January 23, 2020 at 11:00AM by CWC
“You’ve got glass skin” is the ultimate complexion compliment. It encompasses everything healthy skin should be: hydrated, bright, and dewy. It’s a glow so strong, it’s practically reflective.
But what is glass skin? The concept comes to us by way of Korea, where women know more than a thing or two about keeping their complexions happy. “Glass skin, or ‘yuri pibu’ in Korean, refers to translucent skin that is clear, radiant, poreless, and smooth—almost like a pane of glass,” says Glow Recipe co-founder and K-beauty pro Sarah Lee. And the key to making it happen? Consistency, consistency, consistency. “Just like getting regular exercise is a way to stay healthy, practicing a consistent skin-care routine is important to achieve not only glass skin but keeping skin in its best, glowing state,” she says.
With the right routine and ingredients, it’s something anyone can achieve. One misconception worth clearing up? “Glass skin” means healthy skin, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be blemish-free. “We want to dispel the idea that glass skin can only be achieved with perfect clear skin because that is far from the truth,” says Lee. “The most important factor is that your routine includes both hydrating and gently exfoliating ingredients to achieve that reflective look.” Regularly exfoliating helps to fade dark spots and prevent breakouts, and hydration ensures that your skin isn’t producing excess oil, which also prevents breakouts.
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Not once, but twice. “Dewy, bright skin starts with the double cleanse,” says Then I Met You and Soko Glam founder Charlotte Cho. “You need to start with a clean slate and remove the impurities that will dull the skin.” Start with an oil cleanser to remove oil-based dirt and grime (like makeup and sebum), then follow up with something water-based or foamy to help really clear away anything else stuck on the complexion.
“Smooth skin texture and clarity are essential for a glassy complexion, so regular exfoliation is key,” says Lee. In order to make skin look its brightest, you’ll want to get rid of all of the dead cells on the surface that cause it to look dull. You can use either a physical exfoliant, like a washcloth, or a product that gets the job done chemically, such as alpha-hydroxy acids and enzymes. Removing the topmost layer of dead skin cell will help your products to work better and do their job more easily.
Vitamin C is, as one derm puts it, “the little black dress” of a skin-care routine. Like an LBD, it’s multi-functional, and helps combat things like acne scars, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation to leave behind a smooth, even, glassy skin tone. “Vitamin C is a holy grail ingredient when it comes to glass skin,” says Christine Chang, Glow Recipe’s co-founder. Use it in the a.m. (under sunscreen, of course) to help neutralize free radicals, which can make texture rough and pigmentation proliferate.
Hydration is arguably the most important element in keeping skin healthy, and plays an integral role in a glass skin routine. That’s because if skin is dry, the barrier becomes compromised and it won’t be able to defend itself from pollution and the like. Follow up your vitamin C serum with something heavy in hyaluronic acid, which works below the skin’s surface to help retain water and keep skin hydrated and healthy from within.
Hydrating serums mainly focus on what’s going on deep under the surface, while moisturizers are all about that skin barrier and making it function optimally. In other words, while your serums are meant to hold water within the complexion, your moisturizer is all about creating a seal over the skin to lock that in and support the topmost layer of the skin. Look for moisturizers rich in ceramides or apply a sleeping mask like Glow Recipe’s cult-fave Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask ($45) before bed to wake up looking glassy, glowing, and smooth.
You really don’t need a zillion products for flawless skin—in fact, here’s why Cho thinks the idea of a “10 step routine” is totally bogus. Plus, this is the exact number of steps a derm says you should use to keep your face happy and healthy