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One of my constant quests in life is to prevent my winter skin flare-ups. As a November birthday girl, I love the colder season but my dry and eczema-prone skin may disagree. I’m terrible at keeping New Year’s resolutions, so this year I embarked on a 2021 skin care challenge instead – by trying out the famous 7-skin method that is popular in Korea.
The 7-skin method involves layering on a toner or watery essence seven times, as opposed to once like in the usual skin care routine. Your skin needs sufficient moisture to maintain optimal health. Layering on toner allows your skin to absorb more moisture and maintain a hydrated state.
How to do it: After cleansing, apply the first layer of toner onto skin either with your hands or a cotton pad. Your face should not be completely dry at this stage so that the formula can be absorbed more effectively. Let the toner settle into skin, and then repeat this step six more times. After the seventh time, finish your skin care routine as usual. You can do the 7-skin method with just one toner, but I opted for seven different ones for variety and to get additional effects such as exfoliation.
What is it? A sensitive-skin-friendly daily exfoliating toner formulated with AHA, BHA and Vitamin C to leave skin refreshed and bright.
I decided to start the routine with a gentle and quick-absorbing formula, and this watery light toner from COSRX fit the bill perfectly. It had a subtle scent that I couldn’t identify until I read the ingredient list – turns out it’s a blend of kiwi, apple and willow bark water. These thirst-quenching ingredients are capable of reviving a tired complexion. Added Vitamin C derivatives in the formula also improve skin tone. Although not enough to rid blackheads on its own, the toner offers very gentle exfoliation that is perfect for everyday use.
What is it? A hydrating, calming and refreshing toner infused with real calendula petals and calendula flower water.
I followed the exfoliating toner with this soothing choice packed with calendula, one of the best ingredients for sensitive and irritated skin. I usually dispensed around two drops, which I would warm up with my hands before gently patting onto my face. I also applied this toner on my neck and shoulders, which currently have a few dry patches. Its texture is watery thin and refreshing, and absorbs quickly without any stickiness. On top of that, the light herbal scent and beautiful visual of calendula petals inside the bottle offer a therapeutic touch.
What is it? A gentle exfoliating toner packed with PHA and pineapple extracts to nourish and strengthen skin.
I’m somewhat wary of peeling agents, but since I’ve loved everything I tried from Bellflower, I gave its new peeling toner a go. It comes in a transparent lime hue with a viscous consistency that absorbs surprisingly quickly. I expected it to smell like pineapple but there wasn’t much of a scent, except a faint hint of citrus from the orange, lemon and apple extracts in the formula. According to Bellflower, pineapple extracts are rich in antioxidants and can help repair the moisture barrier. PHA is a much gentler exfoliant than AHA and BHA, making this product suitable for those with rosacea and eczema-prone sensitive skin.
What is it? A soothing, moisturizing and alcohol-free toner with heartleaf extract that provides relief to stressed-out skin. Suitable for all skin types.
Housed in a honeydew melon green bottle, Abib’s heartleaf-infused toner promises to regulate oil-water levels while gently buffing away dead skin cells for a soothing finish. Also infused with hyaluronic acid, centella, probiotics and Vitamin E, it offers anti-aging benefits and helps repair the moisture barrier. It has a faint herbal scent and a lightweight, watery texture that is cool on skin and fast-absorbent.
What is it? A paraben-free toner infused with PHA and cica to hydrate, exfoliate, soothe and brighten skin.
This was my first time trying anything from SKIN1004 and I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the product. Inside the chic, topaz-colored bottle is a colorless, scentless water-thin toner formulated with 84% centella extract sourced from Madagascar. The formula is non-irritating and has a silky texture that absorbs into skin quickly, leaving a non-sticky and hydrated finish. Equipped with PHA, the toner offers gentle exfoliation that lightly gets rid of sebum and dead skin cells.
What is it? An intensively moisturizing, vegan-friendly toner packed with organic green tea extracts, various types of hyaluronic acids, and peptides to reinforce the moisture barrier.
Specifically designed for the 7-skin method, BONAJOUR’s Green Tea Water Bomb Toner is essentially an ampoule and toner in one. Following the brand’s recommended application method, I dabbed the formula onto skin with my hands for better absorption. I was surprised that its gloopy texture didn’t leave any sticky residue. The thicker consistency is likely due to the hyaluronic acids, which usually make products feel slimy and sticky, but this one left a lightweight yet dewy finish.
What is it? A vegan-friendly, alcohol-free facial mist powered by botanical extracts to nourish skin as well as provide anti-aging benefits.
For the final step, I went with this Dear, Klairs face mist that comes in a cloudy-hued spray bottle. From the scent to the texture to the finish, it reminded me of the COSRX toner I applied in step 1, except the Fundamental Ampule Mist has different ingredients. This botanical concoction is made of mainly Jeju green tea leaf water, and blended with rice, cucumber, okra and mugwort extracts for intensive moisturizing benefits. Its easy-to-use spray bottle design also made it perfect to use whenever I needed extra hydration or a revitalizing boost in between my morning and evening skin routines.
Initially, I thought it would take forever to finish all the steps, but actually it was only five minutes longer than the usual amount of time I spend for my skin care routine. Since I was working from home most of the time, I usually concluded my daytime routine with the 7-skin method, and occasionally added SPF and moisturizer. In the evening, I layered on serums, face oil and night cream after the 7-skin method. In terms of application, I used cotton pads for the exfoliating toners and my hands for the other types of toners. As cotton pads are more effective in wiping away dead skin and dirt, I reckoned they worked best with the peeling toners.
After incorporating the 7-skin method into my daily routine for a month, my skin looked plumper, smoother and brighter. My face was devoid of the tautness and dry patches that usually appear in winter, and I was able to remove pimples and blackheads despite not clay-masking as often as before. I also loved how fresh my skin looked and felt every time I completed the seven steps.
Overall, I recommend everyone to give the 7-skin method a go. You don’t have to use seven different toners like I did. One bottle of toner is enough, although I recommend trying at least two different toners to address skin concerns you’re facing at the moment. You also don’t have to stick precisely to seven layers. Apply more in the colder, drier months if needed, but three or four layers should suffice if you already have nourishing steps in your skin care routine.