How to Get Glowing Skin this Holiday: Expert Tips & Products from a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner

How to Get Glowing Skin this Holiday: Expert Tips & Products from a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner

Okay, so you might be RSVPing ‘no’ to the normal holiday festivities this year: work parties, family get-togethers, ugly Christmas sweater parties with friends—or maybe they’re just a bit smaller this year (you do you).

But that’s no reason not to look your best!

Look, we’ve all been trying to get through to the other side of 2020. Heck, New Year’s Eve is coming up quick, and if that doesn’t get you glowing, I don’t know what will (I’ve personally been dreaming of this day since March). And even though winter is notorious for wreaking havoc on your complexion, I’ve been in the derm business long enough to help you ditch dull skin, once and for all.

Enter: Your how-to guide to a healthy holiday glow.

Yep, in honor of my favorite time of the year, I’ve put together product recommendations, expert tips and tricks, and even a DIY glow mask, to boot. Because it’s never too late to show off your dewy, soft, glow-y skin tone to friends and family (even *if* it’s on Zoom). So, let’s get going!

1. How to Exfoliate the Right Way

I’m definitely an advocate of regular exfoliation—if it’s done properly, that is. If you experience regular or hormonal breakouts, or aging and dull skin, you’ll most likely benefit from a gentle, daily exfoliating serum. My Multitasker Night Serum is mild enough for daily use because it only utilizes gentle fruit enzymes. But don’t let it fool you; this lightweight serum does the job to help clear out pores and turn skin cells over more rapidly without dehydrating or damaging the skin’s surface. Highly recommended!

But if you really want to achieve that holiday glow, you might want to add a gentle physical exfoliating face cleanser. It works to refresh the top layer of your skin and reveal a dewy, soft, even complexion.

So, if you’re ready to take your glow to the next level, check out these products (trust me, they work wonders):

Otto Skin Goods The Multitasker Night Serum

This lightweight exfoliating serum is gentle enough to use daily without over-drying your skin. It lightly refreshes your complexion to keep it clear and bright.

HoliFrog Sunapee Sacred-C Brightening Powder Wash

Activated by water, this buff and brightening wash formula physically exfoliates with bamboo powder—aka, the perfect texture for a face scrub (it’s not too harsh!). Plus, it has other brightening ingredients, like Vitamin C, licorice root extract and kojic acid.

Eminence Organic Skin Care Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

Just like HoliFrog, this dermafoliant is a gentle, yet effective rice powder you mix with water to physically exfoliate your skin. Even better? This unique formula works double duty with lactic acid (a chemical exfoliant) and strawberry powder, which is a natural form of salicylic acid.

Read More: This Exfoliating Skincare Ingredient is a Non-Negotiable for 2021

2. Lock It in with Hydration

Once you remove and brighten the dull top layer of your skin with an exfoliant, you’ll want to lock in the moisture with step two: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Skin dries *very* quickly in the winter months, making it easily irritated and dehydrated—that’s why it’s oh-so important to use a product that keeps your skin moisturized, soft and supple for the long haul. For this, I turn to hyaluronic acid serums (psst...keep in mind that drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier while you sleep can also maintain a glow-y, hydrated complexion).

Our hyaluronic heroes? Take a look...

Otto Skin Goods The Go-Getter Day Serum

This light water-gel serum sinks in quickly giving your skin instant hydration. It contains 5% vegan, super-low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, plus tripeptide-5 and antioxidants to help your skin become hydrated, soft and plump.

Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This simplistic, pure hyaluronic acid serum is a clean, lightweight gel that gives your skin a nice hydrating boost with very few ingredients (score!).

Evolve Organic Beauty Hyaluronic Serum 200

This simple hyaluronic serum is clear and lightweight (notice a trend here?), containing pomegranate extract to brighten and rosewater for a light scent.

Read More: Is Hyaluronic Acid Worth the Hype? We’ve got the details.

3. Face Oil is a Must

No secret here, I’m a huge fan of face oil. I use it exclusively as a moisturizer, but I also love it as a natural highlighter—applying it after my Multitasker Night Serum leaves my skin feeling so soft and hydrated! These days, I’m not wearing much makeup (you, too?), but adding a bit to my cheeks in the morning gives my skin a shimmery glow that’s natural, dewy and bright.

Convinced? If you haven’t tried face oil yet, grab one of these for a year-round glow:

Otto Skin Goods The Fresh Start Face Oil

Get ready to brighten, soften and hydrate in one simplistic, powerful skincare staple. The Fresh Start Face Oil is a combination of my four favorite oils—grapeseed, marula, rosehip and cranberry—combined with a powerful 20% vitamin C and wild-harvested lemon.

Peet Rivko Balancing Face Oil

This hydrating, non-greasy face oil is perfect for those with sensitive skin. A simplistic blend of avocado, jojoba and prickly pear oils that hydrates without causing irritation!

Beautycounter Counter+ No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil

This citrus-scented face oil quickly absorbs to replenish and hydrate your complexion. It also has vitamin C to help brighten and even your skin tone.

Read More: 10 Essential Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

4. Focus on your eyes

I rarely think to wear makeup anymore—especially foundation and lipstick of any kind. Seriously, what's the point? We’re all wearing masks anyway. Not to mention, my face breaks out more when I wear a tinted moisturizer under my mask! It’s sad really; I don’t really see anyone’s face anymore. But you know what everyone’s still looking at? Your eyes! I’ve never had the patience or know-how for eye makeup (smokey eye? forget it!), but there are a few subtle things you can do to help make your eyes pop, sparkle and even look well rested this holiday season!

Take a look at my product recommendations...

RMS Beauty Cream Eye Polish in Utopia

This simple cream eye polish adds just enough sparkle to your eye without looking overdone. I love the utopia shade, which is a deep, sunlit gold that gives a sultry shimmer, perfect for the holiday season. Plus, application is a breeze! Simply swipe on your lids, and you’re ready to go.

Ecobrow Defining Wax

When it comes to self-care, one thing I can’t live without is eyebrow threading. I was introduced to it about two years ago and now there’s no going back. Well-defined eyebrows help accentuate your eyes—and adding a touch of this Ecobrow Defining Wax helps do just that!

Glossier Stretch Concealer

This concealer is perfect to help hide dark circles, redness, and even blemishes. It has buildable coverage that goes on evenly for a natural-looking, dewy, glowy finish. It doesn’t cake or sit in your fine lines, making them more noticeable—rather, it uses elastic micro waxes to move with your skin and help you fake that well-rested look!

Read More: 5 Tried-and-True Tips + Products to Finding the Most Effective Eye Cream

Bonus: DIY Glowing Face Mask

Not sure about you, but I’ve been all about DIY during lockdown. And no, I’m not talking about home renovations. I love making lip balm, lip and hand scrubs, and most of all, face masks. My kids got on board too, so it was fun to see some of our creations that actually helped keep my skin hydrated, glowing and bright. One of our favorites was the Antioxidant Blueberry Glow Mask. Here’s the recipe:


5 blueberries, crushed

1 tsp coconut water

1 tsp honey


Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and apply to the face. Rinse with warm water after 10 minutes.

Read More: 9 DIY Homemade Skin and Hair Care Recipes Straight from Your Kitchen Pantry


Have any questions? Leave a comment below! Want to weigh in on your favorite products? Can’t wait to hear it. Even better—if you’ve tried any of the products above, share your story with us!


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