Glowing skin isn’t just for people too young to vote or the cheaters who drag the brightness slider to the right. The key to glowing skin is eating right, sleeping well, and of course, seven days’ worth of exactly the right skin care.
Rethink your cleanser.
A face wash that tingles may feel refreshing, but it’s probably not doing much for your skin’s dewiness. Switch to a creamy formula that contains a humectant, like glycerin (in Dior Hydra Life Lotion to Foam Fresh Cleanser). If you’re in a rush, reach for a cotton pad soaked in micellar water; it’ll wipe away dirt without causing dryness. Try the formulas from Simple and Garnier.
Toss your grainy scrub.
“It may get rid of rough patches temporarily, but it’ll make your skin even drier and flakier in the long run,” says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Instead, pick up a sugar-based version, such as Ole Henriksen Moment of Truth 2-in-1 Polishing Sugar Mask. It dissolves as you massage it in, making it a very gentle option. Also, consider an alpha hydroxy acid peel to clean out pores and stimulate the enzymes responsible for cell turnover. Lancôme’s new Visionnaire Crescendo Progressive Night Peel is a one-month peel system that revs up from gentle fruit acids to more intense glycolic acid. You can do it a couple of times a year for a refresh.
Face oils. Embrace them. As of today.
They plump skin with hydration, making it more radiant. Plus they’re, you know, oils, so they leave a little gleam of their own. And if you have naturally oily skin, face oils actually help regulate sebum production so you’re more glow-y than greasy. Layer one (like Lumene Sisu Urban Antidotes Recover & Protect Facial Oil) under your regular moisturizer. For extra credit, try makeup artist Tom Pecheux’s trick: Dip your foundation-covered brush in a few drops of oil before buffing it over the skin. “It won’t look like you have any makeup on,” he says.
Add retinol to your pre-bed operation.
If you’ve missed the praise we’ve heaped on this ingredient over the past, oh, 26 years, we’ll recap: Retinol increases collagen production, firms skin, and evens out tone and texture, which makes it basically the best, most glow-inducing thing ever. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream works like a prescription retinoid but is less likely to cause irritation.
Highlight — within reason.
) just along the cheekbones and jawline with her palms. While you’re dialing back, don’t rub a BB cream or tinted moisturizer all over the place, either. Focus on the temples, cheekbones, and bridge of the nose. If certain areas need extra coverage, use a damp sponge to dab them with concealer. And when you’re done with all that, treat yourself (and your skin) to a coffee (or three): A recent study in the International Journal of Dermatology found that women who drank an average of three cups of coffee a day had significantly fewer skin-dulling age spots than those who drank the least.
Now add a little color.
“To make your face look like it’s glowing from within, dab a peach cream blush across the apples of your cheeks, then blend it along your cheekbones and tap the excess from your fingers into the crease in your upper lids,” says makeup artist Hung Vanngo. Dullness may still creep in around 3 p.m. — but don’t double down on blush. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling for five counts and exhaling for seven. “You’ll get oxygen flowing to bring color to your skin,” says Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Los Angeles.
Today, you can chill.
No, really. If you’re truly committed to the brightening cause, begin your days (starting with this one) by running an ice cube over your face (or at least splashing it with cold water). “The temperature change will release heat-shock proteins, a cellular response that repairs and restores skin cells,” says Shamban. A less masochistic alternative: The new Dr. Jart+ Lover Rubber Masks are derived from seaweed, which temporarily cools the skin while driving hydrating and brightening ingredients deeper into it.
A version of this article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Allure.
Now, treat your dry, winter skin with a tea tree oil mask: