Popularised in Korea, the complex, 7-step routine of layering mists, essences, serums and more has taken the skincare sphere by storm. But using so many products at once can be a recipe for disaster for most, causing clogged pores, irritation and a host of other skin bugbears.
It's no wonder, then, that 'skip-care' – a trend which consists of skipping certain steps and ditching unnecessary products – is gaining traction among Korean millennials, according to Byrdie. It might be a new movement, but skip-care is currently all over Instagram, with Korean brands such as Jullai and AmorePacific waving the flag. The best part? Skip-care is expert-approved.
"Layering seven or 10 products over each other morning and evening has always seemed excessive to me and a surefire way to increase your risk of breaking out," says London-based consultant dermatologist, Dr Justine Kluk, "so drilling a skincare routine down to the essentials makes perfect sense. I always tell my patients to keep things simple, but this doesn’t mean you should scrimp on things you need."
So which products should a good, solid skincare routine consist of? "In the morning, use a cleanser, antioxidant serum and sun protection moisturiser or sunscreen," says Dr Kluk. Cleansing is the lynchpin of a good skincare routine, so those who are acne-prone might find La Roche-Posay's Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel, £12, beneficial for gently eradicating oil without stripping skin, while combination skin will do well with Boots' Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Foaming Face Wash, £4.19. If you have dry to 'normal' skin (no skin troubles) try Lixirskin's Electrogel Cleanser, £25, or you can work out the best cleanser for your skin type here.
Sun protection is also an incredibly important part of a morning skincare routine. Recent research has found that SPF in moisturiser might not be providing you with the best protection, so it pays to opt for a separate product, which should be applied over moisturiser. Dermatologists recommend Heliocare's 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50, £31, for all skin types.
In the evening, Dr Kluk suggests using a makeup remover if you've been wearing products during the day (R29 rates A'kin's Cleansing Micellar Water, £12.50), following with a cleanser (a proper, water-based cleanse) and a vitamin A cream (aka retinol) or hydrating serum or moisturiser. "Depending on age and priorities, a peptide-containing product can be added morning and evening to the eye contour, neck and décolleté," Dr Kluk adds.
With new research suggesting adult acne is widespread among women over 25, Dr Kluk, who specialises in the skin condition, offers some extra useful tips. "If you have pimples (pustules or cysts from acne), I would steer away from scrubs which tend to increase swelling, soreness, redness and inflammation," she explains. "Avoid oils altogether if you get blackheads or closed comedones, which are those pesky skin-coloured bumps that often lead to acne flare-ups."
"The same goes for heaping on layers of different serums," adds Dr Kluk. "Always check to see that products are labelled non-comedogenic (which means they won't clog your pores) or ask your dermatologist for suggestions if you’re taking prescription treatment for acne. There are a number of online ingredients checkers that can help you identify the worst pore clogging culprits."