What Makes Your Skin Glow?

What Makes Your Skin Glow?

Do you have any beloved beauty products? Last year, my skin took a turn for the worse. What are these dry patches? Why am I still getting acne? Are those crow’s feet? After much trial and so, so much error, I discovered a two-minute routine that has given me the best skin of my life.

During my late-night beauty sleuthing, I kept reading about Dr. Dennis Gross’s daily facial peels. I finally ordered the small pack.

Each treatment includes two pre-soaked pads. The first one removes dead skin cells with beta hydroxyl acid and the second pad does something cooling and mysterious. I saw a difference within the hour. My face was brighter and smoother, and breakout scars were shrinking before my eyes. After a month of using the treatment once or twice a week, my skin actually glowed.

My friends are all into it now — and my mom’s friends, too. Reviewers of all ages are also going out of their minds, saying, “It doesn’t get much better than this,” and “Holy grail.” I just wish I had known about this magic earlier.

Do you have any skincare game-changers?

P.S. My full beauty uniform, and snail masks.

(Photo of Barbra Streisand.)

  1. Janice says...

    I have normal to dry skin. During my teens and 20s I always got complements that my skin was like porcelain. I never had acne problems, and all I did was wash with Cetaphil and moisturize with Oil of Olay Total Effects + SPF. In my 30s I got lazy and was not as great about washing my face in the evenings, and I started getting milia, dark spots, and more wrinkles. My skin also dried out. This past year, I got back into the skin game. My routine feels more complicated than it ever was, but I’ve found that the time to prep my skin has actually been pampering and relaxing. And the results I’ve seen (I have porcelain skin again!) have motivated me to continue. Here’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months:

    Cleansing – I don’t cleanse with a cleanser in the mornings. I simply rinse my face with water. Occasionally I will use Cerave’s Hydrating cleanser if I really need to (it’s very gentle), but my night time routine usually preps my skin so well, I don’t want to strip away the natural moisture barrier.

    Vitamin C – Skinceutical’s Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid. After two weeks of using this, but skin started really glowing. Not sure if it’s actually doing anything deep, but on the surface, the difference is real.

    Hyaluronic Acid – SkinMedica’s HA Serum plumps my skin with moisture and peptides before I seal with a moisturizer.

    Moisturizer – Clinique’s Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer. There’s nothing wrong with using this night time moisturizer during the day as long as it’s accompanied by SPF.

    SPF – SkinMedica’s Total Defense SPF 50 – I love this SPF. It doubles as a moisturizer on days when I don’t need as much TLC, and it packs a lot of antioxidants and niacinimides.

    Cleansing – This was always my problem area. I work many long hours and often, when I come home, all I want to do is crawl into bed, so I used to skip mt night time skincare routine. Now I am obsessed with double cleansing. I use Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil followed by Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser. The oil removes all my makeup and the foaming cleanser washes everything away. And both are super gentle and non-drying on my skin. No more sleeping with makeup on. For cleansers, I’ve always relied on drugstore brands. It gets washed off anyway, so all I wanted was something that could perform the mechanical job of removing oils, sebums, and dirt while being gentle on my skin. There seem to be many drugstore brands that deliver on this. On days when I do feel too lazy to wash and rinse my face, I make sure to keep micellar water on hand so I can sweep away my makeup with a cotton round. Some cleansing is better than no cleansing.

    Exfoliate – I alternate each evening between (1) Paula’s Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment with 10% AHA (2) SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex, and (3) Skinceutical’s Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid. The latter is not an exfoliant, but I do like to give my skin a rest from exfoliating every day, and using Vitamin C at night allows me to use it up within 3 months before it destabilizes.

    Hyaluronic Acid – SkinMedica’s HA Serum plumps my skin with moisture before I seal with a moisturizer. This Serum is expensive, and while I love it, I might experiment with leaving it out and depending solely on a standalone moisturizer. I’ve read that HA really just sits on the surface of your skin and is simply another moisturizer. No better than other humectants.

    Moisturizer – Clinique’s Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer.

  2. leah says...

    Filed this away and just purchased these pads in the recent Sephora sale. They are awesome. Thanks so much for the recommendation!

  3. Anna says...

    In winter, I love this face cream made by a Canadian company called Green Beaver. Their Boreal Face Cream is soothing and hydrating without being oily. I have eczema on my face and it’s one of the only creams that helps my skin without irritating it.

  4. lindsey says...

    as a pharmacist, i’m pretty picky about what chemicals I put in/on my body because I know what they can do! Biossance makes this incredible squalane + vitamin C oil that has completely revitalized and changed my skin – for the first time in forever I don’t feel like I need concealer or foundation.

