What is Glass Skin? Glow Recipe Co-Founder Christine Chang describes it as “…when your skin is so healthy, even toned, and plumped with hydration that it’s almost translucent, like a shard of glass.” – Vogue Article
It was almost instinctive that I brush off glass skin to be something achievable for me. Why? First off, I still break out. Secondly, I’m still trying to heal the atrophic scarring I have from my cystic acne past. So I did what everyone else would do, watch perfect-skin looking YouTubers do it and enjoy the aesthetic vicariously. It actually wasn’t until I saw Edward Avila’s take on glass skin that I became inspired to try it myself. Edward is a KBeauty YouTuber based in Seoul and he has a considerable amount of texture from acne like myself. Despite the crazy glow mixed with texture, his skin overall looked REALLY good and in my opinion definitely achieved the look. To see someone with a similar skin-type as mine prompted me to try it for myself.
Despite the slight blurring filter I have from this photo down below, I say I did a pretty good job achieving Glass Skin! My boyfriend even complimented my skin when I sent him a selfie. And in real life it doesn’t look too bad either. Truthfully I would powder it down if I were to wear it out, especially now that the weather is FINALLY getting warmer in Toronto (so much YES). However I’ll hold that off and tell you the products I used and the techniques I did to achieve the look on my problematic skin.
Starts the night before…
Use a chemical exfoliant to slough away the extra rough, dead skin sells and treat your breakouts. This simple skincare practice will create a smoother canvas for the skin. There are a variety of products you can use, it all depends on your personal preferences and what your skin can handle. I personally like going for the ByWishtrend Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water * because it’s the gentlest AHA due to it’s larger molecular size (sinks into the skin more slowly), and I’ve also read that it is also slightly lipid-permeable, meaning it has similar functions to that of a BHA! In short, this will help make your face look smoother, and help with breakouts as well. (If you’re a professional in skincare, please let me know if this is accurate).
Follow up with a moisturizing product before going to bed. Sometimes I’m content with just a facial oil, but to for glass skin, the more moisture the better! Be sure to add a moisturizer after finishing your nighttime routine. I love using the Cerave Moisturizing Cream because it’s a simple, yet effective formulation of ceramides, sodium hyaluronate, and petrolatum to restore your skin’s moisture barrier and assist it from Trans Epidermal Water Loss! Like the name suggests, it’s when your skin loses water; having a good emollient an occlusive moisturizer will help prevent this. If you feel like treating yo’self, do a sheet mask before this step!
Be sure to still treat your acne. Remember, Glass Skin is about making your skin look as smooth as possible! Don’t forget to target the active spots on your face. I opt for my Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream; the guaiazulene really helps to lower inflammation on my breakouts and red areas of my face,making my skin look more calm and collected in the morning.
Lightly exfoliate. Sometimes your acid toner doesn’t do enough, or you just have one of those days where your face feels particularly rough in the morning. Instead of using a harsh acid toner, opt for a light peeling gel. I like using Dr. G Skin Brightening Peeling Gel because it is a mild formulation with soothing and brightening ingredients such as willow bark extract, hollyhock, mushroom extract, vitamin C and E. My skin always looks even tone and moisturized after use with no stripped feeling, which is why I’m okay with using this exfoliating product in my morning routine!
Hydrate! one of the biggest concerns I used to have was dehydrated skin – skin with a lack of water. Tackle this, and your skin will naturally plump up more. For me, I find that when my skin is well hydrated, my pores look smaller, and the dehydration line on my forehead and sides of my mouth lesson in appearance. Having well hydrated skin overall creates a lovely even skin tone as well! I achieve this by applying my Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner at least 3 times, and follow up with a hydrating essence. The CosRx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence (Now called the Tone Balancing Essence) one in particular does a great job at making my skin feel a lot smoother and more hydrated. It must be the 95% galactomyces ferment filtrate in this, because with constant use, I noticed my dehydration issues decreased and I have barely had problems with darkening issues in my skin tone!
Include a product with Niacinamide. This skincare ingredient is particularly awesome – it helps improve the appearance of large pores (tried and true with the Ordinary’s 10% Niacinamide Serum), dullness, fine lines and strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier function to prevent Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL). NOTE: High percentage of Niacinamide may be too irritating for some skin types. Eg. My sister and I were able to handle 10% no problem, my boyfriend and friend became red in the face. Please use only what you’re comfortable with. This will tie in with the moisturizing part of skincare, so I’ll be mentioning the products I use there.
Moisturize. One of the main keys to healthy-looking skin is to make sure that all that hydration you took the time to give your skin is sealed in! My 2 moisturizing products of choice are Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask * and Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. Both have niacinamide high in the ingredient list and I have personally noticed favourable results when using the two together. I go in with the Klair’s Vitamin E Mask first as a “humectant” (anyone watch Dr. Dray? Love her!) – this means it’ll bind with water molecules. I top it off with Cerave’s PM Moisturizer, sometimes mixed in with Cerave’s Moisturizing Cream in the tub for added moisture if I find the PM Moisturizer isn’t enough for me.
Conclude your skincare with a good layer of SPF. As some of us K-Beauty Addicts know, sun protection is a MUST in Korean Skincare (and should be in everyone’s) when wanting to maintain our skin’s health – prevents DNA damage from the sun, burns, darkening of existing acne marks – the typical talking points. I opted for the CNP Laboratory Brightening Daily Sun Essential Fluid Formula SPF 50 PA++++ because it has a smooth and light finish, as well as a bit of brightening properties to further help even out my skin tone.
Prep the Pores. Before applying a base I use a pore filler, and if I feel like it, a regular primer just to smooth out the canvas of the skin. I use Dr. Brant’s Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer in my T-Zone area where I have the most enlarged pores and the top of my lips where I have a couple of deep scars. I finish prepping the rest of my face with the Nude by Nature Perfecting Primer *; It’s a nice light glycerin-based primer that creates a light smooth canvas on top of the skin and help with the look’s longevity.
Natural-Looking base. The first type of product I thought of to achieve this look – BB/CC Cream! In Korea BB and CC creams could arguable be considered part of your skincare routine, because it’s supposed to mainly be that with a bonus of coverage. CC creams are supposed to be more skincare-oriented than BB creams, but you’ll find the roles are reversed with the 2 products I’m about to mention:
Klairs Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream SPF 40 PA++ is great at naturally reducing pores on the skin and creating a lovely subtle glow. I would honestly use this alone but it is nowhere near my colour anymore and frankly doesn’t have enough coverage. So I mix it in with the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream (I use shade Medium) to create a better shade for myself while getting more coverage from it. The key to making these work is to apply light amounts at a time and I blend it in with clean fingers. I find it gives the best even coverage possible with the least amount of product. From here on I’ll go with my normal concealer on the bigger marks, but I don’t care to make it completely covered because I’m so comfortable with how the look turned out with the BB/CC combo already. If anything I’ll apply the Klairs BB Cream by itself to the center of my face to further brighten the look and make it more translucent. Ant more coverage, it takes away from the “translucent” aspect of the look!
My skin may not look perfect, but I feel like this look emphasizes the good points of my skin rather than exaggerate or exacerbate the bad! I find these techniques set a good foundation for your skincare routine and natural everyday makeup, and just really overall contribute to that over-arching goal of healthy-looking skin! You can most definitely further customize your look by adding additional makeup products such as blush, highlight and bronzer, this post was just to make sure you can use minimal makeup to get that healthy glow.
I hope this helped out some of you “problematic” skin peeps like me! (Not to be insulting, I just feel like we all connect with feeling like we don’t have perfect skin and stuff :3)