Your Guide To Every Trending Skin 'Type' (Because Who Knew We'd Be Comparing Our Complexions To Dolphins?)

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If you thought all you needed was clear skin, a quick scroll through TikTok will tell you that there are so many more options than that. While many strive for clear skin, the speed with which trends change thanks to apps like TikTok and Instagram means that there are dozens of skincare trends and aesthetics with names of varying degrees of hilarity and confusion.


Experts have expressed concern that blindly following skincare trends could do more harm than good, though. "Misinformation can spread like wildfire because a lot of us have been taught the same skin care myths growing up," New York-based aesthetician Sean Garrette told Essence. "So when someone repeats these myths on social media, they gain traction — because people have already heard the same thing and kind of agree to it."

From dolphin skin to matte and everything in between, it's all a lot to digest, so we've taken the liberty of boiling down the information and presenting you with the most popular skincare trends and how to (safely) achieve their various aesthetics. 

Dolphin skin

According to Vogue India, celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips came up with the term dolphin skin. It's the shinier, more dramatic sister to glass skin and the glazed donut look. Turns out, the key to a fresh out-of-the-ocean look is exfoliation. You can't get that trademark shine with dead skin hanging around. While you can use physical exfoliators, chemical exfoliants are a great option too. "Buffing away dead cells with chemical exfoliation using alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) increases the skin cell turnover resulting in brighter and smoother skin. Follow this up with a hydrating cleanser, a hyaluronic acid-infused serum, and a non-matte moisturizer," dermatologist Dr. Gurveen Waraich Garekar told the outlet.


Next, you'll want to invest in some high-quality makeup. The key to a good dolphin glow is a good highlighter. Experts recommend opting for something gel-based rather than powdered or glittered, as it will give a wet, flipper-esque look. Instead of heavy powders and foundations, go for products that use words like "luminous" and "radiance". Keep things simple and glowy, and, most importantly, avoid anything matte or overly bold. Rather than a bright red lip, top off the look with a thick clear gloss.

Glass skin

Next up is glass skin, the trendy predecessor to dolphin skin. The idea is to make your skin so clear, poreless, and smooth that it is practically translucent. Glass skin is all about a natural shine with minimal product. "The surface of the skin must be extremely smooth, without bumps or rough texture. Directly beneath the surface, there should be a large amount of water in order to create a moist and lustrous appearance that catches and reflects light. Finally, the skin should look plump and firm," K-beauty expert Jude Chao told Dermstore. To nail this look, you will have to perfect your skincare routine. Chao recommends starting with a double cleanse, followed by exfoliation, essence or serum, moisturizer, SPF, and oil.


Most importantly, though, strive for a healthy lifestyle. Your skin is your biggest organ and it reflects your internal health. Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat lots of healthy foods. Play your cards right, and before long, your skin will be practically see-through.

Matte skin

If you recognize only one trend on this list, it's probably matte skin. Matte skin isn't about a glow — just the opposite. While it's fallen out of fashion somewhat since the aughts, it's still a great option, especially for someone with naturally oily skin looking to blot out that extra shine. To achieve the perfect matte look, you might have to switch up some of your tried and tested makeup tools. "Try applying your powder with a brush instead of a powder puff or sponge," makeup artist Adam Breuchaud suggested to Allure. "This will allow you to set your makeup with a lighter dusting of product as opposed to the more generous amounts of the brush's counterparts."


A matte look is all about busting your natural shine, so when in doubt, your secret weapon is blotting papers. Careful not to overdo it, though; you want to leave some of your skin's natural moisture to make makeup application easier. Then, use translucent powder to cover the oiliest spots while still leaving a little sheen where necessary. "I recommend only using the product in between eyebrows, around the sides of your nose, and on your chin," expert makeup Toby Fleischman told the outlet. "This way, the rest of your face has a more natural sheen to it, and this creates a fresher look than an allover matte face."

Glazed donut skin

If you never thought you'd be dropping serious dough to look like junk food, you can thank Hailey Beiber and her massively successful skincare line, Rhode, for the expense. Bieber coined the term herself during a 2021 Youtube video shortly after the release of her beauty and skincare line Rhode. "My standard when I go to bed at night is that if I'm not getting into bed looking like a glazed donut, then I'm not doing the right thing," she said.


While a tasty glazed look can be accomplished with a high-quality highlighter and skilled contour, it's as much about nurturing your skin as it is makeup. Bieber suggested finding a thick, creamy moisturizer and slathering it on your skin just before bed, and then top it off with a layer of oil (opt for something simple and nourishing like vitamin E) and a good eye cream for the thin skin around your peepers. This ensures you'll wake up glistening and dewy after a good night's sleep.

If that sounds like too many moisturizing products for your skin type, no worries! You can still achieve that glazed donut look. New York-based aesthetician Tiara Willis explained to Women's Health that you can opt for products that are gel based. Also keep an eye out for products that contain hyaluronic acid, which works to lock moisture into your skin. 


Honey skin

The honey skin aesthetic comes from South Korea — where all great skincare seems to start. Though the West is just now catching on, honey skin has been a staple in the Korean market for years. "People love posting their honey skin, or their fave skincare products, or even babies with their natural, plump skin on Instagram when referencing honey skin," Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam, told Byrdie. The perfect honied complexion is glossy and hydrated with a natural plump. While plump, dewy skin favors the young, the aesthetic is within reach for anyone as long as they invest in the right products.


When speaking to Allure, skincare experts and Glow Recipe co-founders, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, suggested using emollients and oils to help achieve the look. They also told Byrdie that it's a good idea to exfoliate your skin to slough off all those dead skin cells before you start layering it with oily products. On the days when you don't exfoliate, use a cleansing oil followed by a hydrating cleanser. A crucial step in achieving a honey glow that's not to be overlooked is toner. Chang insisted that applying (and re-applying) a moisturizing toner up to seven times was the key to the look. "This step is crucial and provides immediate and visible results to the skin," she said.