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 Since the beginning of 2021, clear skin is something everyone wants to attain. Unlike the heavy makeup trend of the 2010s, the 2020s focuses on more clean, natural looks combining Korean and Western beauty trends. It’s not surprising that skincare routines have gone viral on several platforms such as Tiktok and Instagram being the main forces for this ongoing trend. What is glass skin? Glamour’s Sarah Wu claims that “Glass skin” is a phrase that originated on the K-beauty scene and quickly went viral on social media. It’s used to describe a complexion so luminous; it could be modeled from glass.” While researching this topic, I discovered Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach and Lily claims that in order to obtain this complexion “You can’t just be hydrated and look that way. Your skin really needs to be its healthiest in all aspects. Babies have ‘see-through skin’ and that’s because their skin is still so healthy.” Hence, achieving such a luminous complexion requires a healthy and balanced lifestyle, as well as dedication to a skincare regimen that is suited for your skin type.


  • Oil cleanser and gentle foaming cleanser for double cleansing
  • Exfoliator
  • Toner
  • Essence
  • Serum
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Face Masks


What is double cleansing and what makes it different than traditional cleansing? Shari Marchbein, a dermatologist in New York City tells Allure that Double cleansing “is extremely important to remove makeup, dirt, and pollutants that have accumulated on your skin during the day, before heading to bed, sleeping with makeup on, or forgetting to rinse your face before bed is a big no-no as it can cause major acne breakouts including painful cysts.” Some recommended products for Double cleansing are to use an oil-based cleanser or cleansing balm (like Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm or DHC Deep Cleansing Oil). An alternative product for an oil-based cleanser is to use micellar water like (Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water) which acts as an oil-based cleanser and make-up remover. For facial cleansers, it’s imperative to select one based on skin type and other needs that your skin might be lacking. A list of cleaners recommended by dermatologists are:


Why make cleansing a two-step process? Double cleansing helps you clean your skin from all the makeup, dirt, and excess oils that are clogged into the pores. Shani Darden, a licensed aesthetician based in Los Angeles claims that “Double cleansing with micellar water can be helpful to remove the layer of makeup to then let the cleanser truly clean the skin. That makes room for any products you apply afterward to penetrate deeper, making them more effective.” It’s imperative to note that double cleansing is not for daily use or for all skin types though. People with sensitive, dry, or rosacea skin textures should follow up the cleansing process with water to prevent dehydration.


Exfoliation helps to remove dirt and impurities from the face to unclog pores from future breakouts. Some examples are blackheads, whiteheads, and premature blemishes. Exfoliators also help to give the skin a chance to replenish and breathe after a long day of wearing makeup or outdoor exposure. Some lists of exfoliators include:


What does a facial toner do? Toners help to remove any last traces of dirt or impurities left inside pores caused by air pollution, sebum production, and makeup. Toners also help to restore the skin’s natural pH balance that achieves a much more even skin tone and reduces the penetration of impurities caused by the environment. “Toners are most helpful and necessary for people with oily or acne-prone skin, or for people who want extra cleansing after wearing makeup or other heavy skin products such as sunscreen,” claims New York-based dermatologist, Dr. Hadley King. How often should I use a toner? Unlike, a facial peel or exfoliants, toners can be applied to the skin daily, once every morning and once at night. Here are some recommendations for toners:


What is a skin essence? Essences is a water-based product for the purpose of hydrating, boosting, and overall protecting the skin’s barrier. Ever since its introduction into the K-Beauty market, various skincare brands have been formulating their own essence that helps achieve radiant “Glass skin”. You might be thinking, essences and toners are the same, right? Wrong. Byrdie Magazine’s Syden Abrenica asks Charlotte Cho of Soko Glam and Sarah Lee and Christine Chang of Glow Recipe to help explain the difference between a toner and an essence. “Toners are traditionally more thought of as an astringent, pH balancing, clarifying step—almost as a second step after cleansing,” they say. “Toners are often dispensed onto a cotton pad, which helps to wipe away any residue after cleansing. Essences are liquid treatments that efficiently infuse the skin with hydration and/or anti-aging actives and have a lightweight texture that is great for layering.” We listed some recommended essences based on different skin textures, (*quick tip for those with sensitive skin: you can opt-out for a fragrance-free essence.)


What exactly is a Serum?

