Healthy glowing skin will never go out of style and it was still one of the most popular make-up looks at the autumn/winter 2019 fashion shows. ‘Glass skin’, the exaggerated take on the trend originating from South Korea, refers to a particularly glossy and radiant skin finish – the likes of which you’ve probably seen all over social media. But while we like it on our feeds, is it wearable in the real world, away from filters and studio lights?
We spoke to the make-up artist Nikki Wolff to discover how to recreate the glass skin finish and ensure it lasts throughout the day, without looking overly shiny or oily.
‘Glass skin’ explained
“When you think about glass, you imagine this even and smooth surface, so glass skin is that super reflective skin finish, like water, rather than anything that’s too metallic,” says Wolff.
And, while you might think you need to layer on lots of highlighting products, the secret to glass skin is how you apply your illuminator, rather than the amount you use.
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that to look really glowy, you just need to apply more product. That’s not the case. Instead, focus on where you are placing your highlighter. It’s about cleverly finding those points of your face that reflect the light. That’s what creates the allusion of a very glossy, glowy finish, while keeping your face looking natural.”
The secret to glass skin
Where are those light-reflecting places on your face? The trick to finding them involves good lighting and your moisturiser.
“Sit yourself underneath a good light and identify which parts of your face the light is hitting,” says Wolff. “Do it with your moisturiser newly on because your skin will be a little more wet and reflective, making it easier to work out.”
Where to apply your highlighter
“You’re likely to find that the centre of your eyelids reflect the light a lot, more than the rest of your eyes, as well as along your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and the cupid’s bow. Those areas are really pretty places to apply highlighter, because when your face moves, they give the illusion of an all-over glossiness that tricks someone into thinking your complexion is really glossy.”
Where shouldn’t you add glow?
“Highlighting is all about creating shape and dimension, so applying highlighter all over your face doesn’t achieve that. You might know to highlight your cheekbones, but only do so on the high points, as otherwise you run the risk of it falling into and accentuating the creases around your eyes. You might also find that around your nose catches the light, but that’s one place you probably want to avoid highlighting too, as it isn’t flattering. Don’t overdo your chin either, as that can make you look oily, not glowy – especially as the day goes on.”
What sort of products should I use?
“I’m obsessed with liquid products as they give the most incredible glow-from-within finish. Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid, in particular, gives you fresh ‘just out of the spa’ skin.”
“To make your glow last longer, go over your liquid highlighter with an illuminating powder. It will set your make-up, giving the look staying power, and your skin will still look glossy. Just be careful not be too heavy-handed – that’s why I prefer using brushes as they give you more control; there’s less risk of moving product or overloading the skin.”
Can you get glass skin with imperfections?
“It’s certainly more difficult to get a super glossy skin finish when your skin texture isn’t smooth and highlighting around imperfections can draw attention to them. I would stick to glossy, creamy products and avoid anything with a lot of shimmer in it, as that way you can create a dewy base that looks healthy, although it might not be as reflective as traditional glass skin. I’d recommend Becca’s Skin Love Glow Elixir as it has a sheer glossiness that doesn’t emphasise blemishes.”
Should I still use powder?
“This is the number one question when it comes to achieving glass skin. Obviously, you want to keep that really glossy texture, so you don’t want to put too much powder on, but it can help set make-up around your eyes and nose so shouldn’t be completely avoided.”
Nikki Wolff’s step-by-step guide to glass skin:
- Barbara Sturm Brightening Face Serum, £240.
1. Use a glowy moisturiser, like Barbara Sturm’s Brightening Face Serum, to prep the skin and lay the foundations for radiance. It will stop any dryness, which is the enemy of smooth skin texture.
Related article: 10 Face Primers That Will Instantly Brighton Your ComplexionCover FX Blurring Primer, £30Becca Aqualuminous Foundation, £32Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone, £30
4. Then, dab on touches of highlighter, as determined by the way your face catches the light. I recommend applying Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone with a Nabla Cosmetics Highlighter Brush.Tom Ford Sculpt & Illuminate Palette, £60Charlotte Tilbury's Air-Brush Flawless Finish, £34
6. Finish with an illuminating powder, like Charlotte Tilbury’s Air-Brush Flawless Finish, under the eyes and around the nose to set your make-up. Then, spritz on Cover FX’s Illuminating Finishing Spray for the perfect dewy finish.
Related article: 6 Easy Ways To Reduce Shine For Anyone With Oily Skin
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR UK