Beauty biz bares it Seoul

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If you can’t go to Korea to get authentic skincare products for the much sought-after glass skin, they now come to your doorstep. And if the products don’t cut it, skin junkies in the city go all the way to


for a peel, to get it right from the horse’s mouth—or rather the snail’s. That’s how obsessed Chennaiites are about getting dewy, glowing, ‘glassy’ skin just like Jennie from the K-pop band BlackPink.
When Anisha Fathima from Chennai visited Seoul, South Korea, for a holiday, she decided to try a glass facial.

“I’d heard a lot about it but had no clue what I was going in for when I booked a session,” she says. “People visit Seoul from across the world for skin treatments and cosmetic surgeries and all the salons there are booked out. The one-hour facial cost us `15,000 each but at the end of it my skin did have a mirror effect, which lasted for more than two weeks.”
The steps involved in the facial were more or less what’s done in India, says Anisha, together with a fractional erbium glass laser and LED treatment, but it was the products that made all the difference. “I also bought products from the Myeong-dong cosmetics market in Seoul. They turned out to be amazing, it’s not just a hype. The salon was also ready to provide us with fillers or skin correction surgeries on the spot.”
The idea of achieving the smooth skin of K-drama stars and K-pop idols has long been a goal for Gen Z. The difference now is that it’s accessible to everyone and achievable to an extent, thanks to influencers sharing their care routines, city salons offering K-treatments, and exclusive stores with Korean skincare products popping up in the city.

Shanti Prince, who is based in Seoul and has been in the

beauty business

for years, recently launched in Chennai’s Panayur, KLove a home store which exclusively sells cosmetic products imported from Korea. “Some of our most popular products are sun creams, moisturisers, retinol and snail mucin. We have even started an academy for training in Korean beauty care.”
But what is this glass skin? Is it real or fake? Can


get it? These are some of the most searched Google queries on the subject in the recent past.
A ‘flawless, smooth and intensely hydrated complexion that resembles glass in its clarity and luminosity, characterised by a poreless, dewy and almost translucent appearance’ is how celebrity cosmetic dermatologist Dr Chytra V Anand describes it. “And it is achievable with a meticulous skincare routine focused on hydration, exfoliation and protection, and regular medical grade treatments. It requires tailoring the routine to suit the unique characteristics of Indian skin, which can be more prone to pigmentation and sensitivity. Consistency in using the right products and medical grade treatments are key.”
A common misconception is that glass skin means fair skin, says Megna Maaran, a beauty influencer from Chennai. “The aim is natural radiance without makeup.” And this is why Indians prefer to follow South Asian beauty influencers for Korean skin care rather than Koreans. “The results depend on the levels of dedication you are ready to put in. For me, it took a lot of research, experimenting with different products and techniques till I found out what worked for my skin.”
People go wrong when they blindly copy influencers as their skin type might be different, she says. “The first step is to treat your skin issues like acne. The next is to identify your skin type and start the routine, which is not just about using a bunch of products day and night, but regulating your lifestyle—sleep, food habits, gut health and water intake. Glass skin is one step above healthy skin.” Megna starts her day with a green juice and uses sunscreen religiously.
Whether glass skin aspirants achieve the results or not, Korean skincare will only benefit in the long term as it means taking steps to a healthy lifestyle, says Olivia Anugraha, make-up artist. “Also, no harsh chemicals are used. Some of the major ingredients in their products include licorice roots, aloe vera and fermented rice water. The products are mild and more suited to Indian skin. They are expensive, but people are willing to spend on them.”
Shanti, who has lived in South Korea for 25 years, says skin care is part of life for Koreans. “Even an 80-year-old looks after their skin. They are updated on international trends and their formulations are perfect, especially sunscreens.” At the same time the genetics, weather and food habits of Koreans are different as they have a lot of seafood and seaweed, and one should never aspire for a 100% result, she cautions. “You won’t get results overnight, but in a year, you will.”

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“I adore constituents, because they are fancy!!”

“If you can’t go to Korea to get authentic skincare products for the much sought-after glass skin, they now come to your doorstep.”

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