Dermatologists share the secret to getting the soft, bouncy skin that's taken over the internet.

Michelle Rostamian
September 02, 2020
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From K-beauty's 10-step skincare routine to J-beauty's more minimalistic approach, skincare trends are increasingly looking east for clearer, more even-toned complexions. And with glass skin promising nixed pores and skin so clear you can practically see through it, it's no wonder that beauty buffs are willing to dish out for all of the lotions and potions required to achieve that goal. But there's a new skincare trend on the block that involves your favorite Japanese dessert, and it's called mochi skin.

Inspired by the deliciously plump Japanese rice cake, mochi skin is everything dewy glass skin is not—although the two do share some similarities when it comes to maintaining even skin. "While both glass skin and mochi skin are variations of smooth, even, and clear complexion goals, mochi skin emphasizes the three-dimensional qualities of bouncy, plump, smooth skin that appears healthy, firm, and hydrated from the inside—without the shine and gloss," explains Annie Chiu, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Manhattan Beach. "The mochi skin trend also trims back on the nine- to 10-step glass skin beauty routine and simplifies the skincare regimen." Win.

Wondering how to get matte yet plump mochi skin? Unfortunately for our taste buds, it's not by devouring perfectly sweet rice balls. Keep scrolling for your expert-approved, step-by-step guide to creating a tailor-made mochi skincare routine.

Step One: Double cleanse

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Double cleansing is touted in Japan not only as beneficial for makeup removal but also for diminishing the risk of skin aging through the removal of built-up debris, sebum, sweat, and grime. To double cleanse, first use an oil-based cleanser to break up any oil-based makeup you're wearing. Then, use a foaming cleanser to cleanse away the remaining debris. 

If you're concerned about dehydrating your skin with a double cleanse, look for a foaming cleanser that's free of surfactants (aka substances used for their lathering ability that can come with drying side effects), like the H2O+ Creamy Foaming Cleanser. Or, opt for a two-in-one formula that blends the makeup-melting properties of an oil-based cleanser with the skin-replenishing effects of a foaming cleanser, like Re:Erth's Clarifying Cleanser.

Step Two: Tone your skin

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"The new generation of toners [aka lotion in Japan] are more gentle, less irritating, and less drying," explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, M.D., aka Dr. Pimple Popper. Toners in Japan are known for being a soft, water-based step to rebalance just-cleansed skin to an optimal pH level and lock in moisture. 

Interestingly, because mochi skin de-emphasizes the dew and shine that's become synonymous with glass skin, most skincare regimens of this type require quick-absorbing formulas that don't leave behind a film, says Dr. Chiu. And although you don't necessarily need to incorporate rice as an ingredient into your mochi skincare routine, our experts say it can pose some skin-smoothing, hydrating benefits. Try DHC's Urumai Lotion, an alcohol-free, peptide-rich lotion spiked with mochi's main ingredient: rice.

Step Three: Use a hydrating serum

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Next up: serum. Mochi skin is all about improving the skin's hydration internally versus lathering on a slew of emollients externally. Dr. Chiu says to look for serum ingredients that maintain even pigmentation, boost elasticity and firmness, and generally improve the skin barrier (think: antioxidants, like vitamin C; peptides, like collagen; or anti-inflammatory ingredients, like green tea extract and chamomile if you're acne-prone). SK-II's R.N.A. Power Essence Serum promises a bouncy complexion and features niacinamide and glycerin as its MVP ingredients.

Step Four: Moisturize

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Now it's time to lock in all that hard work with a moisturizer. Since the goal is matte skin, stick with lightweight lotions instead of heavy creams or ceramides that would give your skin a wet finish, says Dr. Lee. Go for a product that readily absorbs into the skin and has protective qualities against free radicals (these can compromise the texture and feel of your skin). The SLMD Skincare Facial Moisturizer acts as a moisturizing primer and keeps skin hydrated, bright, and protected with vitamin C.

Step Five: Layer on the SPF

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During the daytime, finish off your mochi skincare routine with an SPF to fend off damage-causing UV rays. "Sunscreens protect against UV-mediated oxidative breakdown of collagen and elastin, proteins that are integral to firm, elastic, bouncy skin," notes Dr. Chiu. She recommends looking for fast-absorbing, broad-spectrum sunscreens, as they also maintain the even-toned, clear complexion of mochi skin. We're fans of Tatcha's Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 35 PA+++—it's rated on a PA system, which measures UVA and UVB protection.