Glass skin is the latest K-beauty trend, but what does this mean for the average woman trying to maintain a basic skincare routine, and should we be trying to attain it?
Q. I’ve noticed the term ‘glass skin’ crop up on social media. What is it, and do I need it?
A. From sheet masks to essences to ten step evening regimes, Korea has brought us much skincare innovation and quirkiness, and has overtaken France to become the hub of modern beauty research, development and production. So far, so incredibly cool, except, like said skincare routine, some Korean beauty ideals are unrealistic in terms of both time and attainment, and I’m filing glass skin under this banner.
A little background on glass skin: it’s an image led social media trend whereby people are sharing pictures of themselves with post-skincare routine complexions that are so smooth, hydrated and apparently poreless that they resemble a pane of glass. I mean, what is this life, but on we go. Like the Korean fixation with all things ‘kawaii’ (cute) and childlike, glass skin aims to depict youthful, baby like skin, with not a perceived imperfection in sight. If marathon skincare sessions weren’t achievable, the vast majority of us haven’t got a hope of spending the time and money required to even get close to creating complexions so refined that they reflect light in the manner of a Twilight vampire. Also, why would we? Looking in the mirror is enough for most of us, becoming the mirror is not a goal.
That’s not to say that you can’t harness the powers of Korean skincare to become your best polished self, of course, and have fun while you’re at it. Retailers such as BeautyMart, ASOS and Cult Beauty specialise in bringing South Korean skincare breakthroughs to our shores- here’s your maximum luminosity shopping list, some at very pocket-money price points and with no #glassskin promises or pressures. Just good old fashioned exfoliation and hydration, mostly.
Mission Complete Waterproof Sensitive Lip & Eye Perfect Cleanser, £14.50
While we’re not advocating glass face, cleanliness is kind of a deal breaker as far as healthy skin goes. This chamomile based gel lotion has the same pH as human tears, which sounds creepy, but makes it extra gentle.
Mizon BHA & AHA Toner Daily Clean Toner, £20
While glassy may not be the end goal, you can sweep away dullness by way of dissolving dead skill cells and giving pores a deep clean with this exfoliating papaya enzyme and salicylic acid based lotion.
The Skin Lounge Mask Trio- Seoul Collection, £11
Basically the box set of face masks, this cheap and cheerful trio provides a triple whammy of hydration, with buckets of hyaluronic acid for a plump and juicy effect and liberal amounts of aloe chucked in to soothe hot and bothered mugs.
Blithe Vital Treatment Pulp Essence, £41
Don’t focus too much on what this is. We don’t really know either, but it’s a hit with Korean beauty experts, providing dewy, gel-based hydration post-cleansing, plus it’s rich in vitamin E for antioxidant clout. Pat on, wait a few seconds for it to absorb and marvel at your own radiance. So humble.
It’s Skin Power 10 GF Serum, £12
It sounds techy, but this is essentially a cooling, quick to penetrate moisture restoring serum for not too many quids. Like a big comfy pair of pants, but for your face.
3 Concept Eyes Back to Baby Glow Beam, £15
Fake it until you make it. Whether you use this liquid base as a highlighter, glow-inducing primer or blend a little into your foundation for a particularly ‘lit’ finish, it’s a helping hand to healthy-looking radiance, even if you did wake up looking a bit under the weather.
Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF 50, £24
Youthful looking, even toned skin has nothing to do with looking like perfectly buffed glass, and everything to do with protecting your skin from detrimental UV rays. Make like the South Koreans and keep SPF high but textures light- this refreshing, hyaluronic-acid loaded sunscreen is just the ticket.