21. 1. 2021

English Version | Glass is the new glow

by Ana Saldanha


It is another trend we imported from South Korea – the place where skin goals come from. And these skin dreams are made of glass.

In Korea it wasn’t called glass skin, they called it yuri pibu, which means transparent, luminous or clean skin, words that we use to describe glass. And the trend is not new, in fact in the East glass has been on the list of goals for a long time. Around here it has been gaining popularity and becoming the ultimate compliment and supreme goal: achieving a skin so luminous that it seems to be made of glass. From the creators of the chok chok skin, which translates to moist skin and describes a glow that looks wet, the kkul-gwang trend which is that of a super glossy look (since kkul means honey), the double cleaning method and the 7-skin method, which consists of the application of 7 layers of moisturizing tonic after cleansing and before hydration - the equivalent of the 2 liters of water that we should be drinking a day, but for the skin - the trend of having such perfect skin that it seems to be made of porcelain is now here. Experts on the subject say that the skin reaches this state of luminosity when it is in its healthiest state possible (and yes, a healthy diet and lifestyle can help us achieve the skin of our dreams) and that the golden rule is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. And the most effective way to do this is to overlap products with light and easily absorbed textures with moisturizing properties and correct imperfections and concerns to achieve even and luminous skin.

Layering is another key concept and from the country that created the 45-minute routines with 10, 12 or even 14 steps, we couldn't expect anything else. But to ensure that this combination of ingredients does not end up being more harmful than beneficial to the skin, the star ingredients in Korean formulas are often botanical extracts - many with origins in oriental medicine - such as green tea, aloe vera, centella asiatica and derivatives as bee venom and snail mucin. The routine to achieve glass skin goes through double cleansing (shocking, we know), exfoliation two to three times a week, hydrating tonic to balance the skin's pH, moisturizing and repairing essence, treatment serum, sheet mask, eye cream to prevent the signs of aging, moisturizing cream and moisturizing oil, in the evening routine, or sunscreen, in the morning routine. Getting that baby skin that appears to have no pores or any imperfection it’s not achievable overnight and the routine, although long, requires consistency. The cell renewal cycle of the most superficial layer of the skin happens every 28 days, requiring a period of consistent use to obtain visible results.

While waiting for the results, fake it ‘till you make it, and makeup can be one of the ways to achieve glass skin. Start with a moisturizing primer like MILK’s Hydro Grip Primer, a base with a luminous finish (L 'Essentiel by Guerlain) or a BB cream, like Estée Lauder's Daywear BB, for a more natural finish. The cream textures are more suitable for those looking for a luminous and natural finish because they blend into the skin. The most important step in glass skin make-up is the highlighter with a glossy finish like the Glow Stick (Marc Jacobs). Finally, a cream blush (Cheeks Out by Fenty Beauty) will give your skin color and a healthy look.

It’s not that surprising that there are two steps in this routine that are dedicated to cleansing the skin, right? It's double cleansing season, guys. Korean skin culture takes skin cleansing very seriously and this step is the foundation of any routine. The first cleanse must be oil-based to melt all traces of makeup, sunscreen and the oil produced by our skin. Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil, € 26,62, Klairs, at mifarma.pt.

After the oil-based cleansing, comes the water-based one using a cleansing gel or foam. The product should be suitable for your type of skin, but should be a gentle formula that does not dry the skin too much and that protects the hydrolipidic barrier. Dermaclear Cleansing Foam, € 17,50, Dr.Jart +, at sephora.pt.

It should not be a step for your everyday routine, but it is recommended that you exfoliate two to three times a week, depending on the skin's tolerance, since it helps to eliminate dead skin cells, accelerate cell renewal and improve texture. Chemical exfoliantes - which use acids such as glycolic and lactic - are more popular, but there are physical scrubs like rice scrubs that are also very popular in eastern beauty routines. Blackhead Power Liquid, € 36,30, Cosrx, at mifarma.pt.

The toners balance the skin's pH, moisturize and help absorb the products applied afterwards. To achieve luminous skin look for products that are easily absorbed and that have some calming properties since these are essential allies to restore hydration to the skin after cleansing. Green Tea Toner, € 19,72, Benton, at mifarma.pt.

The essence is the main star of the Korean skin routine, being a product that is still very rare in the Western market. It is a hybrid between a toner and a serum whose main function is to repair and help cellular renewal. It is also a moisturizing product and often has ingredients like snail mucin and bee venom. Snail Bee Essence, € 35,09, Benton, at mifarma.pt.

If until here the focus was on moisturizing, this is the step where we treat any specific problem or concern such as blemishes, redness, acne, aging or dullness. If there is nothing to fix, it can be a step to strengthen the skin barrier with peptides and ceramides or enhance protection against external aggressors with antioxidants. Glass Skin Serum, € 32,15, Peach & Lily, at peachandlily.com.

Like exfoliation, this is also not a step to do every day, but used when your skin needs an extra boost. The mask, just like the serum, can be chosen to target any skin concern that can be fixed in 20 minutes. Illuminating Rice Mask, € 2, Holika Holika, at beautybay.com.

In addition to cleanse and hydrate, there is another key word that rules K-beauty: prevent. For this reason, an essential step is the eye cream, used religiously in the morning and evening routine to protect the skin around the eyes, which is one of the most sensitive areas and where the signs of aging appear first. Water Bank gel-cream for eyes, € 35,90, Laneige, at sephora.pt.

Essential in any routine, but especially important if we want to achieve the luminous skin that characterizes the Glass Skin trend. The gel textures that are so common in Asian skin products are preferred for the final step of the routine as they are easily absorbed but deeply hydrating. The True Cream Aqua Bomb Gel-Cream, € 36,90, Belif, at sephora.pt.

The evening routine ends with the previous step but during the day the last step is the most important and the one that should never be ignored (even in winter). Sunscreen is the greatest ally against aging and the appearance of hyperpigmentation and skipping this step ends up ruining the whole process. In Western culture SPF30 is acceptable, but in K-beauty only SFP50, which is the maximum solar protection on the market, is enough. Soothing sunscreen SPF50 PA +++ with Aloe, € 20.45, Cosrx, at lookfantastic.pt.

Translated from the original on Vogue Portugal's The Mirror issue, published january 2021.