    • CC says...

      Would love to know your skin care routine. Do you mind sharing?

  5. Erin says...

    I’m just getting into Korean skincare and am seeing a difference in texture and glow already! I’ve always used natural products so I’m sticking to the Korean lines with clean ingredients.

    After struggling to finding a cleanser that I truly love (they nearly all dehydrate my combo skin and the ones that don’t are too heavy) and mostly sticking to just oil cleansing with avocado oil, I’m loving the Su:m37 Miracle Rose cleansing stick. I see why it has such a cult following! My skin looks so much smoother and calmer immediately after using it and it makes my skin petal-soft. I sometimes use it alone, but if I have more makeup or sunblock on, I’ll oil cleanse first and use it to double cleanse. It also smells fab, which is a bonus. I actually look forward to washing my face, now.

    I buy pure rosewater and orange blossom water at the international market and mix them with a little Humphrey’s witch hazel to make a toner/facial spray. So cheap and nice.

    To moisturize, I’ve been using Yuripibu’s Artichoke Power Essence (which is a creamy texture) mixed with a drop or two of avocado oil on damp skin and this has helped so much with overall evenness and glow- it’s like it tones down redness in my t-zone while simultaneously bringing more color to my cheeks (I don’t know how it achieves this magic) . It has helped to relax the annoying little line I’m getting between my eyebrows, too! I also pat a drop on my cheeks over my makeup to add extra glow. I don’t seem to need as much concealer anymore!

    Once or twice a week, I do a mask/scrub with powdered adzuki beans (I grind them in my high speed blender). They do a great job of softening and exfoliating my skin.

  6. Casey says...

    I’m obsessed with Damn Good face care, The products are hand made with the highest quality natural ingredients. I use The Works face wash, followed by Thayer’s Rose Petal witch hazel, and then The Very Best Damn Good Oil. I also mix a little clay with water and do a mask once a week. My skin has never been more clear.

  7. Bella says...

    The Ordinary. The Ordinary. The Ordinary.

    Nearly every product mentioned here has an equivalent by The Ordinary at a fraction of the price. Skincare addiction subreddit turned me onto the brand and I’ve become evangelical about it ever since trying. Love.

    • CC says...

      There isn’t any information on ewg skin deep website on The Ordinary products. Any suggestions?

  8. I used to think that cleaning my face is a chore and would just do the minimal to at least keep my face clean and moisturised. However ever since I started giving the Korean 10-step beauty routine a go, I was completely sold! My skin improved tremendously, so much so that people wondered whether I did ‘something extra’ to my face. 10 steps are tedious but when I put myself in the winding down mode, cleansing and treating my skin with proper care are actually very very enjoyable.

  9. Kate says...

    I’m obsessed with the Dr. Gross daily peels, too!

    • Laura says...

      Anything good like that for breastfeeding mums? Concerned the BHAs may not be safe. But desperate for some good exfoliating!

  10. Alex says...

    Night: Pixi Glow Mud Mask two/three times a week, followed by Kiehl’s night serum. I was so glowy a coworker asked if I spent the weekend at the beach.

  11. I’ve seen a vary big difference as of late with using the Biologique P50 toner, the Drunk Elephant night serum, and the Vitners daughter oil. I use the toner every night and alternate between the serum and oil. I genuinely didn’t think any of the 3 would make a difference but I’m surprised (& happy) with the results. If I feel like I need more moisture I add a Clarins face oil or one from Sunday Riley. So far these have worked and will continue (fingers crossed) to do so.

  12. Whitney says...

    I used to be a product junkie. With each new item I tried my skin grew worse. Finally I threw everything out and decided to focus on how I feel instead of how I look. I practice yoga, laugh a lot, run around with my kids, eat good food, drink lots of water and have sex with my husband. The less I focused on each imperfection, the better my skin looked.
    Now I keep it simple: morning and night I wash my face with warm water and Glossier milky cleanser. It’s gentle and soothing, plus it removes my mascara. I moisturize with pure organic Argan oil. If I’m out in the sun I apply Beauty Counter sunscreen and wear a hat. My skin and outlook have never been better!

    • laura-london says...

      Love this – channelling your joie de vivre.

    • Alexia says...

      I have actually found the same—when I stress about my skin and load up on the products, it ends up going haywire. When I just use Cetaphil and spot treat during my periods with a little tea tree oil, my skin looks great!

  13. Laurel says...

    I have used prescription medications for my skin and would still have acne…and then I was also getting wrinkles. I never thought I’d have the skin I wished for and then I found Beautycounter products. Not only are they safer (because of the 1,500 chemicals on their “never list”) but my skin is amazing. I just posted a video on FB last night with no makeup and felt super proud to show my bare face!

