I've previously written about the embarrassing realization that my skin was Sahara desert–level dry, not because I'm a masochist, but because I'm still in disbelief that the hydrated complexion I thought I had all along was actually a fallacy. It all happened at an event for Korean skincare company Glow Recipe after I used a Moisture Meter to measure my skin's hydration levels (which registered a whopping 10 out of 100).
Ever since, I've tried to employ the seven-skin method—okay, the three-skin method since A) I don't want to run out of toner so quickly, and B) I don't have the patience for it—as well as layer serums, but I'm still not sure my efforts are fruitful. Not to mention that I keep thinking back to the intensely moist skin of Glow Recipe co-founder Christine Chang and how she casually scored a skin moisture level in the 80s (a cool 70 points above my measly 10). I'd heard rumors of her intense routine ("I think she wears a sheet mask every day," someone once said to me) and reasoned that perhaps, in the name of good skin, patience is a virtue.
But since there's no sense in pining after something you can easily find the answer to, I went straight to the source to get the full lowdown on Chang's full routine.
Below, learn how she keeps her skin looking like a baby cherub's, in her own words.
Cleanse: I've been using Make P:rem Black Cleansing Water ($24), a gentle cleansing water to prime and prep the skin.
Tone: I never skip the toning step. I'm a firm believer that liquid hydration is the best way to ensure that skin is plumped and ready to absorb skincare. Think of the difference between a dry, hard sponge and a wet sponge—it's much easier for the wet sponge to absorb additional water. In the mornings, I do an abbreviated seven-skin method by applying toner three times in succession. (Just a few drops at a time, patting in with the fingertips.)
Serum: I always use a serum with antioxidants in the morning. Using daily sunscreen and an antioxidant creates the perfect pairing to keep skin healthy and protected from environmental aggressors.
Moisturize: I use the J.One Jelly Pack ($32) as a morning moisturizer and primer all-in-one. It creates that perfect canvas that grips sunscreen and makeup perfectly.
Sunscreen: On days I'm not wearing makeup, I actually wear two layers of sunscreen—it's hard to apply enough sunscreen to be sufficiently protected, so doubling up ensures that I'm applying enough.
My p.m. routine is focused on thorough cleansing and nourishment—if you aren't fully removing debris, grime, and makeup from the skin at the end of the day, not only will this exacerbate blemishes and irritation, but also, your leave-on skincare won't be able to effectively penetrate where it needs to.
Double cleanse: At night, I use the 1+1 method and gently massage the skin for at least one minute with a mineral-oil free cleansing oil, followed by an SLS-free foaming cleanser.
After double cleansing, I skip using a towel and instead pat my face dry.
Tone: At night, I use the same toner but do the full-fledged seven-skin method. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your skin flake-free, hydrated, and comfortable all night.
Serum: At night, I like to use a nourishing oil or serum. While there's no need to do 15 steps, layering skincare does help to keep the skin moisturized and plumped for longer. A similar comparison would be how several thin, lightweight layers in the winter are able to keep in body heat for longer than one thick, chunky sweater. (We love Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Booster, $47.)
Moisturize: I either use an emollient, whipped moisturizer or use an overnight sleeping mask such as the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45). I'm a big fan of overnight products that can do the "heavy lifting" while I sleep!
[Ed note: Quotes have been edited and shortened for content.]
For more skincare secrets, check out these lessons from other Korean women.