The idea of fresh, glowy skin is a fairly new trend: Only within the past decade has the look du jour shifted from a powdered nose to a highlighted cheekbone. And when cell turnover starts to slow down in your twenties—yep, it happens that early—your complexion just needs a little help to look as radiant as you did in high school. Ahead, how to get glowing skin in three easy, yet often-overlooked steps.
Exfoliate: Skin looks bright because light reflects off of it,” says Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. And though Zeichner points out that “dull skin isn’t necessarily unhealthy,” it doesn’t exactly read youthful. “Like tarnished silver, with a little bit of work, even dull skin can glow.” To gently slough away dead skin cells, we like Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, a rice-based formula that polishes skin without irritation. And as the weather cools down (it’s coming, we swear) and skin gets especially dry, you might need to bring out the big guns. “When the barrier becomes disrupted the skins normal pH may also be affected, interfering with skin cell turnover. This may lead to an accumulation of dead cells not normally exfoliated and dull skin.” For a heavy-duty exfoliation, try a weekly BHA peel like Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask.
Brighten: Exfoliating can help polish away dead skin cells, but it’s important to take equal care of what’s underneath, too. And for anyone that has melasma or even mild hyperpigmentation, you already know that vitamin C is the gold standard for bright, even-toned skin. Try subbing in a highly concentrated serum like SkinCeutical C E Ferulic for your usual morning formula. And you didn’t think we’d talk about glowy skin without mentioning the R word, right? “Topical retinol also enhances cell turnover and helps maintain a strong skin foundation with healthy collagen,” says Zeichner, who recommends adding RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream or Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream to your nighttime routine.
Hydrate: Healthy, glowing skin will only nosedive into dull territory if it’s not properly hydrated. Of course, you should be using a moisturizer that’s tailored to your skin type, but adding a hydrating sheet mask like Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask and belief Aqua Bomb to your regimen can help keep skin looking dewy hours after. At night, try sealing in moisture with a sleeping mask (we like Estée Lauder Nutritious Vitality8 Radiant Overnight Mask and Origins Drink Up). And if all else fails, there’s always highlighter. (We kid, we kid.)