  14. Glycolic Peels, baby! says...

    Do you ever diligently visit the dermatologist or doctor… only to not follow their instructions precisely? I was so overwhelmed by my derm’s regimen of Doxycycline pills, Retin-A and glycolic acid peels that I never made it to the last step. I dutifully finished my run of Doxy, kept up the Retin-A and made up with my good enough skin . Forgive me + get thee to a 20% glycolic acid pads (by Dermatologic Cosmetic Labs or other). I cut them into smaller strips so get about 6x per pad and nothing has ever made my skin healthier, aka. a deep, happy glow. Whoops, sorry about flouting instructions!

  15. Danielle says...

    the watermelon glow mask is the best thing i have ever tried. and i have tried a lot (including the Fresh black tea perfecting mask which is just pretty good and costs twice as much). Plus you don’t have to wash this one off.

  16. My favourite skin care line is locally name in my hometown Nelson BC.
    The fennel clay face scrub is the best exfoliation treatment I’ve experienced. It will last FOREVER and feels so gentle but powerful.
    I suggest checking it out!

  17. kimberly says...

    FOOD! Eating high fat foods and cutting out refined sugars (as much as is reasonably possible) has made a massive difference for my skin. Avocados, nuts, salmon… fat fat , fat. I also added a retinol a few times per week to my nighttime regime and I feel like I’m setting myself up for healthy skin long term without dropping some serious $$$ on random products playing the guessing game.

    • LAUREN SIMKINS says...

      Which retinal treatment did you go for?

  18. Kirsten says...

    At 38, my skin became the same odd mix of random acne, crow’s feet, sun spots, bleh….dietary changes made a big difference, with overall health & energy as well, but cutting out gluten of the USA (it’s a thing) and most dairy (can’t live without some goat cheese) made a big difference in my skin. And drinking plenty of water (a must in Colorado) with chlorophyl added in some days is required (great for adjusting to the altitude if you come to visit!). Fish oil capsules every other day as well. Topically though, I’ve noticed a big difference with using products that contain glycolic acid. My favorite is Mario Badescu’s Glycolic line.

  19. Kim says...

    Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask. I use it once a week. I put it on after the shower and leave on about 20 minutes (long enough to check Instagram). When I rinse it off, my skin is soft, smooth, and dewy.

  20. Has anyone visited the Reddit forum about Skincare Addiction, or the one on Korean Skincare products? Those two forms have been my game changers. I never knew so many options or approaches to working toward good skin existed!

  21. Maura says...

    Honestly, I spent ten years trying everyone else’s “best thing ever” for a couple months at a time (including Dr. Dennis Gross’s pads, among many, many others), with zero success. I found a good dermatologist who went through everything I’ve tried, examined my skin, and set me on a strict regimen specific to me. Six months later I have the best skin I’ve had in fifteen years! And I’m spending a fraction of what I spent trying everything else!

    • Cymbidy says...

      Um, what is your regimen? Do you mind sharing?

    • Luna GC says...

      The regimen would be specific to Maura so it wouldn’t be helpful to anyone else? I would see a Dermatologist instead. I would ask around first. ?

  22. Kelly says...

    I’ve tried everything reasonably priced for my acne and nothing ever worked for me. My aunt works for Rodan + Fields and gave me an Unblemish kit 3 years ago, which totally changed my life. Ugh! It’s so expensive (for me) but SO worth it! Sometimes I cringe telling people what I use, because their marketing turns a lot of people off from trying it I think– too many cheesy Facebook posts. And yet, it is worth every penny and I will never use anything else. Changed the game for me.

  23. Gaby says...

    One Love Organics Vitamin B cleansing and exfoliating oil. I have normal/combination skin and this rid me of those small dry patches around my mouth. Less breakouts. Feels like a luxurious cleansing ritual and smells sooo good. My aesthetician asked what I’d been using bc I look glowy. I’ll take that compliment any day!!

  24. Alyssa says...

    My secret to glow-y skin is:
    Vit A Serum at night
    Vit C Serum in the morning. Then mineral based Sunscreen everyday.

    Totally changed my skin!

    Hyaluronic acid is great for a plump, hydrated completion.

    Jojoba oil is wonderful and moisturising. I get mine from

    Clay masks once a week tightens my pores and prevents any pimples.

    Those are my secrets.

    This has been a fun thread to read through!

  25. April says...

    I have struggled with my skin since I was a teen. Paula’s Choice has been a miracle.

    • kp_nyc says...

      yes for Paula’s Choice!
      Best AHA treatments out there- saving my sensitive/acne prone skin ( been using her stuff for years now)