takes an extra five minutes, and it’s super simple too.
How to 7-Skin
To 7-skin, start by applying a small amount of your current or favorite toner to your clean face and neck with your hands or a cotton pad. While your skin is still damp, splash a little bit of toner into the palm of your hand and pat into your skin, repeating until you have repeated the action six times. In South Korea where this technique originated, toner is referred to as “skin,” hence the name 7-skin method (and not “7-toner method”). You can use a lightweight essence in place of a toner if you prefer, or even alternate applications of toner and essence.
If you’re apprehensive about the layering, you could always start small with three or five steps, building up when you feel comfortable enough to. Play around with the number of steps and the toner or essence of choice to determine what works for you.
Some people forgo all other steps after 7-skinning, claiming that the layers of hydration are enough of a routine in themselves. Personally, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to receive the benefits of the rest of my carefully curated skin care regimen. What if I used a hyaluronic acid toner but wanted the brightening power of a niacinamide serum or the anti-aging benefits of a peptide ampoule? When I 7-skin, I always follow up with a serum or ampoule, but I guess I could eliminate those if I found what I guess one could call a Goldilocks toner—a perfect blend of ingredients that met all my skin care needs.
The Benefits of 7-Skin
The goal of the 7-skin method is boosted hydration and improved absorption of successive steps. It’s a great way to get that just-had-a-facial glow, balance your skin’s moisture levels, and improve the condition of the skin. Applying multiple layers of a rich toner multiplies the amount of nutrients that your skin would absorb ordinarily. I like to think of it like one of those 5- or 10-minute AM masks, as this practice seems to inject the skin with a boost of hydration just like a mask would, imparting a bouncy, healthy radiance.
Worried that utilizing this method would increase the frequency of your toner purchases? While you are using more product that you usually would with a single application, remember that six out of the seven repetitions are only teensy sprinklings that only add up to be about three times what you’d normally use.
Tips for 7-Skin
Before you dash off to bathe your face in toner, here are a few things to watch out for.
Take it slow
Don’t go full-tilt on your first attempt if your skin doesn’t seem to like what you’re doing. You might only be able to do three steps today, but one day you might make it to seven.
No alcohol or AHA
Stay away from alcohol-laden toners and exfoliating ones too. It’s probably not a great idea to apply several layers of glycolic acid in one sitting.
Yes to thinner textures
Make sure to choose the right 7-skin product for you. This goes for skin type, as well as its suitability for this technique. A thicker toner might sound like a good idea but could leave your skin feeling uncomfortable and greasy after several applications. Watery toners and essences typically work best.
Take it easy
Be gentle when you’re patting in the product, being careful not to slap too hard. Make it a nice, relaxing experience, and enjoy the feeling of your skin getting progressively plumper under your fingers.
Seal it all in
Lock in all that moisture with a cream or sleeping pack as your final step. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste.
Ready to 7-skin? You could try the famous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner, Kiehl’s Calendula Toner, and so many more! Be sure to come back and let me know which product you think works the best.