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What is and How To Achieve Glass Skin?

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acheive glass skin

From snail mucin and bee venom to sheet masks and ampoules, the allure of K-beauty within the beauty industry remains unwavering, as the world continues to be captivated by its charm and innovations. Spoken widely by K-beauty experts like Peach & Lily’s Alicia Yoon, a new term has been added to the beauty lexicon, and that is none other than “glass skin”.

So, What is Glass Skin?

The concept of glass skin has been around in the Korean beauty industry for years and has been considered the ideal beauty standard for both men and women alike. Glass skin refers to a flawlessly smooth, luminous complexion that appears as crystal-clear and translucent as glass. It includes an even skin tone, a poreless and refined texture, intense hydration, and a natural, healthy glow. The goal is to achieve a complexion that appears naturally radiant, as if lit from within. It involves a skincare regimen focused on nourishing and enhancing the skin’s natural luminosity.

As individuals worldwide are eager to attain this radiant and ethereal look, we break down the essence of glass skin and just how you can achieve this coveted complexion at home, step by step. 

P.S. The secret is in layering!

Essential Steps to Attain Glass Skin:

Step 1: Double Cleanse

No good skincare routine starts without cleansing and it should come as no surprise that a K-beauty concept involves double cleansing. Double cleansing is a popular and effective skincare technique that involves two steps of cleansing to thoroughly remove makeup, sunscreen, excess oil, impurities, and pollutants from the skin. 

The first step uses a cleansing oil to remove makeup, excess sebum, and impurities, while the second step involves a gentle water-based foaming cleanser to deep-cleanse the skin without stripping away its natural moisture.

Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash
Photo by Noah Usry Unsplash

The concept behind double cleansing is rooted in both the science of skincare and the need for a thorough and effective cleansing routine. Double cleansing utilises the principle of “like dissolves like” – the scientific theory that chemical compounds with similar chemical features can dissolve in each other, thus resulting in more effective cleansing.

Oil-based cleansers often contain natural oils like jojoba, olive, or coconut oil, as well as synthetic oils designed to cleanse without clogging pores. When massaged into the skin, the oil binds with the oils on the skin’s surface, allowing for effortless removal of oil-based impurities like sebum, sunscreen, makeup and environmental pollutants.

Water-based cleansers, typically a gentle foaming cleanser or a cream-based cleanser, contain surfactants that effectively lift away water-based impurities like sweat and dirt while providing a deeper clean without disrupting the skin’s natural moisture balance.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Photo by Sand Sky
Photo by Paula's Choice

Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells, promoting a smoother and brighter complexion in line with our goal of achieving glass skin. However, exfoliation is a step best saved for nighttime as it might increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and cause irritations. If you are new to the world of exfoliation or have sensitive skin, start by incorporating it once or twice a week, working your way up to two to three times a week once your skin is comfortable. Opt for chemical exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) over physical exfoliants to gently dissolve the build-up of dead skin cells and refine the skin’s texture.

Step 3: Tone

Photo by @its.salishe on Instagram

Toners have evolved significantly from the harsh, alcohol-based versions of the past and have become a crucial element in the daily Korean-inspired skincare regimen. After cleansing, toning plays a vital role in restoring your skin’s pH balance and preparing it for the next skincare steps. It enhances the absorption of essences and serums, maximising the benefits of the hydrating products we will be layering on later for that glass skin finish. Additionally, toners deliver the extra hydration we want while minimising the visibility of pores. When choosing a toner, look for moisture-enhancing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ginseng, ceramides, green tea or floral water.

Step 4: Apply an Essence

Photo by Lucie Sa_Vi on Unsplash

Essences are great for driving moisture into the skin so to get a headstart on the hydration, follow your toner with an essence. As the milder sister of serums, essences have a lighter and more watery texture, falling somewhere between serums and toners. At this stage of your glass skin skincare routine, you can start incorporating products that help target any imperfections or issues you are facing. While essences’ primary focus is to load the skin up with tons of moisture, many essences also serve the secondary purpose of tackling specific skin concerns such as pigmentation and redness. Talk about a 2-in-1! 

