While great skin is always covetable, catwalk trends for the past few seasons have put flawless yet apparently bare skin at the top of beauty agendas worldwide, for models and us mere mortals alike. Terrifying as this may seem, achieving plump, peachy skin is a feat within our grasp. A virtuous diet and healthy lifestyle pay dividends in the glowing skin department, but even supermodels rarely wake up with a lit-from-within aura, despite the hours of yoga and litres of green juice they’d have us believe they get through. Fake it until you make it (to the flattering light of summer that is) and give your skin a luminous leg up with a few tactical techniques and products. Dull winter days won’t seem nearly so overcast.
Spring clean your face and any glow-getters you apply will work twice as hard. Cleansing may not seen glamorous or exciting, but a bit like hoovering the house or changing the sheets, it will make everything look and feel fresher, and is in itself immensely satisfying when you get a good routine going. I’m not saying the you should totally descale your face as your would the bathroom tiles, but sweeping away dead skin cells is the key to eliminating dullness and a dreaded grey pallor.
Unfortunately during your 20s cell turnover slows down (thanks nature), and with it goes skin’s capacity to reflect as much light. To restore your formerly gleaming baby face, you need to step up your exfoliation efforts. This does not in any way need to involve brillo pads or vacuum cleaners- after washing away grime with your favourite cleanser (models and beauty journos alike swear by Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser , £8.99) simply apply Pixi Glow Tonic , £18, with a cotton pad. Oxygenating ginseng gets sluggish winter circulation going while shabby skin cells don’t stand a chance against glycolic acid. Despite the no-nonsense formula and tingle upon application, the tonic is thankfully alcohol-free and leaves skin soft, rather than stripped.
If spots and breakouts are your barrier to skin brilliance, call in the Hollywood hit squad in the form of team Glam Glow. The cult range of mud masks have purified almost every A-lister in Tinseltown (Natalie Portman and Kristen Stewart are reportedly fans), and the SuperMud Clearing Treatment mask in particular will minimize pores, blemishes and redness. It doesn’t look very clean, granted (it’s dark grey and somewhat gunky), but after 20 minutes and post rinsing, skin looks less angry and more awake. A cocktail of acids (good old glycolic is in there again), sounds terrifying but offers supreme powers of exfoliating. Just don’t go overboard- once a week max is enough to keep skin sparkling. Shedding like a snake is not the idea- leave the pros to eye-watering peels.
The road to radiance
Give cell regeneration and collagen production a kick up the bum with some retinol, but do be careful not to combine retinoids with AHA or BHA acids as mentioned above. Try using your exfoliator in the morning (plus sunscreen) and a retinol product in your evening regime. Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 is a dermatologist favourite thanks to it’s stable yet surprisingly non-irritating formulation (retinol can commonly cause reactive skin to flare up). Regular usage will keep skin firm and address glow-sapping issues such as blotchiness, acne and age spots. It’s powerful stuff, so visit a pro and stockist to find out if it’s right for you.
For an overnight, over-the-counter hit of Vitamin A (retinol), facialist Sarah Chapman ’s award-winning Overnight Facial , £46, was created to give you the famous ‘Skinesis’ facial glow at home, as you sleep. Combining cutting edge-research with anti-inflammatory omega oils (make sure that you pack plenty of these into your diet too for maximum effect), your skin will look as though it’s had a sleepover in Sarah’s Chelsea clinic.
Another glow booster to work its magic overnight is the much-loved James Read Sleep Mask Tan . In the words of Mr Read himself, ‘it treats skin overnight while you sleep- leaving you fresh faced when you wake up. Hyaluronic acid seals in extra moisture while you sleep, ensuring skin is hydrated’. The beauty world concurs that it’s pretty much the only way to wake up to a tan during the winter months, and come to mention it, the summer ones too.
If you need a little extra coverage but still want your skin to shine through, Nars All Day Weightless Luminous Foundation , £32, lives up to it’s name. Green pigments disguise redness while gold ones reflect dullness, boosting rather than camouflaging your natural assets. Given that François Nars was the man behind the pared back makeup magic at both Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs this season, it’s not surprising that he’s the master of natural-looking disguise. Slick silky Shiseido Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum , £65, underneath when it launches on Thursday 5th February and you’ll be applying less and less makeup over time, as the innovative, patented elixir is said to strengthen capillaries, ensuring that vital nutrients and oxygen are transported effectively. It’s got research teams at Harvard, Seoul and Osaka universities behind it, so it’s a good bet if you’re skin looks lacklustre under makeup.
Before heading into the frosty morning air, give your ‘no one need know’ faux-glow a shot of extra radiance with a dusting of Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick , £34, over cheeks. A bronzer, blusher and highlighter in one, it instantly warms and enhances the skin while also conserving moisture thanks to added Sodium Hyaluronate. The future is both bright and very soft indeed, if Bobbi et al have anything to do with it. Which they should- they’re the glow-pros who know how to save your skin from the doom and gloom come rain or shine.
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