We can’t get enough of East Asian skincare trends because they all have the same thing in common – the pursuit of hydrated and luminous skin.
After starting to gain popularity on social media in 2017, glass skin, a K-beauty trend that promotes a healthy and natural complexion, is still just as popular to this day. Glass skin focuses on deeply hydrating the skin at a surface and deeper level to achieve a dewy and glossy glow. This makes it ideal try out during the summer months in the Middle East when our skin is constantly exposed to dehydrating elements such as increased humidity levels and air-conditioned environments.
Read on to discover more about glass skin and how you can achieve it.
WHAT IS GLASS SKIN?
Glass skin refers to exceptionally smooth skin that looks pore-less, translucent and luminous – just like a piece of glass. It has been a beauty ideal in Korea for many years, but the Western world was introduced to the trend more than half a decade ago. Over the past few years, glass skin routines have been flooding our social media feeds and beauty gurus and influencers can’t seem to get enough of the look.
The glass skin trend focuses on deeply hydrating and moisturising the skin by layering multiple lightweight products to increase cell turnover and improve the brightness of the skin for a dewy, plump and youthful complexion.
A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SKINCARE
Essentially, glass skin is about getting the skin to its healthiest state which requires a holistic approach to skincare. As well as being consistent with your routine and using good quality products, you need to be mindful about getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, exercising and eating right to achieve a flawless and luminous complexion. Achieving glass skin won’t happen overnight. You need to be consistent with your skincare routine and healthy habits to see results.
AN EXAMPLE GLASS SKIN ROUTINE
There isn’t a universally agreed number of steps for a glass skin routine and there are many variations of how to achieve the look. However, the products in a glass skin routine all focus on nurturing the skin’s moisture barrier and hydration to minimise the appearance of fine lines. Here’s an example routine so you can try it for yourself.
STEP 1: DOUBLE CLEANSE
Koreans are big fans of double cleansing so naturally this is the first step. We suggest using an oil-based cleanser or micellar water and then a gentle, hydrating facial wash to deeply clean your face. Be sure to use a low-pH cleanser so you don’t disrupt the skin’s barrier function or experience any irritations.
STEP 2: EXFOLIATE
As the goal is to achieve an even skin tone and texture, exfoliation is an important step as dead skin cells leave the skin looking dull and uneven. Exfoliating also helps to unclog blocked pores so the products you apply can be absorbed properly and effectively penetrate the skin. If you have sensitive skin and are prone to irritation, we suggest using a chemical exfoliant that doesn’t require manually scrubbing the skin.
Top tip: A glass skin routine can be carried out in the morning or evening but if you choose to use an acid to exfoliate, we suggest only using this in the evening and only a few nights each week.
STEP 3: TONER
This step is focused on refreshing the skin and balancing the skin’s pH levels. Toners work to hydrate the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture, remove excess oil and prepare the skin to absorb the products you later apply.
STEP 4: SHEET MASK
Sheet masks are a great way to deeply hydrate and nourish the skin as they boost the skin’s hydration levels and lock in moisture. Formulated with a powerful combination of sodium polyglutamate and sodium hyaluronate, our Ultra Hydro Plumping Mask deeply hydrates the surface and deeper layers of the skin, strengthens the skin barrier function and plumps up the skin. Adding this mask in to your glass skin routine two to three times a week will leave you with an instantly refreshed and radiant complexion.
STEP 5: ESSENCE AND/OR SERUM
Although it isn’t necessary to use an essence and a serum, you could benefit from using both depending on your skin type and its unique needs. Essences help to optimise the skin’s natural cell renewal process and they’re considered one of the most important steps in a Korean skincare routine. Essences are lightweight and water-based, so they make the skin feel renewed and the active ingredients help to brighten, hydrate and nourish the skin.
The dewiness of glass skin is credited to using a good quality serum. Serums are powerful hydrators because they deliver a high concentration of active ingredients deep into the skin’s cells. Depending on the requirements of your skin, we suggest using a hyaluronic acid if you want to hydrate your skin and vitamin C if you want to brighten and protect your skin from sun damage and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
If you’re focusing on achieving a smoother and firmer complexion, then we recommend using a serum that contains peptides.
Top tip: If you want to save time in your routine, look for a serum that combines hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and peptides.
STEP 6: EYE CREAM
Koreans take additional steps in their skincare routines to treat fine lines and dark circles, so this step is optional depending on your skin type and its unique needs. As the skin around the eyes is thinner than the rest of the face, this area can show signs of dehydration and ageing sooner than the rest of the face. If this is a skin concern of yours, we suggest adding an eye cream that features antioxidants and ginseng to boost the hydration and plumpness around the eye area.
STEP 7: MOISTURISE
This step is all about making sure you retain the goodness you’ve treated your skin to so far. Moisturisers act as a seal on the skin and lock in active ingredients, prevent moisture loss and protect the skin barrier function. If you have dry skin, we suggest using a thicker, cream-based moisturiser and if you have oily skin, try using a lightweight, gel-based moisturiser.
STEP 8: SPF
As with any morning skincare routine, an SPF should always be your final step. Sunscreen is an essential prevention step and the most important product in any skincare routine as it protects your skin from sun damage and signs of ageing.
Top tip: Make sure your moisturiser and SPF aren’t mattifying so you can see the effects of the hydrating products you’ve applied.