How to Get Glass Skin

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

One of the biggest beauty trends of the past few years is the crystal-clear complexion made popular by Korean pop stars and actors. Some fans are trying to capture the look known as “glass skin.‌” It means clear and bright skin that almost appears see-through. But is it possible for everyday people to get this look?

The Dish on K-Beauty

That’s the shorthand name for beauty products and trends that start in South Korea. Some ingredients in K-beauty products have drawn interest for how exotic they sound, like snail mucin or donkey milk.

K-beauty’s multi-step skin-care routines, and enviable look they promise, have U.S. beauty addicts ready to get on board.

What Is Glass Skin?

One of the big K-beauty trends is a “flawless” complexion. Some beauty experts describe glass skin as looking as if it has been molded from glass. Other names for the look are "bouncy skin" or "see-through skin." Korean performers and models sport skin that seems perfectly smooth, without any visible pores or blemishes. The tone is even, and the surface of the skin is nearly reflective, thanks to its dewy finish.‌

Glass skin is mainly about creating a flawless complexion by caring for the skin itself. It isn't a make-up technique. You can apply make-up over your skin once you’ve prepped with skin-care products, but the skin itself is the real star of the show.

How Does Glass Skin Work?

The science of glass skin is mainly the principle of hydration. Moisture is key to plumping skin from the inside out so that it appears full, taunt, and reflective. Getting glass skin involves multiple skin-care steps to apply products in a strategic order.‌

The sequence is important to maximize the effectiveness of each product. Most glass skin routines suggest you start with the lightest-weight products and let them absorb before adding the next product. That way, each product gets through your skin without the previous product getting in its way.

What Are the Steps to Get Glass Skin?

There are some variations on what skin-care products you need to get glass skin, but most people agree that the routine has to include multiple steps. There is no single serum or cream that will create a glass skin effect on its own. Instead, you need to layer different products one after the other:‌

  • Oil cleanser and gentle foam cleanser for double cleansing: You need to clean your skin very well. You want your pores to be open and clear. Double cleansing helps remove make-up as well as dirt and pollution.
  • Exfoliator: Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin cells and brightens the look of your skin. It also helps unclog pores and make you less likely to get blemishes.
  • Toner: Choose a moisturizing toner rather than an astringent. This will be your first layer of moisture in the process.
  • Essence: This is a lightweight fluid with active ingredients to boost hydration. The essence helps your skin absorb heavier products.
  • Serum or face oil: Look for ones with active ingredients like antioxidants for anti-aging effects. Serums with ingredients like hyaluronic acid plump skin from the inside out.
  • Moisturizer: An excellent moisturizing cream will seal in all the products that you’ve already put on.
  • Sunscreen: If your moisturizer doesn’t have sunscreen in it, use screen as your final step. You can skip this step before bed, but be sure to use sunscreen when you leave the house.

Experts also suggest using moisturizing face masks once a week to add an extra boost of hydration to your face. Sheet masks are a popular choice for moisturizing, but you can also try hydrating clay masks. You can also use an exfoliating mask every week to keep your complexion bright.

Glass skin is a commitment of time and money. But the reward of pampering your face is a glowing complexion.

Show Sources


American Academy of Dermatology: "6 Rosacea Skin Care Tips Dermatologists Give Their Patients," "How To Safely Exfoliate At Home," "Sunscreen Faqs."

Cleveland Clinic: "Understanding the Ingredients in Skin Care Products."

Glamour: "This 11-Step Routine Gave Me the ‘Glass Skin’ of My Dreams."

J Cosmet Dermatol: "Clinical evidences of benefits from an advanced skin care routine in comparison with a simple routine."

New York Times: "Everyone Is Crazy for Glass Skin. Here’s How to Get the Look."

Vogue: "The 12 Korean Beauty Trends to Try in 2021, According to the Experts."

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