Expert Tips For Waking Up Tired, Dull Skin

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
 When we say skin is “tired,” what do we really mean?

It’s typical for clients to come in for a facial and declare that their skin looks tired and is in need of a wake-up call. What they really mean, of course, is that their facial skin is looking sallow and dull— it is, essentially, missing a healthy glow that we typically associate with skin that's alive and well.

Waking up skin simply means restoring it to its most healthy and balanced state of being — so it feels and looks smooth, and is naturally glowing from within. While making an appointment with an aesthetician can certainly help get rid of your lackluster complexion, it's certainly not the only solution. There are plenty of fast and easy tricks you can try at home.

Grab Some Ice & Go
Typically, if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, the effects of restricted blood flow will be reflected in your skin.

During waking hours, when the the body is in a vertical position, blood and fluids in your body circulate in a downward fashion due to gravity. At night, with the right amount of sleep, the flat position of the body helps to balance out and regulate proper blood flow and circulation both in the face and body.

On those mornings when you didn't get your beauty rest, fake a full-night's sleep by splashing your face with very cold water. This burst of cold will boost skin's circulation and add needed color to help get rid of dull tones.

Get Your “Pep” On
Certain ingredients in skin-care products can encourage blood flow to the face. These include extracts of ginseng, rosemary, peppermint, and spearmint. When applied to the skin, they can gently dilate blood vessels, which allows the skin to accommodate more nutrient-rich blood. (Note: if you have rosacea, redness, or are very sensitive, these ingredients are  not ideal for your skin.) 
Illustrated by Anna Sudit.

Put Your Makeup To Work
Sometimes when we look washed-out and exhausted, we can fake looking awake by choosing a bright shade of blush. Blush high on the cheeks can do wonders in "waking up" your skin. A pinky-coral hue will help lend a healthy-looking glow — even when you're feeling less than 100%.

I’m also a big fan of using illuminating makeup as a quick fix. Look for formulations with light reflective pigments that impart radiance to the skin. Avoid yellow-based makeup tones and clothing, as they can make the skin appear sallow. 

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick is great for getting this gorgeous, glowing look.

Hang Your Head Upside Down 

It sounds crazy, but if you’re into yoga, you already know the great benefits of spending time upside down: it increases the flow of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the face. You can do this with a headstand, by doing the downward dog yoga pose, or even hanging your head over the side of the bed. After three minutes, a slight redness from the increased blood flow will appear on the skin and, in the long run, it can make a big difference in improving circulation and getting (and keeping!) an inner glow. 

Massage Your Face
One important step in a professional facial is a massage of the face, neck, and shoulders. While it’s very relaxing, it’s also performed to increase microcirculation, which generates a pick-me-up from within. Perform your own gentle facial massage immediately after applying moisturizer at night when your skin is damp. Close your hand to make a fist, and use your knuckles to massage the skin in small, circular motions. 

I also recommend avoiding smoking and excessive consumption caffeine and alcohol, because these habits can impair circulation. And, be sure to eat nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to fuel your body with antioxidants. Your skin will be bright and glowing in no time.       

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