Aqua-Filling Is the New K-Beauty Trend That Will Transform Your Crazy-Dry Winter Skin

Meet the good kind of water weight.

A wise male-model-cum-merman once said: "Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty." He wasn't wrong—H2O has always been the not-so-secret secret to glowing skin 💦. 

When skin doesn't get enough of it, complexions become dry, sallow, droopy, and just kind of sad. And unless you are superwoman drinking all the water and piling on heaps of moisturizer this winter (freak!), chances are your skin needs more hydration. 

A 20-something crypt keeper myself, I definitely needed it. Thankfully, Christine Chang, co-founder of K-beauty mecca Glow Recipe, introduced me to aqua-filling: a breakthrough in the art of not looking dry as a bone.

Aqua-filling: a breakthrough in the art of not looking dry as a bone.

Like so many K-beauty trends, aqua-filling was born straight out of dermatology clinics in Korea. The inspiration was a procedure that injects hydration into the skin for a youthfully plumped appearance, but fear not—this approach involves zero needles 💉 .

"Volumizing the face was a trend a couple of years ago, but what women want now is not volume for the face, but youthful, supple, plumped, and hydration-filled skin, described as 'taeng taeng' or 'zzon zzon' in Korean," Chang explains.

This desire yielded a slew of moisture-binding, "anti-deflate" products that deliver bouncy, young-looking skin with new hydration technology. One of the key ingredients is Tremella, a fungus mushroom that possesses polysaccharides, which can hold up to 500 times its own water weight. It's one of the few ingredients in nature that has this capacity and is said to be even more effective than hyaluronic acid in repairing dry skin. 

"When dry Tremella is resoaked, it blossoms almost instantly to its original, supple state," says Chang. Watch this madness unfold before your eyes:

Are you a believer now?

A powerful antioxidant and anti-aging ingredient, Tremella can be found in a handful of K-beauty creams, but most popularly Earth Recipe's Moisture Bound Cream. "It anchors hydration in the deepest layers for luminously plumped skin," says Chang.

Another major player is Primary Raw's Doyou Azulene Gel Cream, which, believe it or not, is actually water-free. "It's able to aqua-fill the skin with raw bamboo sap, which mimics natural moisturizing factors found in skin," she says, adding that sap is what powers the growth of bamboo—you know, that grassy stuff that can grow up to 23 inches a day.

Teamed with skin-soothing azulene (steam distilled from chamomile plants) and encapsulated vitamin E, the formula is fast absorbing and your-skin-will-never-be-the-same hydrating. Also, it comes in the coolest apothecary-like bottle.

So, dear decrepit readers, give 'em a try.

Blue, Product, Brown, Teal, Aqua, Turquoise, Glass, Liquid, Food storage containers, Mason jar,

(Image credit: Courtesy of Glow Recipe)

1. Earth's Recipe Moisture Bound Cream, $43;

2. Primary Raw DoYou Azulene Gel Cream, $46;

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Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.