Glass skin is the latest Asian skincare trend to migrate West. Considered by many to be the highest standard for beautiful skin, we look at what it is and how to achieve it.
It’s a given that social media is highly influential in the world of beauty and fashion – okay, its reach extends everywhere. But the point is, today, we’re so plugged into global beauty trends that the beauty industry has had to respond and, thus, been revolutionized.
Yes, the demand for natural and clean beauty products is significant, but perhaps even more influential are the traditional beauty regimens that originate from Korea. So effective are these routines and products that Western cosmetic brands seek out not only the effective ingredients but collaborations with Asian brands. And Western women want to achieve those same results that those routines and products promise.
Glass skin is the most recent coveted K-beauty skincare trend. For Korean women, beautiful skin is the most important aspect to beauty and glass skin is the ultimate expression of a gorgeous complexion. “The way I would describe glass skin is glowing, luminous, radiant. [It] almost looks like a second skin lit from within,” says Stephen Sardella, regional educator for Shiseido Canada. Lisa Mammeri, Valmont’s Global Education Manager, elaborates, saying, “More than a K-beauty trend, … glass skin is a beauty regimen that promotes a clear, luminous and almost transparent skin.”
So who can achieve glass skin? “Glass skin is achievable no matter what ethnicity or whatever race, nationality or skin type,” says Sardella. “I think glass skin can be achievable at almost any age. However, depending on the person’s skin type or environment, there can be variants of glass skin.” Mammeri agrees, saying, “Mature skin can totally achieve a glass skin. They just might have to adapt the texture of their skin care and definitely add an oil – such as Valmont’s Cure Majestueuse – to the game.”
For Asian women, their skincare regimen can involve as many as 19 steps – something that doesn’t translate to western culture and this is recognized by the beauty brands. Sardella says that Shiseido has broken it down to three manageable steps: 1. prepare, 2. defend, and 3. respond and protect. “Preparing the skin at the very beginning would be double cleansing. Pairing up a perfect cleansing oil … is a great way to begin the preparation and then pairing it with a deep cleansing foam to get the best cleanse,” he explains.
Mammeri says that double cleansing, but in a way that doesn’t strip the skin of hydration, is key to glass skin and is the foundation of Valmont’s recently reformulated Purity skincare line. “Sophie Guillon, CEO of the Valmont Group and creator of the formulas, travelled a lot to Asia – especially Korea and Japan. She has been inspired by the art of cleansing and she worked on two types of cleansing that lead to the perfect glass skin,” Mammeri explains. “The first one is the macro cleansing that eliminates the visible impurities. Then comes the micro cleansing to remove the micro impurities.”
Sardella says that in addition to cleansing, the skin prepping step also includes, what Shiseido terms, softening. “Softener is designed to bring the water back to the skin that could be lost through cleansing.
It also helps to hydrate and prepare the skin to accept any product that [is being] applied after.” Sardella describes Step 2, the defend step, as the “booster step that fights off internal and external aggressors before they can harm the skin.” Protecting the skin helps ward off dark spots, discolouration, uneven skin tone caused by free radicals, UVA and UVB damage that counter the look of glass skin. The final step, respond, is like treating your skin, Sardella says. “So any serum, moisturizer, or eye care product would be the respond step.”
You need to look at concerns like brightening, skin tone or a dehydrated, rough texture to decide which products would help achieve the effect of glass skin. The basics would be a serum, treatment product, day moisturizer which could have SPF, and eye care, Sardella advises. Don’t expect instant results, says Mammeri. “Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to achieving a glass skin and even though results can happen fast, they don’t come overnight. Depending on the initial condition of the skin, the first results should be visible within three to four weeks.”
To carry off the glass skin effect, makeup should be complementary – an almost no-makeup look. Both Sardella and Mammeri say that means a light hand with foundation and minimal colour everywhere else on the face. “The whole idea behind glass skin is to have that lit from within or that radiant, luminous, translucent finish,” Sardella says. “So foundation or base makeup should really be on the lighter side, and choose a foundation that speaks to that texture.”
Mammeri concurs, “… using high coverage, ultra matte textures would be a contradiction here.” While women in the West might not always exactly replicate the glass skin trend, the commitment to maintaining a structured skincare regimen can only be beneficial long-term. “The idea is really to give your skin a Christmas dinner everyday,” Mammeri says. Sardella adds that everybody’s interpretation of the ideal result of glass skin can be a little bit different. “I think glass skin is about looking as natural and glowing as you can and also feeling confident enough to own the look.”
Photos: iStock, Courtesy of Valmont, Shiseido