Step 5: Layer on the Serums

Photo by Mathilde Langevin
Photo by Cherrydeck on Unsplash

Achieving glass skin’s radiant dewiness, uniform tone, and velvety smoothness involves a plethora of diverse ingredients. Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, as well as peptides, are crucial ingredients to look out for when choosing serums to achieve radiant glass skin. Hyaluronic acid acts as a moisture magnet, while vitamin C illuminates and safeguards the skin with its antioxidant properties. Peptides are a reliable choice for promoting a smoother, firmer texture.

Similar to serums, ampoules generally boast a higher concentration of multitasking active ingredients. These potent activities work to nourish the skin, combat signs of ageing, stimulate collagen production for enhanced firmness, and minimise pores while achieving a more even skin tone. Because of the nature of ampoules being more potent, they are ideal for addressing urgent skin concerns or for use once or twice a week,

Depending on your skin concerns, continue incorporating ingredients that target specific skin issues you may be experiencing. For example, if you struggle with textured skin or large visible pores, incorporating an ingredient like niacinamide can help you achieve smoother, more perfected skin.

Step 6: Apply Sheet Masks

Image by CAIA

A luxurious option to pamper yourself on a self-care night, sheet masks are a great way to repair skin damage, soothe the skin, and replenish hydration for that glow. Add this step to your routine about 2-3 times a week and enjoy your favourite Netflix show or K-drama for the next 20 minutes for the ultimate me-time at the end of the night. After you are done with your mask, feel free to pat the excess product into the skin and use any remaining serum left from the mask on your neck or hands!

Step 7: Moisturise

Photo by Poko Skincare on Unsplash

Hydrating your skin is a fundamental step in any skincare routine, but when your goal is that radiant glow, opting for a lightweight yet ultra-hydrating moisturiser is key. Apply a moisturiser suited to your skin type to nourish the skin and lock in all the skincare goodness you’ve layered on. Choose formulations enriched with humectants like glycerin or Centella asiatica, a popular Korean skincare ingredient due to its healing and barrier-restoring properties.

Step 8: Seal in the Goodness with a Face Oil

Photo by Sayang Our Skin

Incorporating face oils into your glass skin routine provides the ultimate finishing touch. Not only does it deeply nourish your skin and lock in essential moisture, but it also acts as a protective barrier against daily environmental stressors that can harm our skin’s integrity. Seamlessly integrate it into your routine by adding a few drops to your serum or moisturiser every day. Keep in mind that the oil should always be the final step in your skincare routine as products layered on top of the oil will not penetrate into the skin, making it crucial to place it as the last step (except for SPF, which should always be the last step in the morning). This ensures that you make the most out of your skincare products and achieve the glass skin glow you desire.

Step 9: Sun Protection

Image by SKIN1004

This step goes without saying. Sun protection is crucial every day, but even more so if you dream of having glass skin. Exposure to UV rays can lead to signs of premature ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, none of which will give us the youthful glow we so desire! So, before leaving the house, always remember to apply 2 to 3 finger-lengths worth of sunscreen to your face and neck and choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days.

Step 10: Make Up

Image by Sephora

It’s important to remember that achieving glass skin is a gradual process that requires patience and consistency so don’t fret if you’re not seeing results right away! However, with the help of a bit of makeup, you can create the effect of glass skin in an instant while you allow your skincare to work over a longer period of time.

To create and accentuate the glass skin effect, choose lightweight, dewy finish foundations or tinted moisturisers. We like to apply them with a beauty puff for the most natural and radiant effect. Apply highlighting products strategically to the high points of your face to enhance luminosity. Embrace the mantra of “less is more” to preserve the natural and translucent appearance, allowing your skin’s inherent radiance to shine through.

Achieving glass skin is a journey that involves consistent skin care practices, nourishment, and protection. By adopting a diligent skincare routine focused on hydration, exfoliation, and targeted treatments, you can unlock the secrets to a luminous and flawless complexion. Remember, glass skin is not about masking imperfections but embracing your natural beauty and enhancing it! So, embark on this skincare adventure and radiate confidence with your own version of glass skin.

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