You know “glass skin” when you see it—think of a super-hydrated, supple complexion that’s so clear, it’s basically reflective, like glass. The term was originally popularized on social media several years ago and came to the fore by way of Korea, where K-pop stars, celebs, and regular people alike all seem to be lit from within and virtually pore-less when it comes to their facial skin in particular.
Of course, there’s a method behind achieving glass skin, and layering different products is a key part of this hydrated appearance. The good news, though, is this trend doesn’t have to require a million steps if you don’t want it to. Glass skin is essentially healthy skin, and that may look a little different for everyone. So even if there’s no definitive magic bullet solution for getting glassy, experts have honed in on certain practices and products that will give you a nice glow.
More From Women’s Health
Here’s everything you need to know about glass skin and how to find a routine that’ll work for you.
What Is Glass Skin?
“Glass skin is skin that’s so healthy, there’s a luminosity, smoothness, and clarity to it,” says Peach & Lily founder Alicia Yoon, who was also instrumental in popularizing the trend on social media from the start.
That said, this doesn’t mean that your skin has to be perfectly smooth. “When skin is thriving and healthy, it doesn’t mean it will look ‘flawless,’ which isn’t a realistic or particularly helpful term,” says Yoon. “Rather, it means skin will have a hydrated, luminous glow from within as well as an increasing clarity and smoothness, as skin becomes healthier and healthier.”
Hydration, in particular, is the key part of the glass skin equation, since according to Yoon, it’s foundational to skin health. As she puts it, skin that’s not properly moisturized isn’t able to absorb treatments as well as hydrated skin.
Think of it like this: If you don’t have as plump and supple of a canvas as possible, it’s going to be tough to maintain that dewy, angelic look for long. “Staying hydrated and keeping your skin hydrated helps support the skin barrier and prevent water loss,” says Edyta Jarosz, master aesthetician at Shafer Clinic. “This enhances collagen and water-binding and thus naturally conditions the skin to help maintain moisture levels, which leave it brighter and more even-looking.”
How to Achieve Glass Skin
Now that you understand what goes into getting the skin ready to look its glassiest, it’s time to talk about the skincare steps—and products—that can take you there. “I’m a big believer in building a skincare routine that thinks about skin holistically,” says Yoon. “A healthy skincare routine looks different for everyone, but there are some basic building blocks to get right—and then it’s about layering in specific treatments that target tailored needs.”
At the most basic but holistic level then, glass skin involves using a cocktail of products that hit the following steps: cleansing (double-cleansing, if possible), exfoliating (when needed with something gentle), treating with a non-drying toner and/or essence, adding a hydrating serum, and then finally applying your favorite moisturizer and sunscreen to lock all that moisture.
Worried that some of this product stacking will be overkill or counterproductive? No need; it’s all about sticking to the order laid out above for best results. “Your skin can accommodate multiple products, sometimes up to 10 at a time, but there’s a method to the madness,” says Jaroz. For best results, you’ll want to layer your products from the thinnest texture to the thickest.
“Always start with the smallest molecule products and gradually move on to larger ones,” says Jaroz. “Basically, you want to layer your skincare products based on formula weight and consistency, allowing the heaviest products to be applied on top of the lighter ones.”
The Best Makeup For Glass Skin
For makeup that meshes well with the glass aesthetic, Jaroz says to stick to cream-based blushes and highlighters as well as liquid foundations. She also offers this smart application tip: “If you want your skin to look healthy with some help from makeup and color cosmetics, make sure you warm them first by your fingers (natural body temperature) so they better blend on the skin and hold up during the day.”
Danielle Blundell is a New York City-based lifestyle writer and editor who has written on topics ranging from home to health for a variety of publications including Rachael Ray Every Day, Redbook, Family Circle, This Old House, Elle Decor, Esquire, Domino, and Apartment Therapy. She’s a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism and has appeared as an on-air expert on Today, The Doctors, The Celebrity Page, and other local news programs. Website: https://danielleblundell.myportfolio.com/