Glassy, glowing, and glistening are terms that most of us would love to describe our skin. But nowadays, another G-word is making its rounds on the skincare front: glazed. Yep, as in a glazed doughnut.
The (literal) face behind this trend is Hailey Bieber, whose natural, bare-faced complexion inspires us to take her lead. But what is glazed doughnut skin, exactly? And how does it differ from the likes of K-beauty's coveted glass skin? "The whole idea here is to celebrate your skin's natural beauty—freckles and all," begins Alexis Parcells, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New Jersey and the founder of SUNNIE Skincare. "It's less about perfecting and more about pampering; enhancing rather than concealing."
While the primary goal of glazed doughnut skin is similar to that of glass skin—to yield a lit-from-within glow—a few things set the two apart. The former "involves using fewer, more strategic products to achieve healthy skin," Dr. Parcells explains. Meanwhile, glass skin routines notoriously tend to involve as many as 10 products or more. While both prioritize hydration to get extra dewy—glazed doughnut skin involves another beauty trend: slugging.
But before you reach for the Aquaphor, Dr. Parcells cautions that the glazed doughnut skin trend isn't fit for everyone—or for daily application. "If you have oily skin, this may not be the trend for you," she explains, since occlusives may be too heavy and pore-clogging. She also warns that the same goes for those with active breakouts, as adding an occlusive will cause more harm than good. Lastly, she notes that this trend is ideal for when your skin is recovering and seeking moisture, like after a chemical peel or if you're battling dryness.
Below, Dr. Parcells guides us on how to get glazed doughnut skin, along with tips to ensure that it works for your skin's unique needs.
How to Get Glazed Doughnut Skin
Step One: Cleanse and Conquer
Double cleansing is recommended if you want to get glazed skin at night. “Using an oil-based cleanser first will draw makeup, SPF, and air pollution up and out, and a water-based cleanser as a second step cleans off sweat and residual debris,” Dr. Parcells explains.
She advises opting for gentle, fragrance-free cleansers to keep your complexion healthy and happy. “Over-cleansing can strip your skin of its natural pH and barrier, and to achieve this look, your skin’s pH must be properly balanced,” she notes. For that reason, Dr. Parcells advises opting for cleansers specifically formulated to help balance your skin’s pH levels, such as cleanser-toner hybrids. Otherwise, you can use an exfoliating cleanser for more polishing properties; they’ll also allow the products that follow to absorb more readily.
Tip: For extra credit, cleanse in the shower so the steam can prep your pores.
Step Two: Apply a Hydrating Power Product
Once you’re freshly cleansed, gently pat your face so it remains damp but not fully dry. “The best time to apply your power products is during that golden minute: once you’ve gotten out of the shower or done a gentle, warm water wash and your pores are open and accepting of your serum of choice,” Dr. Parcells shares.
You’ll need to use a potent hydrating product to soak into your skin and provide a dewy look. Hyaluronic acid tends to be the gold standard, though niacinamide also boasts soothing and moisturizing properties. “This step is key for glazed doughnut skin.”
Tip: Take cues from K-beauty by “slapping” serum into your skin in an upwards motion to promote absorption and stimulate circulation.
Step Three: Treat (If Necessary)
If you have a few blemishes, your best bet will be to cover them up with pimple patches to get the gunk out without further exacerbating them. However, if you use other concentrated treatments in your routine—think retinol, vitamin C, and potent acids—Dr. Parcells advises saving them for another time.
“These products, especially if they are medical-grade or prescription, have higher concentrations of ingredients than an over-the-counter alternative. And because they are stronger, we need to be careful about locking them in with an occlusive [at the next step],” she warns. “When trapped, these can increase their strength beyond what was concentrated by a chemist, leading to increased irritation.”
Tip: In case you’re worried about clogging your pores at the next step, you can err on the side of caution and skip. Instead, Dr. Parcells suggests locking in your power product with a hydrating sheet mask.
Step Four: Lock in Moisture
Here’s when the glaze gets real, courtesy of slugging. Look for an occlusive that works with your skin type and isn’t too uncomfortable or messy. “It will hydrate and moisturize your skin while sleeping,” Dr. Parcells says. “But if you’ve applied too much, it’s okay to remove some before bed—just let it sit on your skin for at least 10 minutes.”
Tip: If you want to achieve glazed doughnut skin in the daytime and the options above are too heavy, face oils make for a great swap since—like occlusives—oils serve to moisturize skin. Yet she also warns that you’ll need to use the right one for your skin type. For instance, lightweight oils with balancing properties are ideal for acne-prone and oily skin, whereas more heavy oils will benefit those who tend to run dry.
Step Five: Give Your Lips Some Love
As the final icing on the cake (or glaze on the doughnut), a super nourishing or glossy lip product will come in handy to complete your look. Before bed, apply an overnight lip mask so you’ll wake up with a supremely moisturized pout. For glazed doughnut skin and lips come daytime, reach for your go-to balm, gloss, or lip jelly for major shine and slick.