Everything You Need to Know About K-Pop Skincare
As K-Pop and its idols have become an international sensation in the past few years, K-Pop and Korean skincare have simultaneously exploded in popularity. K-Pop is as much about the music as it is about the effortless style, shocking hair, and crystal-clear skin of its stars. While celebrities across the globe appear to have perfect skin, many of them project a false reality through constant touch-ups in makeup and edited photos. The “glass skin” of K-Pop idols, however, is a phenomenon rooted in truth that has become a worldwide topic of interest.
So, what is “glass skin”? Skincare blogger and K-beauty expert Jude Chao defines glass skin as “exceptionally smooth, even-toned and lustrous skin that’s so flawless it has the appearance of glass.” While many terms exist for skin that is the envy of all, glass skin elicits a deeper, glow-from-within image that requires multifaceted approaches to achieve it.
Achieving and maintaining glass skin isn’t easy. Every-day people suffer from all kinds of blemishes and must constantly look for remedies that they hope will cure their acne, but most don’t have the time and/or money to expend on 12-step skincare routines. While K-Pop idols are far from normal people, they lead exciting lives that demand a lot from them and their skin—touring, performing, and sitting for interviews that require layers of makeup would wreak havoc on anyone’s complexion. Even though they put their bodies through so much, their jobs and their success partially depend on and require flawless skin.
In general, glass skin routines consist of the following steps. First, double cleanse your face. Until K-Pop and Asian skincare popularized it, the double cleanse method was unknown to most of the Western world. A single cleanse of the face is not enough to remove all the trapped dirt, sweat, and bacteria that accumulates in facial pores throughout the day. Using micellar water or a cleansing oil followed by a facial wash is a sure-fire way to remove everything from your face so that the products you have spent money on can actually soak in and work to help your skin.
After you cleanse your face, you need to exfoliate. Dead skin cells can accumulate and block pores, causing breakouts. Exfoliating two to three times a week removes these cells to smooth the skin and prevent blockages. While some use physical exfoliators, many people have become bigger supporters of chemical exfoliators as they do not cause micro-tears in the skin that let in bacteria and dirt. The next step is toning your skin. Toners have become more popular in recent years, but K-Pop toning is everything the rest of the world has been doing and more. Some K-Pop skincare routines involve applying up to 7 layers of toner to both balance the skin’s pH after face washes and exfoliants and initiate base hydration.
The next step is targeted treatments. Before adding a heavier serum to your skin, adding an essence that is lighter and more tailored to your needs is essential. Essences target issues that you may deal with that your best friend does not, so make sure you identify what you want to fix in your complexion and buy essences that focus on fixing that specific problem. Following up with a serum is a key step in K-beauty. They contain so many ingredients that work to target multiple skin issues, and ampoules (the Korean versions of serums) contain even more than regular serums.
Next is moisturizing for both your face and eyes. A lightweight formula that contains as many enriching and moisturizing ingredients is non-negotiable in the glass skin approach. Eye cream is also essential, as the skin around our eyes is the thinnest and the most subject to the elements and gravity. Keeping your facial skin moisturized, even if you are not trying to achieve the glass skin look, is something everyone should be doing for their health and wellness.
The last step of this standard glass skin routine is the face mask. Sheet masks and the like that contain ingredients that rejuvenate, moisturize, help with anti-aging, and more are critical to keep around for soothing the skin and locking in all the hard work you have done in the other steps.
While this basic formula is quite an effective one to follow to get the clear skin of your dreams,K-Pop idols all have their own skincare secrets that personally work for them to keep their glass skin looking pristine. For example, Young Bin from SF9 makes sure to always get into bed at a certain time whenever possible. ATEEZ’s Yeosangmoisturizes everywhere on his face except for his forehead. If he moisturizes there, he breaks out. Yeosang’s bandmate Wooyoung recommends washing your face with rice water, a tip he learned from his mother who passed it down to him. Momoland’sJooE only applies every single facial product with her ring fingers, a technique that is usually reserved for eye cream only.
While you do not need to incorporate all the eccentric methods that each and every K-Pop star swears by into your skincare routine, their overall dedication to finding what works for their skin and sticking to it is something to be imitated. Skincare routines and products only work if you are consistent with them, and K-Pop idols are the most consistent skincare enthusiasts out there.
To figure out where to start when putting together your own K-beauty routine, you can look up the thousands upon thousands of Korean skincare videos on YouTube and search for well-reviewed Korean skincare brands. Just like so much in life, skincare is a process of trial and error that yields incredible results once you figure out how to do it properly for yourself. If you have tried everything and nothing has worked, give K-Pop skincare a try. There are too many people who swear by it and so many products in the K-beauty market that something is bound to work. Trust the idols who know what they’re talking about (with the perfect glass skin to back it up)and start your own K-Pop skincare journey.