Light reflects better off an even surface, so getting rid of dead cells is a crucial first step to glowing skin, especially in the summer, when dirt and grime tend to make those cells even stickier, says dermatologist Annie Chiu, MD, of North Redondo Beach, CA. You could try a manual exfoliant, such as a cleaning brush like the Clarisonic Mia 2 ($149; Clarisonic.com), to buff skin gently. Or, use a topical product containing alpha or beta hydroxy acid, glycolic acid or retinol to loosen dead cells. (Dr. Chiu recommends Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask, $55; Sephora.com, once a week, followed by a few drops of facial oil for "an instant radiance boost!")
Banish Excess Pigment
Dark spots can give the impression that skin is dull, according to Dr. Chiu. The good news is that consistent use of a vitamin-C-packed serum (Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster, $48; PaulasChoice.com is a good one) can make pesky patches a distant memory.
"Once you've exfoliated, you need to make sure those cells you've opened up are well hydrated," says Boston dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, MD. Hyaluronic acid is a doctor's favorite for drawing water into the skin and giving it a plump, dewy appearance. (Find it in L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Daily Volumizing Moisturizer, $25; drugstores.)
When you need results, like, yesterday, reach for a luminizing powder. Those are the best because they're easiest to blend, says makeup artist Troy Surratt, founder of Surratt Beauty, who recommends his Artistique Blush in Aureole ($32; Barneys.com). "Use a soft, fluffy brush to sweep your highlighter on the tops of your cheeks, down the bridge of your nose and over the Cupid's bow of your lips," he says. "Avoid your forehead and any broken-out areas."
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