Updated 5/12/17. When clients come to me to help them with their skin, so many will say, “My skin looks dull and tired. I want my skin to glow.” Sound familiar?
While there are many filters you can now put on your photos to give you a perfectly radiant look, but in true life, what does having glowing skin really look like? And how can you actually achieve it?
Determining what glowing skin really is and how one can get it varies greatly depending on the skin care professional you ask, but I think glowing skin generally has the following traits:
- A smooth, small-pored, bump-free texture with the absence of dry skin cells so the skin reflects light. (Exfoliating acids with pore-clearing salicylic acid is what keeps bumps and breakouts under control. Depending on your skin type (take my Skin Type Quiz) BHA Clarifying Serum and Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum are great ones to keep the skin clear and bump-free.
- Skin with good blood circulation underneath the surface, giving the skin a slight rosy look. It shouldn’t be overly red, like in rosacea-prone skin types. On the other hand, it shouldn’t lack color to the point where the skin looks sallow or ashy. (Those who smoke often have a sallowness which makes for dull-looking skin.)
- Even-toned skin with the absence of both sun spots and post-breakout dark scars. (Easier said than done.)
- A natural sheen to the skin, either from having good moisture in the skin by using lipid-rich, reparative moisturizers, or from one’s own production of oil. (I’m a skin type #2 and I can’t tell you how many times people have complimented me on my skin at day’s end when it’s really just greasy and oily —but it definitely gives my skin a light reflective sheen!)
So how can you get your skin to glow? Here’s my easy beauty tips for glowing skin.
1. Hang your head upside down for three minutes a day. You can do this by doing yoga (especially the downward dog position). You should notice that, after three minutes, a slight redness will appear on the skin and, in the long run, it can make a big difference in getting and keeping an inner glow. Read more about this here.
2. Use skincare products with circulation-boosting and energy-boosting properties. Ingredients like vitamin B12 (found in Energy Boosting Toner) and peppermint (found in Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel and Mint Buffing Beads) in skin care products work to give the skin a serious pick-me-up. When applied topically, these ingredients gently dilate the blood vessels, allowing the skin to accommodate more nutrient-rich blood. With continued use, you can see the skin getting visibly brighter. Promise!
3. Don’t smoke. This will make the skin appear slightly gray and sluggish over time because capillaries die and close off, which reduces the blood supply to the skin. And there are many other harmful ways it can affect the skin.
4. Massage your face every time you moisturizer. Immediately after applying moisturizer at night, close your hand to make a fist and use your knuckles to massage the skin in small circular motions for two minutes. This helps to gently stimulate blood flow to the skin to bring new nutrients to the skin cells, as well as a vibrant glow. Getting a professional facial usually includes a face, neck and shoulder massage, which will also encourage proper blood flow.
5. Use an at-home skin peel to create smooth skin. It’s crucial that you remove all superficial dryness to create a smooth-as-glass canvas for makeup. Ten minutes with Triple Berry Smoothing Peel on your face gives it an instant radiance. My celebrity clients like Demi Lovato use it weekly and before all special events and here’s a picture of Sofia Vergara with it. For best results, apply a mask after you’ve rinsed it off to ensure the newly revealed cells get nourished. My skin-brightening Vitamin C&E Treatment, followed by moisturizer, should always be applied after the peel or mask is rinsed off for optimum skin health.
Not let’s talk about the magic of makeup and how you can make your skin look amazing with a beautiful glow, despite what may be happening with your skin underneath.
Here is what I personally use on my own face—especially when I’ll be attending a special event or have a photo shoot.
6. Use a brightening primer under your liquid foundation. These days, I’m loving the no-makeup makeup look where your natural skin shines through so my go-to foundation is Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation. But before I apply it, I’ve been using the By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Serum in the color, Immaculate Light. It gives a really nice sheen to the skin but doesn’t make me look like a disco ball. I will sometimes use Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation when I want more coverage but that’s only once in a blue moon.
This may come as a surprise but I only ever used powder foundation up until my early 40s for fear that liquid foundations would break out my oily, blemish-prone skin, so I’ve only been using liquids the past few years. For the most part, they don’t seem to break me out but I can get little bumps sometimes so I mostly only use foundation when I’m public facing. When I do wear it, it really gives skin-smoothing benefits that powders can never do.
7. Dust the entire face with a brightening powder. Once the foundation is blended in, I dust my entire face lightly with Too Faced Candlelight Glow using a big brush. Two Faced offers two shades: Warm Glow and Rosy Glow. I like how Rosy Glow looks on my fair skin the best but Warm Glow is nice, too. The thing I really like about this powder is that it doesn’t make the skin look overly shiny, but rather gives just a touch of shimmer.
8. Strobe for a glow! After that, I use a small brush and dust a tiny bit of Makeup Forever Star Powder along the bridge of my nose, forehead, chin and the tops of my cheekbones for a strobing, highlighting effect. A little goes a long way with this product, so I use it sparingly but it gives a great look to my face. I like to watch tutorial videos on YouTube for new makeup techniques, but strobing is AMAZING and so easy to do.
9. Contour under the cheeks. I then do a little contouring of a neutral bronze color with MAC blush under my cheekbones to slim out my face slightly. Temptalia has a great tutorial for contouring. (The photo shows a color called Margin but any bronzer will work.)
10. Dab a small amount of blush on your cheeks. The finishing touch is Benefit Dandelion blush applied ever-so-slightly to the apples of my cheeks to give the final rosy glow.
Overall, the look is bright, luminous and glowing skin that gets me a lot of compliments. Of course, being an esthetician who is overly obsessed with sunscreen and using high-quality, well-formulated products for my skin type certainly helps, too.
A final thought about makeup. We all get in a rut with our makeup so I really encourage you to sit down with a makeup artist and treat yourself to a new, updated look. Makeup can work magic!
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Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”