When you finish double cleansing, your instinct might be to reach for the towel. But many Korean women keep their skin fresh by skipping that step. Find out why you should stop using a towel to dry your face.
I use a bath towel after I shower, and I change my hand towel regularly. But when it comes to my face, I never use a towel. Avoiding a towel for the face is common practice among many Korean women. For one thing, the towel you have hanging in the bathroom is often dirty and harboring acne-causing bacteria not visible to the naked eye. But my point isn’t to change towels often. Instead, within three seconds of finishing my double cleanse, I move straight into my skincare regimen, also known as the 3-second moisturizing rule, and avoiding a towel is key to making sure my regimen works to its best potential.
From flawless models like Lee Hyun Suh to peasants like me, an important part of skincare for many Korean women is knowing that your skin absorbs products better when it’s damp. This is because the active ingredients you put on your skin have a better chance of penetrating your skin, and if you’ve invested in skincare, you certainly want to do everything to make sure your products do their job. Also, occlusives, a type of moisturizing ingredient in skincare products, trap more water when you apply them on damp skin. So even if your habit is to use a fresh, clean towel every time, skipping the towel altogether is a better way to keep your skin hydrated.
But you don’t need to wait around for your skin to dry—in fact, what you want is damp, not dry. Here’s how:
When you finish double cleansing, and your face is dripping wet, gently wrap your hands around your cheeks and move up along your jawline to your ears, and then shake off the excess water, like this:
It’s easier to do this when your face is still hovering over the sink so the water doesn’t drip down your neck and onto your clothes. When it comes to your neck, which you should also double-cleanse alongside your face, brush your hands from your clavicle up and towards the back of your neck, and then shake off the excess water, like this:
Now you can stand up and move straight into your first step, either a booster, a toner, or an essence like the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence (I’m on my fourth bottle!). If your skin is still dripping and you’re uncomfortable, you can gently pat on the remaining water for about 15-20 seconds before putting on your first product.
The trick when you’re taking off the excess water on your skin is to make sure that all your movements are gentle. Be very careful whenever you run your hands along your face—treat your face like you’re handling an egg that might hatch any second. In fact, this is how you should always treat your skin, whether you are double cleansing or applying skincare products.
While I love Korean skincare for effective, innovative products, what I love even more is the skincare philosophy and habits Korean women practice every day. Korean skincare doesn’t have to require a big budget and hundreds of products; what matters is how well you know your skin and what you know about treating it well.