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Ask just about anyone what their dream skin would look like and after clear, blemish-free and smooth, miraculously unwrinkled skin, you’ll hear one adjective on repeat: “glow.” Whether it’s likened to glass, dumplings, or dew, everyone seems to want that radiance. “The effect that we recognize as 'glowy' skin is a combination of a few different factors that can generally be attributed to healthy, well cared for skin: hydration, smoothness, good circulation, and no dead skin cell buildup," says New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman. "Cell renewal and circulation are both key ingredients for glowy skin.”
Lifestyle factors like sleep, hormones, and diet also contribute, Dr. Engelman says. The good news? Even if you’re not clocking a solid, consistent eight hours, there’s plenty you can do with good skincare—and some makeup—to assist on the road to a glowy complexion. These tips from top beauty experts will maximize your glow.
Skincare For Glowing
“When dead skin cells are buffed away and skin is smooth and hydrated, natural light can bounce off the skin’s surface, giving it a bright, glowy look,” Dr. Engelman says. Put simply: Radiant skin is regularly exfoliated skin. There are a number of ways to go about this, from chemical exfoliation (vis-a-vis ingredients like glycolic acid and lactic acid) to incorporating a retinol in your skincare routine. “Retinol tells skin cells to behave like younger, healthier skin cells, and consistent use over time helps reduce signs of aging and makes skin appear younger and brighter,” Dr. Engelman explains.
This exfoliating toner uses a polyhydroxy acid (PHA), also known as gluconolactone, to simultaneously hydrate and exfoliate. PHA is a gentle chemical exfoliant, meaning this toner can be used daily, and is even safe to combine with retinol. Aloe in the formula helps keep skin calm.
Slough away dead skin cells with this chemically exfoliating mask that uses 6% lactic acid mixed with fruit enzymes to leave skin fresh and glowing. It also doesn’t hurt that it smells like delicious cherry pie.
“Glowing skin first appears when dead skin cells are shed and healthy skin cells are brought to the surface,” explains Elizabeth Harvey, Lead Esthetician for Naturopathica Spas & Healing Centers. "To get glowing skin to stay glowing is a little bit trickier." She stresses the importance of making sure the “new healthy cells are well cleansed, hydrated, protected, and nourished.”
Rich in omega fatty acids 6 and 9, vitamins A and E, and packed with antioxidants, this plum oil (a cult favorite product that a Chrissy Teigen Instagram shout-out once helped sell out), is a quick route to glowing skin. Plus, in a pinch, a swipe of face oil makes a great highlighter.
This deeply moisturizing mask is a one-stop ride to glowy skin thanks to ceramides from yuzu and vitamin C rich jabara extract. Plus, it can be used as a 10-minute treatment or left on as a sleeping mask.
Food For Glowing Skin
Diet can be another gateway to give your skin a boost on the glow front. Dr. Engelman recommends increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and leafy greens. “Omega-3 fatty acids will help reduce redness and puffiness due to anti-inflammatory compounds,” she says. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and it “fights free radical damage and minimizes the appearance of aging. It also promotes collagen production, which keeps skin looking young and glowy.” She explains that greens can be an excellent source of fiber, which increases circulation, removes toxins, and keeps skin radiant.
Makeup For Glowing Skin
For celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno, acing one’s base is key when it comes to a glowing complexion. She often uses a face oil as a primer and then applies foundation to a wet Beautyblender. The combination, she says, is “guaranteed to get more glow.” If you’d rather skip the oil, simply select a luminous primer instead. Finally, Denno recommends blotting strategically. “Apply powder just along the t-zone, and you’ll always be glowy, never greasy,” she says.
This water-based primer is packed with light-reflecting pearls to make skin glow in an instant.
“Start with a cream contour product to softly sculpt the face,” says celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic. “Add additional warmth by layering a bronzer on top, focusing the application on your cheekbones, forehead, and jawline. Tie the look together by adding the same bronzer to the crease of your eyes.”
Dedivanovic’s brand, Makeup By Mario, just launched these creamy shaping sticks in five shades that make it easy to DIY contour and sculpt like Dedivanovic himself, even if you can’t have him do it for you à la Kim Kardashian.
“When applying highlight, smile softly and apply the highlighter along the top of your cheekbones,” Dedivanovic says. He recommends adding a bit to your décolletage or anywhere else you want extra glow.
Practically foolproof, this easy-to-use balm-textured highlighter glides onto skin and makes it glow, but subtly.
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