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It turns out Jell-O — the jiggly, fruity gelatinous sweet that isn’t so much a treat — sounds much more appealing when you’re talking about skin care. Not to apply to your face, of course, but to emulate. Like glazed donut skin (another delicious-sounding trend), jello skin is all about embodying the food it’s named after — in this case, the bouncy, plump properties of Jell-O. (Editor’s note: Jell-O, the food, is a trademark, but when referring to the beauty trend we use lowercase.)
Jello skin was first coined by beauty influencer Ava Lee, who posted a now-viral TikTok of herself getting a facial. In the video, the esthetician pinches her cheek and notes how her skin bounces back, saying, “It’s firm. It’s like the perfect consistency of jello!”
That plumpness and elasticity is an indicator of ample collagen levels in the skin. As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is found in the bones, muscles, blood and skin. It’s essential to healthy joints and plump skin, but begins to break down and deplete as you age. This is why many anti-aging skin care regimens will center around collagen-boosting ingredients that will help maintain the skin’s elasticity, and therefore reduce other signs of aging like wrinkles.
Jello skin might be another fun-sounding skin care trend, but it has a main distinction from from others. “While glazed donut and glass skin refers to skin complexion, jello skin refers to supple, plump skin with elasticity that allows skin to bounce back,” explains Sarah Lee, co-CEO and cofounder of Glow Recipe. The brand itself is known for its juicy formulas that center around yummy ingredients like watermelon and plum.
While a collagen-supporting skin care routine can help you nourish your skin from the surface, Ava Lee says that achieving jello skin goes deeper than that. “Jello skin is so much more than how your skin looks,” the beauty influencer tells us. “There isn’t one product that will help you get it, it’s a whole lifestyle.”
Beyond skin care products, she also incorporates collagen into her diet, through bone broth and supplements, and emphasizes staying hydrated. Lee loves tea, particularly ones with anti-inflammatory benefits, and will boil up a jello skin elixir based on Traditional Chinese Medicine consisting of apples, dates, goji berries, black fungus mushrooms and herbal brown sugar. She also incorporates what she calls “jello skin boosters” into her beverages, whether it’s a collagen supplement or antioxidant-rich black sesame oil or matcha — “basically anything that can add more beauty benefits,” she says.
Jello skin, like glass skin, dolphin skin and slugging, is inspired by K-beauty, and emphasizes healthy, natural beauty. Lee herself incorporates other Asian beauty practices, like gua sha and TCM, into her daily regimen. Gua sha is especially great for jello skin because it promotes lymphatic drainage and decongests the tissues beneath the skin while boosting collagen, so your skin not only appears smoother and plumper but feels more elastic and jelly-like, too.
When it comes to skin care, a routine to achieve jello skin should focus on boosting collagen and maintaining hydration — both of which will contribute to how bouncy and jello-like the skin feels. “The main ingredients that stimulate collagen and boost plumping of the skin are vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid and peptides,” says Amy Peterson, medical aesthetician and founder of Miami medspa Skincare by Amy Peterson.
In-spa treatments can also help rejuvenate the skin and give it the plump, jelly-like look. “The Hydrafacial is an incredible machine that can be utilized to hydrate and brighten the skin for that jello skin effect,” Peterson says. “The process includes a gentle exfoliation, suction of debris from pores and nourishing of the skin with intensive moisturizers.” She also recommends the Clear and Brilliant non-invasive laser treatment that “works with your body to improve collagen production for healthy, radiant skin,” and microneedling, where “thousands of superficial micro-channels are created, stimulating your skin’s natural ability to heal itself. The repair process begins almost immediately and results in new collagen and elastin production.”
Ava Lee likes double-cleansing to make sure that there’s absolutely no makeup on her face before applying other skin care. Farmacy’s cleansing balms are a fan-favorite for the first cleanse, and the brand just released this new peach-scented version that’s made to remove makeup, dirt and SPF.
For the second cleanse, Lee likes this gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin, preserving its moisture and plumpness.
$110 at The Skin Savant and Alastin Skincare
Hydration is key to keeping skin looking juicy like jello. This hyaluronic acid serum is “formulated to hydrate, plump and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” according to Peterson.
This derm-approved product, which is also one of Lee’s favorite vitamin C serums, helps protect and plump the skin. “It combines vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid in order to improve fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness and brighten the skin,” Peterson says.
“Vitamin C is skincare’s holy grail ingredient at not only brightening skin and preventing hyperpigmentation and dark spots, but this powerhouse antioxidant helps accelerate the production of collagen and improves elasticity,” says Chang. “These benefits can be achieved using our Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum which is formulated with five forms of vitamin C (dual encapsulated for gentle yet effective delivery) as well as guava extract which is rich in natural vitamin C.”
Ava Lee’s secret weapon to jello skin is practicing gua sha. She likes this affordable option, which is heart-shaped for better grip and contouring.
$199 at The Skin Savant and Alastin Skincare
Peterson says this beauty splurge utilizes Alastin’s TriHex Technology, which includes a peptide complex that supports the skin’s natural ability to produce new, healthy collagen and elastin for jello skin.
Ava Lee stans this K-beauty moisturizer that is great for sensitive skin. It contains niacinamide and ceramides to support the skin barrier, plus madecassoside for fighting redness and inflammation.
“Hyaluronic acid has an instant plumping effect on skin, especially formulations with different weights of hyaluronic acid,” explains Glow Recipe’s Sarah Lee. “Skincare products with multiple weights of hyaluronic acid, such as our Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum and Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream, floods each layer of skin with intense hydration, visibly plumping skin from within, for the desired jello skin result.”
Ava Lee says she “never leaves the house without sunscreen on to preserve collagen and for anti-aging.” This Korean option features hyaluronic acid for extra moisturization, leaving the skin with the dewy, plump look of jello skin.