The term “K-beauty,” or Korean beauty, may be unheard of to most individuals, with it typically referring to a stringent skincare regimen that focuses on natural ingredients. The philosophy inherent within K-beauty—hydrated skin leading to healthy skin—is a key part of all the various micro-trends associated with K-beauty, some of which include honey skin and glass skin.
To learn about either one of these goals and whether they adhere to your natural beauty regimen, check out our quick guide below:
While the name may suggest otherwise, the term “honey skin” isn’t directly tied to any specific Manuka honey product, but rather it’s “more about skin that looks super-nourished, dewy, smooth, and plumped up. There’s a sweetness to honey skin like bouncy baby skin,” says Alicia Yoon, who is the founder of a Korean beauty vender, Peach + Lily, and an expert in K-beauty. “Honey skin, like glass skin, is also a long-held skin ideal and a ‘look’ that’s been coveted in Korea for some time now, because it’s also all about improving skin health in a fundamental way. Honey skin is best accomplished when skin is well-nourished and plumped up with hydration.” A honey skin type is said to be more supple and smooth while having an understated manner of reflecting off light that’s a bit more diffuse when compared to glass skin.
Often sought after as a beauty ideal in Korea and within the K-beauty global community, “glass skin” describes perfectly smooth, crystal-clear, and nearly reflective skin. It’s not diffuse or shimmery—glass skin produces a slicker appearance like that of a mirror or glass, thereby allegedly reflecting light. The ultimate end result of glass skin is to appear “pore-less,” though experts agree the act of shrinking pores isn’t actually possible, as the size of your pores is genetically determined, but it’s possible to reduce their appearance through the right routine and products if that’s something someone wants.
“It really is all about very healthy skin that has the proper support it needs to be glowing from within,” says Yoon. “Like glass, the skin is almost see-through, and that quality comes with skin that’s free of UV damage or hyperpigmentation, including the cloudiness that skin can develop when there is underlying UV damage.”
The many adjectives used for describing K-beauty ideals—bright, translucent—may feel exclusive toward anyone who lacks a fair complexion. However, per Yoon, K-beauty products and rituals are inclusive in nature. “The fundamentals remain the same in accomplishing glass skin and honey skin for different skin tones,” Yoon said.
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