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Yes, You Can Totally Achieve Glass Skin—Here’s How!

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Since the Korean glass skin trend first broke the internet, it has remained a sought-after finish to flaunt your healthy, flawless skin. When you have glass skin without blemish or visible imperfection, all of your “shelfies” have been worth the investment. This K-Beauty concept first made waves in the West when PEACH AND LILY founder Alicia Yoon began to share her secrets for your most luminous, dewy, so-clear-it’s-almost-transparent skin yet. More recently, you’ve probably scrolled through endless glass skin videos flooding #beautyTok, all claiming to have the best skincare routine for glass skin.

So what exactly is glass skin and how do you get it? We understand that nobody’s skin is perfect all the time, but you can still master this skincare technique at home and reap the glowy benefits. Let’s dive into the glass skin routine you should start today to get that effervescent glow.

About the Experts: 
Simone Ashley is an esthetician at Hey Day in New York City. 
Desireé Delia is a global celebrity makeup artist and aesthetician.

But What Is Glass Skin?

Glass skin is that dewy, flawless, radiant, healthy-looking glow. “Glass skin is free of texture and hyperpigmentation and has a naturally dewy look,” explains Hey Day esthetician Simone Ashley. “Glass skin is balanced skin,” she continues. “So in order to achieve it, the first thing you want to handle is your skin’s texture. Using a chemical exfoliant as a resurfacing agent can help improve skin cell turnover. Glass skin also needs a good hydration balance to ensure the skin’s integrity is intact. You’ll be closer to that textureless, glowing skin with a good resurfacing and hydrating routine. It’s all about consistency and balance.” 

Not to be confused with Pat McGrath’s iconic porcelain doll makeup for the Maison Margiela SS24 couture show, this type of otherworldly shine is achieved with your skincare products, not your makeup. 

The routine will give your face a healthy, hydrated, lit-from-within look that's as poreless, smooth, and wrinkle-free as a perfectly polished piece of glass. While you’re on your journey to glass skin, remember that your skin is your body’s largest organ and that it looks its healthiest when you are “committed not only to your skincare routine but also to a nutrient-rich diet, drinking plenty of water, frequent exercise, and proper sleep,” says Delia. 

If you’re doing all of the things but still notice texture or uneven tone, don’t overthink it. Simone says, “It’s unrealistic to think you’ll always have glass skin. Everyone’s skin goes through so many different changes, especially as women with hormones affecting our skin. We can chase glass skin, but even skin with blemishes or hyperpigmentation can be healthy.”  

The Only Glass Skin Tutorial You’ll Ever Need

For our visual learners, check out our easy-to-follow tutorial, and get ready for a serious glow.

How To Get Glass Skin: A Step-By-Step Guide

1. Double Cleanse

If you aren’t already double cleansing, then what are you doing? This tip might sound a little unnecessary for skincare newcomers, but trust us—it’s worth it. Double cleansing is key to keeping your skin product-free and cared for appropriately. First, you’ll wash away makeup and sunscreen with an oil cleanser or a balm like the HUANGJISOO Pure Perfect Cleansing Oil. Then, follow with a water-based cleanser that meets your unique skin concerns. For dry skin, we especially love the YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Superfood Cleanser. Not all cleansers are made equally, so be sure to put a little thought into which cleanser you choose. 

2. Prep Skin with a Hydrating Essence and Toner 

Did we mention that glass skin is all about hydration? That’s where your essence or toner comes in. If you want to remain true to the K-Beauty 10-step routine, reach for both. Think of toning as the last step in your cleansing, while an essence is the first step in your treatment phase, infusing your skin with essential nutrients that better prep your skin for the rest of your routine. “A moisturizing toner is an essential step in your glass skin routine, because it’s all about achieving optimal hydration, which gives the skin that healthy glow,” says Delia. PURE’AM pH Balancing Calming Toner contains a host of vitamins, antioxidants, and just enough hyaluronic acid to calm and soothe your skin for balanced hydration.  

 3. Apply an Exfoliating Serum

After your skin has been properly cleansed and prepped, now it’s time to apply active ingredients to exfoliate and resurface your skin. This is a great place for your AHA or BHA serums. These products gently exfoliate, helping to unclog pores and increase cell turnover to reveal brighter, smoother, more even-toned skin below the surface. Some of these ingredients include salicylic acid (BHA) and glycolic acid (AHA). 

