We independently select and review the products we recommend. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our affiliate links below. Learn more about how we review products and our sources of information.
Have you ever seen a face that just got a fresh new facial? In case you haven’t noticed, that skin is bright, radiant, and glowing! And I’m not just saying that. That skin literally reflects light! You still can see the imperfections there with dark spots, acne, and everything but that radiant, bright skin makes all those skin concerns irrelevant.
In case that’s not clear, you can brighten your skin and achieve a glowing complexion even if you deal with skin concerns that are not that easy to get rid of. And that’s a piece of good news if I’ve ever heard one!
So how do you do that? How can you brighten your skin? After all, facials aren’t cheap. That’s where your skincare comes in.
By being more mindful of the products you use and the way you apply them, you can get rid of dull, lackluster skin and achieve naturally radiant and glowing skin at home, which actually does help you embrace the skin imperfections you can’t change too.
I’m a skincare hoarder. So I get distracted easily and it’s difficult for me to consistently follow a specific skincare routine. But I decided that I’ll follow this brightening routine every morning and evening for at least 7 days. And it worked!
So I’ll list below some of the changes I made in my routine. Some of them have got to help you too! If you’re dealing with dull skin, keep reading to find out how to brighten your skin.
How To Brighten Skin
1. Build a Brightening Skincare Routine
I know, duh! But you might want to double-check with the skincare products you’re currently using. The best way to brighten your skin is to make sure your skincare routine revolves around making your skin, well, brighter. What does that mean?
It means using skin-brightening products. For example, you can add a brightening serum into your routine or get a face cleanser for hyperpigmentation. I’ll get into more detail below but that’s what I did.
I put aside all the irrelevant products and only brought out the ones that’ll help me. And that includes potent cleansers, radiance-boosting exfoliators and toners, brightening serums, and brightening moisturizers.
2. Pick Your Ingredients Wisely
If you want to brighten your skin, you need to be more purposeful with the ingredients in your products. Some of the well-known skin brighteners are vitamin C, niacinamide, arbutin, licorice extract, and tranexamic acid.
You can consider adding a toner with vitamin C into your routine. Similarly, you can use a vitamin C serum or a niacinamide cream, an alpha arbutin serum in your routine, and use it day and night.
You get more noticeable results if you choose a skincare product with bright skin in mind. You don’t need a pore-minimizing serum, a drying acne treatment, or a collagen-boosting retinol serum right now. All your focus should be on getting radiant skin.
3. Exfoliate Regularly and Consistently
This is one of the most important steps. Exfoliation removes the dead skin layer from the skin surface and gets rid of dull, tired-looking skin. Plus, it’s good for anti-aging, hyperpigmentation, and acne too.
On the flip side, there’s such a thing called over-exfoliation. And that makes all the things you’re trying to get rid of come back in full force.
But let me give you a backstory first. I have rosacea. It means that my skin is really sensitive and easily irritated. So I need to be very gentle with my products, especially with exfoliators, and use them sparingly.
Most glycolic or salicylic acid toners will irritate sensitive skin. But my recent purchase was so gentle that I was able to exfoliate twice a day! In fact, I haven’t been dealing with rosacea flares since the day I started following this routine.
So find a gentle exfoliator like an exfoliating toner or peel pad and use it regularly and consistently. If twice a day sounds too much, go for once a day or once every other day. But be consistent with it.
4. Layer Brightening Skincare Products
Sometimes, you get cumulative results from using different products and layering them. This works best with serums. Because creams tend to cause pilling.
But if you apply light-based, thin serums in small amounts in the right order, you get the best of all worlds. This is called serum layering and it’s actually nothing new.
I start with a hydrating serum, followed by a brightening serum in the morning and a restoring serum in the evening. Then I apply a serum with a radiant finish followed by a moisturizer.
You might be thinking it’d be a surprise if I didn’t get brighter skin after applying that many products. But trust me, sometimes you don’t get results even if you do!
I’ve been disappointed so many times after buying an expensive skincare product. I’d always tell myself I should have gotten Botox instead of spending that much money on a serum.
So I’m pleased when skincare works because I know that I don’t need to resort to injectables unless I want to.
5. Massage Your Products Into Your Skin
Again, a very important step. You have no idea how massaging your products into your skin helps until you try it. Realistically speaking, it’s very difficult to take the time to really work your serums and creams into your skin every single day.
But you need to try this! I was only able to do this in my evening routine. But let me tell you this, I use roughly the same products both in the morning and in the evening. But for some reason, my skin looks better in the evening.
It’s because I turn on the TV, get my lighted mirror in front of me, and just layer my products slowly and I work them into my skin.
I think it’s because massaging increases circulation. It plumps up your skin, gives you a healthy flush of color on the cheeks, and wakes up your skin.
If the product I’m using doesn’t allow me to massage it to my skin, then I use my Jade roller. I roll it all over my face to keep the juices flowing.
Either massage your skin, or Jade roll, or face roll, but definitely do something instead of applying products and leaving it there.
6. Choose Dewy Finish Products
We’re always told that we should use moisturizers based on our skin type. Ever since I turned 30, I have been a little experimental with my moisturizers.
Yes, I should go for matte, pore-blurring, oil-free moisturizers. But hey, I love a dewy finish moisturizer every now and then!
I love that creamy feel and I love slathering that brightening moisturizer all over my face if my skin feels extra dry. The thing is when you apply all those toners, hydrating serums, and brightening serums, you get a glimpse of that glowing skin.
Then you go ahead and apply a mattifying moisturizer and all that disappears! So instead of using my regular oil-free, moisturizing fluid, I wanted to try something thicker with major moisture power. I had a sample moisturizer I was curious to try.
And holy garbanzo beans! It made all the difference. I simply added more glow! And because a more emollient moisturizer is better at keeping water in, you get longer-lasting results and wake up to still moisturized skin.
7. Protect Your Skin with SPF
This may be seemingly irrelevant. Of course, we all know that we should use SPF regularly and protect our skin against free radicals to avoid wrinkles, dark spots, and dehydration. But if you want to make sure your skincare efforts don’t go to waste, you need to be more proactive.
Yes, a vitamin C serum can give you bright skin for the day. But you want to keep your skin that way! So even though I work from home, my apartment gets a lot of light. That’s why I applied SPF generously in the morning as if I was outside.
So this is how I was able to brighten my skin and achieve an even skin tone that looks radiant. There’s one more thing. At the end of 7 days, I realized my forehead lines were smoother than ever! And I have a very prominent frown line between my brows.
When I was massaging my products into my skin, I really focused on that area as if I was ironing. After about 3 days, it took less and less time to smooth out fine lines because my skin was looking plumper more quickly. So softened lines and smoother skin were indirect but a very satisfying result.
In case you want to give this a try, below are the products I used for this brightening routine:
- Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser
- Youth To The People Mandelic Acid + Superfood Unity Exfoliant
- Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore Refining Toner Serum with Niacinamide
- La Roche Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum
- Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum
- Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Instant Firming Serum
- Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Multi-Recovery Complex
- Lancome Absolue Soft Cream Revitalizing & Brightening Moisturizer
- Lancome UV Expert Aqua Gel Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
Read Next: The Best Brightening Face Masks