5 Tips to Get Glowing Skin

A major component— and signal— of healthy skin is a glowing skin. But causes like lack of sleep, stress, age, and even what you eat can rob your complexion of its radiance. The good news is that you can transform skin that looks dull and tired to luminous and glowing at home. Just follow these expert skin and makeup tips, home remedies, and best skincare product picks from Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab scientists and dermatologist experts on how to make your face glow naturally, no matter how much time you have: months, a week, overnight, or even instantly!

1. Cleanse regularly (and fully!)

Key to radiant skin: Clearing your “canvas” by thoroughly removing debris like dirt, oil and pollution particles that can clog pores and cause dullness. Wash your face morning and night by massaging in a small dollop of face cleanser lightly with fingers in circular motions, working from the inside of the face out for full coverage, says GH Beauty Lab Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann.

For daily use, try the Beauty Lab’s best-tested face wash for boosting radiance, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, and do a deeper cleanse weekly by applying your face wash with a facial cleansing brush, like Beauty Lab test winner and Good Housekeeping Seal star ProX by Olay Advanced Facial Cleansing Brush System.

2. Exfoliate your skin

“One of the best ways to brighten skin and boost its glow both immediately and long term is by exfoliating,” Wizemann says, yet nearly half of GH readers skip it, our survey found. “The process removes skin’s outer layer of dead cells so its surface is smoother and clearer and reflects light.”

Apply either a physical exfoliant, like a face scrub, two to three times per week or a chemical exfoliatior, such as a face peel, once per week for sensitive or dry skin and three times maximum for other skin types, she suggests. Try the GH Beauty Lab’s top-tested skin-brightening face scrub, Acure Brightening Facial Scrub, or peel, Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Acid Brightening Peel, which also evens skin tone, 71% of testers reported.

3. Then, hydrate and protect

For more radiance, follow with a layer of moisturizer, like the GH Beauty Lab favorite Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. When skin is moisturized, it also reflects light, making it instantly appear more glowing. And be sure to shield skin with broad-spectrum SPF 30+ facial sunscreen or day cream, as exfoliation makes it more prone to sun damage, including dark spots. GH Beauty Lab test winner L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal SPF 30 also contains glycolic acid, a gentle exfoliant, as well as brightening vitamin C.

4. Look for brightening skincare ingredients

In topical skincare treatments like serums and moisturizers, look on the packaging
for terms such as “brightening” and “skin tone-evening,” and active skincare ingredients like:

  • Vitamin C, “an antioxidant that brightens skin by blocking an enzyme that produces pigment,” says GH Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek. Try GH Seal star No7 Early Defense Glow Activating Serum, made with vitamin C.
  • Niacinamide (vitamin B3) “slows pigment production to lighten dark spots,” Wizemann says — GH Beauty Lab test winner SkinCeuticals MetaCell Renewal B3 Serum is packed with it. Resorcinol and alpha-arbutin break down pigment for a more even skin tone, says Cynthia Price, M.D., a dermatologist in Phoenix. She suggests SkinBetter Science Even Tone Correcting Serum Face.

Daily application of these star brighteners can illuminate your complexion over time: Effects can be visible within a few weeks, with optimal results in about three months.

5. Moisturize skin regularly for glowing skin

Don’t apply moisturizer just once in a while or when skin feels dry. “Lack of hydration makes your complexion dull and even accentuates wrinkles,” says Jeanine Downie, M.D., a dermatologist at Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey. “Apply a topical moisturizer morning and evening to replenish hydration.”

The best type to choose? “Our testing shows that face lotions and creams are generally more hydrating than oils, serums, and other formulas,” explains GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D. “They’re emulsions (blends of oil and water components) that carry hydrating ingredients into skin’s top layers, helping it hold moisture.” To rehydrate the skin barrier, try GH Seal star Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, which increased skin’s moisture content by 50% over 24 hours in GH Beauty Lab testing.

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