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An esthetician’s guide to creating long lasting glass skin.

An esthetician’s guide to creating long lasting glass skin.

There is much buzz going on in our industry surrounding the term “glass skin”. With Korean skincare gaining notoriety at a rapid rate in the United States and through social media outlets with professional estheticians showcasing their work with the glow seen around the world on display, there is no wonder why “glass skin” is trending, and with good reason.

Although newer in the United States, this level of glow is not at all new in terms of that healthy radiance that is the norm in Korean skin care culture. This glow is much more than oils and good lightening. True glass skin is from the bottom layer up and not just about products sitting on the top layer of the skin giving a greasy or oily look.

So what is glass skin really? Glass skin is a lit from within glow, a radiance that is seen with or without products on the surface. The skin has an even tone, is well exfoliated, free from vellus hair (achieved by dermaplaning) and has a dewy, plumped up skin with skin cells that are full of water/hydration. Glass skin appears moist and reflects light. The skin should have a bouncy and firm appearance.

Now that we know the appearance, let’s discuss how to achieve it. The number one key to truly radiant skin is – WATER! One simply must maintain a healthy level of water consumption for the skin to function at its highest capacity. Diet is another key to a beautiful complexion, so make sure you’re getting plenty of good healthy foods and foods rich in Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s have wonderful benefits for the skin and its natural oil production. * Korean diets are full of omega rich foods and are another reason you see such a healthy glow from the skin.

Next is the home care regimen. To achieve true glass skin, this is about more than what you as the esthetician are doing in the treatment room. Sure, you can leave your clients skin glossy and glowing, take beautiful social media photographs, but are these results long lasting? Home care is equally if not more important to achieving true glass skin and its approach is multi-faceted and takes both time and commitment from you and from the client.

Glass skin has multiple steps in home care so the client who wants the quickest home care routine is less likely to be the one who will maintain the healthy glow post facial treatment. However, for those who are truly seeking to take the after-glow home, these are tried and true steps that can achieve long lasting glass skin glow.

Double cleansing. All good skincare routines begin with a good double cleanse and that lies first in a good oil cleanser. Oil cleansing removes makeup, dirt, pollutants and cleanses the pallet for the corrective cleanser. Contrary to belief, even oily skin clients can benefit from an oil cleanse. Firstly, oil attracts oil, so a good oil cleanser will draw up oil. Secondly, an oil cleanser doesn’t remain on the skin so any oil put on the skin will be cleansed and rinsed away, so don’t be afraid to utilize this method for all your client’s skin.

Corrective Cleansers – Now is the time to know the skin type and skin conditions that you & your clients are looking to treat. Look for cleansers that perform while also maintaining the skins barrier, ingredients that do not strip the skin of natural oil production and or dries out the surface of the skin thus compromising the barrier. Corrective cleansers often carry actives that can address more specific needs. Cleansing should be done both morning and night.

Toners, Aquas and Essence – This is where things get interesting in Korean skin care. Gone are the days of astringents and toners that carry alcohols that strip the skin down to an acidic mess. Korean toners are packed full of hydrators, peptides and all kinds of delicious ingredients that act as a tall drink of water for the skin. Korean toners are not meant to be swiped or wiped across the skin with cotton. Toners or Aquas are pressed into the skin tissue layer by layer. Korean skincare toners are known to be layered up to 7 layers for those needing the most hydration. 7-layer toning can add much volume and bounce back to the skin. As estheticians you should be able to look at the skin and instruct your clients on the level of layering the skin needs. Oilier skin will not need to layer the same way aging and drier skin types will need. This method is hands down one of the best kept secrets in achieving the glass skin glow.

Exfoliation – As estheticians we should be able to determine if the client’s skin will need to be exfoliated between services, a client that is not coming in on a regular basis will need to do some level of exfoliation between services, vs. clients that we see bi-weekly who may not. Korean skin care offers many options for gentle exfoliation that is without risk of overdoing it with scrubs and harsh chemicals. There are fruit acids, spicules and dissolvable liquid micro-needles that can be a gentle and effective way to keep dead skin cells from accumulating between services, because as we know, dull skin will not allow for the glow to shine through. Once a week should be an adequate recommendation for home exfoliation unless the client is having some sort of barrier issue that might require more and or less. As a rule, depending on what the client is using, no more than 3x a week.

Serums – This is Rolls Royce step of the skincare routine as this is where you are feeding the skin cells with the nutrients that keep the cells performing at the highest level. Finding the proper serums and ingredients is key, so it is important for estheticians to not only know ingredients, but also know how to educate your clients on the ingredients. In Korean skincare you will find many different textures to serums, some are more liquid like a toner or essence, some are thicker like serums we are used to seeing and some formulated in a cream based. Serums can be layered (we recommend no more than two at a time) and should go from thinnest to thickest when doing so. Also remember to give each layer proper time to penetrate (about two minutes between layers) before moving on to the next layer. This is key to the glow. Serums should be used twice daily, and we recommend that the serums be different morning and night based on client’s needs, age, and skin conditions.

Moisturizer - This is the icing on the cake and all skin types, even oily skin needs to apply moisturizer. This keeps the skin supple, adds hydration, locks in correctives from the serum and slows down aging. Finding the right moisturizer for the skin type, not skin condition, is very important especially when dealing with oily & problematic skin. Moisturizers come in different weights and different ingredients and can change based on the time of year.

Sun Protection – The most important step of them ALL. If you have never experienced a Korean SPF you are truly missing out. Gone are the days of the heavyweight, stark white, un-blendable sun protection. Not to mention almost impossible for higher Fitzpatrick’s to blend into the skin. Korean SPF is light weight, full of hydrators and infused with ingredients that not only offer full spectrum protection, but also ingredients that act as tyrosinase inhibitors. So you are not only protecting the skin from the outside but also protecting from the inside. Korean skincare also introduced us the wonderful and amazing BB creams that are both sun protection as well as a light make up coverage that leaves a dewy finish. Talk about a win-win.

Sheet masks – This step is optional, however, if you can get a client to commit to a weekly Korean sheet mask (post exfoliation preferable) then you are really setting the skin up for high level of nutrients, hydrators and actives time to soak into the skin cells. When the serum-soaked sheet mask is applied, it creates a barrier that helps prevent fast evaporation of the actives, trapping and locking in ingredients.

So now that we have discussed this level of home care for your clients, you have set yourself up in the treatment room for a highly performative facial with lasting results. Korean skincare facials range from a basic facial to infusion facial that give you the space and time to use multiple tools, ingredients and modalities that give TRUE long lasting glass skin glow and not just a glow that looks good for your social media content.

To learn more about professional Korean skincare for your treatment rooms - please reach out to us at or find us at


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