Serums are essentially liquids or gels containing a high concentration of skin actives. Skin active ingredients are naturally found components that work on the skin internally to repair, heal, and rejuvenate skin blemishes caused by acne and any sort of environmental causes. These ingredients in serums also help to treat other specific problems such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars. This step is crucial for glass skin since serums are formulated to penetrate antioxidants and skin-active ingredients to target any skin concerns. For a moisturizing serum, board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Marine Nussbaum suggested purchasing “a hydrating serum should contain hyaluronic acid and peptide. Hyaluronic acid keeps skin plump and glowing—and basically allows your skin to repair itself easier.” If anti-aging is your main concern, Nussbaum advises looking for a serum that contains retinol (which increases skin cell turnover), glycolic acid, and vitamin C.” If you want to obtain naturally dewy skin, here are some serums recommended by dermatologists based on all skin types:


I know what you’re thinking, why would I need to moisturize if I have oily skin or acne-prone skin? When you’re dealing with oily/acne-prone skin, adding a moisturizer might feel like adding fuel to the flames. However, dermatologists claim that adding a moisturizer is still part of a crucial skincare routine. If you are using products that are high in benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, your skin may feel dehydrated. If you want to attain “glass skin” try a lightweight moisturizer that packs powerful hydration and antioxidants. I highly recommend that PUR cosmetics 4-in-1 Cloud Cream or COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion. These moisturizers are not only light-weight creams, but they contain antioxidants formulated to minimize pores and regenerate skin cells.


In Michelle Phan’s Ultimate Guide to Sunscreen, sunscreen helps to protect our skin against UVB and UVA rays. These UV rays can cause severe damage to the skin, causing premature aging, sunspots, and skin cancer. “UV rays can harm our skin during any season and any type of weather,” says Sourab Choudhury, DO, a board-certified dermatologist and the chief medical officer at Dermatology Specialists in New York City. “The temperature outside doesn’t matter from a UV perspective. The sun’s rays can shine just as powerfully on a cold day as they might during the summer.”

“What SPF should I use?”

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, is a scale of how well sunscreen will protect the skin for UVB rays, the radiation from the sun that causes sunburns and the main contributor to skin cancer. For instance, applying SPF 15 sunscreen would allow your skin sun protection for approximately 150 minutes. For outdoor activities such as the beach or jogging, a sunscreen with SPF 30 is highly recommended. SPF 30 would provide 30 times the protection, allowing 300 minutes of sun protection and less reapplication of sunscreen. There is also PA protection, which protects the skin from UVA rays. PA+ is the least amount of protection, PA++, is double the amount, and PA+++ is the most amount. BTS’s Jimin uses CICA Sun Spray, a sunscreen packing SPF 50+ and PA +++, this product also contains Chamomile extract which helps to brighten the skin and absorbs quickly. Should I apply sunscreen before my makeup? Yes, its recommended to wait a few minutes before applying a foundation so the sunscreen can be absorb by the skin.”Don’t rely on makeup for the best source of SPF as it’s notoriously unreliable in terms of the level of protection. “Plus, makeup isn’t always applied evenly and comes off easily, decreasing optimal coverage. You want to wear sunscreen underneath your foundation — it actually provides a better base for your makeup application.” exaplins Dr. Bruce Katz, a New-York based dermatolgist. An alternative option is to find a foundation that is formulated with SPF. For example, Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Lasting Foundation with SPF 15 or L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Up to 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation with SPF 25.

face mask:

Face Masks can be really effective to deliver an intense moisture and nourishment to the skin. When purchasing face masks, its important to get sheet masks that are infused with ultra-moistuizing ingredients that improve the appearance of pores and reduce redness for illuminating glass skin. Mediheal Tea-Tree Essential Blemish Control Sheet Mask is one of the best face masks that have partnered with iconic K-Pop band BTS. This mask is infused with tee tree oil to help with redness and any blemishes on the skin. Dermatolgists recommend that face masks should be incorptored into your skincare routine once or twice a week. Masking should follow up with cleansing, toning, and applying essence to provide an extra layer of moisture to help prepare the skin for makeup or before bed. The Creme Shop has animated face masks infused with different ingredients for different needs such as, Hyalauronic Acid for a moisturizing treatment or the Animated Bear Mask infused with honey that acts as an antibacterial to combat acne and moisturize as well. If you have some stubborn or premature blemishes, you can try Hero Cosmetics’ Mighty Patches for a nighttime skincare routine to ahcieve flawless-looking skin.

The Her Campus National Editors write about products we love and think you’ll love too. Her Campus has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. All products are in stock and all prices are accurate as of publication.

Amanda Ultimo is an international business major with an associate's in Business Administration. Serving as Lead Campus Ambassador for The Women's Network and former Treasurer for WGSA, both organizations that focus on Women's Rights and Equality. Amanda also provides written pieces about fashion, culture, art, and beauty.
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