How To Brighten Your Skin Without Makeup

Have you ever noticed that, no matter what you do, your makeup is flaky and your skin looks dull? You're not alone. Skin needs to be exfoliated and moisturized to look bright and clear. You might be surprised to know that you should incorporate this into your beauty routine at least once a week - maybe more depending on your skin type. You get to be your own esthetician as you care for your body's largest organ.

I'm going to go ahead and say it: the first thing you need is lots and lots of water. Compare a dry sponge to a wet sponge. A sponge that is adequately hydrated is supple and soft. A dehydrated sponge is coarse and hard. I know you've heard it all before, but the very best thing you can do for your skin is drink 6-8 ounce glasses of water a day. It's different for everyone, so know your body.

That being said, there are quite a few things you can do after you are good and hydrated to boost your skin's brightness factor.

1. Dry brushing:

There are some seriously awesome benefits to dry brushing. First and foremost it removes dead skin cells (which brightens the appearance of your skin), but it can also boost circulation (double bonus - it warms you up in the winter), rid the body of toxins and boost lymphatic drainage. You can incorporate dry brushing into your daily showering rituals by starting at the ankles and working your way up your legs with long sweeps. Don't move in circular rotations or back and forth - move the brush towards your heart. Move on to your arms and chest (still working towards your heart) and then your stomach. Brush gently enough to stimulate your skin without turning it red or scratching yourself.

Choose a brush that has stiff, but not hard, bristles. A brush with natural bristles (rather than synthetic) is best for dry brushing.

2. Coconut oil:

Everybody and their mother has a coconut oil story. It has multiple benefits and uses. Not only can the lauric acid in coconut oil fight off bacteria, fungi and viruses, but it is intensely moisturizing. Consider it your natural antibacterial oil - keeping you healthy and glowing at the same time.

I think the best way to use coconut oil as a skin brightener is to use it immediately after you shower. Gently dry your body with a soft towel and mix a small spoonful of coconut oil with your favorite lotion. Spread it on, friend. Rub it in and glow all day long. This is especially awesome during the winter months when your skin is dry and chapped.

3. Soft touch complexion brush.

This brush has completely changed my face. It's so soft you will probably doubt that it could actually exfoliate your face. Remember that the skin on your face is drastically more sensitive than the skin on your body. It needs special, gentle care. That's where this brush comes in. This one is Earth Theraputics and is only $6. I've compared it to similar products from other brands - it's the best of the best. It's also gentle enough to use every day. Just wet it with warm water, squeeze a drop of your favorite face wash onto the bristles and then rub your face and neck in circular motions. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

4. Skin brightening serum. 

I'm a fan of this one from Origins. Okay, I'm a fan of everything from Origins. If you have dark spots, acne scars or sun damage a product like this can greatly reduce their appearance. There are so many similar products on the market. This is just the one I've tried and had success with, but it doesn't make it the only successful product. Get opinions, shop around and choose what best serves your unique skin.

Homemade skin brightening scrub:

This is so easy, you guys. It's cheap and effective - who doesn't love that?

Simply combine:

Coconut oil
Freshly squeezed lemon
Raw sugar

That's it. Mix it up, throw it in a small container and take it into the shower with you. You can exfoliate your entire body in 2 minutes - body and face. You'll step out soft and radiant.

*Do you have a skin brightening trick you love to use? Share it here!

*january 2013