Whether it’s winter where you live and you’re experiencing dull skin thanks to cold, dry air, or your skin isn’t at its best because you’ve been traveling, your sleep schedule is off, or you simply haven’t been taking care of it—the cause doesn’t matter. What matters is that there’s a pretty simple solution.
Over the years, I’ve done makeup for countless celebrities using mostly nontoxic products. One of their chief complaints is dull skin—which, sure, you could hide it with makeup. But in the long run, it’s better to take care of your skin and let your natural, glowy complexion shine through. The following techniques are tricks of the trade I’ve put to the test and have seen time and time again work wonders for dull, tired skin:
1. Exfoliate dead skin.
One of the first things to do when facing dull skin is employ a gentle exfoliant. If there’s a layer of dead skin, oil, or debris sitting between your skin and your products, it could be slowing their efficacy and dulling your complexion. To treat dull skin, I like REN’s Ready Steady Glow AHA Tonic or True Botanicals’ Resurfacing Moisture Mask (let it sit for three to five minutes—no longer). Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel spray is a serum in a spray bottle—rub it into the skin and it will ball up all the excess product, dead skin, and other dirt.
If you don’t have one of these products on hand, head to the grocery store and pick up some papaya. Papaya is one of the best fruit acid enzymes that will exfoliate that top layer. Mash up the papaya and put it directly on clean skin for five to 10 minutes. Rinse it off and follow with an organic Greek yogurt mask mixed with Manuka honey, which can be super calming for any redness or breakouts.
2. Use a face balm.
If you can handle a balm on your face, use one! I like Lina Hanson’s Global Treasures Balm, which utilizes matcha as an anti-inflammatory agent. Alba’s Un-Petroleum Balm is a more wallet-friendly option. Even if you can’t tolerate putting it on your whole face and leaving it on all day, you have options. Try putting it on the higher planes of your face in the morning to get a little bit of a glow. Or leave it on for five minutes as a face mask after cleansing and before putting on any makeup for a dewy, hydrated look.
3. Spritz toner before and after your makeup.
If you’re wearing a full face of foundation, especially if it’s powder (see No. 4 below), spritz an alcohol-free toner on your skin before and after you apply the makeup. The trick is to hold the bottle far enough away from the face so that the mist that lands on your skin is fine and even, so as not to disturb your freshly applied (or hours-old) makeup. Make sure you do your research—for this technique, you want a spray bottle that releases a fine mist. It gives you a glow so dewy, it looks like you’re wearing highlighter.
4. Say no to powder.
That being said, if your skin has been looking dull—particularly if it’s dry—just say no to powder. It’s better to forgo your favorite powder than to cake it on rough, dry, or dull skin. This goes for powder eye shadows, too, which can make your lids look dry and crepey.
You can also try a liquid foundation. Vapour Organic Beauty makes a liquid foundation that’s great to wear along the top planes of your face.
5. Try a hydrating highlighter.
You may have seen this trend…basically EVERYWHERE. Here’s the most simple way to try a highlighter. Apply it with your finger or a brush to the cheekbones, eyelids, orbital bones, and the cupids bow for an instant glow.
Kjaer Weis makes a set of three hydrating highlighters that are great for a variety of skin tones. Ilia makes a creamy stick highlighter that’s available in three different tones as well, and for the budget-friendly, Honest Company’s highlighter is a great option you can find at Target.
6. Find “your color” in tinted lip balm.
Find a tinted lip balm color that wakes up your face. One way of doing this is matching a color to the inside of your bottom lip—it will look more defined but still natural. Pro tip: Any lipstick can be made into a tinted lip balm by putting a sheer gloss over tapped lipstick. Often, using a tinted lip balm is better for dull skin, as a dense, highly pigmented lipstick can weigh down the face.