How to Get ‘Glass Skin’: I Tried the K-Beauty Skin Care Routine

In certain circles, where the difference between ampoules and essences needs no explanation and double cleansing is practically a religion, "glass skin" is a term you'll hear spoken in reverent terms. It's a phrase that originated on the K-beauty scene and quickly went viral on social media and used to describe a complexion so luminous and poreless it could be modeled from glass.

I've scrolled through plenty of pictures depicting the awe-inspiring results of a glass skin routine—and even once tried to fake it with a single highlighter-serum hybrid. The results of that experiment were successful, but my skin beneath the iridescent liquid was still my regular skin (in pretty good shape, but hardly mirrorlike).

When Peach and Lily founder Alicia Yoon recently asked me whether I had tried a complete glass-skin routine before, I saw my chance to finally attain the reflective cheekbones of my dreams. I've known Yoon for a long time, and let me tell you, the woman has no pores and always manages to look the exact right amount of dewy. If I were to have someone guide my foray into this radiant land, she was the ideal candidate.

There was just one caveat: At some point during the past month, I had gotten complacent where beauty was concerned. My laziness crept up on me, rearing its head only when I opened Yoon's email and immediately gulped. The screen was crowded with lines and lines of meticulously detailed sentences that outlined the precise steps I should take starting from the moment I woke up.

She encouraged me to think of the process "as a meal plan—giving your skin the 360-degree care it needs to thrive: proper cleansing, exfoliating, balancing, antioxidants, humectants, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and protection!" My actual meal plan is about 75 percent croissants, and baguette-shaped blood cells flow through my veins, so we were perhaps on different pages about that one. Nevertheless, slathering my face in assorted creams and serums is literally my job, so I persevered.

While the experiment Yoon had me run through consists of 11 different products, she stresses that it's not necessary to purchase that many things to duplicate the results. "It's not so much about the number of steps, but what your skin needs to be at its absolutely healthiest," she says. "Cleanse properly; either double-cleanse or use a cleanser that can both dissolve makeup and remove water-based impurities. Balance your skin's pH with a toner. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate."

Drenching your skin in moisture is the hallmark of this approach; it's what gives your face that liquid highlighter (without actually using a drop of highlighter) glow. There are other things you should add too: sunscreen, exfoliants, and face masks. The most important thing, according to Yoon, is to keep everything gentle. "Don't overdo it with too many acids or harsh actives," she advises. "In the long run, your skin will get inflamed." Check your ingredients labels. If you're using products with vitamin C, be very careful about cocktailing them with high concentrations of AHAs, BHAs, or retinol.

I followed the routine below for a full week (Yoon estimates you need anywhere between one and three weeks to see "profound results"). However, I will prematurely reveal that I was already impressed after only seven days. So when you see the results below, imagine them given additional time. (You may have to sit down for that one.) My arsenal of topicals would have been completely overwhelming if not for the accompanying instructions, so I will now selflessly bequeath them to you.

Published at Wed, 20 Mar 2019 17:28:20 +0000