‘Cream Skin’: The Effortless Korean Beauty Trend Replacing ‘Glass Skin’

Looking back at 2019, one beauty trend in particular reigned supreme on Instagram and Pinterest and dominated new skincare launches: glass skin.
Shine-free, entirely matte skin finally took a back seat. Instead, we became obsessed with the ultra glowy craze (which hails from the world's unofficial skincare capital, Korea), mixing oils, serums, moisturisers and exfoliators to create skin so dewy and radiant it looked almost transparent and reflective. But with 2020 just around the corner, it seems there is another Korean skincare movement to get on board with. Enter: cream skin. And it's a lot less effort than its predecessor.
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Talking to Stylecaster, Soko Glam cofounder Charlotte Cho explained that cream skin is both a concept and a look. It can be achieved by ditching the lengthy 10-step routine (which often consists of essences, oils, balms and serums, to name but a few essentials) and opting for just one product with a much lighter, milkier consistency. Charlotte pinpoints a featherweight lotion that is a hybrid of a toner and a moisturiser as the product everyone in Korea is going mad for. The result is a complexion that is still dewy, but not blindingly so. Instead, skin is super soft, moisturised and supple.
The big buzz around cream skin is mainly down to how easy it is to achieve, according to Korean skincare experts. "Glass skin is more focused on a skincare routine, offering a transparent, clear and illuminous complexion using several products," says Lisa de-la-Plain, Beauty Flash spokesperson, "whereas cream skin is a little gentler and combines the softening and absorption powers of a toner with the hydration and benefits of a moisturiser." It's also inspired by the new trend of slimming down your skincare routine and products, says Lisa. "Nowadays, no one has time to follow a big routine or the need to carry around countless products. Instead, consumers want on-the-go products that combine traditional skincare steps without sacrificing the results."
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Big among Korean skincare obsessives, Laneige Cream Skin Refiner, £5.18, is a popular choice for those who find most moisturisers too heavy, but toners or essences not enough to quench skin and impart that covetable glow. Star ingredients include glycerin to seal in moisture, plant oils and amino acids to protect the skin's barrier, warding away dry, dull skin. The product can be pressed into the skin gently using your fingers but there is a trend for applying pre-soaked cotton pads to the cheeks, chin and forehead, allowing the product to absorb and then massaging in the excess.
Lixirskin Universal Emulsion, £29, is also milky in texture, smooths away parched patches and lends a subtle dewiness thanks to squalane, which is less likely to clog pores than oil. If you're after something lighter, try Shiseido Future Solution LX Concentrated Balancing Softener, £95. For those who want dewy, milky skin without the tackiness, Avène Hydrance Light Emulsion, £14.50, delivers a long-lasting, freshly moisturised feel with thermal spring water, glycerin and squalane. Lisa also recommends Decléor Hydra Floral White Petal Skin Perfecting Hydrating Milky Lotion, £50. "This helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and skin blemishes, refines skin texture and reveals a bright and radiant complexion," says Lisa. "It’s fresh, lightweight and milky and provides hydration in any climate."
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Unlike glass skin, which involves multiple steps, cream skin consists of just one, but the key to nailing it is to make sure that your skin is properly cleansed. Remove any makeup with micellar water or a cleansing balm and follow with a gentle water-based cleanse to eradicate every scrap. Try CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, £9.49, The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser, £5.50, or Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, £15.
Whether you then choose to apply makeup is up to you, of course, but stick to sheer, creamy textures when it comes to concealer, foundation, blush and bronzer to keep everything as dewy and milky as possible. R29 rates Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Bronzing Makeup Base, £40, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, £24, and Trinny London Flush Blush, £20.
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