Glass skin means smooth, healthy, and glowing skin, and there are many factors that can impact your ability to achieve that smooth and dewy look, such as weather, diet, hormones, and so much more.
It might seem daunting, to be faced with so many factors, especially the ones we have no control over, but one thing that we can actually control is our routine. Having a good skincare routine means feeding your skin the ingredients that will contribute positively to its general condition and appearance.
In the hierarchy of skincare products, cleansers and sunscreen stand at the top of the chain, because they serve as the basis of skin maintenance, and everything else can be added to the routine. Cleansers help to remove dirt, residual makeup, and impurities on the face, and they should aim to clean without making the skin dry and tight.
The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a dermatologist-approved wash that contains vitamins B3, B5, and hydrating glycerin to give the user a gentle and effective cleanse. It is also hypoallergenic, so it is suitable for those with sensitive skin. It is not the most glamorous and hyped-up cleanser, but it is a dependable and well-loved option that has been around for a long time. At $8.65 for 125 ml, definitely give it a shot.
If K-beauty is your thing, try the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. It is a low-pH gel cleanser that cleanses without drying out the skin. The protective film (acid mantle) over the outer layer of the skin (stratum corneum) has a low-pH of 4.4 to 6, so a high-pH cleanser can potentially damage these two structures and lead to dry, sensitive skin. This cleanser is gentle and helps to keep the skin within its natural pH level. Ranging from $11 to $14 for 150ml, it is a good mid-range cleanser to try out.
Toners are products to be used in between cleansers and serums. They help to remove impurities from your face and add a touch of moisture after a cleansing wash. Some qualities to look out for in toners are that they are alcohol-free and contain ingredients that suit your skin type (eg. Cica for acne-prone skin, AHAs and BHAs for oily skin, hyaluronic acids for dry skin)
Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner is a gentle, affordable toner that will not strip your skin of moisture due to its alcohol-free nature. Coming in at $11.50 for 150ml, it is a good toner for beginners or those who are not too particular about their toners.
The Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion is a slightly pricier alcohol-free option, but it contains four types of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it absorbs and attracts water to the skin when applied, helping to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles while helping the skin look plump and dewy. Coming in between $19 to $25 with two varieties that cater to different skin types, it is definitely a product to look out for.
Essences are products that work in tandem with toners to prime the skin. It gives the skin a hit of hydration and helps your serums and moisturisers penetrate your skin better, making your skin look brighter and dewier.
The COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is a viral product on social media, and for good reason too: it not only moisturises the skin, but also helps to stimulate collagen production, and soothes damaged skin. Snail slime is produced not only to help snails move, but also to protect them from cuts, bacteria, and UV rays. By harnessing these benefits into a facial essence, it will definitely be a propellant for glass skin.
There are many different types of serums on the market, formulated with different actives. Actives are essentially ingredients that target certain problems, such as dullness, acne, dryness, and ageing.
For AM routines, look out for the Sephora Collection Ultra Glow Serum, as it contains vitamins C and E. Vitamin C helps to brighten the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation (darker patches and spots on the face caused by sun exposure, post-inflammation, etc), while vitamin E helps to combat damage from free radicals and help to repair the skin. The product is $30 for 30ml, which is pricey but is more affordable than serums containing similar ingredients.
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is an active that can be used in AM and PM routines. Some of its benefits include reducing water loss through the increase of ceramide production, decreasing pore size, as well as calming and fading post-acne redness (especially when used with an acid; more below). The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is a clear-cut offering that gives the skin a hit of the aforementioned benefits in an affordable product. At an affordable price of $13 per 30ml, it is no wonder it is a must-have product flaunted by many skincare gurus on social media.
Chemical exfoliants are acids (the more popular ones being glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, and azelaic acid) that get rid of dead skin cells by breaking the bonds that hold them together. The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA is a good option for beginners to try as lactic acid is a gentler exfoliant as compared to other AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid), so those who are new to chemical exfoliants can give it a shot before looking for other exfoliants which may suit their skin types better.
Do note that, like physical exfoliants (eg. facial scrubs), chemical exfoliants should not be used daily. Keep usage to a weekly or bimonthly basis.
Tone-up cream is a moisturiser that brightens the skin in the most natural, glow-from-within way. The Innisfree Jeju Cherry Blossom Tone-up Cream contains two hero ingredients: Jeju cherry blossom leaf extract, which helps to brighten the skin, and betaine, which, like hyaluronic acid, is a humectant. A little goes a long way with this $31 product for making the skin look dewy and rosy.
As mentioned above, sunscreen is one of the core pillars of a skincare routine. Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence is a Japanese sunscreen with a very lightweight with a watery gel-like texture. This beloved drug-store sunscreen contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid, Royal Jelly extract, and Butylene Glycol to keep the face moisturised and smooth. The best part of this product though is that it does not leave a white cast, a prominent feature of physical sunscreens due to the presence of titanium oxide and zinc. This highly-raved product is $19.90, which is a good value for the price as the quality is on par with its pricier counterparts.
For on-the-go sunscreen applications, sunscreen sticks are the way to go. The Shisedo Clear Suncare Stick has been raved about online for being a sunscreen stick that protects the skin while keeping makeup intact. Though it comes with a high-end price tag of $39, this non-comedogenic sunscreen stick is a convenient and easy option for sun protection.
The aforementioned products are mere guidelines to help build a glass skin routine, but it all boils down to skin type and tolerance. A routine is only as helpful as how well-received it is when it is all applied, hence it is important to find out what goes well with your skin type so that you are one step closer to healthy-looking skin.