What is Korean Glass Skin and How to Achieve it?

Korean skin care has been on our radars (also known as our Twitter and Instagram feeds) for a few years now, but the beauty world’s collective fascination with all things K-beauty shows no signs of waning. Korean skin care is recognized for its cutting-edge formulations, unexpected ingredients, and flatlay-friendly packaging.

It made us obsess over sheet masks, taught us about bee venom and snail mucin, and even made us look up words like “chok-chok,” “ampoule,” and “essence” on the internet. Another phrase has been added to the ever-expanding K-beauty lexicon: glass skin, due to makeup artist Ellie Choi’s now-viral skin care routine—and accompanying selfie demonstrating her incredibly smooth, translucent skin.

What is Glass Skin?

Korean Glass skin refers to skin that is exceedingly smooth, even-toned, and shiny, and is so immaculate that it appears to be made of glass, according to Jude Chao, a skin care blogger and K-beauty expert. She goes on to say, “It’s simply a clean and beautiful way of characterizing a certain type of gorgeous complexion.” Glass skin, like its predecessors “honey” and “dewy” skin, aims for an intensely hydrated complexion with a “very young, lit-from-within shine,” according to K-beauty and skin care blogger Sheryll Donerson.

The D.I.Y Glass Skin Regime

While some beauty-care trends focus on specific products that promise immediate visible improvements, Chao believes that obtaining glass skin necessitates a multi-faceted strategy. “The skin’s surface must be completely smooth, with no lumps or rough roughness. A substantial amount of water should be present directly beneath the surface in order to get the moist and shiny appearance that attracts and reflects light. “Last but not least, the skin should appear lush and firm,” Chao says.

According to Donerson, achieving this sought after dream-like complexion of Korean glass skin necessitates “a consistent skin care routine consisting of a cleanser, toner, serum, exfoliant, and hydrating moisturizer.” Because hydration is so important in a glass skin routine, Chao suggests using “watery products with humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin and contemplating utilizing either numerous layers of one hydrating product or several layers of other hydrating products,” she notes. According to Chao, the most effective hydrators are K-beauty classics like toners, essences, and sheet masks.

Below is a step by step guide on how to achieve clear, glowing skin like the K-stars:

Step 1: Double cleansing

Double cleansing was introduced to us by Asian skin care, and we haven’t looked back since. When it comes to skin care, a clean canvas is essential, especially at night when your face has accumulated all that dirt, grease, and makeup residue. For your first cleaning, use a cleansing oil or micellar water, then follow with a gentle foam wash or cream cleanser.

Step 2: Exfoliation

Exfoliation is a must when it comes to clear, smooth skin. “Whether you use a physical exfoliator (like gentle jojoba beads) or a chemical exfoliator (like glycolic or lactic acid), this step will slough away dead skin cells that dull skin and clog pores,” says David Pollock, founder of JustAskDavid.com, a beauty chemist and skin care expert. But don’t go overboard. It’s best to exfoliate two to three times per week to avoid irritations, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Step 3: Toner

Traditional toners are typically overlooked because they are excessively drying for some people, but in Korean skin care, they have a completely different purpose. K-beauty toners are created with hydrating and refreshing ingredients (such as green tea, galactomyces, ginseng, and floral water) and are used to not only restore the skin’s pH levels, but also to offer a base hydration and allow for greater absorption of subsequent products. To achieve the incredibly moisturized skin required for glass skin, layering is essential, therefore the 7 Skin Method— “In general, putting up to seven applications of toner to your skin works great for this,” says Chao.

Step 4: Use an Essence

Essences, the less concentrated cousins of serums, have a lighter, more fluid consistency (a cross between serums and toners). They’re developed to address skin issues like pigmentation and redness, but with the added benefit of giving tremendous moisture and hydration, just like targeted treatments. Ever since the oncoming of the K-beauty fad, essences have seen a surge in popularity and for those who are local to SG, essence skin boosters in Singapore are widely available in stores and salons.

Step 5: Treatment with a serum or ampoule

Ampoules, Korea’s version of serums, usually include a larger concentration of multifunctional active components. According to Pollock, “[these] concentrated actives assist nourish the skin, reverse indications of aging, and increase collagen to help restore firmness, minimize pores, and even skin tone.”

Because certain ampoules are only meant to be used for a limited time (to address skin emergencies), apply a moisturizing serum containing moisture-boosting components like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and vitamin E on a daily basis. “Vitamin C and retinoids will promote collagen formation most efficiently for structural firmness,” Chao adds.

Step 6: Moisturize

When it comes to skin care, moisturizing is a no-brainer, but when you’re going for that luminous look, you’ll want to go for one that’s light but packs a punch. Look for hydrating plant ingredients, antioxidants, and potent hydrators. Cica (short for centella asiatica or gotu kola) is a popular ingredient in Korean skin care due to its healing and anti-aging properties.

Step 7: Apply an Eye Cream

If you have dry areas and bags under your eyes, you won’t be able to achieve glass skin. Pollock suggests using an eye cream or serum to hydrate the delicate eye area, which is drier than the rest of your face (and that regular moisturizers may not be able to fully quench.)

Step 8: Seal in with a Mask

K-beauty has given us some of the best skin-care advice, but masks are undoubtedly the most popular in the beauty world. They’re also the simplest way to calm down irritated skin, repair damage, and lock in and replenish moisture.

Is it Easy to Achieve the Glass Skin Look?

Those #glassskin photographs on your Instagram feed might be enough to persuade you to join the K-beauty fad, but keep in mind that there is no quick fix for immaculate, ethereal-looking skin. And if Korean skin care has taught us anything, it’s that amazing skin goes beyond cult items and trendy trends: It takes dedication and determination to stick to your skin care routine. “We often want to jump from product to product, but I actually believe the skin benefits [more] from longer-term usage of a few items like a hydrating toner or essence and a really nice moisturizer,” says Donerson, who also emphasizes the importance of sleep, food, and exercise in skin health.

On the flip side, if you are looking for a significant skin booster in Singapore, other than the wide range of OTC Korean products available, you can seek professional help from a beauticians salon, such as MMT Aesthetics Clinic, which alongside a wide host of face and body treatments also offers a specialized Korean Glass Skin treatment. This treatment from MMT Aesthetics Clinic aims to brighten skin, shrink pores and stimulate collagen production with visible results after just the first session.

While there’s no harm in trying out new trends and seeing what works, Chao emphasizes the importance of setting achievable goals and having realistic expectations. “The state of your skin is not the same as the silhouettes of your clothes or the colors of your makeup. “Changing one’s skin type is difficult in the first place,” explains Chao. Instead of focusing on fads or unreachable objectives, focus on developing a good skin care routine that will help you “feel more comfortable and content in your own skin.”

When it comes down to it, achieving a glass-like complexion is simply another means of achieving clear, healthy, and youthful-looking skin.

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