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Your guide to the 7 skin method, a South Korean beauty trend to rescue dry skin

Dehydration isn’t just the domain of people who have dry skin. It’s a far more common struggle than most realise, where symptoms include anything from tightness, over-production of sebum, to recurrent flakiness. While dehydration is most often the result of poor skincare habits, your diet, the weather, stress and frequent travelling are all contributing factors.

Over in Korea, the skincare trailblazers have created something called the 7 skin method to counteract dehydration. The method involves applying a toner seven times, patting on your face successively for maximum hydration. This may sound excessive, but hear us out.

When you apply thin, watery toners or essences, and cap it at one layer, your skin isn’t reaping as much benefits as you’d think. Most of the product evaporates even before your skin’s had the time to quench its thirst.

The 7 skin method was popularised by how much it was able to hydrate the skin, without the heaviness or greasiness associated with multiple layers of emollients. Packing on the toner also leaves your skin balanced, replenishes any moisture loss that has occurred, and primes your skin for the absorption of more product after. By patting on the toner, you’re aiding your skin’s intake of the product while ensuring that less is vaporised into thin air.

Despite the daunting prospect of seven whole layers, it takes far less time than doing a sheet mask would. All you have to do after cleansing and applying your active treatments is to pat your face slightly dry and begin layering on the toner.

Start off with the driest areas of your face, and move towards the oiliest. You only need a small, 20-cent coin-sized amount of toner each time. Use your bare hands, as cotton pads can be abrasive. Once you reach seven, you’re sorted. Finish off with a moisturiser to seal it all in. If you’re pressed for time, you can even cut it down to just three layers.

Try to avoid toners with astringent ingredients, like alcohol, as they can be counter-productive and further dry out the skin. Ideally, you want something gentle and moisturising. Here are our top toner picks to ace the 7 skin method.

Huxley Secret Of Sahara Extract It Toner

Instead of being formulated with water, this Huxley toner contains organic Saharan prickly pear cactus seed extracts to repair your skin’s moisture barrier. If a cactus can survive in such a parched landscape, just imagine what it can do for your skin. It’s also packed with other botanical extracts that act as anti-oxidants, while balancing your complexion’s pH levels.

S$48, Glow Recipe.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner

This Whamisa toner is a potent, aloe vera-based liquid that is extremely rich in vitamins and fermented anti-inflammatory ingredients. It’s highly beneficial for those suffering from acne, due to the presence of anti-fungal ingredients like chrysanthemum, and lotus flower ferment. The latter is also a natural alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which helps gently exfoliate your skin to reveal the glow within. Argan and avocado oils also give you a dose of fatty acids that act as a humectant, preventing water loss from your moisture barrier throughout the day.

S$52, Olly.

Erborian Eau Ginseng Toner

Formulated with ginseng root, this is an ultra-nourishing lotion that hydrates and smooths the skin. It also contains liquorice root extract, which is an all-natural ingredient that reduces hyperpigmentation issues from past scarring, or sun damage. Since this has a slightly thicker consistency, it’s best for those with drier skin.

S$55, Sephora.

Simplistic Wonder Essence

The Simplistic Wonder Essence replaces water as the base of the toner with Prince of Wales’ feather seed extract, a plant rich in anti-ageing an skin repairing peptides. It’s also got a patented Water Web technology that contains the humectant beta glucan, the exfoliating polyglutamic acid, and sodium hyaluronate that draws moisture to your skin from your surroundings. To cap off the goodness, it’s got heaps more botanical ingredients and niacinamide — a skin brightening antioxidant that helps with acne and scarring.

S$45, Shopee.

Klairs Supple Preparation Toner

Klairs’ toner is a firm favourite amongst the Korean skincare crowd thanks to its extremely gentle, non-irritating formula. It uses sodium hyaluronate to rescue dull, dehydrated skin, as well as various floral extracts to fortify your skin. It also contains liquorice root and Indian pennywort extracts to brighten and prevent premature ageing.

S$31, Wishtrend.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.