The Glass Skin Routine: Tips from a Top Facialist and Makeup Artist

Written by: Megan O’Neill


Published on: April 2, 2024


There’s great skin, and then there’s glass skin. The concept, which originated in Korea, involves a level of seeming porelessness along with a dew-drenched glow that’s achieved with multiple layers of light but intensely moisturizing skin care. Makeup is part of the trend, too, as makeup artist Pat McGrath demonstrated at Maison Margiela’s spring 2024 show and makeup artist and as beauty founder Jillian Dempsey has shown on countless red carpets over the recent awards season. However you get there, the look is especially appealing right now, as spring breezes swirl in and the prospect of summer inches closer.

“The glass skin look is an almost reflective, hydrated radiance that’s noticeable. I joke that I want my clients to leave looking so gleamy, they walk out with a slime trail,” says New York facialist Elizabeth Grace Hand, whose SoHo studio has become a downtown oasis for those seeking skin that positively beams. She emphasizes that anyone, no matter their skin type, can get the glassy effect by layering on the right nourishing, vitamin-rich formulas. “But if you don’t have time for layering, this new cream is sort of like glass skin in a bottle,” she says of goop’s 72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream. “It has a cool bouncy, jelly-water texture. You maximize the results when you layer it on as the last step, but you get plenty of glow when you use it alone, too.”

  1. goop Beauty
    72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream
    goop, $68/$61 with subscriptionSHOP NOW

Clinically shown to increase skin’s moisture levels and reduce the look of pores, the cream brightens and supports skin barrier function, too; the hydration lasts for up to 72 hours. It layers beautifully, and even a single application deposits the kind of satiny sheen that Dempsey loves. “I’ve been using the water-cream to create that super hydrated look on skin,” she says. “I like the immediate difference—I think it makes skin look so youthful, and makeup layers easily right over it. Smooth it onto one half of your face and look in the mirror at the difference compared to the other side.” Dempsey’s secret: Apply the water-cream first, then run her vibrating gold T-bar over the top. “You can use it to drive in the cream and get a subtle sculpting effect,” she says. Afterward, finish with a second layer of water-cream for maximum glass skin effect.

  1. Jillian Dempsey
    goop, $195SHOP NOW

The key really is the layering, says Hand. “Skin can absorb only so much; glass skin is also about what’s sitting on top,” she says. Once you’re happy with your skin, be strategic with makeup, says Dempsey: “Keep it light—and powder is a big no-no.” Below, a step-by-step DIY facial, plus expert tips and tricks for the prettiest, glossiest outcome.

The Glass Skin Facial—at Home



Even if you don’t wear makeup, thoroughly washing your face is crucial to making it look as luminous as possible. “We don’t even realize how much dirt and debris can settle on our skin, especially in a city like New York,” says Hand. “Most of us aren’t washing our face like we should. If you have dry to normal skin, do the first cleanse with an oil or balm. If you’re oily, start with micellar water. Then, for the second cleanse, use a gentle cream or gel cleanser, taking a minute to massage it in before rinsing.”

Step 1

  1. goop Beauty
    Luminous Cleansing Balm
    $68/$61 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
  2. de Mamiel
    Brightening Cleansing Oil
    goop, $96SHOP NOW
  3. Furtuna Skin
    Acqua Serena Micellar Cleansing Essence
    goop, $85SHOP NOW

Step 2

  1. Augustinus Bader
    The Foaming Cleanser
    goop, $73SHOP NOW
  2. goop Beauty
    Cloudberry Exfoliating Jelly Cleanser
    goop, $35/$25 with subscriptionSHOP NOW



How often you should exfoliate depends on your skin type, but do it consistently for the clearest, smoothest skin. “The mask from Klur is amazing for refining pores if you have oily skin, and it’s also gentle enough for dry skin,” says Hand of the powerfully skin-softening blend of alpha hydroxy acids, nourishing botanicals, and two different types of debris-dissolving clay. “When you rinse it off, your skin feels amazing. And omg, it smells so good—like Swiss Miss—you’ll die.”

  1. Klur
    Supreme Seed Delicate Purification Mask
    goop, $60SHOP NOW



“Doing both red and blue light can make such a difference,” says Hand. “Blue calms redness and breakouts; red is great for supporting collagen and elastin, which means you’re getting that bouncy look and feel to your skin. I love Celluma, but the best at-home LED mask is the one from Dr. Dennis Gross.”

  1. Dr. Dennis Gross
    DRx SpectraLite™ FaceWare Pro
    goop, $455SHOP NOW



“You’re adding an extra layer of hydration with a sheet mask,” says Hand. “The YINA one is nice and can help with depuffing. Smooth ice globes on top of the mask to really go for it.”

  1. YINA
    Divine Bio-Cellulose Mask
    goop, $98SHOP NOW



Don’t underestimate the glass-skin-conjuring powers of an incredible face mist. “Spritz on an atomizer mist before moisturizer, and do another layer on top of moisturizer,” says Dempsey. The rose-infused essence from Tata Harper is Hand’s favorite (and smells like heaven).

  1. Tata Harper
    Hydrating Floral Essence
    goop, $76SHOP NOW



Serums address specific skin issues—and this one from goop is clinically tested to zero in on wrinkles, barrier support, moisture levels, texture, and more. “It really helps with glow,” says Hand. “I love using it as a glassy skin serum.”

  1. goop Beauty
    Youth-Boost Peptide Serum
    goop, $150/$135 with subscriptionSHOP NOW



“I like to massage it onto the neck and décolleté area, too,” says Dempsey of the water-cream. If your skin still needs more nourishment, add a layer of face oil.

  1. goop Beauty
    72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream
    goop, $68/$61 with subscriptionSHOP NOW
  2. Furtuna Skin
    Due Alberi Biphase Moisturizing Oil
    goop, $225SHOP NOW



The best way to maintain gorgeous skin is to protect it daily with mineral sunscreen. Clean mineral formulas are the healthiest for skin (and the planet), and Weekend Skin—it’s an SPF 50 that blends right in—leaves a perfect glass skin glow in seconds.

    Weekend Skin SPF 50 + Vitamin C + Glow
    goop, $50SHOP NOW



“Light cream-based pigments—blush, lid tints, concealer, kohl eyeliner—with a gliding, gleamy texture create a beautiful glasslike stain,” says Dempsey. “I like a moisturized, worn-in makeup look with soft lines blended out.”

  1. Jillian Dempsey
    Lid Tint
    goop, $28SHOP NOW
  2. Jillian Dempsey
    Khôl Eyeliner
    goop, $20SHOP NOW
  3. goop Beauty
    Colorblur Glow Balm
    goop, $34SHOP NOW
  4. Jillian Dempsey
    FLYK Trick Mascara
    goop, $26SHOP NOW



Drench your face in the flower essence mist from Tata Harper one more time. “That’s the glass, right there,” says Hand.