Luminous skin will always top luminizer. The issue is it can take some time to get your skin to a place where radiant foundations, highlighters, and now strobing palettes are no longer necessary. But trust us, the real glow is well worth the wait. Because once you’ve got the dewy, radiant skin that models and well-pampered celebs appear to just wake up with, all those luminizing makeup techniques become obsolete. Or, at the very least, they look 10 times better on healthy (re: not dry and dull) skin.
Scroll through for the ingredients and the products that will get you there!
Antioxidants, antioxidants, antioxidants. Not only do they protect against future damage, but they work to correct existing damage. Niacinamide improves skin elasticity to keep it firm, enhances its barrier function to keep skin hydrated, targets hyperpigmentation to even out tone, and smooths your skin’s texture. Plus, its anti-inflammatory properties tame irritation. Reap the smooth, supple, hydrated skin benefits of niacinamide with Philosophy’s No Reason to Hide Multi-Imperfection Transforming Serum ($68).
Licorice root, another antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, deserves a spot in your skincare routine for its skin-brightening abilities. Unlike some other skin lighteners, it’s gentle—it won’t aggravate even the most sensitive skin. In fact, it’s even used to treat rosacea, dermatitis, and psoriasis (its anti-inflammatory properties calm redness and irritation). Licorice root is a tyrosinase inhibitor, which means it interrupts the stimulation of the enzyme that triggers melanin production. It’s also a humectant, which means it draws moisture into the skin—perfect for maintaining that dewy glow. Brighten dark spots and discoloration with Tatcha's Gold Camelia Oil ($95).
One skin-brightener is great. Two is better. Which is why you often see a number of brightening agents on ingredients lists. Azelaic acid and licorice root extract are two that often go together. This particular acid selectively targets hyperactive melanocytes (pigment-producing cells), while having little effect on cells that are behaving normally. It also aids cell turnover, so your skin stays congestion- and wrinkle-free. For even skin tone and texture, try Dermadoctor's Photodynamic Therapy Age Spot Eraser & Skin Brightener ($60).
One final brightening ingredient—kojic acid. Like azelaic acid, kojic acid is great for dissolving dead skin cells and reveals the fresh, new cells underneath. It also suppresses melanin production and, like all antioxidants, fights cell-damaging, skin-aging free radicals. Get luminous skin with Bakel's Brightening Serum ($150).
Looking to stimulate collagen, fight acne, and prevent wrinkles? Retinoid is the answer. When using a retinoid, cell turnover increases and the layers of skin actually decrease. That means all those layers of dull, dead skin diminish and all of your skin-brightening, anti-aging ingredients can penetrate further and work harder. Products like Tretinoin reduce fine lines and wrinkles and lighten dark spots. Talk to your dermatologist about a prescription or try one of these drugstore retinols available without a prescription.
Once the dulling, pore-clogging skin cells have been turned over and the skin-brightening, texture-smoothing ingredients have gone to work, all that remains are the basics of skincare. None of these glow-inducing ingredients can do their job if your skin isn’t properly moisturized. Exfoliate twice a week to ensure you’re sloughing off dead skin cells. (We like Clarity Rx’s Get Clean Crushed Bamboo Exfoliator, $26.) And don’t forget moisturizer—hydrated skin is dewy skin. The light-reflecting pigments in Clarin’s Multi-Active Day Cream SPF 20 ($53) go a long way toward radiant skin sans makeup.
How often do you go makeup free? Tell us in the comments below!