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What is Honey Skin? – 2 Extra Steps for Your Beauty Routine

What is Honey Skin

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you’ve probably seen #honey skin or #glass skin floating around social media.

Honey skin has been a trend for people to post pictures of themselves, boasting their honey-like complexions or the envious baby skin of— well, their babies.

If you’re wondering how to get yourself the sought-after K-beauty honey skin, you’ve come to the right place!

And if you were wondering, no it doesn’t involve putting actual honey on your skin (though honey is a great skincare ingredient).

Table of Contents

What's the Diff?

The Diff

The social media hashtags are more popular than ever, but can admittedly be hard to differentiate and are often used interchangeably.

But actually, honey skin CAME FIRST and is still relevantly used slang in Korea to refer to ideal skin.

Glass skin is a newer buzzword that started gaining traction in the West last 2017 when aspiring makeup artist Ellie Choi shared her step-by-step routine on Instagram.

So, What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Honey Skin

The term honey skin refers to a BABY-LIKE complexion (thus, the many baby pics found under this hashtag), with a natural highlight on the high points of your face.

The honey skin philosophy is all about nourishment for hydrated, plump, and dewy skin. 

The main points of honey skin are:

  • Suppleness
  • Smooth and even texture
  • Minimized and even appearance of pores
  • Glow that seems like you have dewy highlighter on.

In many ways, honey skin is basically just making sure you have dewy skin.

Glass Skin

On the other hand, the term glass skin focuses more on the overall even tone and texture of healthy skin, and looking virtually pore-less.

The glass skin philosophy is all about the FINISHED look— you want your face to have the clarity and radiance of glass.

Your skin should be clear, translucent, and boast that lit-from-within glow

How to Get Honey Skin

How to Get Honey Skin

The SECRET glow recipe to get honey skin is simply this: hydration.

While there may be more than one step to this honey skin routine, it’s really about using products with hydrating ingredients and using them properly for maximum effect.

The honey skin routine starts out like every other— CLEANSING!

It’s important to double cleanse and choose a cleanser that won’t dry out your face. 

A harsh cleanser could cause dry skin, which is the total opposite of what we want from a glow recipe.

Double cleansing ensures your skin is FREE of any impurities and will make way for the nourishing ingredients coming its way!

Step 1: Cleansing Toner

Sometimes, people doubt the importance of this product in a honey skin beauty routine, but for honey skin, it’s a MUST.

After washing your face, there’s a slim chance some impurities are left on the skin.

Swiping a cleansing toner on with a cotton pad will GET RID of any traces of impurities, while also balancing out the pH of your skin.

Acwell is a brand well-known for balanced skincare, using licorice as the main ingredient in their product line.

  • Licorice is an ingredient widely used in Korean skincare, known for its brightening and balancing effect.
  • Hydrating products with hyaluronic acid are also key for retaining the moisture and glow of honey skin.

Step 2: Hydrating Essence

Before using moisturizer, it’s important to hydrate deep within by using an essence. 

You can also follow up with a serum and ampoule IN THAT ORDER.

While an essence, serum, and ampoule are similar, the DIFFERENCE lies in how lightweight they are and how easily the skin absorbs these products.

TAKE NOTE: If you apply a product with higher moisture content (like an ampoule) first, lighter products like essence or serum won’t be able to penetrate into the skin as well.

That’s why you should end your routine with a nice, thick moisturizer and maybe a cream that usually has the HIGHEST moisture content.

Getting Glass Skin

Getting Glass Skin

Glass skin follows the same steps, EXCEPT with the addition of exfoliation.

Exfoliating is an optional step for honey skin but is arguably the KEY DIFFERENCE between the two.

You’d insert this step AFTER cleansing and is important to achieve that virtually pore-less look.

Chemical exfoliants like AHAs, BHAs, PHAs, are hydroxy acids that slough off dead skin cells will refine your pores and get rid of acne.

Put Simply...

Clean pores + deeply hydrated skin = pores as invisible as can be.

Another popular optional practice for both glass and honey skin is the 7 Skin method which involves layering toner on 7 times.

This is great because it not only moisturizes but also gently exfoliates.

It’s also worth noting that honey skin SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED with the term honey glow, a look that involves ending with face oil.

The oil not only locks in the glow from the earlier steps of your routine but amps up the glow by mimicking the sheen of actual honey.

If you’re not too keen on this kind of skincare routine, you can try the waterless skincare routine instead!

A Word From the Wise:

A Word From the Wise

If you look them up in Korean on social media, you’ll find that honey skin (or #꿀피부) is still significantly MORE POPULAR in Korea.

But there are probably many that still  don’t understand K-beauty or honey skin and prefer a matte and clean face.

The bottom line is to be aware of the DIFFERENT skin types what works for one person isn’t going to work for another.

So, just think twice before achieving honey skin as it might also react with your skin type.

Does the Trend Pass Your Vibe Check?

Trends may come and go but it seems that for the most part, HONEY SKIN IS HERE TO STAY.

There are undoubtedly many benefits following the honey skin philosophy, but the look isn’t for everyone.


August 10, 2021 – Updated article formatting and content

July 19, 2021 – Updated article links

July 14, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.