Ask any beauty pro and they’ll tell you: You won’t find the secrets of how to get glowing skin in the pan of a highlighter palette. That’s not to say there aren’t products that melt into your skin to fake that dewy, lit-from-within look. (If you’ve ever tried Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish line, you know her highlighter duo is the next best thing to being born a Hadid.) Rather, getting a complexion that permanently looks as though you’re fresh off vacation—which is to say, healthy, radiant, and clear—is a combination of product, practice, and patience. The good news is that if you’re short on the latter, there are still plenty of quick-fix solutions.
Ahead, we asked a mix of makeup artists, aestheticians, dermatologists, and our team of beauty editors for their all-time best tips for glowing skin that actually give results—both long-term and short; for your face and your body—no matter your level of dedication or skill. Read on for their tried-and-true suggestions for how to get glowing skin.
1. A quick face massage goes a long way.
If you’re feeling blah, a two-minute face massage can help you look alive in the short term, as well as firm and contour over time. “Using your fingertips, massage a serum or oil into your face before applying makeup,” suggests Molly R. Stern, a celebrity makeup artist who works with Cara Delevingne. “The stimulation can help get the blood moving to wake up your whole complexion.” If you’ve got a little extra time to spare, we’re also big fans of this face “workout” to help strengthen your facial muscles and boost circulation.
2. Try a microcurrent treatment.
If your hands aren’t cutting it, try a microcurrent device. “When my complexion looks dull after a long flight or late night, I use the ZIIP device, which delivers electric currents into your skin,” says April Long, a beauty editor and contributor. “Twelve minutes leaves my face luminous and much firmer.” Other Glamour editors swear by the NuFace and Foreo Bear for similar results.
3. Bend over.
A glowing complexion doesn’t have to come with a steep price tag, and celebrity aesthetician Renee Rouleau’s favorite tip is free. “Hanging my head upside down for three minutes a day is my long-term strategy for getting that lit-from-within glow,” she says. Sound weird? Believe it or not, it actually does help with circulation, since it increases blood flow and oxygen to your face. Just don’t go longer than her recommended three minutes.
4. DIY a hydrating mask.
When it comes to exfoliation and blemish fighting, skip the DIY route and go with products made by pros. But if it’s hydration you’re after, you can whip up a moisturizing mask in your own kitchen. “I have a great DIY at-home mask recipe for dry winter skin,” says celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas. “It contains yogurt, which is an anti-inflammatory with a lactic acid component, and avocado, which I recommend for any skin type because it has lots of B vitamins and fatty acids. I also add a little honey for hydration.”
Mix a half cup of plain yogurt, half of an avocado, and a quarter cup of honey together, then leave it on your face for 20 minutes. “It’ll really transform your skin,” she says.
5. Give your foundation a boost.
If your skin care isn’t cutting it, you can easily fake a glow by amping up your foundation. Elizabeth Olsen’s makeup artist Gita Bass recommends mixing a few drops of luminizer like L’Oréal Paris Lumi Glow Boosting Drops into your moisturizer or foundation. “It will create an even, sheer layer of sheen that looks more natural than a highlighter,” she says.
6. Use face shimmer on your collarbones.
Glowing skin doesn’t stop on your face, which is why iconic makeup artist Pat McGrath recommends always using highlighter on your décolletage. “My Skin Fetish highlighter stick works amazingly as a body shimmer,” she says.
Her best advice for putting it on so it looks natural and not contrived? “The trick is to hunch your shoulders forward so your collarbones pop out; that’s where you want it,” she says. After that, McGrath recommends adding a powder on top for even more glow: “It photographs beautifully.”
7. Use toner before serum or moisturizer.
Using a great moisturizer is a no-brainer for getting glowing, healthy skin, but what you use before it is just as important: toner. Toners get a bad rep for either doing nothing or totally stripping your skin, but the new generation is essential for hydrating and prepping your skin. “Think of it as a glass of water for your skin,” says Nachi Click, owner of Mist Beauty. “Serums and creams can penetrate deeper if your skin is hydrated.” Shop some of our favorites below, and see here for some of the best toners we can’t live without.
8. Strengthen your skin barrier.
Exfoliating two to three times a week is great for your skin, but any more and you can risk compromising your skin’s barrier function (i.e. it’s ability to keep moisture in and damaging elements like free radicals out). A weak barrier can lead to flakes, dryness, and irritation. The good news is that there are now treatments formulated specifically to strengthen and repair your skin barrier (look for keywords like soothing, replenishing, and barrier repair on the label). Charlotte Cho, cofounder of Soko Glam, swears by the Thank You Farmer Back to Relax Soothing Gel Mask, while we love Dr. Loretta’s Intense Replenishing Serum.
