I Tried Glow Recipe's Viral Face Serum to See If It Really Delivers "Glass Skin"
If you’ve found yourself anywhere near skincare TikTok, then you’ve probably landed on someone using Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops. The serum-with-benefits has skyrocketed in popularity (both on and off the app) thanks to its uncanny ability to give skin a “glass skin”-like finish. Originally popularized in Korean beauty markets, glass skin is the appearance of impossibly luminous, seemingly translucent skin that looks almost like, well, glass. Glow Recipe’s products are a shortcut not only for achieving glass skin but also an all-around healthy glow.
“Inspired by the glowy skin looks created by Korean makeup artists, our Watermelon Glow Dew Drops had countless iterations before we settled on the final product you see,” explains Christine Chang, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Glow Recipe. “It was a challenge to create a treatment that could bridge skincare and makeup and be used in multiple ways, without the use of glitter, mica, or pearl which is oftentimes found in makeup, but it was worth the wait.” The final iteration ended up focusing on three main skin-loving ingredients, and it’s been a hit among the skincare crowd.
But if you find yourself wondering if the product is worth the hype, read on for our take (pics included!) as well as more background on the formulation, and similar products worth shopping too.
How to Use Dew Drops
There are so many ways to use Dew Drops, you’ll wonder why so many of your products are one-trick ponies. “This first-of-its-kind highlighting skincare-and-makeup hybrid can be used in versatile ways, including as a niacinamide-infused brightening serum, a dewy primer before makeup, on eyelids for a dewy look (it’s ophthalmologist-tested!), or mixed in with foundation for a lit-from-within glow,” explains Lee. “It can also be used to achieve a reflective complexion in place of products like highlighters.”
For more inspiration, you can always just scroll through your social media feed. “This product, along with Watermelon Glow Pore-Tight Toner, recently went viral across TikTok after Mikayla Nogueira featured the product in her skincare routine video, inspired by @Glamzillaxo’s video touting this duo to be the secret behind her glowy skin,” shares Chang, who says the brand has been thrilled with the creativity. “We’ve seen so many talented TikTok users showcase their own usage, whether it be as part of their skincare, makeup routine, or both, which we’ve absolutely loved seeing!”
What Is Niacinamide, the Star Ingredient in Dew Drops?
Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, gets top billing in the product. “Niacinamide is a powerful vitamin and antioxidant that evens out skin tone, helps reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots, soothes skin, brightens dullness, minimizes the appearance of pores, and supports the skin barrier,” explains Chang. Beyond that, it’s also known for being suitable for most skin types. “This ingredient is known for its balancing properties, which made it the clear choice to infuse in Dew Drops, helping to achieve glowy, dewy results across all skin types, [including] sensitive, oily, and beyond,” adds Sarah Lee, the brand’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO.
But niacinamide isn’t the only key ingredient to know. The formula also touts hyaluronic acid, moringa seed oil, and watermelon extract, and each plays a role in helping boost that signature glow. “Hyaluronic Acid is a holy-grail, high molecular weight hydrator that contains moisture-binding properties and can hold 1000x its weight in water to reveal supple, bouncy, and visibly plump skin,” the co-founder adds. “Moringa Seed Oil is a non-comedogenic, lightweight breathable oil that contains Vitamin E to help hydrate and soothe skin.”
“Lastly, the brand’s signature watermelon appears—and it’s much more than just a fresh fragrance. Watermelon is packed with protective vitamins A and C, skin-plumping amino acids, and the phytonutrient lycopene, which all help moisturize, plump, soothe, and treat fine lines and wrinkles,” says Chang. “Together, these star ingredients help provide an effortless dewy glow not only instantly but also over time, while helping to reduce hyperpigmentation and without leaving a gray cast.”
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops Review
I have combination skin, and at the time I was reviewing this product, it was a little bit red and stressed-out—not a bad time to add some niacinamide into the mix. The first thing I noticed is that there are two sets of directions: The first is for a “natural glow” and the second is for a “maximum glow.” But in truth, the directions are basically the same, except the former is done before makeup, and the latter is done on no-makeup makeup days. The real draw, in my opinion, are the hacks, which are what’s mostly gone viral on TikTok. At $34, the product is moderately priced, but I appreciate that it has multiple uses.
For the so-called maximum glow, you simply apply 1–2 pumps of the product as the last step of your entire skincare routine. So I did my normal morning routine and added the Dew Drops on top of my moisturizer, which, I’ll admit, felt a little backward. The texture is somewhat jelly-like and feels cool and refreshing as it’s rubbed in.
Here's What the "Maximum Glow" Application Looks Like
There was a definite sheen where the light hit, but I don’t know that it hit full glass-skin wattage. That said, I prefer less shine, so it worked for me. After a couple of minutes, it did feel a little sticky on my skin, but I touched my face again about a half hour later, and the texture was more velvety.
For a "Natural Glow," I Applied Tinted Moisturizer to What I Had Already Applied
The serum acted as a terrific primer, creating a smooth canvas for my makeup. And even with the tinted moisturizer added on top, the Dew Drops added that bit of extra glow.
Finally, it was time for the real fun: the hacks. I started with a TikTok favorite, mixing the Dew Drops in with my tinted moisturizer before applying it.
What It Looks Like Blended With Tinted Moisturizer
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. As much as I liked how the product applied the previous ways, this application is way more my speed. The coverage was sheer and lightweight, and let my natural complexion shine through. I also used my ring finger to gently tap a bit of product onto my lids and my cheekbones for added highlight. In the above photo, the only makeup I’m wearing is tinted moisturizer and the Dew Drops! Not bad, IMHO.
Final verdict: This product is much more versatile than I expected. I like that it acts as a serum, primer, and highlighter all in one, and I’m intrigued about mixing it with other products like blush. And although I usually don’t love skincare products with fragrance, it doesn’t feel irritating on my skin. I can’t speak to the product’s long-term effects with brightening, but for a short-term glow, it delivers.
Similar Products to Try
The vitamin-shaped bottle is cute, but it’s also packed with niacinamide, and hydrating enough to be used as a lightweight moisturizer for oily skin types or in the summer. And unlike Glow Recipe’s formula, this one is fragrance-free.
This transparent serum is Peach & Lily’s best-seller, adding a dewy glow while helping brighten dark spots and refining the look of pores. It’s also fragrance-free and suitable for most skin types.
Further blurring the line between highlighter and serum, this formula has diamond mineral powder to add radiance and even out the skin tone. It also acts as a primer, adding a touch of barely there shimmer underneath foundation.