Glow getters: 11 Beauty experts pick products for radiant skin now
Tried-and-true favourites from pros who know
In the dead of our Canadian winters, the inevitable combination of icy-cold temperatures and dry, indoor heating never fails to zap the life out of skin, leaving us with tired, stressed-out complexions during the long weeks of cold weather that (let's be honest) are still ahead.
To help revive your skin from those brutal Jack Frost blahs, we asked a mix of local makeup artists, facialists, dermatologists, and beauty editors for their all-time favourite glow getters. From nourishing serums to weightless foundation formulas, these are the trusted heroes they each rely on to cure sallow complexions by delivering an uplifting, healthy-looking sheen — with many working their magic within minutes. So start scrolling and get glowing.
"My skin feels plump and glowy after going through Province Apothecary's dry brushing ritual. I haven't used the brush lately, but writing this reminded me how much I love it, so I'm going to add it back into my regimen stat! The routine is relaxing and only takes a few minutes each morning. It really helps wake up the skin."
— Michelle Bilodeau, CBC Life beauty expert and contributor
Facial Dry Brush, $52, provinceapothecary.com
"This face oil is my favourite go-to product year round for an instant glow, especially during winter. I use it in the morning mixed with moisturizer for extra hydration. At night, I take about 10-15 drops in the palm of my hand and gently apply it all over the skin. Anti-inflammatory, deeply repairing, and incredibly hydrating and soothing, it gives my skin the most glorious transformation. I may even go as far as to say that it's my ultimate skin guru secret weapon!"
Peoni L'extrait Face Oil, $225, jbskinguru.com
"If you're time crunched and want a glow, you have to work with products that help your skin bounce light — it's a trick of the eye that studies have shown make your skin look smoother and younger more than being wrinkle free. If I need to look alive and awake fast, I always reach for a manual but gentle scrub; in the winter I alternate 2-3 times a week between Dermalogica Microfoliant and their Superfoliant. This duo gets rid of any dullness and leaves my skin smooth and prepped for makeup."
— Vanessa Craft, editor-in-chief of ELLE Canada
Three's a charm
"This highlighter palette is a new favourite of mine because it works on all skin tones, and can be mixed into liquid or cream foundations. There are three shades (a champagne, rose gold, and bronze) of heavenly metallic creams that leave a silky powder finish on the skin. Cheekbones are highlighted but not sparkly or shimmery — just luminous. It leaves you looking and feeling like a total goddess. I use my finger to glide the lightest shade onto the upper cheekbone, the middle shade onto the apples, and the darkest shade as a glowy contour. When I'm lazy I just mix them all together as an overall sun-kissed cheek tint. You can even apply it onto eyelids as a cream-to-powder eyeshadow."
— Christine Cho, makeup artist and beauty expert
BUXOM Divine Goddess Luminizing Highlighter Palette, $40, sephora.ca
"Hyaluronic acid is a moisture-retaining humectant with instant plumping abilities. I like to find a good vitamin C serum with a hyaluronic base. This way you get long-term, anti-aging (collagen synthesis) benefits as well as an instant, dewy plump. XO FACEcare Heavy C is a next-generation formula and very gentle for sensitive skin types. I like to rub it in my palms first and then press it into skin. The warmth allows it to melt in for an even application without residue."
Heavy C, $89, xotreatmentroom.com
"I like that this luminizer is a powder. It's not messy like some liquids and I love the fact that it has two colours: one pearl colour for lighter skin and a golden colour for darker skin. Or you can use the two shades for eyeshadows as well. I like applying it to the cheekbones as a highlighter. I use it everyday on myself. It's subtle and gives your skin a radiant glow, without looking shiny."
— Tracy Peart, makeup artist and beauty expert
See The Light Powder Highlighter Duo in Golden Child, $29, vasanticosmetics.ca
Set in stone
"No flow, no glow! A gua sha facial tool for self-massage is a must for glow, hands down. Gua sha is a massage technique used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and in other East Asian healing therapies. By sweeping a carved, polished stone across skin, the low-tech treatment works out the adhesions in our neck and face, and helps open up the pathways for lymph drainage. Flushing your lymphatic system helps rid your body of toxins, drains sinus congestion, promotes circulation and healing, plus lifts the skin beyond belief. It's coined the holistic facelift for a reason."
— Diana Bradshaw, owner and esthetician at Bradshaw Pure Esthetics in Halifax, N.S.
Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool, $42, sephora.ca
Meet the hybrid
"A cross between a highlighter and primer, this complexion enhancer delivers a bespoke, 'can't believe it's makeup' kind of glow. On most days, I dab a little on the high points of my face, but when my skin's in dire need of reviving, I smooth it on under my base or mix a few drops with my foundation for dewy, glitter-free radiance."
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, $50, charlottetilbury.com, sephora.ca, Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew
"This whipped cleanser doesn't dry out your skin like many foaming cleaners do, and works great for all skin types, even oily skin. It easily removes grease and makeup, leaving the skin soft, supple and hydrated. I use this product every day even if I don't have makeup on because I love the clean, smooth feeling it leaves me with. And the natural ingredients leave me feeling good that I am feeding my skin and not destroying it with harsh chemicals. I even massage it into my clients' faces with my hands and remove it with a warm towel before applying makeup. It adds a touch of radiance and the makeup application looks even more beautiful."
Grapefruit & Lavender Luxury Cleanser, $28, sweetlivingcompany.com
Ace your base
"Every single step, from cleanser to makeup, is about moisture and radiance for me. I think that's really the secret of glowing skin, whether it's winter or warmer. One of my newest favourites is Sisley's Phyto-Blanc cushion foundation. The sheer formula contains a ton of skin-conditioning ingredients, including provitamin B5, plant-sourced squalane and broad-spectrum SPF 30, as well as subtle optical illuminators. Its delicate tint just makes my skin look dewy, fresh, and lit as though someone switched on a light. Adore! Along with the rest of my max-hydration skincare, this cushion foundation helps my complexion lie convincingly about my age while I tell the truth (I'm 50). And in the middle of this deep freeze, the resulting glow says, 'What winter?'"
Sisley-Paris Phyto-Blanc Brightening Anti-Pollution Cushion Foundation, $160, holtrenfrew.com
Serve and protect
"Winter skincare should have two goals: improve skin barrier function to protect it against external aggressors and, secondarily, target the consequences of cold, dry weather on the skin. Ceramides are naturally occurring lipids found in the skin. Moisturizers that contain ceramides or stimulate ceramide production provide an immediate boost in skin barrier function to soothe the skin and protect it from external assaults. I recommend using a ceramide-based moisturizer once to twice daily after washing with a gentle cleanser. This lotion is great for the face and can also be used on the body."
Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume, $24.90, beauty.shoppersdrugmart.ca, well.ca and londondrugs.com