What's The Deal With Korean Skincare's 3-Second Rule?

korean skincare 3 second rule moisturise hydrate

I've come across this notion of the "3-second rule" many a time. This idea that as soon as you've cleansed your skin, you should go straight into applying the next product in your routine. No patting your skin dry with a towel. The idea of heading to my dressing table with a dripping face sounded wrong and it took a week for me to finally stop reaching for a towel automatically. It turns out that this idea is practised in many Korean skincare routines. Although I couldn't get on board with the 10 step routine, this was definitely something I could give a go. The question is, does it make a difference?


Applying products onto wet skin allows them to absorb better into the skin. This article on The Klog  explains it well. I used to drench my skin in a rosewater toner before applying my eye cream, serum and moisturiser. I found that they applied so much easier with less work required on my part and left my skin looking dewier. Going by the "3-second rule" gave the same effect. I suppose it also explains why I like using a wet sponge to apply my makeup as discussed here.

My body always feels more hydrated and less irritated when I apply lotions straight out of the shower onto damp, almost wet, skin. I always wondered why this was. It turns out, some moisturising ingredients work to seal in moisture. These are known as occlusives and form a barrier over the skin. Squalane, petroleum jelly, beeswax, cocoa butter, lecithin and allantoin are examples of occlusive moisturising ingredients with the last one also being good for helping with pitted acne scarring. So, if your skin is wet, it can seal in that water for added hydration as opposed to applying a cream onto bone dry skin where the only moisture it has to work with is in the product itself.

I'd highly recommend giving this method a go if you have dry or dehydrated skin. It has definitely created a plumper, dewier and healthier version of my skin and I don't need to layer on an overdose of moisturiser to deal with the desert dryness.

What are your thoughts on applying products onto wet skin?


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