If your skincare quest for hydrated, dewy-looking skin has led you to the world of Korean beauty trends, you’ve probably come across the term “glass skin.” But if you’ve scrolled through images of glass skin, there’s a good chance you were left feeling pretty intimidated by these awe-inspiring complexions. Although glass skin may feel like a pipe dream for many of us, we’re here to tell you that this luminous skin trend is not out of reach. Achieving a smooth, glass-like complexion is actually all about promoting healthy-looking skin with the right routine. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t require you to spend hours in front of the mirror each morning. Today, we’re teaching you how to nail a glass skin routine using your favorite glow-boosting Kiehl’s products. Let’s dive in!
What Is a Glass Skin Routine?
Korean skincare trends are pretty much everywhere these days—they dominate trending ingredients, routines, and pretty much every aspect of the skincare industry. If double cleansing, essences, sheet masks, or ampoules sound at all familiar, you’re already on your way to becoming a K-beauty pro. In the United States alone, the K-beauty market grew by 300% between 2016 and 2018.I
Glass skin is described as perfectly flawless, almost translucent skin that appears so smooth, clear, and poreless that it almost resembles glass. Although the term “glass skin” has become hugely popular to describe this trend, it’s important to remember that flawless, poreless skin doesn’t actually exist. All skin contains pores, and their visible appearance will vary from person to person. What’s really being described when you hear the term “glass skin” is the idea of your skin in its healthiest state—it’s that simple.
Sometimes confused with the equally famous 10-step Korean skincare routine, a glass skin routine is less focused on the number of steps and more on hydration and the appearance of overall skin health. This means using gentle ingredients (tailored to your skin type) that deliver as much moisture as possible. It may require a few extra skincare steps, but those glowy skin results will be so worth it!
How To Curate The Perfect Glass Skin Routine
To make your skin goals as simple as possible, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow routine that covers all of the most important steps on how to get glass skin. Read on to discover exactly how to nail this routine for happy, balanced, and healthy-looking skin.
Cleanse and Tone To Eliminate Dirt, Oil, and Debris
The goal of this first step is to fully remove any and all dirt, oil, and debris that accumulate on your skin and clog your pores. So, reach for Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser, and apply a generous amount with clean fingertips to damp skin, massaging over your face and neck. This fragrance-free, non-stripping daily exfoliating wash helps effectively cleanse your skin while visibly minimizing pores.
Immediately following your cleanser, you’ll want to apply an exfoliating toner that’s non-irritating and gentle enough for daily use, like Milk-Peel Gentle Exfoliating Toner. Clinically shown to reveal smoother, softer, brighter-looking skin, this luxurious milk-peel toner is formulated with lipo-hydroxy acid (a salicylic acid derivative), 23% emollients, and almond milk.* Use in the morning and at night by gently sweeping onto clean, dry skin with a moist cotton pad (avoiding the eye area).
*Results based on expert grading in a clinical study of 44 panelists, age 30-50, after 4 weeks of use.
Layer On Your Clarity Renewing Ampoules
No Korean glass skin routine is complete without ampoules! Since ampoules are typically more concentrated than serums, they provide the perfect solution for targeting specific skin concerns—like dark spots or hyperpigmentation. For smooth-looking glass skin, we suggest reaching for a brightening treatment that targets dullness and uneven skin tone, like Clearly Corrective Accelerated Clarity Renewing Ampoules. This powerful 14-day skin treatment is formulated with activated C and a blend of glycolic, lactic, and phytic acids. It helps visibly brighten skin by up to +33% in two weeks.*
*Based on expert grading in a 2-week clinical study of 85 panelists in Brazil
Hydrate With a Skin-Plumping Serum
Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum
At this point in your glow-boosting routine, you’re ready to apply your glass skin serum. Since a glass skin routine aims to drench your skin in moisture, reach for a hydrating formula like Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum. Infused with 15% glycerin and epidermal hydration filler, this dermatologist-tested serum visibly plumps skin and smooths the appearance of fine lines and uneven skin texture. Dispense one pump of the hydrating serum into your hand and allow the silky texture to glide evenly onto clean skin twice daily.
Apply an Antioxidant-Rich Facial Oil
Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil
Antioxidants are anti-aging powerhouses that help to preserve your skin’s health and appearance by fending off harmful free radicals. To introduce them to your routine, we recommend Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil, a non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic antioxidant oil infused with ginger root, sunflower oil, and tamanu oil. This face oil is one of our favorite glass skin products; it helps keep your skin feeling fresh and looking healthy all day. To apply, lightly pat several drops of oil all over your face in an upward circular motion (avoiding the eye area) in the morning or as needed.
Smooth On Your Favorite Moisturizer and Eye Cream
Much of the desired luminosity that comes from a glass skin routine can be attributed to proper skin hydration. That’s why choosing the right moisturizer matters. One great glass skin option is Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane, our #1 moisturizing cream for ultra-lightweight, 24-hour hydration. This moisturizer is formulated with olive-derived squalane and is suitable for all skin types. It immediately leaves skin feeling softer, smoother, and more balanced skin with 2.3X more moisture. Just apply a dime-sized amount to skin twice daily and allow your skin to soak up all the hydrating goodness of our top-selling formula.
Next, it’s time to apply a hydrating eye cream. This is another step in your glass skin routine that experts will tell you not to neglect. With Copper PCA and Calcium PCA in its formula, our Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream is the perfect choice for minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet, and eye puffiness. Gently apply with clean fingertips along the orbital bone (without pulling skin) and enjoy a smoother-looking, more hydrated under-eye area.
Kiehl’s Tip: Another amazing moisturizer option to consider for oily and normal skin types is our Ultra Facial Oil-Free Moisturizer. This shine-reducing, oil-free moisturizer features a unique gel-cream texture and helps visibly minimize pores over time.
Always Remember To Apply Your Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
Sunscreen is arguably the most important part of a Korean glass skin routine (or any skincare regimen, really). 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun.II Sun-damaged skin also loses firmness more rapidly, which can increase the appearance of pores. That’s why protecting your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen—like Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+—is crucial for helping prevent visible skin damage and premature signs of aging. Our lightweight facial sunscreen uses advanced UVA/UVB technology and pollution protection to ensure your skin gets the maximum amount of protection.
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every morning (even on cloudy days), and reapply at least every two hours. You’ll need to reapply more frequently when swimming, sweating, or spending extended amounts of time outdoors.
Kiehl’s Tip: Switch up your new glass skin routine in the evening by finishing with an overnight mask like our Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask. Add this rich, velvety mask to your nighttime skincare regimen up to five times a week to enjoy instant firming and smoothing effects. Wake up to skin that feels and looks smoother—the epitome of glass skin! Simply wash off your mask in the morning and continue with your normal A.M. skincare routine.