Best Japanese Products for the 7-Skin Method
Have you tried the 7-Skin method yet?
I remember when I first heard about it as an offhand comment on a Korean beauty YouTube channel years ago. I was so intrigued by just the name that I tried to hunt down the details of the method–but with my Korean at 0%, I didn’t get very far.
Luckily for me, the trend picked up not just in Japan but all over the world, and all my questions are answered. At its core, it’s a super-hydrating method of moisturizing that involves patting in 7 fairly thin layers of hydrating toner. Seven layers might sound crazy, but you could be surprised at how effective it is. Read on for details about the method, some tips and tricks, and the best Japanese moisturizers for the job!
Why do the 7-Skin method?
The main appeal of the 7-Skin method is that it works wonders for skin dehydration.
Dehydration is different to what we call dry skin. Dry, oily, normal, and combination skin are words we usually use to describe our skin’s baseline state. The difference between these skin types is how much oil our skin produces naturally.
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is more about water. This is a fixable and temporary state that any skin type can suffer from. For example, your skin can be both oily and dehydrated… and I’m speaking from experience 😭
How do you know if your skin is dehydrated? A big one is fine lines, no matter your age. This is because dehydration, or a lack of moisture in the skin, means less support for the skin. Another sign your skin is dehydrated is a lack of visible plumpness, a dull tone, or a feeling of tightness. A big culprit is if your makeup goes patchy or settles into your pores in a way it shouldn’t. This is your poor dehydrated skin trying to sap the moisture from your makeup.
The 7-Skin method provides a ton of moisture, so it’s basically like an IV drip for dehydrated skin, and it’s very easy to do!
How to do the 7-Skin method
The 7-Skin method requires a little time, but almost no effort. If you’re like me and love a leisurely skincare routine in front of the TV, I think you’ll find this really satisfying.
To do the method, first cleanse your face well. If you have any actives that work best on freshly-cleansed skin (like AHA, BHA, vitamin C, etc.), do them first and let them absorb completely. Personally, I’ve been using Meishoku Bigansui recently, so I apply that and let it sit for a minute or so first. If you don’t use any products like this, just ensure your face is clean and move straight on to the 7-Skin method!
To do it, get a watery lotion of your choice (my recommendations below!), and take a large-ish coin size amount in your palm. You want enough to basically cover your hands when you spread it out without dripping. Rub your hands together to distribute the product between them, then press them to your face.
This method obviously requires a lot of face-touching, so you really want to be mindful of just being gentle. You don’t want to rub or tug at your skin as you apply. Just continue to kind of wrap your palms around your face until it’s completely covered with lotion, then pat gently if the product needs help absorbing.
Here’s a video that gives a pretty good idea of what I mean, with two caveats: you could probably use a tiny bit less product than is shown here for each layer of the 7-Skin method, and when moisturizing your neck, move upwards!!!
7-Skin Method Dos and Don’ts
Do adjust the routine to your skin’s needs
The seven layers are just a guide! There’s nothing magic about the number, and your skin’s needs can change. Some days your skin will drink up all the moisture you apply, to the point where you can easily pat in more than seven layers if you can be bothered! If your skin is absorbing it, it’s likely quite dehydrated, so it makes sense to give it a little extra attention. Other days, you’ll notice that even a couple of layers seems enough. As you do this method you’ll find your skin wants to absorb less and less. This is good! It means your skin is well-hydrated. It’s pretty easy to tell when this is the case: your lotion will sit on your skin, and potentially even dry on the surface rather than sinking in cleanly. On those days, just leave it be. If you’ve overdone it, try wetting your hands and patting in a little plain water to encourage the remaining product to absorb.
Don’t use a astringent toner or a moisturizer with strong actives
You are getting your skin to slowly absorb quite a lot of product by using this method, so you want to be careful of what is in your lotion. Astringent toners (think witch hazel or salicylic acid based toners), vitamin serums, or chemical exfoliants should only be applied in one layer, even if they seem like they’re the right watery texture.
Do check the ingredients
You also don’t want to use any product loaded full of fragrances, alcohols, or potential irritants. Even if you don’t have particularly sensitive skin, most of the regular skincare products we use for this method are designed to be used for a layer or two. Since we’re using more product, we want to make sure the formulation is pretty clean. In other words, this step is all about moisture and moisture only.
Best Japanese Products for the 7 Skin Method
Orbis U Lotion
The Orbis range of toners, including the U series and Aqua Boost series, are some of the most commonly-recommended once on Japanese sites for the 7-Skin method. The Orbis U Lotion is best rated on @cosme out of the series, and it has an advantage of having a “water gel” texture that is slightly thicker and easier to work with. This texture is kind of unique in that it holds its shape when you pour it into your hand, but once you break the “membrane” by smoothing it over your face it changes to a water on the skin. This is the second-best rated toner in Japan right now so it’s a very safe bet!
Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner
If the Orbis U Lotion is second best, what’s number one? Obviously, Hatomugi Skin Conditioner, a go-to pick for us at Wonect and basically our mascot at this point. This lotion pretty much ticks all the boxes for the 7 Skin method: simple ingredient list, non-irritating, very hydrating, and not sticky. On top of that, you get 500mL in a bottle, which is great since the 7 Skin method does use up a lot of product.
Muji Light Toning Water (Sensitive Skin Series)
Now, my personal choice is the Muji Toning Water in the Sensitive Skin series. I really like the formulation of the Light version, and of course this is the best choice out of the three for sensitive skin types. It feels basically like water, but as you pat it in (and maybe this sounds weird), but I can actually feel my skin getting firmer from the hydration. It is the least sticky Japanese toner I’ve tried, which is a lot. While you don’t get an actual soda bottle’s worth of product like with the Hatomugi lotion, it’s still affordable enough to not stress about the amount of product you’re going through. If you have dry skin, there is a high moisturizing type that is also well reviewed.