How to Get the Natural Glow Look

Once upon a time, glowy skin was glowy skin was glowy skin. It more or less looked the same and getting it usually involved some sort of makeup—foundations with optical diffusers, luminous concealers, shimmery highlighters, or some strategically-placed combination of it all. Today, thanks to skin-obsessed women in Korea whose goal it is to get a full-on “gwang” (aka glow) with skincare products alone, we’ve got a whole menu —which we call Glowipedia!—of radiant looks that are easy to recreate. First up: The Natural Glow Look. Here’s how to get it IRL:

In a hurry? Check out our cheat sheet to learn how to get that gwang in a flash.

Step 1: Remove Makeup

It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, evening, or somewhere in between: The only way to achieve a flawless glow is to start with a clean canvas. To make that happen, soak a cotton pad with cleansing water and gently sweep it over skin to remove makeup, dirt, oil, and sweat. NYC-based editorial and celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, the genius behind the look, above, recommends the Whamisa Organic Flowers Cleansing Water ($28) for its “hydrating base of aloe that makes skin plump and juicy.” Do it a few times until the pads come up clean.

Step 2: Double Cleanse

Time to take it to the sink. For truly clean skin, follow up your swipe-down session with a proper wash. Choose a non-irritating, hydrating foam like the Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($34), which will help add moisture while whisking away any excess gunk or residue. If your skin needs a little extra TLC, try using it as a 5-minute mask. Then follow, Hughes’ post-wash tip: “Let your skin air-dry for a bit until it’s just dam; that will help the products you apply next absorb better.”


Step 3: Pat On Toner

Before you even think about slapping on moisturizer, you need to layer in bits of lightweight hydration via a toner like the Make P:rem Safe Relief Moisture Toner ($36). It’s a non-negotiable step in any self-respecting K-beauty routine. The reason? It helps balance, plump, and prep skin for everything else you put on top. K-beauty toners are hydrating, pH-stabilizing, lightweight liquids—not the astringent-y kind that strips skin—that are designed to sink in instantly aid absorption rather than strip skin of its essential oils. The provides moisture and plumpness like you drank all your daily glasses of water for a natural glow. Hughes advises using as many layers as your skin needs and pressing it all in with your fingertips to “maximize the absorption,” which preps skin for makeup if you need it.

Step 4: Smooth On a Serum

K-beauty is big on efficient multitaskers that save you time. So, a serum that doubles as a makeup primer is like a dream come true. The Blithe InBetween Make Up Prep Essence treats skin with a nourishing and fortifying blend of soybean, rice, and tomato extract for a velvety soft, foundation-ready canvas. Pressing this hybrid into skin allows “layering little bits of hydration” while simultaneously smoothing pores, says Hughes, who also loves having an innovative 2-in-1 on the go.

Step 5: Moisturize

Step up the luminosity by adding a moisture-locking cream to seal in all the dewy goodness that’s key to getting that natural glow. Using an antioxidant-rich hydrator like the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer amps up the skin’s barrier from outside elements with a natural radiance that’s not oily. “I like to pump some into my hands, warm it up a bit, then start patting it on the areas that are the driest like cheeks first,” Hughes explains, “then, with whatever’s left on my fingertips, I’ll take it through the t-zone where skin tends to be a bit more oily and where pores are more visible.”

Step 6: Conceal

If your skincare regimen needs a little enhancement to truly capture the natural glow, add a touch of concealer in the spots where you need it most. For example, dark circles, redness, or blemishes. But it’s important to only conceal minor imperfections so your skincare products and you shine through instead.

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