Korean beauty, or more affectionately known amongst its enthusiasts as ‘K-Beauty’, is a beautiful, eccentric world filled with fun products like a bubbling pore clay mask and luxurious sheet masks, and ingredients ranging from the innocuous honey and aloe vera, to ones that’ll make you do a double take like snail mucin and horse oil, of all things.

The K-Beauty world is also known for interesting terms like ‘chok-chok’, which refers to a moist, almost bouncy skin texture, but recently, another viral trend has taken over, known as ‘glass skin’.

What is ‘glass skin’?

Co-founder of Glow Recipe, a one-stop platform for all things K-Beauty, explains it this way: “It’s when your skin is so healthy, even toned and plumped with hydration that it’s almost translucent, like a shard of glass,” in her interview with Vogue. Simply put, it’s skin that’s well-taken care of, and has a healthy glow that comes from being hydrated and moisturised!

The term was made popular thanks to Los Angeles-based makeup artist Ellie Choi, who uploaded a selfie on Instagram depicting her luminous skin. Tiffany Young, of Girls Generation K-Pop fame, recently did a video outlining her own extensive 18-step beauty routine as well, and ends it with, “You know what they say: Do they see the face, or do they see the makeup?” And that about sums up the entire goal of achieving the ‘glass skin’ look; having perfect, but still natural-looking, glowing skin.

Steps to get ‘glass skin’

Choi also shared her tips for achieving the ‘glass skin’ effect when she uploaded her selfie, and we here at Neue made it easy for you to follow along as well! We also included a couple of our own recommended steps that might cater to different skincare needs.

However, just like any other beauty-related goals, this routine may not be completely perfect for you, and it certainly won’t bring instant results. (Although if you know of any miracle worker like that, do let us know!)

It’ll require patience and dedication to stick to the routine, and perhaps even getting rid of bad habits, like sleeping with your makeup still on (not great for the skin, or the pillowcases).

Step 1: Cleanse

First, remove your makeup with a makeup cleanser! A good example of one would be the Biore Cleansing Oil, as it can remove even the most stubborn, waterproof makeup foundation and eyeliner as well, and emulsifies with water. If you’re squeamish about putting anything oily on your face, you can also use micellar water or cleansing wipes.

After that, use a facial cleanser as your second cleanser to get rid of the makeup remover residue. Ellie Choi recommends using Cetaphil or Kiehl’s, but there’s no specific type of cleanser for this step; just make sure it’s gentle and doesn’t tug on the skin.

Step 2: Exfoliate

There are two kinds of exfoliating products: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliators are usually in the form of scrubs, such as Skinfood’s Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-off Face Mask, while chemical exfoliators come in the form of lactic, salicylic or glycolic acid. They help to smoothen your skin’s texture, but this step shouldn’t be done on a daily basis!

If you’re new to exfoliating, your skin needs to get used to the treatment, as it can be slightly harsh, especially if you have sensitive skin. Chemical exfoliators, for example, can be detrimental to your skin’s moisture barrier if you start off too fast and too strong. Start by doing it on a weekly basis, and if you feel a need to build up to more, you can start doing it once every 2 to 3 days, but only once your skin is used to it.

Step 3: Toner

While Ellie uses a clarifying toner to remove any remaining dirt after Step 1, the toners in K-Beauty as well as J-Beauty are mainly targeted towards hydration purposes. A cult favourite is the Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion, which contains hyaluronic acid and helps to lock in moisture. Another great example is the Chia Seed Hydrating Facial Toner from The Face Shop, which also moisturises, in addition to hydrating your skin.

Step 4: Essence, Serum and Ampoule

Here’s where you can start to tackle your specific skincare issues! From hydration and moisture, to soothing your skin and fading redness, there’s definitely an essence, serum or ampoule out there to help. One way to narrow down what might help your skin is by looking at the ingredients of your skincare products; I personally suffer from acne-prone skin, and my skincare wardrobe consists of soothing and healing products such as Nature Republic’s Bee Venom Toner, which I double as an essence! For hydration, I like the Eversoft Skinz Youth Recall Hydrating Toning Lotion as it has both niacinamide, which helps to heal dark marks, and of course, hyaluronic acid.

Step 5: Moisturiser

Unless you’re putting on a sheet mask (Step 6), it’s time to pamper your skin with moisturiser! Since the ‘glass skin’ trend places a lot of importance on hydration, it’s important to choose one that’s nourishing, light and still packs a lot of moisture. Ellie’s choices are the Cetaphil Moisturising Cream and the Wonjin Water Bomb Cream. However, products like Laneige’s Water Bank Moisture Cream is also a great alternative!

Step 6: Sheet masks

Confession: I always keep a stash of these, because they’re chock full of hydrating goodness! They also have active ingredients to better target your skincare needs, whether it’s moisturising, brightening, or calming. They’re similar to an essence or a serum, except packaged to give you maximum effect in one go, which is why they’re great not just when you feel like your skin needs a little pick-me-up, but also before any big occasion to ensure you’re looking your best, glassiest self. If you’re wondering where to start, Ellie professed her love for Innisfree sheet masks.

Step 7: Diet

It’s not a typical skincare step, but it doesn’t detract from its importance. Ellie explains that eating greasy and fried food affects her skin, and hammers home the importance of drinking water. While drinking 8 glasses of water won’t instantly give you ‘glass skin’, it’ll help the process and keeps your body healthy as well!

A makeup alternative

However, if you can’t exactly wait for weeks and even months for the result, you can also replicate the look with makeup!

Famous Korean makeup guru Pony shares that one of the tricks to get that look is by using foundation that’s light coverage and glowy, and adding concealer to areas that needs more coverage. In addition, beauty YouTuber NikkieTutorials explains in her video tutorial on recreating BlackPink Jennie’s makeup look that one way to recreate the ‘glass skin’ look is by sweeping your highlighter in a certain angle across your cheeks to mimic the way light would reflect against your skin.

The team behind Huda Beauty also shared their tips on how to achieve the ‘glass skin’ effect, by creating a radiant, no-makeup makeup look in this video below:

The ultimate goal

However, at the end of the day, your beauty goals shouldn’t be something that makes you feel bad about yourself! While you might be striving to achieve that perfect skin texture, what’s more important is also understanding what your skin needs and not using all these new products at once. Take it step by step, and as you go along your skincare journey, your ultimate goal should be to gain healthy skin that you’re proud of, and makes you feel good about yourself, even if it means still dealing with those pesky pimples from time to time.

Let’s hear it from you

Are you interested in trying out a new skincare routine? Do you have a favourite skincare product?

We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below or on any of our social media platforms – Facebook or Instagram.

Be sure to share this story with your friends and family too!


Sherly Susis

A Bruneian writer who spends her already too-little time trying to catch up on anime, buying books she’ll never read, travelling on a budget and living her best ARMY life.