For those more experienced in their skincare journey, this is also where you would apply your retinol (not at the same time, of course!). “Retinol is also key for achieving glass skin,” says Simone. “I’m a tretinoin girl. It tackles pigmentation and breakouts, and it also has anti-aging properties. If you can’t get that, any over-the-counter retinol or retinol alternative, like a bakuchiol, should be beneficial to your skin.

Remember, you’ll want to increase your retinol use gradually. Start with once or twice a week and then upgrade to two to three times. The same goes for AHAs and BHAs, which reduce skin sensitivities. 

4. Apply a Hydrating Serum

When your skin is hydrated, it is in the optimum environment for skin repair. Keep your skin barrier protected with a healthy dose of hydration by using a gentle, nourishing serum. The DRUNK ELEPHANT B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum will quench your skin’s thirst and create a healthy base for that glass-skin glow. 

5. Slather on Moisturizer

In order to get glass skin, you have to moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize some more. When applying skincare products, you always want to start in order of consistency and apply the thinnest formula first, working your way up to the thickest (aka most occlusive) to lock in moisture and seal your skin barrier. That’s usually when your moisturizer comes in. For the most glowing results, select a moisturizer based on your skin type. If you have dry skin, you might like GLOSSIER Priming Moisturizer Rich, which uses ceramides and fatty acids to lock in moisture; if you have oily skin, you might prefer MURAD Skin Perfecting Lotion or TATCHA The Water Cream for a lighter option. 

6. Make SPF Your BFF Each Morning

Glass skin = healthy skin. And healthy skin = skin that’s protected against UV rays and environmental stressors. “Without sunscreen, you can kiss all that hard work you just put in goodbye,” says Delia. That means SPF is a year-round must-have, regardless of the weather. “Not only does SPF protect against premature signs of aging and sunspots, it's our number one defense in fighting against skin cancer,” says Delia, who calls it a “non-negotiable” step in any skincare routine. “It must be worn every day, rain or shine,” she adds, so don’t leave the house without it. Right now, we can’t get enough of the SUPERGOOP! Glowscreen SPF 40. This glowy skin tint offers sheer coverage, so consider it your cheat code to a radiant, more even complexion.

7. Mask the Night Away

For glass skin that is enveloped in moisture, you’ll need to go a step beyond your standard evening moisturizer. After you moisturize, consider a face oil to seal in your skincare. Or reach for a moisturizing overnight mask that can do the hard work of repairing your skin for you while you sleep. This should also deliver the right amount of hydration, allowing you to wake up looking nourished, refreshed, and ready to show off your glass-like complexion. We especially love how LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask hydrates, brightens, and soothes, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep while restoring your complexion.

The Makeup Shortcut to Glass Skin

If you love the look of glass skin but prefer the flexibility of a little makeup magic, you can still achieve this healthy, radiant look. For this no makeup-makeup look, less is more.

1. Create a Glowing Base

Your skin should be moisturized and balanced from your skincare routine, but the right primer will take your look to the next level. Primers often blur pores and minimize the look of texture, helping your foundation to apply smoothly and get you one step closer to that glass-skin look. The RARE BEAUTY Always an Optimist Illuminating Primer is a cooling, water-based gel primer that helps your skin look dewy and refreshed. Then, opt for a skin tint or add a little coverage with ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Luminous Foundation. Be sure to apply a small amount of product at a time for a skin-like finish.

2. Brighten and Glow

There are a couple of different ways to give your face a mirror-like finish. For an all-over brightening effect, mix an illuminator or liquid highlighter with your foundation. Or use a lightweight illuminator like the ILIA Liquid Light Serum Highlighter to accent your cheekbones, Cupid's bow, and the bridge of your nose. A powder highlighter like the ESTÉE LAUDER Bronze Goddess Highlighting Powder Gelée is perfect for creating a radiant and pearlescent—not glittery—finish.

3. Add Blush

A dab of color to the cheeks is the perfect finish to an allover healthy-looking glow. For cool undertones, you’ll want something that appears nice and rosy on your complexion, while those with warm undertones might prefer a peachy blush. Keep the dewy finish consistent with a liquid blush like TYS BEAUTY Cheek Treat. It lasts all day and has the perfect juicy texture for glass skin. 

Looking for more ways to level up your skincare routine? Discover pollution-proof skincare products that’ll help curb premature aging. To try all of the latest skincare products and more, take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated March 27, 2024 12:00 AM