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There have been many Korean skincare rituals that have gained prominence recently: the jamsu method of setting makeup, the “7 Skin Method”, and more recently, beauty enthusiasts have been gushing about the “3-second rule”.

What is the Korean skincare “3-second rule”?

This rule says that you’ll need to dive into your skincare regime right after rinsing off your cleanser – within three seconds. It’s been said that following this rule ensures your skincare products to penetrate more effectively, and will leave your skin bouncier and more hydrated.

Not a silly fad – it’s actually backed by science!

Before you brush it off as a silly fad, guess what – this can actually be backed by science. And we’ll explain why:

Our skin receives better when it’s moist

Our skin is naturally averse to our skincare products – we’re not kidding! Think about this: Your skin’s primary role is to serve as a barrier between your cells and whatever enters from the outside. What this means is that when you apply products on your skin, it’s your skin primary function to keep everything out.

Most skincare brands will include ingredients such as glycols that trick your skin into allowing the product to penetrate. Another way you can trick your skin – wet it.

In other words, when your skin is moist, it becomes more receptive to active ingredients in your topical products. It’ll be able to absorb as much of their goodness as possible.

You get to trap the moisture in


Let’s understand how moisturisers work. They usually work in one of these three ways:

1. Prevent moisture from evaporating by holding on to it
2. Filling in cracks in your skin so it feels smoother
3. Form a layer of film to seal in moisture

If you use products that perform the third function, you’ll benefit from the 3-second rule. Your product will be able to form a film on top of the moisture, trapping it in, so that you’ll have less of a dehydrated situation.

But how am I going to apply moisturiser within 3 seconds?

Good question. If you have a full skincare routine, it’s probably going to be tough. Save the 3-second rule for the more potent products such as your serums and essences to let them penetrate more effectively then. As for moisturiser, invest in a water-based one, which provides your skin with moisture and then seal it in at the same time.

However, the 3-second rule can be applied on your body care routine with body moisturisers. Apply it within three seconds after you’ve stepped out of the shower and you’ll find your body skin less dehydrated later.