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I Applied 7 Layers of Toner in the Name of K-Beauty and Here's What Happened

Does the 7 skin method actually work?
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If you're a fan of K-beauty, chances are, you've heard of the 7 skin method. The concept is pretty simple: It entails applying seven layers of a hydrating toner or essence on the daily. I first learned about the technique from Glow Recipe co-founders Sarah Lee and Christine Chang. They noted that the method was a great way to get the coveted glass skin look, as well as one of the ways to really get the most out of your hydrating toners.

Though I consider myself a big fan of Glow Recipe (and indeed, Korean skin care techniques in general), I still found myself privately a little skeptic of the 7 skin method. At face value, it sounded a bit time-consuming and expensive — could it really warrant a big enough difference to be worth the extra effort (and cash)?

Still, when I was catching up with Sarah and Christine at their Glow Studio pop-up shop in L.A., I couldn't ignore the fact that their skin was dewier, brighter and more all-around perfect than I had previously thought was humanly possible. I left their pop-up promising to them (and myself) that I'd finally be giving the 7 skin method a try.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I'm still dutifully patting seven layers of toner into my skin each night. Here's what my experience of the process has been like.

Image via Imaxtree

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It's not as wasteful as it sounds

Here's the thing: Generally speaking, Japanese and Korean toners and essences are applied with the hands, which means less product gets left behind (even SK-II spokesperson Chloe Moretz applies essence this way, so you know it's legit). This means you don't end up leaving half your product behind on a cotton round (and bonus, there's less cotton round wastage as well). Using the popular Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner, $40, I patted it on a drop or two at a time, which doesn't really amount to that much anyway.

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#Wokeuplikethis (no, really)

If I remind you that I literally write about beauty for a living, would you judge me less for admitting that I occasionally look at my face in selfie mode first thing in the morning? What can I say, after trying the 7-skin method for the first time the night before, I was curious come morning — and my skin looked so good I felt like I was using one of those imperfection-smoothing filters. It was perhaps one of the only times I would have even considered posting a #wokeuplikethis picture unironically. I'd say the effect was comparable to using a good sheet mask.

Image via @glowrecipe

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It's about the process

Though generally lazy, I'm not averse to a long-ish skin care routine. Perhaps because of this, I actually found myself enjoying the routine of patting seven layers of toner into my skin. It felt almost...meditative (in other words, it's probably as close to mindfulness as I'll ever get).

Image via Imaxtree

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Sometimes, I almost felt like my skin was too hydrated — I did find myself getting a little shinier than usual by midday (though that's nothing a little extra powder couldn't fix). Still, now that I've found that I like the process, I'm going to start experimenting with different types of essences and toners. Sarah and Christine did once recommend the Whamisa by Glow Studio Green Tea Serum Toner, $21.99, for combination skin, so I may start with that. I also recently got my hands on the new Peach & Lily Wild Dew Essence, $39, which has been giving me the siren call...

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