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Dry, dehydrated skin? Try the 7 skin method

What is the 7 skin method?

Simply put, the 7 skin method is a K-Beauty skincare technique that involves layering toners or essences on the skin 7 consecutive times.



Now, you may be thinking, “ain’t nobody got time for that,” and that is a totally legitimate response. This technique sounds like a time-consuming, elaborate ritual. In fact, it may also sound like a gimmicky marketing thing that the cosmetics brands might have come up with to get people to buy more toners and essences.

But, here’s the thing: you don’t even have to do the full 7 layers. Apparently, the number seven is some kind of mnemonic device that helps make the term easier to remember. Certain K-Beauty experts have stated that could simply do 3 layers of toners or essences rather than 7. Like most things in skin care, you should customize the technique to fit your skin, rather than conform to the technique rigidly. You know what’s best for your skin.

Another fun fact: in case you’re wondering why the technique is called “7 skin method”, it is because in Korean, toners are called “skins”. So another, more straightforward translation would be “the 7 toner method”.


Sounds cool, but how does it work?


1. Wash your face with water and a gentle, low pH cleanser. Your skin’s natural pH range is slightly acidic, hovering around 5.5. A cleanser with high pH can disrupt your skin’s natural acid mantle, making it more alkaline and thus causing it to be prone to dryness. Innisfree Blueberry 5.5 Rebalancing Cleanser or CosRX Low pH Good Morning Gel are both great low pH cleansers that do the job.


2. Wipe off excess water with your hands, or dab dry gently with a face towel. Don’t rub your face with the towel.


3. Using an alcohol-free toner or essence  (IMPORTANT: the alcohol can dry your skin out even more, thus defeating the entire purpose of the technique), pour a quarter size amount of toner or essence into your palm and pat the product gently onto your face and neck area. If the lips are feeling dry, give ’em some love too.


4. Wait a few seconds for the toner/essence to absorb into your skin. Then repeat step 3 for a few more times up to 7 times as you see fit.


5. Optional: Apply your regular moisturizer after the last layer of toner to lock in the hydration. Marvel at how plump and hydrated your  skin is.


How to pick the best toners and essences for the 7 skin method


  • Use alcohol-free toners and essences. As mentioned above, products with alcohol can dry out your skin and exacerbate the problem.


  • Choose toners and essences that have a watery but slightly viscous texture. Too runny, and it will just drip right off your skin, too viscous, and it will take a long time to absorb. Balance is key here.


  • Choose a product that contains a significant amount of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that has exceptional water-binding ability and also important to the process of wound repair and skin healing. Hyaluronic acid is so amazing at attracting moisture, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. What about Sodium Hyaluronate? Sometimes you may see sodium hyaluronate listed in the ingredients, and may wonder what it is. Sodium hyaluronate is derived from hyaluronic acid, and thus gives the same benefits.


Based on those criteria, below are several toners and essences that work well for the 7 skin method, as well as being best for dry skin in general.




  • Alcohol-free
  • Contains hyaluronic acid for extra hydration
  • pH balancing
  • Also works great for oily skin




  • Alcohol-free
  • Contains niacinamide, which reduces blemishes and hyperpigmentation
  • Contains hydrating Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (a fermented yeast extract)




  • Alcohol-free
  • Contains snail mucin, which fades hyperpigmentation and aids cell renewal
  • Contains bee venom extracts, which is anti-inflammatory and calms irritated skin
  • Best for sensitive skin (has the least amount of potential irritating ingredients per CosDNA)



  • Alcohol-free
  • Contains hydrating galactomyces filtrate (nutrient dense yeast from fermented sake)
  • Contains extracts from aloe (hydrating), chrysanthemum (anti-inflammatory and antioxidant), and lotus (anti-inflammatory and exfoliating with natural AHA)