How To Get Glowy, Post-Vacation Skin Without Actually Going Anywhere
Extend that healthy summer glow all-year-round without the need for travel or tanning.
A full summer has come and almost gone, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of us probably still have canceled travel tickets and unfulfilled vacation plans. If you can remember back to your last summertime vacation (I have to think super-hard), one of the best things about going on vacation—aside from the good memories and Instagram shots—is the post-vacation ~glow~ you have once you return home.
That bronzed, dewy complexion is always a good look on anyone and one of the best ways to show off your vacation to your friends. In reality, your quarantine skin may be looking dull and pasty, but your lack of travel doesn’t mean your skin has to show it. You can still impart that post-vacation glow without stepping outside your house—with a little help from our fave skincare and makeup products, of course. (Added bonus: You won’t have to expose yourself to a single UV ray.) We tapped some of the best makeup artists, dermatologists, and tanning experts to round up some expert glow guidelines to give your skin that natural warmth and a whole lot of radiance.
1 First, lightly exfoliate
Exfoliation is a quick fix to curing skin that just looks a little blah. Layers of dead skin is what makes your face appear dull, so you’ll want to lightly exfoliate every few days to maintain a bright complexion. “I like to give myself a 'mini peel,' which is essential for when you don’t have access to in-office treatments,” says Marnie Bussbaum, MD, board-certified dermatologist in NYC. “I apply two to three drops of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum ($40; amazon.com) and massage into my skin. The ingredients, which include glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid, are great for all skin types to slough off dead cells and reveal fresh skin.”
2 Hydrate with facial moisturizers and body glosses and balms
You want to sport a summer glow in warmer months but not feel like you’re wearing makeup. It’s hard to look glowy with a cakey face, so experts all agree that good skincare and hydration is key. The hero ingredient for brightening is vitamin C, so look for facial moisturizers and face masks that are chock-full of it. RoC Multi Correxion Revive Vitamin C Glow Gel Cream ($25; target.com) is a brightening powerhouse loaded with antioxidants that target dullness directly.
If you need a bit of coverage, opt for a bit of spot concealer instead of layering foundation over your hard work. YSL Touche Éclat High Cover Radiant Concealer ($38; sephora.com) is infused with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and caffeine to de-puff your undereyes, perfect for that ‘I woke up like this’ look.
For your body, one-up your typical body moisturizer with body oils, balms, and glosses that create a decadent, glass-like glow. Unlike lotion, glosses actually give skin a light sheen, and some formulas even contain a little bit of mica powder or body glitter.
3 A bit of self-tanner or bronzing water can do wonders
Contrary to popular belief, a good self-tanner won’t leave you looking streaky or with Cheeto-colored skin (plus it’s a great way to counter face mask tan lines). “The best self-tans are the ones where you can’t tell it’s not from the sun. Patch-test an area first if you’re ever in doubt,” says Evans. “I recommend using a self-tanner specifically developed for the face that contains skincare benefits and develops into the perfect glow that’s tailored for you.”
If you don’t have a separate self-tanner for the face, you can also add a few drops of body self-tanner to your favorite moisturizer or night cream. “Mix together in the well of your hand (you can apply using a makeup brush or sponge if you prefer) and apply directly to the face, making sure all areas of the face and neck have been covered,” advises Evans. “Apply just before you go to bed to wake up with a fully developed glow come morning.”
4 Apply highlighter strategically
Never underestimate the power of a strategically applied highlighter. Add a small amount of liquid or powder highlighter to the high planes of your face (upper cheek bones and bridge of the nose) before applying your liquid or cream foundation. If you want to go all the way, you can also apply highlighter to the rest of your body. Evans recommends aiming down the middle of the thighs and shin, across your collarbone, and down the center of the arm for a sculpted sheen.
