“Glass skin” is a popular trend in K-beauty, but the name itself comes with its own confusion. Here, one writer shares what glass skin really is and what she uses to achieve it herself.
I’ll admit, the first time I learned about the Korean skin care trend of “glass skin”, it freaked me out a bit. For starters, I found the term itself a bit off-putting. The word “glass” is associated with translucency and transparency, which is often linked with a super pale complexion that is not exactly a beauty goal for a brown-skinned girl such as myself. None of this seemed attainable or even something I would want, so the idea of buying products to achieve this “glass skin” standard that everyone was going crazy for just didn’t seem inclusive to me at all. That was until I learned what it was really all about.
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There are misconceptions surrounding Korean skin care that can leave women of color (with darker skin tones especially) hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. But the truth is, Korean skin care — at least what’s available to buy in the states these days — can work for ALL skin — regardless of type or color and I can attest to that. My skin has only thrived since I started using K-beauty products, and after learning that myself, I figured it was time to learn what this whole “glass skin” thing actually is.
“Glass skin,” as they call it in the K-beauty world, really boils down to a clear and dewy complexion. That’s really all it is. It’s the idea of getting your bare face to look so healthy, so refreshed, and so glowy, that even without a drop of makeup on you look fresh faced and radiant. A very similar trend is “honey skin“.
While I recognize that that skin care goal isn’t always attainable for everyone — I can’t always get there myself — I can certainly understand the appeal in that. Nothing makes me feel more beautiful than walking out of my house makeup-free with a fresh J.Lo glow.
In my own routine, the first order of business was figuring out how to keep hormonal breakouts and redness (often caused by my rosacea) at bay. After reading Soko Glam co-founder Charlotte Cho’s skin care breakdown on New York Magazine’s The Cut, I emailed her directly for some tips.
I had already been double cleansing before reaching out to Charlotte, but she explained to me the importance of finding an oil cleanser and a foam cleanser that were going to work to remove excess oils while also calming my skin. I switched to the Hanskin Pore Cleansing Oil [PHA], which works to not only thoroughly remove makeup, impurities, and excess oil, but is specifically formulated with polyhydroxy acids that gently exfoliate pores and dead skin cells. Paired with the Dr. Oracle A-Thera Cleansing Foam, my skin has never been clearer. I also take HUM Daily Cleanse Supplements to keep my hormonal acne in check.
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Exfoliating also plays a major role in minimizing the appearance of pores and adding radiance to an otherwise dull complexion. Charlotte recommended the Klairs Youthful Glow Sugar Mask, which is a great natural physical exfoliator made with sugars and kaolin clay. But if you’re more of a chemical exfoliator fan like myself, I’d recommend the Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon. These exfoliating pads contain lactic acid, glycolic acid, and fruit extracts that work to clear skin and unclog pores. My skin instantly glows after using it. However, for sensitive skin types, definitely do a patch test in advance before trying.
Toner and essences play a more significant role than you may think for achieving glass skin. Charlotte recommends the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner which I’m obsessed with. It’s formulated with skin-brightening properties like licorice water, peony extract, and green tea extract. But if your skin is more on the sensitive side, try a gentle formula like the Dr. Oracle A-Thera Toner. It’s one of my faves!
The last step which is a step that EVERYONE — regardless of if you care about “glass skin” or not — should be taking. Moisturizing and layering on an SPF is crucial, my friends. Hydrating and protecting your skin from the sun is key to keeping it healthy and maintaining a fresh glow. I like the Neogen Day-Light Protection Sun Screen SPF 50. It does the job without leaving a greasy white cast on my skin like most SPFs tend to do!