9. Add vitamin C to your routine.
Ask any skin expert, and they’ll recommend a vitamin C serum for radiant skin. “Apply five drops of vitamin C serum underneath SPF each morning to target free radical damage, help lighten dark spots, and even out your skin tone,” says Natalie Smyth, an influencer and skin care expert. See some of our favorites below, or click here for more of the best vitamin C serums.
10. Switch to a chemical exfoliator.
Swap your classic face scrub for a chemical exfoliator—i.e., a peel or serum that uses AHAs, BHAs, or PHAs—which tend to be less abrasive on your skin. “Physical exfoliants sand your skin’s surface,” says New York dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D., whereas acids break apart the bonds that hold dead skin in place to gently clear it away. Chemical exfoliators also have a bonus when used regularly: “By increasing cell turnover, you’re going to encourage the creation of new collagen,” says Gross. “So you’ll see a firming effect over time.”
While most of us might save a sheet mask for a special occasion or spa night, when your skin is acting particularly finicky, consider making it a daily thing. “When my face looks blah, I’ll do sheet masks like St. Ives Glowing Apricot Sheet Mask for seven days straight,” says Violet Grey beauty director Maureen Choi. “It has a compounding effect of hydrating and smoothing that delivers a crazy glow by week’s end.”
12. Pay pores extra attention.
For a special event or occasion where you want to be extra-radiant, Miami dermatologist Heather Woolery-Lloyd, M.D., recommends removing anything she calls “background noise,” or “little things that aren’t too noticeable but when removed make skin look flawless.” For example, she likes to use Bioré Pore Strips to quickly clear away blackheads on her nose and chin.
13. Invest in a laser treatment.
If it’s in your budget, consider factoring a yearly laser treatment into your skin-care routine to refresh, brighten, and renew your skin in a way topical products just can’t. “I like quarterly resurfacing with the Clear & Brilliant laser [$300 to $1,000 per session],” says Robert Anolik, M.D., dermatologist in NYC. “If you’re over 30, try a yearly Fraxel Dual [$600 to $1,800], which is more powerful. Both fade sun-induced spots that make skin look dull.”
14. Swap out your old loofah.
Again, radiant skin goes beyond your face. In the shower, try massaging a salt scrub over your body, then rising it off with extra exfoliation from a Korean washcloth, which is much coarser than a regular one. “The combo sloughs off dead cells for the smoothest skin ever,” says celebrity makeup artist Mylah Morales.
15. Chill out.
Literally. Using cold water, freeze tools, or products are a quick and easy way to instantly de-puff your face, as well as increase blood flow. While you can spring for expensive rollers or a dedicated skin care fridge, Cindy Crawford’s facialist Thuyen Nguyen swears by something a little thriftier: ice cubes. “Before and after a flight, I run ice cubes over my face until they melt,” she says. “My pores love this skin shocker.”
16. Layer textures.
To take your glow from Glossier to YouTuber, double up on highlighters. “Add an extra layer of glow by using a powder highlighter on top of a cream,” says makeup artist Erin Parsons, who often works with Gigi Hadid. Just look at how she makes highlighter catch the light, below.
The one she swears by at the moment? “I love the Maybelline FaceStudio Master Chrome Highlighter because it’s not glittery or chunky—it just gives the ultimate glimmer,” she says. And don’t forget to check out our guide to the best highlighters too.
17. Try microneedling.
It sounds scary, but an in-office microneedling treatment can do wonders for acne and dullness. If it’s super glowy skin you’re after, dermatologist Annie Chiu, M.D. recommends a procedure like the Aquagold Fine Touch, which combines microneedling with a hyaluronic acid filler injection “to give you a dewy, hydrated appearance while stimulating new collagen production.” If an in-office treatment is cost prohibitive (sessions can range from $300-$600), you can also try at-home microneedling.
18. Take a long bath.
To get your body glistening, Glamour‘s senior beauty editor Lindsay Schallon swears by a fancy bath soak before you exfoliate. “One soak with Herbivore Detox and my skin is softer, more purified, and baby smooth,” she says. Follow it up with one of these amazing body scrubs.
19. Stipple (don’t swipe) on foundation.
For a really even glow, the way you apply your foundation is just as important as the foundation you use (check out our favorite lightweight foundations, here). According to Daniel Martin, celebrity makeup artist and the man behind Meghan Markle’s wedding makeup, the key is to buff, not swipe. “Lightly buff and swirl your makeup brush dipped in foundation over your skin to create a flawless, diffused finish,” he says. “Think of it like waxing your car—minus the pressure. When you use light, short circular motions to achieve coverage, it ends up looking seamless and not streaky at all.”
Lindsay Schallon is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @lindsayschallon.