5 Contour your face with a foundation that is three shades darker than your skin tone
“This will give the illusion of a tan without making the skin look muddy,” says YSL Beauty’s Makeup Expert Nour Agha. “Once you apply the foundation, use a bronzing powder or a face powder that is three shades darker on top of the areas that you contoured.”
This can even be done on the body where you are showing some skin. Evans recommends dusting the bronzer in between the cleavage and over the breast area to boost, under the jawline to define, and down the inner and outer thighs to sculpt.
Now that you have all the directions, put them to good use with our favorite products, below.
1 Rodial Instant Glow Primer
Tiny micro-spheres in this primer provide the perfect hydrating base. Apply under makeup for a dewy boost or wear alone for an instantly illuminated complexion.
2 European Wax Center Gradual Glow Body Lotion
One of the most innovative glow-getting tanners out there, EWC's formula builds color slowly over time to bestow your skin tone with a healthy, sun-kissed glow. You'll start to see instant glow effects within 4-6 hours after first application, but it gets even better with time to blur over imperfections. Since it's streak-free and transfer-resistant, it's really the best way to get tan without the orange splotches and stained clothing. Bonus: It even contains hair-growth minimizer to slow the appearance and thickness of hair re-growth between waxes.
3 Kevyn Aucoin Glass Face and Body Gloss
With somewhat of a cult-like status (makeup artists rave about it), this gloss highlighter infused with passion fruit oil and marula oil is the perfect gateway to glassy skin. To use, pump a rice grain amount onto the back of the hand and dab onto cheekbones. You can also mix it with your favorite foundation, moisturizer, or primer for an all-over glass finish.
4 Patrick Ta Glow Setting Spray
A mist and highlighter in one, the newest from Patrick Ta (AKA the master of glow and makeup artist for star-studded clientele) is designed to blend seamlessly into your skin. The transparent pearl blend, which comes in spray form for effortless application, gives light-reflecting luster while the hydrophobic emollient blend allows for even coverage.
5 Patrick Ta Major All-Over Glow Balm
The trickiest part about balms is finding one that imparts glow and moisture without looking greasy, but Patrick Ta really nailed it on the head with this one. Infused with nourishing jojoba oil and shea butter, the moisturizing balm has all the benefits of your new favorite illuminator. (Just take a gander at those before-and-after photos.) The super-luxe finish looks equally as good on your face as it does on your body.
6 Herla Gold Supreme Illuminating Body Oil
Slathering this on is the next best thing to spending a week in the Caribbean. A litany of plant oils and extracts in Herla’s formula is suspended in an oil base. Just one pump provides a pretty intense golden shimmer while deeply moisturizing your skin.
7 Sol By Jergens Tone Enhancing Body Bronzer
Celebrity makeup artist Charlie Riddle recommends reaching for this oil when you want a major glow-up. “It’s so great for an instant glow, which makes it perfect for brides and photoshoots, without the commitment. I like to hit all the high points of the body, especially the tops of shoulders, collarbone, forearms, and backs of legs, which gives a more dimensional and toned effect.” Both the smell and formula are very light, so it dries within minutes without feeling tacky or sticky.
8 Chantecaille Poudre Lumiere
This featherweight bronzer-highlighter mimics the shimmering warmth from UV rays (without the damage) thanks to luminescent pearls that amplify radiance and catch light for a beachy glow.
9 St Tropez’s Self Tan Purity Vitamins Bronzing Water Serum
This innovative formula contains a unique sunshine complex that actually mimics what the real sun can do by helping your body produce Vitamin D. Added bonus: It’s also infused with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C for maximum hydration and overall skin radiance.
10 St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist
Spray-on bronzing waters make tanning application easier than ever. The best part about this face mist is that it can actually be applied on top of your makeup to set everything (in addition to giving you a tan, of course). “Spritz over the face in a downward motion about 4 inches away, covering the front of the face then down each side profile, onto the neck, and over the décolletage” says Evans. “It can be used in the middle of the day as a pick-me-up and the color will never develop too dark.”