How To Score Glowing Skin Without Getting Pregnant Or Engaged

If you want family, friends, coworkers, and people you’ve just met to remark repeatedly on how much you are “glowing,” all you have to do is one of two things: get pregnant or get married. For optimal glow, you could even try doing both at once; there’s nothing wrong with a shotgun wedding, and why not double down on your perceived radiance while you have the chance? Life is short!

But what about those of us who want a clear, dewy complexion without diving headfirst into what Facebook would call a Life Event and your mom would call an “impulsive decision”? What if you want to do the same exact things you always do (listen to hour-long podcasts about the fall of the Romanovs, have store-bought smoothies for breakfast every day and frozen veggie burgers for dinner every night, scroll listlessly through the Instagram Explore page in bed until your fingers go numb), just with better, brighter skin?

Well, that’s simple — just throw on a face mask and keep on keeping on. With the newest, most advanced formulas at your disposal, it’s never been easier to glow without growing a human inside your own body or promising someone you’ll love them and “keep them” (what does that even mean?) until one of you finally kicks the bucket.

So don’t be shocked if your friends ask if there’s anything major you’ve been meaning to tell them: It’s just that you’ll have the healthy, happy gleam of someone who has something to be excited about, even if that “something” is just the really sick bounty you scored from all the end-of-summer sales.

You know who’s always glowing? Miranda Kerr. You know who made this 2-in-1 exfoliator/face mask hybrid? Also Miranda Kerr. Like a gentler, more nature-based alternative to acid-based exfoliants, a concoction of aloe vera, turmeric, rosehip seed, and papaya enzymes works to retexturize and slough away dullness in just 5-15 minutes. (Just be sure you apply significantly more of the stuff than Kerr did for her Instagram photo announcing the launch in June.)

Kora Organics Turmeric Brightening & Exfoliating Mask, $48, available at Sephora

Like the DIY mask recipes you’re always trying to stir up in your kitchen, only it won’t leave weird residue in your sink for the next three years. With pore-purging charcoal and nourishing, naturally antibacterial honey, it not only addresses breakouts and buildup but leaves skin bright, smooth, and bouncy, too.

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Honey Mask, $34, available at Sephora

There is not a self-aware individual among us who has never rolled out of bed late, looked in the mirror, and thought, Wow, I look busted. The next time you are that person, smooth on a thin layer of this mask, allow yourself three to 10 minutes to stare at the wall, then dampen skin and massage gently before rinsing. The glycolic and fruit acids will act as a light peel and the fine, scrubby spheres will slough away dullness, for a skin overhaul that’s the next best thing to getting a whole new face.

Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial, $68, available at Sephora

After selling out in all of five minutes upon its launch, this brand-new (and wildly buzzy) mask is now available for pre-order until it’s restocked on August 8th. An instant-gratification situation this is not, but as any of the early adopters will already tell you, this intense resurfacing formula — which combines a whopping 10% AHA with 0.5% BHA and blue agave extract — is the real deal.

Peach and Lily Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask, $43, available at Peach and Lily

If your skin is more reactive than Donald Trump on Twitter at 3 a.m., give this cooling gel-based mask a shot. It’s formulated with antioxidant-rich fruit enzymes and low concentrations of botanically-derived AHAs, so you get all the gentle exfoliation benefits for smoothing and brightening with none of the hey-is-my-face-on-fire intensity.

Malin + Goetz Brightening Enzyme Mask, $55, available at Malin + Goetz

But if your skin really, really can’t be trusted not to hit the panic button the second you unscrew the cap on anything with the word “acid” in the ingredients list, try spending the night with this leave-on mask. Thanks to deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid, rose water, acacia honey, and sweet almond oil, it’s soothing, brightening, and perfect for absolutely everyone — provided, of course, that you like the smell of rose.

Lancôme Rose Jelly Mask, $35, available at Sephora

The industry-standard brightening ingredient gets a decidedly of-the-moment upgrade with this hardcore clay mask, which does exactly what you’d expect it to (light up your face with micro-encapsulated vitamin C and a fruit-derived blend of AHAs) and quite a few things you wouldn’t (change color, stave off excess oil, shrink the appearance of pores).

Farmacy Bright On Massage-Activated Vitamin C Mask, $38, available at Sephora

In addition to being very expensive, this multi-tasking mask is made with gold (24k, at that), which for some people will be reason enough to slather it on with abandon. But if you need further convincing to make room for a $270 mask in your budget, or just want to know why in the hell it costs so much, consider this: It’s got everything from rose water and blackcurrant seed oil to antioxidant-heavy silk extracts and bioactive amino acids to make skin brighter, smoother, and stronger — and, for 10-15 minutes, gold.

Chantecaille Gold Recovery Mask, $270, available at Space NK

Unless you’re in a mad rush to a train that’s already pulled into the station or work in an emergency room, chances are you have half a minute to spare. Instead of spending those precious 30 seconds of your one life swiping left through Tinder yet again, tear open one of these pretty packets, mix the powder with some water in the palm of your hand, massage into your face, and count to 30. The AHA blend is the equivalent of Emergen-C for drained, sickly-looking skin.

Fresh Vitamin C Brightening Glow Powder, $40, available at Sephora

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