Have you ever looked at Korean pop stars and wondered how they achieve such perfect, dewy skin? You’ve probably thought to yourself that it costs an arm and a leg to get to that level of flawless sheen. We’ll let you in on a little secret, it doesn’t. In fact, the intensely hydrated, almost wet-looking shine is one of the most coveted and attainable looks sought after by Korean women. Mul-gwang, or “water glow,” is so popular because it’s a mid-tier glow that makes skin feel and look supple without appearing greasy. If you want to enhance your skin with a freshly spritzed look all day long, check out the tips we gathered from professional glow getter and makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes.
In a hurry? Check out our cheat sheet to learn how to get that gwang in a flash.
Step 1: Prep
Starting off with a clean canvas is the key to the Water Glow look. Gently remove blemish causing debris like makeup, dirt, and oil with a cleansing water that balances skin. The Whamisa Organic Flowers Cleansing Water rids impurities with a hydrating and calming aloe base. “I like to sweep it from the center of the face out to the edges and gently run it over the lids and lips until your cotton round comes up clean,” Hughes advises.
Step 2: Cleanse
Following up with a second cleanser is imperative for any K-beauty routine, but this is especially true for a shine-intensive water glow. Clearing out remaining traces your cleanser water didn’t get purifies pores and preps skin for the rest of your skincare. The Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser catches these remainders with a bouncy clarifying foam that also hydrates skin. For drier skin types, using the cleanser as a 5-minute masks adds heightened moisture that’ll help this dewy routine look its best. “Plus, the smoother your skin is, the better your makeup will look,” Hughes points out as an added benefit.
Step 3: Mist
To add another level of moisture that will boost your water glow, use a mist that’s light and soothing. The Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf is a potent refresher made from organic ingredients that you can spritz on your skin when you need hydration. “Mist in between every single layer of skincare going forward to seal in the products and help build lightweight moisture,” instructs Hughes. The whole point of the water glow is to look like you’re drenched in healthy dew, so locking in hydration any chance you get is a must.
Step 4: Tone
Balancing the pH levels of your skin is important in any routine, but refinement is an absolute must for that fresh-out-the-shower water glow look. Applying a hydrating toner is the secret to achieving an all-day dew, and the more layers, the better. For maximum hydration, opt for the 7 Skin Method where you apply sever layers on toner. This step is definitely necessary for drier skin types trying to get the water glow. The Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Toner is a great option for this intensive method with its hyaluronic acid, olive oil, Pro Vitamin B5, and other healing botanicals. Hughes is a believer in this holy grail K-beauty method and advises, “press the toner in one layer after the other to help drive the ingredients into the skin.”
Step 5: Ampoule
Load up your dewy factor with a hydrating serum that has active ingredients like hyaluronic acid. “Hyaluronic acid—which holds 1000 times its weight in water,” Hughes explains, which makes it a must for the water glow look, like duh! The Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule revitalizes skin’s texture with five different types of hyaluronic acid, Resurrection plant extract, and Pro Vitamin B5. Hughes applies the ampoule all-over the face, but she also makes sure to target key points on the face “to create dimension” much like contouring and highlighting.
Step 6: Moisturize
Slather on lasting hydration with an emulsifying gel or cream moisturizer that enhances shine without greasiness. The Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer provides “luscious, long-lasting moisture, but feels like nothing,” says Hughes. Simply pump out a dime-sized amount between your fingers and gently pat into your skin. A pro moisturizer tip, press this antioxidant and hyaluronic acid-rich gel on the high points of your face to lock in hydration and minimize oiliness.
Step 7: Prime
Discover a new way to strobe (highlight) without the need for powdery, pore-clogging formulas that go against the philosophy of water glow. Instead, use a skincare product that can double as a pore-refining primer like the Blithe Hydro Priming Cream. With a watery cream texture and nourishing bifida ferment extract to strengthen skin, the Hydro Priming Cream provides a smoother canvas. For a perfectly strobed water glow, Hughes advises warming the product between your fingers and tapping it on standout features like the cheekbones, nose, and brow bones.
Step 8: Perfect
When you’ve finished off your skincare and look hydrated to the gods, perfect your glowy skin with small applications of concealer. Minimize only red spots, dark marks and blemishes you rather not have noticed. “Any makeup applied over a base prepped like this will look so gorgeous and transparent, super invisible, so you really won’t see it,” says Hughes. And of course, don’t forget to set it all with a final spritz of mist.