By KIM REYES-PALANCA
“Glass skin” or ultra dewy, luminous, reflective skin is a trend you could only expect from the K-beauty sphere. This hyper-glossy, plump, wet look on skin isn’t just about highlighters and creams. It requires dedication to some skincare, (okay, maybe a lot!) to make skin glow like J.Lo’s.
These makeup artists have mastered creating that translucent, glass skin glow, and it has become the signature look of their subjects. The essential steps that could give you the K-drama or K-pop superstar skin of your dreams, they present below.
Browse through @mkqua’s Instagram page and you’ll find glowing faces of celebrities (regular muses include Mariel Padilla, Anne Curtis, Liz Uy, and Elisse Joson), brides and other women made up into doll-like beauties. Here, he also generously shares tips and how-to videos on how to achieve his makeup style.
Mark Qua was influenced by global trainers from Laura Mercier while he was with the brand years ago. “They taught me how to make a really glowing, fresh and flawless finish,” he says. “It was a really different path from most artists of that time, when everything was about full coverage.”
“Beauty oils will really do the trick,” he says. “It’s a product that will give you the benefit of both skincare and that instant glow.” Sometimes he would even add a tiny drop directly on the cream-based prods, work it in before working it on skin.
K-beauty is strict on skincare and requires extra steps when doing glass skin. “Full-on skincare from beauty mists to beauty oils, to serums to moisturizers are all really, really important,” Mark says.
“I use cream products most of the time,” he says. “Layering cream over cream gives a much more hydrated skin finish.” Mark adds to that natural glow by adding the illusion of a natural flush. “When it comes to color selection I can go from nude pinks to and cool peach, or even bright reds to give that natural pop of color.”
He also recommends using Téviant Glow to Glass Astral. This is a silky, pearlized product that gives an ultra-shine crystal effect on skin.
Application and techniques
The key to a smooth finish is to use like with like. “If you’re using cream products, best to use cream highlighters or highlighter sticks,” he says. “If you’re using liquid foundation, then use liquid highlighters. For powder, use pressed or baked highlighter. It is sensible to use products of the same type or family.” Another tip: Blend out product with a soft brush until it gets diffused.
Anthea had captured her generation’s beauty ideal even before glass skin was a thing. It was a makeup style evident in her work very early on. “I still remember the first time I saw someone use highlighter. I was assisting makeup artist Jigs Mayuga at that time, and he used this MAC highlighter called ‘Whisper of Guilt.’ That started my obsession with highlighters.”
A few months later Anthea was booked for a beauty editorial that was all about skin and skincare rituals. “The editor was pleased with how I did the skin of the model, and said that I should keep that style of makeup application,” she says. “I have been trying out variations of that glowing, luminous skin look ever since.”
Check out @antheabueno on IG and you’ll find she’s the go-to for many popular celebs and It-girls like Janine Gutierrez, Liza Soberano, Leila Alcasid, Kelsey Merritt, and Jess Wilson.
“I love using cream or liquid tints for a hint of color on the skin,” Anthea says. “For me, these look more natural, especially if you diffuse these with a bit of foundation that’s left over on the brush or blender sponge. Blending it seamlessly with your base makeup is key.”
As you would expect with this Korean beauty trend, a skincare routine is inescapable. “Always start out with skincare,” she says. “I can’t emphasize enough how thoroughly prepping one’s skin can help minimize the products you’ll be using for the base. The result is a natural glow and texture which makes skin peek through. Glass skin is all about a plump, moist, and healthy looking base.”
Anthea advises it’s important to assess skin. As long as you target whatever the skin concern is, makeup will look better and more seamless. “If I have time, I would even prep the model’s skin with a hydrating mask to get rid of dry patches, or a mattifying one depending on their skin type,” she says. “It depends on what the skin needs at the moment. I do love using the Foreo UFO mask since it has different masks I can work with. They have illuminating and mattifying ones. Foreo UFO warms or cools depending on what my client’s skin needs.”
Application and techniques
Anthea always starts with liquids or creams that have the lightest consistency, building up to the heaviest, and then setting with powder. “When it comes to highlighters, what I use to highlight under the eyes is usually different from what I use on the cheekbones,” she says. “I use light-reflecting products mostly under the eyes just to cancel out shadows, especially if the person I’m doing will be photographed. It also depends whether it’s for a shoot or a whole day event. Normally if it’s for a shoot, I don’t use powder at all.”
Always start with skincare. I can’t emphasize enough how thoroughly prepping one’s skin can help minimize the products you’ll be using for the base. The result is a natural glow and texture which makes skin peek through. Glass skin is all about a plump, moist, and healthy looking base.
Thailand-based makeup artist, Best, was catapulted to fame in the Philippines after working on the beauty campaigns for brand Snail White. It was this (impossibly) immaculate, poreless, and youthful makeup effect that got her highly recognized—giving muses Erich Gonzales, Julia Barretto, and Lucy Torres-Gomez their angelic, otherwordly glow for ads, covers, and red carpet looks.
In case you’re wondering why her Instagram handle is @luckysevenb, “I was born on the seventh of January, and surrounded by number seven my entire life, so I believe it’s my lucky number,” she says. “The ‘b’ is from the first letter of my nickname, Best.”
Products and Skincare
“I really love to use toner or liquid lotion with a cotton pad to clean all dirt from the skin,” she says. “After that, I always use my hand to warm up the skincare on my customer’s face, then wait and let it get absorbed. Then I apply foundation with a brush.”
When asked what Snail White products she shares, “I basically use all the products in the line. You can never go wrong with great skincare.” Koreans use the double-cleansing method to get clear, glassy skin. Snail White recommends using their Whipp Soap to cleanse, then Icy Mask, and Moisture Facial Cream to boost a bright glow.
Application and techniques
Best explains that healthy skin is neither matte nor oily. “The first and foremost rule is to balance matte and glowing skin to make skin look perfect and radiant,” Best says. “I apply different techniques depending on what the customer’s skin needs.”
Glass skin, as you already know, requires patience. “Please don’t forget to let all the products get absorbed into the skin perfectly,” she says. “Not rushing the process is the key!”
Adding color is as important. “Korean drama actors and actresses always look so natural, with less makeup,” Best says. “But still, natural makeup doesn’t mean that it should look pale or lack color. The goal is to look fresh, clean, and young! In this case, I always use color references that yield the freshest look on real skin, which is nude pink.”