Glowing skin – the holy grail for women everywhere. Ask any beauty pro out there and they’ll tell you rather pointedly, you won’t find the secret to glowing skin in your makeup bag.
But, that’s not to say there isn’t any products on the market that will beautifully melt into your skin so you can fake that “moisty, dewy lit up look” from within. We’re after something else though, we want that permanent look as if we just got off the plane from an extended vacation. If you want healthy, radiant and clear skin, one approach is a combination of product, practice and definitely a dab of patience. Thankfully, we’ve put together a fabulous list of quick-fix solutions for you.
#1 – The Exfoliation Routine
You will want to create a smooth surface, and a good exfoliation routine will eliminate dullness so that your skin reflects light. Exfoliation is key in any balanced skin care routine and has many benefits that include more even skin tone, better circulation, and clear pores just to name a few.
Exfoliation helps serums, moisturizers, and growth factors penetrate deeper into the skin. The removal of dead, dry skin not only frees up skincare products to do their work but it increases skin's radiance, clarity, and youthfulness, too. But our skin is also sensitive and being careful with how you exfoliate or what you use is essential to the process. For that reason, we’ve asked some dermatologists their advice and what to use.
According to Melissa K. Levin, the NYC-based dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology,
"Exfoliation is key and necessary for dry and combination skin to continue turnover of dead skin cells. I recommend incorporating an alpha-hydroxy acid product, or for those with more sensitive skin, Cetaphil's Extra Gentle Daily Scrub because it uses micro-fine bamboo particles that buff and soften skin."
Exfoliation and Glowing Skin – what’s next?
As for the next and final steps in the exfoliating process, it is important to remember a few extra things that help with the process – for example, should you be exfoliating in the morning or at night? This will depend, but if you wear makeup every day, experts say exfoliating at night is best to remove those makeup particles. If your face is duller however, or if you have oilier skin, then exfoliating in the morning would be best to provide your skin with a fresh glow to start your day.
How often should you exfoliate? Just like everything else, in excess can be damaging – if done everyday it can lead to dryness, irritation, redness and even broken blood vessels! Not very good for a glow is it? All you need to do is exfoliate once or twice a week to brush away dead cells and the dull outer layer of skin. No need to go overboard here and just remember to have a little patience.
How about chemical exfoliation? This tends to get a bad rap sometimes, but most of the dermatologists out there understand why. The word “chemicals” makes it sounds harsh, and the chemicals used sounds even harsher – but, the bottom line is chemicals aid in cell turnover. Peels are chemical exfoliates, and are not only great for smoothing but also for brightening. There are a couple types to look out for, starting with alpha hydroxy acids.
#2 – The Microcurrent Facial
When it comes to glowing skin, the pursuit for the latest ‘it’ treatment is never-ending. But let’s check out microcurrent facials – Not only are they the latest innovation to spark a conversation, the procedure is non-invasive, injection free and painless. Sounds pretty cool right?
Keep on reading, you’re going to love this!
What the heck is a microcurrent facial anyway?
This treatment uses electricity to promote cell growth in the skin, and although it might sound a bit scary or even painful, it absolutely isn’t. Even more miraculous, these treatments have immediate benefits with absolutely no recovery time.
Microcurrent machines in facial aesthetic applications are used to ‘work out’ the muscles of the face, stimulate collagen, and tighten skin appearance,” says Svendsen. “Microcurrent uses low-voltage electricity to stimulate muscle, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) cell growth, and collagen development in the dermis on the face.”
Microcurrent facials tighten and smooth the muscles and connective tissues in the face by increasing cellular activity, and have been shown to reduce wrinkles, mostly around the forehead area.
“Microcurrent has been around for decades, especially in physical therapy, so it is very safe, effective, and targeted,” says Svendsen. Physical therapists have used microcurrent therapy treatments since the 1970s for pain relief and even facial paralysis conditions, like Bell’s palsy.
What can you expect with a microcurrent facial?
You will feel a gentle, zingy feeling — the not-so-technical term — and occasionally as the current is applied near the nerve attached to the muscle, it will jump. But don’t fear, this isn’t painful, it just feels ‘alive’. Most patients love the feeling since it makes them confident that something is happening and a connection has been made!
The Microcurrent Facial and Glowing
One of the biggest questions regarding microcurrent facials is how long it lasts. Once a series is completed the results can be easily maintained by getting it done every 4-8 weeks. Best of all, the series can be repeated every few years without any permanent damage to the skin. If you do happen to follow the series religiously, which is on a monthly basis, the end result should last from 3 to 4 years. Not bad for that younger and healthier looking skin!
If you are concerned about what this procedure is doing to your face in the long term, don’t be! A microcurrent facial is often referred to as a “natural” facelift. This safe and painless facial helps erase fine lines and wrinkles, while firming your skin and defining your features. It improves muscle tone, reduces puffiness, increases cellular activity, and tightens pores.
For most people this procedure is very safe, but there are a few exceptions. For example, people with heart issues, like if they have a pace maker, are not advised to get a microcurrent facial because it stimulates the blood.
