Understanding the differences between glass skin and oily skin can help determine which types of skincare products, treatments and routine will best benefit your individual needs.
The "Glass Skin" trend, which originated in Korea, rose to popularity in 2013, becoming a staple of the Korean skincare industry and synonymous with the coveted Korean beauty look.
While the trend didn't become widely known outside of Korea until 2017 — when Korean makeup artist Ellie Choi shared her routine on social media — it's now taken the beauty world by storm, catapulting its way into mainstream beauty culture.
In this blog post, we'll break down the key differences between glass skin and oily skin so that you can make informed decisions regarding your skincare.
Glass Skin vs. Oily Skin: Understanding the Differences
The differences between glass skin and oily skin should be kept in mind when considering your skincare routine; knowing which one you have — and the best ways to treat it — will ensure you get the most out of your skincare routine.
Glass skin is the result of internal and external hydration and a term used to describe a clear, smooth and glossy yet luminous complexion — almost like looking through a pane of glass — that consists of minimal pores and blemishes, even texture, perfectly hydrated and glowing skin.
While oily skin is a skin type caused by excess sebum (oil) production from over-active sebaceous glands that can lead to a greasy and shiny complexion, clogged pores and an increased risk of acne breakouts.
How to determine if your skin is glowy or oily?
To determine if you have oily or glass skin, there are 4 factors you need to consider, but first, you must cleanse your face and wait.
After washing your face and waiting an hour, you need to:
1. Check T-Zone Area
The easiest way to determine if your skin is glowy or oily is by taking a closer look at your T-zone area — forehead, nose, and chin — which tends to be the oiliest part of the face.
Oily skin will usually appear more congested in the T-zone area with clogged pores, blackheads, and whiteheads, while glass skin will have an even texture with minimal pore congestion.
2. Evaluate Shine
Another way to determine if you have oily or glass skin is by looking in the mirror and evaluating if your skin has an oily shine or a healthy and natural glow.
Oily skin tends to have a greasy shine that can be seen overall on the face, while glass skin has a healthy and natural glow.
3. Note Any Greasy Feelings
Throughout the day, consider monitoring your skin, paying attention to any changes in oiliness that may occur, and taking notes of how your skin feels.
Oily skin will usually feel greasy to the touch, as if you have a thin film over it, and may start feeling shiny a few hours after washing your face.
Glass skin, however, will stay balanced throughout the day without any greasy feelings.
4. Look At The Appearance of Pores
Having a well-cleansed and hydrated complexion is key to maintaining healthy skin and gives you that coveted smoother, plumper, and glowing look.
On the other hand, too much sebum on your face combined with dead skin cells can result in clogged pores — either in the form of whiteheads or blackheads — which then leads to enlarged pores and an uneven texture that's rough to the touch.
So, if your pores appear enlarged and look filled with sebum and dirt, you have oily skin; if they seem smaller and less visible, then you likely have glass skin.
If you have oily skin, but glass skin sounds like a skincare goal you'd like to achieve, with these 7 easy steps, you can go from oily skin to glass skin in no time.
How to achieve glass skin? + Best Products For Glass Skin
The key to achieving glass skin consists of a multiple-step skincare routine that includes double cleansing, gently exfoliating, toning, applying hydrating essence and/or serums, and moisturizing to create and maintain smooth and glowing skin that of which resembles a pane of glass.
When searching for products, look for ones that contain hyaluronic acid and/or glycerin to hydrate the skin, ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier, niacinamide and/or peptides to brighten the complexion, and antioxidants to protect from environmental stressors.
Here are the steps and some of our favorite products to help you achieve glass skin:
Step #1: Double Cleanse
Double cleansing consists of using an oil-based cleanser or oil-cleansing balm to remove excess sebum, surface dirt, makeup, and SPF, followed by a water-based cleanser to thoroughly cleanse the skin of any remaining impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils, allowing for better absorption of the other products in your routine.
Our favorite products for double cleansing are:
Oil-Based Cleanser: Bioderma Atoderm Cleansing Oil
Oil-Cleansing Balm: Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
Water-Based Cleanser: CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
If you want to know more about the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser and whether it's suitable for your skin, read my detailed review here.
Step #2: Gently Exfoliate
Exfoliation helps slough away dead skin cells and unclog pores from sebum, dirt, bacteria and impurities, leaving you with a smooth, even-looking and luminous complexion.
Chemical exfoliants (AHAs and BHAs) dissolve away dead skin cells, while physical exfoliants (beads, seeds or granules scrubs) buff away dead cells mechanically; that said, both chemical and physical exfoliants work well, as long as they are used in moderation and as recommended on the product label; here are 10 steps to help you exfoliate properly.
Gently exfoliate with chemical or physical exfoliants no more than 2-3 times a week, depending on your skin type and the severity of your skin concerns.
Our favorite products for gently exfoliating are:
Chemical (AHAs and BHAs) exfoliants: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® Ultra Gentle Daily Peel
Physical exfoliants: SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub
Step #3: Tone
Toning helps rebalance the skin's pH level and remove any residual dirt and impurities while preparing the skin for the rest of your skincare routine.
Our favorite product for toning is:
Toner: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-Tight Toner
Step #4: Hydrate
Apply an essence or serum with high concentrations of hydrating and skin-repairing ingredients to hydrate and nourish the skin.
Our favorite products for hydrating are:
Essence: Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
Serum: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum
Step #5: Moisturize
Moisturizing locks in hydration and moisture and restores the skin's natural barrier function, all while protecting your skin from environmental damage throughout the day.
Our favorite product for moisturizing is:
Moisturizer: Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Firming Moisturizer
Step #6: Sheet Mask (Optional)
Sheet masks can be used as an optional step to give your skin an extra boost of hydration and nourishment.
Our favorite sheet masks are:
Sheet Masks: The Dermal Collagen Essence Masks
If you want to know more about these Korean sheet masks and what they can do for your skin, read my detailed review here.
Understanding your skin type will help you choose the right products, which is a key factor, along with following the right skincare routine, to achieve a balanced, healthy and glowing complexion.
Skin type and needs can vary greatly, which is why there is no one-size-fits-all solution for finding the right product for your skin.
Fortunately, there are many skincare product available on the market that address each individual's skin type and specific skin needs, so experiment until you find something that works best for you.
By consistently following the right skincare routine and incorporating skincare products formulated with skin-nourishing ingredients, you can achieve a glass-like complexion.