glass skin
The dewy glow perfected by K-pop stars starts with cleansed skin, builds on moisture-rich layers, and ends in a glossy, youthful look. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Would you like your skin to look as polished and clear as glass?

Glass skin took over the world last year, accelerated by Korean stars who perfected the dewy glow, from K-pop band TWICE’s Chaeyoung, to BTS’ Suga and BLACKPINK’s Jennie Kim.

It’s exactly what it sounds like: glossy, clear, luminous… just like a piece of glass. But the effect doesn’t have to be limited to celebrities, or the gorgeous women of Korea who started it all. You can achieve glass skin too, with the right products to create this poreless look.

It starts with double cleansed and exfoliated skin, but it all comes down to layering, according to experts. By creating light, hydrating layers, your skin will take on a dewy look that’s youthful and exuberant.

The glass skin routine does take commitment, however, much like other K-beauty regimens that have produced amazing results. It’s also based on a healthy foundation, wherein the individual gets enough sleep, and has a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fatty acids and water.

Ready to get that glass-like glow? We’ve picked the best products for you and laid out all the steps you need to follow to achieve this look. Don’t forget to become a Prime member for free, fast delivery.

1. Double-cleanse with non-drying cleansers

The beloved double-cleanse is an integral part of most K-beauty concepts. It helps to remove any makeup, dirt, sweat or excessive oils on the face, and involves using an oil-based cleanser or micellar water. Once your skin is clean, move on to a gentle face wash that cleanses without stripping the face of its moisture.

Our first pick is innisfree’s lightweight cleansing oil, which uses a natural antioxidant – green tea extract from Jeju Island, Korea – to help boost the skin’s hydration. Reviewers say their skin feels soft and smooth after rinsing, and there’s absolutely no oily residue. You could also use Cosrx’s centella water, which smooths out the skin, soothes irritation, and reduces blemishes, thanks to a winning combination of hydrating herbs and mineral water. Follow up with a gentle foaming cleanser. Our pick is the bestselling Pyunkang Yul facial cleanser, which features white willow bark extract and natural AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) ingredients that gently dissolve excess sebum and pore impurities, leaving the skin feeling fresh.

2. Exfoliate

This is a step that’s best reserved for your nighttime skincare routine. Acid-based peels and face masks, especially those made with alpha and beta hydroxy acids, help produce a glassy glow while eliminating dead skin cells. But remember, if you’re using photosensitising acids or active ingredients, like retinol, AHAs and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), it’s best not to exfoliate every night, to avoid irritating the skin.

A gentle exfoliant, like the AXIS-Y PHA Resurfacing Glow Peel, is suitable for all skin types, even acne-prone skin. It’s formulated with extracts of cucumber, papaya, and other nourishing natural ingredients. Just apply the gel in a thick, even layer, after cleansing, and rise off after 15 minutes. Another great option, Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Exfoliating Sleeping Mask features hyaluronic acid to quench thirsty skin, and AHAs to buff away dead skin cells – all while you sleep. But if you’d prefer washing it off, you can do so too, 10 minutes after application.

3. Tone the skin

Toners are formulated to help remove the debris on your skin that your facial cleanser might have missed, and they also prepare your skin for the next step in the glass skin regimen. Although toners of the past used to quickly dry out the skin, you don’t have to worry about this issue with modern-day options – many of them contain powerhouse ingredients, like antioxidants, amino acids and hyaluronic acid, and leave the skin feeling smooth and hydrated.

Haruharu Wonder’s black rice toner has rave reviews, and it’s likely because of its stellar formulation. The product includes fermented black rice extracts, which act as antioxidants, along with lavender oil, which calms the skin, and fermented bamboo shoot bark extracts, which brighten and soothe the face. Another top pick, Etude House’s Soon Jung toner is ideal for summer days in UAE – its low pH formulation helps relieves stressed, sensitive skin that’s prone to irritation. If you have acne-prone skin, however, try Some By Mi’s AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner – it’s packed full of tea tree water, witch hazel extract and niacinamide, to improve troubled skin.

4. Use a hydrating serum

A variety of ingredients go into producing the iconic dewiness of glass skin, along with its even tone and velvety feel. Many K-beauty serums pack all of those ingredients into a small vial that can last you for months. We looked out for hyaluronic acid to draw in moisture, vitamin C to brighten and protect, and peptides for a smooth, firm texture.

For a complete conditioning effect, Medi-Peel’s Peptide 9 Volume Essence enhances elasticity, replenishes moisture, and moisturises the skin with collagen for a younger, healthier look. Or try Beauty of Joseon’s Glow Serum, which comprises 60 per cent propolis extract with two per cent niacinamide for a honey-like formula that’s inspired by traditional Korean herbal medicine. Reviewers say the serum gives them a natural glow without being too shiny or greasy, and those with acne have seen a marked difference. Lastly, Jin Jung Sung Soothing Moisture Essence features a whopping eight moisturising ingredients, from beeswax to meadowfoam seed oil. With the addition of collage, peptides, adenosine and more, it’s an ultra-hydrating serum that’s definitely going to give you the glow you’re looking for.

5. Moisturise

The last step of the glass skin regimen is crucial. Moisturising your skin helps lock in the active ingredients and hydration you worked so hard to achieve in previous steps. Your skin type plays a role in the kind of moisturiser you should pick. If you have dry skin, you may want to use thicker, creamier products, while oilier skin warrants light, gel-based moisturisers.

Our top pick, Seoul Ceuticals’ Repair Cream Moisturiser has close to 15,000 4.5-star reviews. It’s formulated with a high concentration of snail mucin extract, along with vitamins E and B5, organic green tea, shea butter, jojoba oil and more naturally derived ingredients. It heals as it brightens and restores hydration, and since it’s non-comedogenic, it doesn’t clog pores. Those with dry skin will find a perfect match in Aestura’s ATOBARRIER365 Ceramide Cream. It’s unscented, hypoallergenic and infused with ceramide, cholesterol and fatty acid complex to restore the skin’s moisture and strengthen its barrier. For oilier skin types, belif’s Aqua Bomb is the perfect gel cream to get a boost in hydration, without feeling greasy.

6. Protect from sun damage

If you’re following your glass skin routine in the day, rather than for a night out, don’t forget to slather on facial sunscreen as the final step, or use a moisturiser with SPF (sun protection factor), if you don’t want to use a separate sunscreen. This helps prevent signs of ageing and sun damage, and is key to maintaining healthy skin in the long term.

Cosrx’s Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is a top seller for its light, moisturiser-like texture and the fact that it leaves no white cast. With a SPF 50+, PA+++ rating, it’s ideal for hot UAE summers, especially if you’re out and about all day. Another sunscreen that’s perfect for your handbag, Abib Quick Sunstick, offers similar sun protection, and includes green tea extract, ceramides and cucumber extract to soothe, strengthen and hydrate the skin. Reviewers say they’ve used it on their face and body, with successful results.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.