#3 – Take full advantage of that concealer
Glowing skin can appear when you consider a good concealer, which truly is a good investment – we promise. Not only can it double as foundation if applied sparingly, but the right concealers can be used to cover up everything from acne to dark circles. A huge favorite and good way to conceal is to use BB or CC cream everywhere and then just go in with a full-coverage concealer in certain areas. Concealer, and Glossier Stretch Concealer are a few favorites. If you’re trying to cover a spot, use a little bit of an eye primer on top of it, and once it dries, put concealer on top and it has a little more staying power.
Well that’s all fine and good, but what about those pesky dark circles under my eyes?
So glad you asked.
When it comes for masking those pesky dark circles, you might be used to adding a brighter shade of concealer to counteract any purple-looking areas. However, using a brighter shade of concealer on its own can sometimes draw attention to the discoloration. The goal is to make the undereye area blend with the skin, and then you can brighten right up. For olive to deep skin tones, stylist recommend a golden or orange shade to counteract any purple or blue zones.
The Right Concealer Can Help You Glow – Here’s the next steps to remember…
With the right combination of radiant pearl mica, purified water and lightweight oils, this foundation from Laura Mercier is one of the most-coveted foundations amongst glow-getters. Skin is left hydrated, warm and, most importantly, flawless.
An important thing to remember about concealer is that all skin types can be prone to acne breakouts, especially if you're using products that are unknowingly clogging your pores and helping acne-causing bacteria to grow and thrive. But alcohol is intensely-drying and can lead to dehydrated or irritated skin, which can cause or exacerbate breakouts.
And, it might actually surprise many of you to learn how often we make the simplest of mistakes when it comes to makeup in general and concealer. Like something as simple as washing our faces everyday, and this means even if you're blurry-eyed and barely awake when you're getting ready in the morning, you'll want to be sure to wash your face before putting your makeup on. Starting with a clean canvas helps remove any dirt or oils that have built up on your face.
To avoid breaking out from your makeup, make sure to prep the skin using a salicylic acid-based cleanser to remove excess oil, dirt, and dead cells from the surface," advised Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. In 2017, he said that prepping skin with a cleanser is an easy way to keep makeup from breaking you out, which many of us might skip in the interest of saving a few precious minutes in the morning.
How about those brushes? Are you washing them? Really think about this one for a second: When is the last time you thoroughly cleaned your makeup brushes? If you can't recall the last time your tools and applicators got a good scrub down, they're probably harboring all kinds of icky bacteria, oils, and dirt, which are doing your skin no favors.
As for how often you need to clean your brushes, well, it's likely more often than you'd think. Ideally, you're cleaning them after every use, but even pros understand that isn't super realistic.
#4 – Use the “Chill Out” method
Ready for a shock?
“Before and after a flight, I run ice cubes over my face until they melt. My pores love this skin shocker.” —Thuyen Nguyen, facialist to Cindy Crawford
This just happens to be Kate Moss’s secret facial remedy, and best of all, it’s already in your freezer.
Ice cubes are a year-round skincare hero, from functioning as a natural makeup primer to taking cheekbones to new heights, they are a secret weapon for many top facialists and makeup artists.
Is redness your problem? Just bring a frozen block to the roof of your mouth, where receptors for your face’s blood vessels live. And for flare ups, they also act as spot-on treatments for breakouts.
For as long as he’s been performing transformative facials, celebrity facialist Ole Henriksen has incorporated ice cubes into his treatments.
“They dramatically improve circulation in the skin for that healthy glow we all want,” he says.
To boost results, he’ll brew and freeze rosehip seed tea, which is high in Vitamin C, as well as antioxidant-packed green tea. For application, Henriksen suggests wrapping an ice cube in a thin cotton handkerchief and massaging it across the skin.
Icing that Beautiful Face, the Final Word
Really think about this, there is no science engineering behind it because at the end of the day, fresh water cures just about everything right? So yeah, an absolute no brainer here! Simply applying ice onto the face cleans the pores, and your skin becomes healthy, glowing and smooth. Before you apply your makeup, apply an ice cube on your face, and it'll make your skin look even more healthy and beautiful. It'll also help your foundation look flawless.
Ice can even reduce dark circles under the eyes - A cold compress can help reduce swelling and shrink dilated blood vessels. This can reduce the appearance of puffiness and help eliminate dark circles. Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean washcloth and apply to your eyes.
Finally, and probably best of all, icing that face can help tighten the skin. It also can shrink enlarged pores by helping to unclog pores that can appear larger due to debris and excess sebum. Icing tones the face, making it look smoother and cold constricts the blood vessels so that less blood goes to the surface of the skin (which reduces any inflammation or swelling).
#5 – A little contouring goes a long way
You want radiant glowing skin in a matter of minutes? Contouring is the answer. And this is done by only using two shades of base. So, this means that you need to work with one foundation that is lighter than your natural skin tone and one that is a few shades darker. When you are contouring, you should not be using a base that actually matches your skin tone.
Never contoured before? Don’t panic. Just follow this cut-out-and-keep guide to make sure you know how to contour like a pro.
