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If we’ve told you once, we’ve told you a million times — good skin is the foundation for great makeup looks, and the best skin brightening products are going to help you start with an amazingly fresh palette to paint on.
Honestly though, good skin is where it’s at. Not all of us live under the Swiss Alps or near majestic hot springs that naturally impart a regional glow to our faces, but we CAN take measures into our hands and glow-up, as it were. Here are some of the best skin brightening products currently in our arsenal — some old favorites, some fresh out of the lab.
Boscia’s peel-off masks are like a dream team for pore-tightening and “luminizing.” The white one has sea fern algae extract and Stay-C 50, which reduces melanin production to minimize hyper-pigmentation and maximize collagen production, allowing for bright shiny new skin cells to turn over. The black mask also has vitamin C for brightening and Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, which absorbs excess oil and impurities while exfoliating dead skin cells.
The Strawberry Fruit Extract in this brightening face cleanser from Indie Lee is the agent that clears pores and naturally exfoliates dead skin to reveal your brightest skin underneath. You can even leave it on your face for 5-10 minutes to use it as an exfoliating mask. Versatility is always appreciated.
(Where to Buy: Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser, $32 at Indielee.com)
Mario Badescu is the facial king in NYC, with a line of popular and affordable skincare products to boot. This vitamin C serum is the pretty much the ONE thing that is made exclusively for brightening—vitamin C is a fruit acid that has tons of antioxidants to protect skin from free radicals (which age your skin, BTW). This serum has 7.5% of it, which doesn’t seem like a lot but consider that this is acid here. It also has hyaluronic acid for hydrating and collagen for that youthful plump.
(Where to Buy: Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum, $45 at Mariobadescu.com)
This daytime moisturizer is a new addition to Shiseido’s White Lucent line (which is amazing for tone-evening/brightening needs, FYI), targeting dark spots and evens them out, as well as minimizing signs of sun damage all dang day. This lightweight moisturizer has SPF and micro-flecks of shimmer to boot, giving your face a literal glow as it’s doing its thing.
(Where to Buy: Shiseido White Lucent All Day brightener, $57 at Shiseido)
Sheet masks are a terrific way to get skincare ingredients to sink into your skin, wasting no drop of what can sometimes be an expensive treatment. This would be one of those treatments. Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Masks contain the brand’s trademarked Snowise Tri-White Complex as well as Korean herbs—each mask is fermented for two weeks in white ginseng to bring out its most potent brightening powers. The mask itself is made from compressed plant pulp and is much more delicate that your run-of-the-mill sheet mask. All of this stuff boosts circulation in your skin, imparts instant brightening appearance, and minimizes age spots.
(Where to Buy: Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Mask, $130 for box of 10 at Nordstrom.com)
Tata Harper is KNOWN for her face oils which primarily synthesize natural plant-derived ingredients into their most effective skin-beneficial forms. The Beautifying Face Oil uses brown algae extract to boost radiance in the skin. Camellia flower extract is a superb moisturizer with plenty of essential fatty acids to give your skin that plump glow. Massaged into your face every night, you’ll be glowing in no time.
(Where to Buy: Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil, $48 at TataHarperskincare.com)