Flawless, glowing skin has always been intrinsic to Korean beauty trends.
For those who follow K-Pop stars, you would have noticed them discussing their intensive skincare routines - from BTS members putting on facemasks during their VLives (live video streaming), TWICE’s Chaeyoung taking us through her routine, or EXID’S Hyelin showing her make-up free face during her YouTube tutorials, proving that she doesn’t need makeup to get that glowing look.
In short, Korean celebrities are instrumental in spreading the awareness about K-beauty tips that many now induct into their daily routines.
One of the most popular trends is the glass skin. It focuses on a kind of radiant complexion that is natural and cannot be faked.
Glass skin is exactly as it sounds. After following a careful skincare routine, the skin is expected to be shiny, flawless and smooth, adequately hydrated and completely devoid of any form of blemishes.
It’s all about having your skin look as crystal clear and poreless as possible, while also having a really natural-looking glow.
This perfect ‘dewy’ look emanates from fervently moisturised skin and gives the person a youthful glow.
So how do we achieve the ‘glass skin’ look?
“It’s all about having your skin look as crystal clear and poreless as possible, while also having a really natural-looking glow,” says Lyda Schoonderbeek, founder and CEO of Source Beauty, a Middle Eastern beauty brand.
She says that it works by simply layering. You have to layer several light products that hydrate the skin and that will inevitably make your skin look very dewy. You’ll need to double cleanse, exfoliate and layer on several liquid hydrating products.
A breakdown of the routine:
When double cleansing, the first cleanse will break down and remove any makeup, dirt, sweat, and excessive oils on the face, while the second cleanse should be focused on your skin type and it's usually a mild foamy cleanser.
Double cleanse with non-drying cleansers: “When double cleansing, the first cleanse will break down and remove any makeup, dirt, sweat, and excessive oils on the face, while the second cleanse should be focused on your skin type and it`s usually a mild foamy cleanser,” says Dr Laith Alshar, specialist dermatologist for Clinical & Aesthetics at Fakeeh University Hospital, Dubai.
Exfoliate: Save this step for night-time, especially if you choose to use photosensitising acids as means of exfoliation. Alshar warns against doing this frequently, as it might irritate or harm the skin.
Today’s toners are not the drying astringents of yester-year, so they’re not counter-productive to glass skin’s goal of highly-hydrated skin.
Time to tone: “Today’s toners are not the drying astringents of yester-year, so they’re not counter-productive to glass skin’s goal of highly-hydrated skin,” says Nidhima Kohli, CEO and co-founder of Beauty Tribe.
Apply a hydrating serum: Glass skin’s dewiness, even tone and smoothness call for a cavalcade of different types of ingredients. Hyaluronic acid draws in moisture and keeps the skin glowing all day along, explains Kohli.
Moisturise and protect.
Tallulah Harvey, a laser and skincare specialist at Cornerstone Clinic, adds a few more steps such as an ampoule, which are serums with a higher concentrate of active ingredients. She also suggests adding eye cream and facemasks to the routine.
Glass skin is quite the buzzword in our industry over the past year, all thanks to the gorgeous women of Korea and their methods of magic. Which, by the way, includes ingredients such as snail mucin and bee venom!
Speaking about the routine, she explains, “Glass skin is quite the buzzword in our industry over the past year, all thanks to the gorgeous women of Korea and their methods of magic. Which, by the way, includes ingredients such as snail mucin and bee venom!”
As Vasilisa Charitidi, the co-founder of Skin Fuel explains, it is about using mineral-based products.
A more holistic approach will be to hydrate you skin from inside as much, if not more, from outside.
“Serums with smaller molecules that can penetrate in deeper layers of the skin and products that can ‘lock in’ the moisture while protecting the superficial layers of the skin from external factors,” she says. “A more holistic approach will be to hydrate you skin from inside as much, if not more, from outside,’ she adds.
Beyond trends, it’s more about health and lifestyle
All this is very well, say experts, but what Korean skincare has taught us is that you need dedication and commitment for such a skincare regimen.
“Great skin goes beyond buzzwords and cult products,” Kohli concludes.
There are no shortcuts, and it will take around 4 to 5 weeks for the skin to show satisfactory results. Moreover, one needs a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Your diet needs to include fruit, vegetables, fatty acids and water.
Dalya Sager, global trainer at Skinfluencer, adds to Kohli’s views, saying that the specific skin type doesn’t matter, what matters is that a person can achieve this perfect glass skin when their skin is at its healthiest. “That healthiness will shine through, so you have a crystal-clear, transparent complexion.”
Will it work in warm weather like the UAE? Sager answers, “Absolutely. It comes down to finding products that best suit your skin.”
The right diet
Apart from following this skincare regimen, you can also consume a diet that is rich in beta-carotene, says Edwige Gandin, beautician at Pastels Salon Dubai. This includes foods such as carrots, pumpkin, mango and spinach, which the body converts to vitamin A, that gives skin a real glow and increasing your intake of water.
The trick is to know your skin type and use products that will work to enhance your individual skin health.
For those living in the UAE, she says, “The trick is to know your skin type and use products that will work to enhance your individual skin health. The secret is in the careful layering of products that contain moisturising ingredients – mostly humectants such as hyaluronic acid and followed by acclaimed glow-inducers and actives that will strengthen your skin barrier such as niacinamide and peptides,” she says.
This is in tandem with Harvey’s views, who says that peptides boost the collagen production.
“If you do want to try the Korean way I recommend the brand COSRX, They offer the full works. Even snail mucin,” she says.
More hydration for warmer weather
However, Dr Hassan El Husseini, dermatologist at Dr Kayle Aesthetic Clinic Dubai explains that while it will work in a climate like the UAE, the skin’s hydration levels need to be increased and a rich moisturiser must be used.
“Ask your dermatologist to devise a skincare routine that takes into account not only your skin type and individual concerns but also your lifestyle and the weather you face on a daily basis,” he advises.
Are there any cons and cautionary words of advice?
There aren’t any cons as such but with any skincare routine one can expect a while before results to show.
In this case, it takes around 4 to 5 weeks of a consistent routine, along with many other factors such as a satisfactory diet and healthy sleeping patterns.
You need to invest in a skincare regime that offers your skin all the elements it needs, including active ingredients and moisturisers. It can take time to see the results.
It might take more time for those who are skincare novices, says Gandin - it might even take a couple of months to get that dewy skin.
However, there’s a word for advice for those with underlying skincare problems.
“You need to invest in a skincare regime that offers your skin all the elements it needs, including active ingredients and moisturisers. It can take time to see the results,” says Dr Hassan.
It might also be a tad heavy on your wallet and time, as you try different products while maintaining the multi-step routine. You might also need to banish the need for heavy makeup for the effects of this routine to kick in.