What Is Mochi Skin? How To Get The Attainable Skin Look


mochi skin Source: Vittorio Zunino Celotto//Getty Images

If you instantly fell in love with the K-Beauty trend glass skin but like so many, have never been able to achieve the coveted complexion look, mochi skin is about to become your BFFL. Inspired by the delicious Japanese dessert, like glass skin, mochi skin focuses on hydration. However, instead of that wet, glass-like finish, it has a plump velvety look, which is easier to achieve and more importantly, maintainable – hallelujah! For all of the expert intel, we got in touch with J-beauty expert and Founder of the Tokyo Beauty Book, Alisa Kerr. Here’s everything you need to know about this skincare trend.

What is Mochi Skin?


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Mochi skin (also named mochi hada) refers to the smooth surface and bouncy texture of the much loved Japanese dessert, mochi. Alisa explains, “When pressed, mochi bounces back regaining its plump shape. This soft, smooth, plump, bouncy skin is highly coveted by Japanese women.” It’s very much a look, but also a skincare regimen that keeps your skin youthful, glowing, bouncy and supple.

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Glass Skin Vs Mochi Skin

According to Alisa, the overriding #SkinGoals of glass and mochi skin are the same; “Both prize a clear, poreless and translucent quality to the skin.” However, she adds that “Mochi skin also emphasizes the plumpness and bounciness as a key quality.” Another essential difference? Mochi skin favors a matte, velvety texture and a shine-free luminosity, unlike the almost wet look of glass skin. Because of this, it’s a lot easier to achieve and maintain.

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The Ultimate Mochi Skin Routine

In comparison to the 14-step glass skincare routine, mochi skin is relatively simple. The key principle is hydration to help you achieve a firm-yet-bouncy texture. Here are the essential skincare steps and our go-to formulas:

Step 1: Double Cleanse

cleanser Source: Shea Moisture, Mario Badescu

According to Alisa, the first step towards mochi skin is a thorough cleansing routine to ensure that your skin’s clear and your pores are free of dirt, makeup, and oil. Therefore, she suggests double cleansing, which is a well-established skincare ritual in Japan. Alisa recommends using “An oil cleanser [like the Shea Moisture Peace Rose Oil Complex Sensitive Skin Facial Cleansing Oil, $11] for your first cleanse to remove all make-up, and an enzyme cleanser for your second cleanse.”

While Japanese skincare routines don’t typically include a targetted exfoliator, Alisa says it’s important to incorporate exfoliating ingredients into your routine. By using an enzyme cleanser, you’ll gradually exfoliate the skin without exposing it to harsh, abrasive formulas that could otherwise dry out or damage the skin barrier. And as Alisa remarks, “If the skin barrier is impaired then your skin will definitely not be looking its best.” The Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, $14, is ideal as it contains papaya and grapefruit enzymes to exfoliate dull skin and other impurities.

Step 2: Tone

mochi skin Source: Neogen Dermalogy, Paula’s Choice

As mochi skin is achieved through hydration, it’s important to look for a gentle toner or essence formula that’ll restore your skin’s moisture levels, post-cleanse. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide that’ll replenish and plump the skin, as well as antioxidants and fruit extracts to brighten and restore tone and texture.

We love the Neogen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro Essence, $38, as it’s formulated with a micro bio-fermented complex, which will plump the skin while simultaneously strengthening the skin’s barrier, thereby preventing future moisture loss. Alternatively, the Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner, $21, is another great option as it’s packed with skin-protecting antioxidants like niacinamide and vitamin C, essential lipids, and super nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and panthenol.

Step 3: Hydrate with a Serum 

mochi skin products

Source: The Inkey List, Alpyn Beauty

Once you’ve cleansed and toned your skin, its time for a nourishing serum. Find a formula that contains peptides and deeply hydrating ingredients to help you achieve that bouncy mochi skin texture. The INKEY List‘s Collagen Booster Firming Peptide Serum, $11, is a great affordable option. 

Alisa also suggests slotting a vitamin C serum into your weekly routine, as the potent “active ingredient helps target a number of skincare concerns in one step.” She explains, “Not only does it moisturize and smooth the skin but it reduces the appearance of pores and fine lines, as well as brightening and firming the skin.” We’re currently using the Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Brightening Survival Serum, $68, which combines vitamin C, bearberry leaf, and licorice root extract to brighten dark spots and even skin tone, and azelaic, glycolic, and lactic acids to brighten and refine skin texture; plus it contains a skin-illuminating pearl finish.

Don’t be afraid to alternate or even layer multiple serums in the same routine. Just be sure that the ingredients in both serums can be used simultaneously (check out our guide to layering actives here).

Step 4: Moisturize

mochi skin Source: Tatcha, Laneige

Finally, seal in those layers of hydration with a lightweight moisturizer. Alisa insists that they, “instantly plump the skin,” which is why they’re a staple in any J-Beauty routine. Our go-to J-Beauty lotion is Tatcha’s The Silk Cream, $120, as it’s enriched with Japanese superfoods, like green tea, rice, and algae, which work together to restores a healthy-looking glow.

Alisa explains that you can also switch up the weight and texture of the formula depending on the time of day, “In Japan, many skincare brands offer a few different options: gel moisturizer or milk for during the day and a heavier cream or sleeping mask for the evening.” We’re currently obsessed with the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, $25, as you wake up feeling refreshed and looking radiant.

Step 5: SPF

mochi skin Source: DDF, Color Science

SPF is a daily essential for all skin tones and types. However, Alisa says that UVA protection is paramount when trying to achieve mochi skin to help maintain an even skin tone. Therefore, she recommends a broad-spectrum SPF with UVA and UVB protection, which should be topped up throughout the day. We love the DDF Weightless Defense Oil-Free Hydrator with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45, $39, and the Colorescience Brush on Sunforgettable SPF 50, $65, for topping up your protection throughout the day. Alisa also advocates for wide-brim hats and protective clothing.

Do you like this skin trend? Let us know in the comments below.

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