When it comes to burgeoning skincare trends, Korean beauty experts are always in the know, arguably before anyone else.
From glass skin (skin so clear, it’s almost sparkling) to the hydrating powers of succulents in serums and toners (that’s right, they’re not just a desk plant), these skincare buzzwords defined our routines in a year where we had to contend with things like maskne and stress-induced breakouts.
2021 is shaping up to be just as fruitful when it comes to groundbreaking skincare, too. Ahead, we caught up with Sarah Lee and Christine Chang of cult Korean-inspired skincare brand Glow Recipe, who let us in on the biggest K-beauty trends to know right now and how they could transform your skin.
We’re familiar with glass skin and cream skin but the latest trend is mirror skin: skin so glowy, it’s almost reflective.”We love a dewy, reflective glow at all times, and we were obsessed with the idea of developing a product that gives you a high gloss, lit-from-within glow without any makeup ingredients such as mica, pearls or glitter,” says Sarah. That’s where popular skincare ingredient niacinamide comes in.
“Niacinamide is a brightening powerhouse that combats dullness, hyperpigmentation and dark spots, and minimises the appearance of pores while soothing, hydrating and plumping skin.”
Try the new Watermelon Glow Dew Drops, £31, a day and night serum which imparts an otherworldly glow instantly. It can be used as a makeup primer and a highlighter, too.
Okay, so stripped back skincare is currently trending but for beauty lovers who are open to trying new tricks, double seruming is one to know. “Double seruming is an amazing skincare hack where you use two serums to target different skin concerns at the same time,” says Christine. “Every individual’s skin is truly complex with multifaceted needs, especially when your skin condition changes on a daily basis. Double seruming is a great way to check in with your skin and give it what it needs.”
If your skin is dry and looks a little dull, Christine recommends using a vitamin C serum (which will brighten skin over time) alongside a hydrating serum, for example something that contains hyaluronic acid, which plumps out fine lines and alleviates tight-feeling skin.
“As serums are concentrated treatments, this step would occur after cleansing, toning and eye cream,” adds Christine. “Layering hydration is a huge cornerstone of K-beauty so we advise to properly layer skincare from the thinnest to thickest consistency. The key to layering is to ensure that the ingredients in your products are gentle and compatible with each other.”
Depending on how your skin feels after applying two serums, you might want to lock everything in with moisturiser, but this is optional. And if you’re double seruming for the first time, Christine recommends a patch test beforehand to observe any adverse reactions.
You might gravitate to thick, nourishing moisturiser and night cream come winter but heavy textures can overload the skin, causing breakouts. The next big thing in skincare is gel textures, according to Sarah, and they’re great for all skin types.”Unique textures and enjoyable skincare experiences are super important to us and we believe in finding textures that are wearable for all skin types, while not compromising on real results,” says Sarah. “Traditionally, thick creams were perceived as moisturising but only suitable for dry skin, and some cause clogged pores for those with oily and acne-prone skin.”
If this sounds familiar, lightweight gel textures are a great shout as they moisturise and lend skin a glow without the greasy, slippery residue. Try the Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, £19.50, which is a fluid-gel that provides great hydration, or the Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream, £36, if your skin is on the dry side and you prefer something more substantial.
R29 also loves the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser for Dry Skin, £12.99, and Avène Hydrance AQUA-GEL 3-in-1 Moisturiser, £20. Both absorb fast but keep skin moisturised all day.
Watermelon is typically associated with summer but it has its place in winter skincare, according to Christine. Alongside Glow Recipe, brands such as Milk Makeup and Drunk Elephant are formulating products with the ingredient, too.”Watermelon is an ingredient that is incredibly near and dear to our hearts because it inspired our OG Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, £20.50,” says Christine. The mask is also packed with hyaluronic acid for hydration and AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) which exfoliate skin, making it appear brighter. “During our childhoods in Korea, our grandmothers would rub cold watermelon rind on our skin to soothe heat rash throughout hot summers, and we would see it disappear overnight,” adds Christine. “This ritual was a key moment for us growing up and we realised how powerful a fruit like watermelon can be for skin.”
Not only is watermelon packed with water to hydrate and moisturise tight, dry skin but it’s also an antioxidant, so fends off dulling, ageing pollution. We also recommend the Milk Makeup Watermelon Brightening Face Mask, £24, and Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, £40.
“Having less products that do more for you is really appealing as the beauty community is more aware of product waste and sustainability,” says Sarah. “Less product means less excess and being a more conscious consumer.” In particular, we’ll be investing in skincare-makeup hybrids for glowing skin minus all the different steps. It makes sense, says Sarah, as a lot of us are eschewing makeup under our face masks. Sarah recommends the Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, £31, which occupy a cosy space between a serum and highlighter. Also try the L’Oréal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Moisturiser, £10.99, which blurs pores and blemishes while providing a moisture hit, and Typology Tinted Serum
Vitamin C, Squalane & Aloe Vera, £24.80, which makes skin appear radiant instantly and over time.