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Have A Day, Week, Or Month? 3 Plans To Get Glowing Skin, From A Top Esthetician

Joanna Vargas
Celebrity esthetician By Joanna Vargas
Celebrity esthetician
Joanna Vargas is a celebrity esthetician and contributing writer for mindbodygreen. She is also the author of the new book, "Glow From Within."
Smiling Brunette Woman Outside on a Breezy Day
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At my salons, we see a lot of clients who are prepping for a big event: a wedding, a reunion, a dream vacation, or some other special moment for which they desperately want to look their best. It's my job to listen to their goals and figure out how I can help achieve them in the quickest, easiest way possible.

Getting first-date or red-carpet-ready on a timeline is a priority for almost everyone at some point in their lives. Here, I'll show you how to implement a time-sensitive routine, whether you have one month or one day. 

If you have one month.

One month till a huge event in your life is crunchtime! But don't worry—it's not too late to completely transform your skin. 

Your first step is twice-a-week exfoliation and hydration at home. Exfoliation is the key to glowing, clean skin, and I have told many people that a great exfoliator is a facial in a jar. Using one with both a scrub component and an acid/enzyme component makes it easy to use on all skin types. Scrub in areas where you feel you have a buildup of blackheads or clogged pores and then leave a thin layer on all over. Don't forget your neck and décolletage! After all, that's what usually shows when you are wearing a killer dress. Follow each exfoliation with a sheet mask because it's important to nourish and hydrate after resurfacing the skin.

I would not start a retinol serum this close to your big day. But don't feel like you're missing out. You can simply use a vitamin C serum at night for maximum repair and healing while you sleep. Vitamin C is a healing ingredient that we have at our disposal, and it's agreeable with any skin type. I would invest in a good formula because this is your one-month-away secret weapon. You will be glowing for miles! 

Your daytime routine will be as follows: serum, moisture, and sunscreen. The other thing I want to stress to you is wear a hat! Not only can sun damage the skin and age us prematurely, but it will also completely destroy all the good you've done with your careful exfoliation and skin nourishing. Invest in a chic hat, and wear it every time you leave the house.

I would also consider giving yourself a lymphatic massage daily, which will ensure a de-puffed, relaxed, oxygenated, and glowing face. Doing it before bed helps you have a less puffy visage when you wake up, too. Don't forget your eye area; it should get some de-puffing stimulation as well.

Finally, don't forget about the skin that's not on your face. Your skin is an organ, after all. I would start by dry brushing daily in the morning before jumping in the shower—you will see a difference in two weeks' time. Finish with a nice body cream with antioxidants, cocoa butter, shea butter, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients are great for keeping the skin supple, smooth, and glowing all over.

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If you have one week. 

When you have only a week to prepare your skin, I would not recommend using any new products or getting a facial anywhere you've never gotten one before. The stakes are too high, and too much can go wrong. But there are plenty of other things you can do to boost your glow in just a few days. 

If your skin is tired or dull, exfoliate with your regular exfoliating product at least twice this week. This final week is not the time to experiment with a whole new routine, but exfoliation will ensure your products penetrate better and leave the skin resurfaced and more even.

I would also use a sheet mask (one you have used before without issue) the night before and on the morning of your big day. Sheet masks are prescriptive, so use a soothing one the night before and a hydrating EGF/peptide mask the morning of the event. They'll make a big difference. The night before, you should absolutely use a body scrub to make the skin on your body smoother and more radiant.

If you don't have a scrub on hand, you can make this simple one to use on both your face and your body. It smells like heaven and makes the skin feel smoother without irritating it. 

Skin Smoother & Resurfacing Mask

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil

If your skin is feeling super dry anytime during the week, make a quick hydrating mask: Mash an avocado with 1 cup plain yogurt, apply the mixture to your skin, and leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse.

If you have one night. 

You've got a hot date in T- minus one day. What should you do right now?

First things first: Keep up your regular nighttime routine, starting with a thorough cleansing to remove the day's makeup and pollution. Sleep in a mask (if you don't have a full night to prepare, just apply a mask now and keep it on for as long as possible). If your skin is dry, use a nighttime hydrating mask.

As you apply your mask, do a face massage. From the neck upward, from inside to outside, move your fingers in small circles, which will encourage lymphatic drainage and stimulate circulation. If you're broken out, dot a clay mask onto your blemishes and leave it on as a spot treatment; it will help heal the breakout overnight. 

Get seven to eight hours of sleep! It's what your body needs. If you have trouble falling asleep, make yourself a nice cup of chamomile tea or a calcium or magnesium drink. I also find that wearing a sleep mask over my eyes keeps me asleep and in a much deeper, more restful sleep zone. 

When you're showering the day before or the day of, using a nice body scrub exfoliates your skin and brings out its glow. Gently scrub your entire body, including your face, for a solid 10 minutes while you're in the shower. This will remove surface dirt, clean out your pores, and even your skin tone, just like a mini facial! Next, apply a great hydrating mask if you have normal or dry skin, or a clay mask if you are struggling with breakouts. 

As you are applying your skin care products the day of, do another face massage. Again, this will reduce puffiness and make your skin look brighter and better, even under makeup. 

Go out and enjoy!

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