I’ve always been a bit fascinated by Korean Beauty, especially the seven step skincare routine, which involves layering (usually) light products over each other to create a finish that provides multiple benefits. There are lots of different ways to do a seven step skincare routine and it can be adapted depending on what you like to include. I like to focus mostly on hydration and soothing my skin, so the majority of my steps are gentle, with one step focusing on a particular active.
I start all my skincare routine with a micellar water which I’m not including in the routine as it involves quickly removing eye make-up and superficial face make-up. Then I get started on my routine with an oil cleanse. I use the seven step routine as a kind of facial treatment and it isn’t something I do every day (maybe a couple of times a week) so I ensure the first cleanse is thorough, by really working the oil over my entire face (including eyes) before gently removing with a flannel. I like an oil that will thoroughly cleanse whilst leaving skin feeling soft and plump, such as the Elemis Nourishing Omega Rich Cleansing Oil (£31 here – link).
I think most routines would start with an oil cleanse, but the main cleanse is definitely more to do with personal choice and for me, it’ll all depend on how my skin is feeling. I usually prefer to use a mud or clay-based balm (such as the Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm £52 here – link – or the pictured Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser £18 here – link) but if you have very dry skin then a creamy or balmy cleanser like the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (£41 here – link) is a great choice, as is the Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash (£31 here – link) if you’re oily or breakout prone; all of these are great for encouraging massage – I really do think doing a great double cleanse is the best place to start in any skincare routine, but especially in the seven step routine.
After all that cleansing, now is the time to tone. I know a lot of people don’t really think toners are necessary, but I always use them, especially as I don’t like to go overboard when removing cleanser with a flannel/cloth as too much can upset my skin. The The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner (£8 here – link) is one of my all-time favourites and is perfect for settling angry skin as it’s so soothing. Many people use this stage of the routine to use an acid toner, which, if you think your skin can handle it, then go for it. I’m trying to keep acids to a minimum, only using gentle ones once in each routine (AM and PM).
The actives are the main element of the routine and I think you should decide what active you’re going to use and build the routine around that, as there’s no point in using an AHA cleanser and toner, then using an acid serum (unless you really think your skin will benefit from it!) as I personally think that would overload the skin, and this kind of routine benefits from a softly, softly approach. Depending on what my skin is like (and what I’ve used in the first few steps) I’ll either use a retinol – my current one is the Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol (from £13 here – link) – an acid such as the Omorovicza Acid Fix (£85 here – link) for an overall exfoliation or the amazing Paula’s Choice Multi-Correction Treatment (£37 here – link) – or if my skin is really struggling then I’ll use this step to push more hydration with the NIOD MMHC (from £25 here – link) or the Omorovicza Gold Flash Firming Serum (£140 here – link), the latter of which is great for really soothing inflamed skin.
The next step is the first of the three hydration steps, which you can either use a hydrating serum or an essence depending on what you like. The NIOD MMHC is a great choice for including here as it works so well with so many other products, however, it’s more of a serum than an essence. If you want to keep all the steps really light then the Aveda Botanicals Kinetics Hydrating Treatment Lotion (from £34 here – link) is like a hydrating water splash that’s so light and works brilliantly in a step-heavy routine. Bridging the gap between the two is the Skin79 AragoSpa Aqua Essence (£24.90 here – link) which is like a hydrating gel that again works great in a routine with lots of steps.
Next up is the moisturiser, which again is very much a personal choice and also depends on what else you’ve used in the routine. For example, if my routine focused heavily on hydration then I would actually finish with something light like the Indeed Labs Moisture Jelly (£24.99 here – link), which is a great finishing product for this kind of routine. My most used moisturiser at the moment is the Tula Hydrating Day and Night Cream (£40 here – link) as it’s brilliantly basic, so perfect for a finishing product. If you like a lot of hydration, the Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture (£60 here – link) is rich and buttery, but absorbs fabulously and never broke me out, even when I was very spot-prone.
Finally, the finishing product! If this was a day routine then this would be when you used an SPF, but I prefer to do this kind of routine at night so I can take my time, so I finish with an oil that’s a final layer of hydration to lock all the previous layers in. Oils are a funny one as some people swear by them for all skin types, whereas others think they should be reserved for the very dry and that’s it. I’m in the former category as I love a good oil and I think there are some great ones for spot-prone skin types too, such as Indemne Gimme Clear (£19.95 here – link) – the main oil I reach for when I have a spot that needs to be rapidly soothed. There’s also the Elemis Superfood Facial Oil (£45 here – link) which is a great all-rounder, and The Jojoba Company Jojoba Oil (from £12.99 here – link) which is probably the one I’d recommend most of all if you’re nervous about oils as this one is light and skin-like, so a great one to ease yourself in with.
*Mix of PR Samples and Purchases