What Is the Laminated Skin trend, and How to Do It in 2 Steps?

Laminated skin is yet another skin trend, and it’s about creating the appearance of having a saran wrap or cellophane glossy, shine on your face. This trend is not just about a dewy glow; this is more about giving the appearance that you just walked out of the shower. We’re going to break down what this trend actually is, if it makes sense, and who it might be right for. Furthermore,  just as a note, skincare trends are not wholly about skin health. They’re primarily about a consumerism cycle, the cycle of marketing, and fads. It’s about getting people to accept what’s in and to reject what is out. 

But, it’s true that they can be fun. So, if you like a skincare trend and you’re doing it for yourself rather than someone else, have fun with it. But, there’s no need to feel bad for not being able naturally to achieve it. So, while this trend is not for everyone, Cassandra has broken this laminated skin trend down into two major steps: smooth, and then seal. 

#1 First, we want to smooth out any texture, color, and irritation. 

The smoothing step is all about evening skin tone and texture. We want to decrease the size and the look of large pores. The smoothing step includes products that help to mitigate scars, unevenness, or discoloration whereas the sealing step is all about products that give a reflective laminated glow. Before we seal everything in, we’ll want to add on layers of hydration and moisture to give the skin a dewy mist. The best way to do this is by exfoliation, specifically alpha hydroxy acid. AHAs are great because they hold onto moisture and pull it into the skin. 

AHAs penetrate deeply, and they can break apart desmosomes inside of the skin. You can think of desmosomes like little nails that hold the skin together. You can use physical exfoliants if you want to, but Cassandra likes more AHAs as they exfoliate more evenly. They also provide the extra bonus of hydration. When it comes to alpha hydroxy acids, there are many different types, and some are better than others depending on what you’re struggling with. For example, if you are someone who has pretty resilient skin, glycolic acid can be awesome. 

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution -$13

Glycolic acid comes from sugarcane. It’s a super tiny molecule, and it penetrates the skin super deeply. If you’re more prone to pigmentation or discoloration, Cassandra really likes lactic acid which is from fermented bacteria.


Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum - $65


Peach&Lily Power Cocktail Lactic Acid Repair Serum - $15 

The product from Biossance is super potent whereas this one from Peach and Lily is more resurfacing and gentle, but it’s not quite as intense. If you are acne-prone, mandelic acid is fantastic. Mandelic acid comes from bitter almonds, and Face Reality is one of Cassandra’s favorite mandelic acid products.

The Inkey List also has mandelic acid spot treatment too which is very good. 


Face Reality Skincare 5% L-Mandelic Serum  

The Inkey List Mandelic Acid Treatment -$11.99 


However, if you don’t want to use exfoliants, but you still want to resurface a new layer of skin, it might be helpful to use something like niacinamide or retinoids. 

Retinoids are great for fine lines and wrinkles. They really help to build new skin cells. Additionally, niacinamide (B vitamin) is fantastic for preventing the spread of pigmentation, helping to decrease pore size, and mitigating any gunk or sebaceous filaments that get stuck in these areas. Niacinamide is an antioxidant too, and it’s great for anyone who lives in a polluted city or is exposed to the environment. 

Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum -$6


#2 Seal it in.

Remember, we need something to seal the smoothing stuff in to truly give ourselves that dewy, laminated glow. For the sealing portion, it’s all about emollients and occlusives. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t feel as heavy and still gives you a nice glow but doesn’t look overly glossy, Cassandra would recommend something like a nice hydrating moisturizer that benefits the skin.

Medature Psl Repair Moisturizer 4 - $48

This is the PSL moisturizer, and it is so good. This has ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol, and a lot of things your skin makes naturally. Plus, it’s fragrance-free and not overly thick. So, if you’re looking to build the skin barrier whilst giving it a semi-laminated glow, this is the answer. But again, if you want a really glossy look, you can use something like petrolatum jelly. This is otherwise known as slugging. 

Vaseline is an occlusive barrier, not just an emollient, and it will definitely give that reflective glossy look.

Amazon Solimo Petroleum Jelly

Remember, for the laminated skin look, you need to hydrate and nourish the skin first. So, after using a moisturizing ingredient like ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid combined with water, and squalane, use petrolatum jelly or a product with high amounts of glycerin. You could even shea butter or anything thick. But, you can also buy a product that combines steps 1 and step 2. This will keep you from looking glossy but still very hydrated.

Bubble Over Night Hydrating Sleep Mask - $20

This is from Bubble, and it is amazing! This is the overnight hydrating sleep mask, and while it is a sleep mask, it is basically a thick moisturizer. This has mandelic acid in it, and the product comes out in a beautiful ribbony texture. So, you still get that hydration and semi-laminated look. 

Now, on the flip side, if you want to look totally glossy and laminated, this is one of Cassandra’s favorite products from Versed. 

Versed Smooth Landing Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm -$17.99 

This is an eye balm that contains retinol within a thick shea butter and petrolatum jelly cream. If you use a bit of this, this is going to make you look very glossy.

Tower28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray 1 oz -$12  

As a bonus, you could grab something like a glycerin spray. This is basically going to put even more dewy mistiness on your face. If you truly want a “fresh out of the shower look,” this is what’s going to do it.  There are a couple of other great ones. Bubble has a good one if you want antioxidant support. Dr. Sandra Lee also has a great salicylic acid spray if you have acne. But overall, the glycerin spray is what going to give that misty look.

Bubble Bounce Back Balancing Toner Mist - $13  

So, is this a good or bad trend? In general, trends are okay, but understanding and embracing your skin is always best. Also, Cassandra doesn’t know how practical this laminated skin trend will be for everyone. If you wear a sunscreen with this trend, you have to put Vaseline underneath which will be very tacky and make your hair stick to it. If you live in a really cold environment, this laminated skin trend can be rough too. If you’re wearing a thick, occlusive moisturizer in the cold, your face can get very cold and uncomfortable. So, at the end of the day, remember to focus on supporting your skin barrier as opposed to just following a trend.