When we use a mirror, we’re typically using it to apply our various serums and facial oils and to master our gua sha technique. We aren’t looking in the mirror wondering how we can achieve the same look of said mirror on our skin. Well, we are now. Mirror skin is the coveted look du jour and it very much is about getting the same effect as a mirror. It might sound a bit abstract, but the regimen is crystal clear. (Sorry!) We asked experts about the latest skin care trend and how to achieve mirror skin.
What Is Mirror Skin?
Yes, mirror skin is as literal as you can get. “Mirror skin refers to skin that is dewy, glowy, hydrated and so smooth that it is almost reflective, like the reflection of the mirror,” says Joobin Jung, global marketing general manager at Vitabrid C12.
Founder of Re:Erth Shinji Yamasaki continues that the trend was developed in Korea, the place where many skin care trends have started (see cream skin), and is about skin so bright that it almost reflects light.
This bright with a capital “B” look is not about a strong highlighter game, but skin-care-based. It’s centered on having a solid skin care regimen — and maintaining it. “The focus originates with skin care and a daily regimen that involves multiple cleansing and hydrating steps,” says Terri Bryant, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Guide Beauty. “It’s definitely a commitment and doesn’t happen overnight.”
Of course, Bryant points out that makeup can always be used to lend a helping hand to achieve a reflective finish. Yamasaki sees the trend as a glorious fusion of skin care and makeup, especially when beauty hybrids are involved. “By using products and ingredients that lighten the skin tone underneath makeup, and using makeup with compounds that themselves reflect light, it produces a visual effect of luminous, ‘reflective’ skin,” he says. “There are also products that combine both elements, like a skin-care-makeup primer.”
Is all this talk about reflective, lit skin starting to make you think of glass skin? They are both skin-centric trends with a smooth finish, but not exactly the same. Glass skin is focused on a poreless, translucent complexion without blemishes, according to Jung. Mirror skin refers to skin that imparts a natural glow and almost looks reflective. Bryant distinguishes the similar trends by saying that mirror skin takes it up a notch in the glow department.
Mochi skin is another trendy finish. The difference between mirror and mochi skin is the latter comes from Japan and describes skin that is healthy, supple and naturally glows from within, according to Yamasaki. Think of mochi skin as skin that’s as dreamy as the sweet treat.
Having a fantastic skin care regimen that’s tailored to your skin and its needs is the starting point for any routine — mirror skin included. It’s also essential to keep at it. “As with any sort of skin care, my number one advice is to be consistent with it,” says Yamasaki.
It’s also important to consider skin types and concerns. “Mirror skin involves double cleansing and exfoliation followed by multiple lightweight, hydrating layers,” says Bryant. “This makes choosing the right products for your skin type particularly important so that you don’t strip, overload or stress skin.” Drier complexions generally benefit from nourishing, richer formulas such as creams, cleansing balms and oils while those on the oilier side can try gel cleansers and foaming ones. Check out our guide for double cleansing for every skin type.
Ingredients and Products
The main players are moisturizer and tried-and-true brightener vitamin C, according to Jung. Vitamin C is a hero skin care ingredient and its results are really highlighted with mirror skin. “[The] body is under constant attack from oxidative stress and so is our skin, so we need vitamin C to neutralize this stress,” says Jung. “Vitamin C is known to make skin healthy and radiant by neutralizing the damaging effects of free radical activity from sun, stress, and pollution, and repairing visible signs of aging.” With regular, prolonged use, skin can be brighter, smoother and clearer.
Since the mirror skin trend is focused on the health of skin, it’s important to choose the best ingredients and products. That oxidized bottle of vitamin C in the back of the cupboard likely isn’t going to give skin a reflective finish.
For example, Jung says that the Vitabrid C12 Face Brightening Powder, $60, uses a unique pure vitamin C that’s stabilized and encapsulated between layers of zinc oxide. The product releases vitamin C continuously for 12 hours upon application.
Try to remember a light-handed approach because it’s about beautiful skin — not a lit snow bunny highlighter. “The key to mirror skin is not covering it up,” says Jung. “It’s bringing your skin to its healthiest, most naturally glowing state.”
Bryant suggests the Temptu SilkSphere Airpod Foundation, $45, for a weightless and natural dewy finish. It will provide a bit more coverage without dulling skin’s shine. People still have pores and lines, but it’s important not to dissect every one of them, reports Bryant. Focus on taking care of skin and you will glow.