The first top tip is: know your face. The idea with contouring is to shade the areas you want to sculpt. Then, highlight the areas you want to accentuate.
- Apply your foundation as normal.
- Starting from your ear, just below your cheekbone, brush your dark shade contour cream or powder on a 45-degree angle. Stop in line with your pupil. Blend with a brush, following the same line to create a sculpted look. Start off lightly and add more product for more definition if needed.
- Repeat on the other side to balance everything out.
- If you want to make your nose appear slimmer, use a smaller brush to apply your dark contour cream or powder to either side of your nose, blending outwards as you go.
- To make a large forehead appear smaller, brush your dark contour cream or powder along your hairline and blend in towards the center of your forehead.
- Add definition to your jawline by brushing your dark contour cream or powder along the length of your jaw and at the base of your chin. Blend downwards to create a shadow underneath your jaw.
- Hide dark circles under your eyes by applying concealer in a lighter shade than your skin tone in an upside-down triangle, parallel to your nose, from the inner corner of your eye, under your lower lash line, down to your cheek and up the outer corner of your eye.
- Apply your highlighter by starting at the top of your brow arch and bringing it down to the top of your cheekbone, then blend in the shape of a ‘c’.
- Brush highlighter down the bridge of your nose and along the tip.
- Starting in between your brows, apply your highlighter in the shape of an upside-down triangle and blend outwards. If you have a small forehead and want it to appear larger, apply a larger triangle of highlighter and if you want it to appear smaller, apply a smaller triangle of highlighter.
- Highlight your cupids bow and the center of your chin.
For a long time, contour was for expert makeup artists and drag queens, so they needed multi-use products that would work on a variety of clients. This is how the contour kit or palette we know and love was born! However, when you’re only working on your own face, there is no need for so many shades. You should only need one or two perfect contours, bronzer, and highlight shades to match your skin tone. Find the one product that works for you and invest in that instead.
The Final Word on Contouring and Looking Glamourous
When it comes to contouring and trying to decide the best products to use, this is where things can get difficult. If you don’t want to go through every video and makeup comparative site on the planet, here’s our list of expert advice and at some pretty good costs too!
• MAC Studio Conceal and Correct Palette $35
• Anastasia Beverly Hills Original Contour Kit $40
• Kat Von D The Shade + Light Creme Contour Palette $49
• Sleek MakeUP Cream Contour Kit $16
• The Complexionista $32
• Focallure Contouring Sticks $17
• LORAC Pro Contour Palette Plus Contour Brush $45
Many also ask about cream contour and whether or not a cream is better than a powder. Our experts tell us cream contour can be applied and blended just with fingers, which makes it a convenient product to have on the go. You may use a Beauty Blender (or equivalent) if you want smoother and faster results! Powder contour on the other hand must be applied with a fluffy brush, preferably an angled one with natural hair.
The final word on Glowing Skin
As women, we spend hours every day in front of the mirror to look beautiful. While makeup is a fun way of expressing yourself and enhancing your features, we’ve discovered you don’t need to rely on it as a crutch to define your beauty. A bare, natural look not only allows your authenticity to shine through but it’s also the best thing you can carry around. Well, is it possible to ditch your morning routine some days and still end up looking drop-dead gorgeous and glowing?
The answer is rather simple and frankly speaking, it’s all about your insides and how well you look after yourself. Yes! You need to be mindful of essential aspects of your diet, your habits, your lifestyle and your skincare routine. If you have even one of these elements messed up, the effects will inevitably reflect on your health and your overall.
The phrase “You are what you eat” couldn’t be more accurate. A nutritious diet is a fool-proof way to achieving healthy skin. Make sure you add fruits and vegetables to your daily intake. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like flax seeds, walnuts and vitamin-enriched foods like oranges, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are a must. Also include foods that are high in protein like eggs, chicken, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas and cottage cheese. A wholesome diet does the job on its own to keep you radiant and healthy from within by giving your body all that it requires.
As previously mentioned above, water cures all! This is so true and we can’t stress enough on the importance of H2O. Every system and function in our body relies on water. Carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go and keep yourself hydrated through the day. Drinking a minimum of 8 or more glasses of water helps flush out toxins from your body, and hence your skin looks plumper and livelier. It also helps keep wrinkles at bay.
The best way to consume water is to fill up a bottle with cucumbers, lemons, zucchinis, mint leaves and other such brightly colored veggies and make your detox water to drink on-the-go. Doing this gives you the nutrients as well as the hydration to help your body utilize and hold onto the water more efficiently.
Finally, for sound advice and awesome tutorial videos, there is no shortage of suggestions on Instagram for achieving a radiant complexion: the hashtag #glowingskin alone has more than three million posts that recommend a multitude of shimmery products — from gold-flecked highlighters to glimmering bronzers to glitter-laced gelées — all of which, when layered on the skin, can create a lustrous effect.
But the results don’t always look natural. For those who prefer a more low-key sheen — a subtle dewiness that suggests the afterglow of a hike or yoga session — a new batch of sheer water-based tints and light-reflecting creams, made with hydrating ingredients and only a hint of shimmer, offer a subtler way to illuminate the skin.