Chances are, you've probably heard about the 10-step Korean beauty routine—which sounds excessive, if you ask me. But I was intrigued when I recently heard about a new seven-step method that promises equally gorgeous results in less time. To my surprise, the seven-step method is very different from the 10-step original, which involves using 10 different products: an oil cleanser, foam cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence, serum, mask, eye cream, face cream, and SPF. Instead, the seven-step version requires just one of those items: toner. I decided to try this new method for myself to learn more.
I first heard about this new method from Glow Recipe, a K-Beauty website that has their own line of natural products and also sells other Korean beauty brands. Their method involves applying the toner seven times and gently patting it in until fully absorbed. The idea is that the multiple layers of toner reach the deepest layers of skin, resulting in a more plumped-up and hydrated appearance. You can use as many (or as few) toners as you want, whether it's seven different products or the same one applied seven times.
There are a few things to take note of before you start: Glow Recipe recommends looking for alcohol-free toners that promise hydration and skipping exfoliating toners that pack acids like AHAs and BHAs. I chose to use only two toners: Whamisa by Glow Recipe Serum Toner Balance and Deeply Hydrate ($22; target.com) as my lightweight version, and Blithe Pressed Serum Gold Apricot for Radiance and Brightening ($49; glowrecipe.com) which is a little heavier with a nice gel texture. Before I tried them on my face, I tested four layers of the Whamisa followed by three layers of the Blithe on my hand. It was a little messy, but the glow it left behind was undeniable.
When I applied a dime-sized amount of the watery Whamisatoner to my face, it absorbed surprisingly quickly. I waited only a few seconds between each layer and did the patting motion, which felt amazing. Next, I moved onto the Blithe product; I scooped out a little bit and did three layers, starting in the middle of my face and spreading outwards. I had expected all that product to sit on my skin, but my face drank it all up within a few minutes.
Above: Before (left) and after (right) applying the toners. Look at that glow!
I continued using this method for a few days and saw a considerable difference. My skin was smoother, plumped-up, and noticeably radiant. I found that it was easy to apply my makeup, too. Interested in trying the seven-step method with more than two toners? Recently, I've also been loving another Blithe toner, Crystal Iceplant Pressed Serum ($49; sephora.com), as well as Erborian Yuza Double Lotion ($36; sephora.com).
I have to be honest: Before this, I rarely used a toner, but I'm definitely going to keep with the routine now. I probably won't be layering seven times, but it's a great option for those days when you want to pamper yourself or are in desperate of some extra moisture (like after a flight).