Glass Skin: the Korean beauty trend going viral online

In 2017, the K-beauty term’ glass skin’ was introduced to the Western beauty world. Originating from South Korea, glass skin, known as ‘Yuri-’Pibu’ describes a clear skin complexion that is so smooth and reflective that it’s like glass, hence its name. Thanks to social media, it has become viral, and many people are eager to try and gain this perfect and luminous look.

It also gained popularity due to Peach & Lily, a retailer that offers a broad range of Korean skincare and K-beauty products.

Alicia Yoon, the founder of Peach & Lily and a certified Esthetician said: “Glass skin is your skin at its healthiest—skin so healthy that it looks luminous, smooth, and clear. Glass skin was not a commonly used term, but Peach & Lily popularised this term after launching the Glass Skin Refining Serum and pioneering the glass skin movement in 2018.”

To find out what is involved in achieving glass skin, I spoke to Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed MBChB. He is a board-certified dermatologist based in the UAE and Co-founder of http://PowerYourCurls.com , a platform dedicated to providing natural hair care solutions for people of all hair types.

His knowledge about achieving glass skin follows a strict step-by-step routine which he explains:

  1. Double Cleansing
    Using an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser to thoroughly remove makeup, dirt, and impurities from the skin.
  2. Exfoliation
    Regularly sloughing off dead skin cells to reveal smoother, newer skin.
  3. Toning
    Balancing the skin’s pH and preparing it for the steps that follow.
  4. Essence and Serums
    Applying lightweight but highly concentrated treatments that can include ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, or various natural extracts to address specific skin concerns.
  5. Moisturising
    Use a deeply hydrating moisturiser to lock in moisture and create a plump, radiant look.
  6. Sunscreen
    Daily application of a broad-spectrum SPF to protect the skin from harmful UV rays, which can damage the skin and contribute to signs of ageing.
  7. Sheet Masks
    Many people incorporate sheet masks infused with serums and essences for an extra boost of hydration and nutrients.

Furthermore, Dr. Hamdan Abdullah Hamed MBChB stresses the importance of focusing on lifestyle habits if wanting to obtain glass skin naturally. He says, “The focus of the glass skin trend is not just on the application of various products but also on long-term skincare habits and lifestyle choices. Diet, hydration, and stress management are often cited as equally important in achieving this flawless look.”

These lifestyle choices can be as simple as drinking enough water per day and getting enough sleep around 7-8 hours each night. It’s also recommended to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables to provide the skin with enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and engage in activities such as Yoga to improve health and reduce stress.

However, glass skin might not work for everyone’s skin type, and the effectiveness may differ dependent on where you are based in the world. As revealed in a recent report from The Swaddle which focused on why the trend doesn’t work for ‘Indian skin’, Dr Kiran Lohia, a dermatologist from Delhi, said: “K beauty is not good for Indian skin — it has too many steps [that] can actually cause irritation and also a lot of acne. Our skin is oilier, deals with more pollution, and our weather conditions are different than Korea. We cannot handle so many steps.”

Many others have voiced their concern about the trend of striving for a ‘perfect’ smooth complexion, free of blemishes becoming the new norm and putting pressure on people to achieve it.

There is also the issue of the amount of the products and waste accumulated throughout the multi-step routine. Statistics have shown that 120 billion units of beauty packaging are made annually, and research conducted by The Body Shop revealed that over £1 billion in skincare products are unused or abandoned. Therefore, it raises concerns around whether this routine is eco-friendly and how many products will be wasted if people struggle to find the right brand suitable for their skin while trying to achieve the look.

The truth is that achieving natural glass skin will take time, dedication, a strict routine and the right lifestyle choices. If these adjustments are made, then glass skin may not be so impossible to achieve the natural way.

Written by

  • Michelle Monaghan

    Originally from Australia, Michelle moved to the UK to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist. She will begin training for her NCTJ qualification with News Associates in November. Having studied Women's Studies as her Major at Flinders University, Michelle is passionate about bringing importance to these issues through her writing. Through her internship at Ankhä Magazine, she hopes to explore topics she hasn't explored in her writing before and learn and develop new skills to make her a better journalist.

More Articles