We're constantly chasing the perfect glow. And as caring for our skin health has taken precedence over masking perceived imperfections, a major part of getting that glow means using ingredients that increase radiance over time, like brightening niacinamide and hydrating squalane. But though longterm results are great, nothing beats the instant gratification that a little sparkle can lend. So skin care has borrowed a makeup mainstay—shimmer—and refined it, putting it into products that improve skin brightness for the longhaul while also immediately adding three-dimensional luminosity to your complexion.
"Adding a luminous finish to skin-care products provides the immediate benefits that consumers want to see of healthy, energized, and radiant skin," says Rick Woodin, chief scientist of ZO Skin Health. "Subtle shimmer is a great quick fix. And providing instant benefits helps consumers stick with a corrective product to be able to experience its long-term results."
The body glitters of the early aughts have nothing on this new crop of shimmery skin care. These serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens fuse shimmer with good-for-your-skin actives that enhance your glow over time. ZO Skin Health's new Illuminating AOX Serum ($165) contains vitamins A, C, and E to provide antioxidant protection, plant stem cells to soothe redness, and a plant-derived polysaccharide complex to hydrate skin and minimize lines and wrinkles. The Pai Skincare The Impossible Glow Bronzing Drops ($39) contain hyaluronic acid and sea kelp to plump and hydrate your skin, along with lemon fruit water to exfoliate and brighten your complexion. The Supergoop! Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40 ($36) also contains HA and vitamin B5 to help boost moisture in the skin, niacinamide to soothe and brighten, and SPF to protect. And the new Keys Soulcare Let Me Glow Illuminating Serum ($26) contains niacinamide and antioxidant-rich rose water to help replenish dry, dull skin.
"If a skin-care offering provides a glow to the skin, the hope is that the user will feel like their skin looks healthier," says Renée Snyder, MD, board-certified dermatologist who co-founded Keys Soulcare along with singer Alicia Keys. "The Illuminating Serum hydrates and helps illuminate your complexion to reveal a healthy, golden glow while helping brighten, plump, and smooth the look of your skin."
While these ingredients work their magic behind the scenes, specks of finely milled shimmery ingredients like mica, minerals, and diamond dust reflect light off the skin, creating a subtle yet gorgeous lit-from-within luminosity.
"Less is more, and skin care is always the first best step before makeup," says Neil Scibelli, a celebrity makeup artist in New York City. "If you can add these glowing facial serums on that are going to help elevate your skin and give your skin that extra glow without having to wear makeup, that's a great advantage."
To get the look, simply apply the products like any other skin-care product—put serums on dry skin, creams on top of any serums you're using, and sunscreens as your last skin-care step before any makeup. Pro tip: Apply the products to dry skin in a well-lit area so you can blend out the shimmer with ease. Shop the glowy goodness below.
11 shimmer-infused serums, creams, and sunscreens to make your skin instantly radiant
This golden serum is one of Keys’ favorite products from her skin-care line. “I love to wear it just by itself fresh on my skin and then maybe, if I want to, I’ll add a little blush or add a little mascara or something like that,” she previously told Well+Good. “It also has niacinamide in it, which is vitamin B3, so it manages your breakouts and promotes an even skin tone.”
These bronzing drops use mica to make your skin look sunkissed. Behind the scenes, hyaluronic acid and sea kelp give your complexion an instant plumping, and lemon fruit water improves radiance over time.
Finish off your skin-care routine with this beloved chemical sunscreen from Supergoop!. It has a gorgeous champagne finish and ingredients like sea lavender to provide antioxidant protection while supporting long-lasting hydration and cocoa peptides to help protect the skin from blue-light damage.
Brand new from Olehenriksen, this self-tanning makeup primer will gradually tan your skin while vitamin C works to boost brightness, defend skin, and tackle the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pores.
“Whereas antioxidants represent an important first line of defense in aging prevention by addressing free radical damage, the ZPOLY technology in this serum offers a unique capability to suppress the Inflammaging processes that can damage skin’s collagen and elastin fibers,” says Woodin. “In addition, this technology has been clinically proven to support rapid skin barrier repair, boost extended hydration even after a single use, and calm visible redness for a more uniform skin appearance.” It has a silvery finish.
Flecks of iron oxide, tin oxide, and silicate minerals in these glow drops reflect light off the skin to deliver a radiant, even-looking complexion. The drops also include T-polygonum bistorta root, an anti-aging ingredient that reduces discoloration; wild rose extract to refine the appearance of pores; and antioxidant and fatty-acid-rich purslane to support skin health and reduce visible signs of irritation.
This chemical sunscreen instantly illuminates your skin with a golden hue while niacinamide, linoleic acid, licorice, and Emblica extracts help to visibly even tone over time.
This mineral sunscreen from Kinship has a silvery champagne hue. In addition to offering SPF 32, it also includes antioxidant-rich turmeric, which soothes and protects blemish-prone skin, and Kinship’s proprietary plant-based probiotic, which strengthens the skin barrier.
This moisturizer is made with diamond dust and mica to give you a luminous glow. It also contains dual-weight hyaluronic acid, buckbean extract, and Spanish lavender to plump and hydrate skin and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and greatest) SHOP product drops, custom collections, discounts, and more? Sign up to have the intel delivered straight to your inbox.
Loading More Posts...