It's that time of the year when my complexion looks decidedly less glowy. (Hurray, just in time for the holiday season! For me, duller skin is the result of a complicated mix of the colder weather, undulating eating habits, a few more cocktails than I'm used to, and lack of restorative sleep. Now, 30 (ahem, 30-plus) years in this skin has given me some insights on how I can best tweak my routine to account for a December-induced dull. And many of those tips I gladly share with you on this here website.
But because everyone's needs are so different, and no one complexion is the same, it's best to get a wide range of beauty experts to share their advice on how they keep their skin happy and healthy.
Read on for the best beauty tips we've heard about staying luminous any time of year:
Do some quick lymph work.
For holistic esthetician Britta Plug, lymph stagnation and puffiness tend to be her main concerns. So she spends time each day promoting circulation with gua sha, facial cupping, or manual massage.
If she needs to just do something quickly? She does a quick two-point ritual: One just above the collarbone and one below the ear, behind the jawline. These happen to be two of the body's major lymph centers.
"If you can feel right above your collarbone, there's that beautiful little dip out toward the head of the shoulders. Place all your fingers in that nice dip, and you are going to hit the spot. With a light touch, simply start massaging in small outward circles," she says. "Then move up the neck behind the angle of the jaw. Massage that area for a great lymph flow."
Add in a just-sweet-enough collagen supplement.
To me, there's nothing better than a warm cup of coffee from my French press in the morning. And when you toss in a decadent, chocolatey, good-for-skin collagen supplement, it's practically sacrosanct.* In one scoop of mbg's beauty & gut chocolate collagen+, the collagen base delivers 17.7 grams of grass-fed bovine collagen peptides, which are naturally rich in amino acids to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails, as well as a healthy intestinal lining.* (Learn all about how in our guide to collagen supplementation.) But the powder contains so much more than that, too. There are vitamins C and E, which are antioxidants that support collagen synthesis and cross-linking.* Hyaluronic acid enhances skin moisture and texture, as well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.*
The chocolate option is naturally flavored and sweetened with premium organic cocoa powder and organic monk fruit, which make the coffee rich, smooth, and decadent without being too saccharine. The cocoa beans are sourced from South America, East Africa, and the Dominican Republic—and have been roasted and ground to retain the highest nutritional value. Not to mention, cocoa powder is packed with flavanols, a special antioxidant often used in skin care.* The organic monk fruit extract is a low-carb sweetener derived by clean, water extraction of 100% pure monk fruit. Mogrosides, the unique compounds in monk fruit that deliver its natural sweetness, have antioxidant properties and are blood-sugar-friendly.*
Wear SPF year-round.
No look is complete without proper sun protection, says multi-hyphenate wonder Denise Vasi. "I put on sunscreen every day. Like that is 101 skin care right there," says the model, actress, beauty influencer, content creator, and mom. "You need to be wearing sunscreen every single day, even in the winter, no matter what shade of skin you have. It is a must."
We know sun and environmental exposure is one of the leading causes of premature aging and most skin care woes—and SPF is one of the best ways to protect skin from those UV-induced free radicals. So as her prep step before her makeup routine, she applies an option like Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen.
Evaluate your active ingredients.
Remember: Your skin is highly influenced by the world around you. "Environmental conditions like cold or dry air, cold wind, windburn, or sun exposure can all affect the sensitive skin around the nose and cause dryness," board-certified dermatologist Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D., tells mbg about the concern. She adds about potent actives like retinols, "whether used for blemishes or wrinkles, can further bother the skin [in this area]."
So, you shouldn't just be mindful of what you are using topically—but where you are using it. Don't be afraid to get hyper-specific with your skin care routine, especially when you need to address drier areas like the nose or eyes. For example, target an oily T-Zone with an AHA, but then be sure to layer on a cushiony eye cream where the skin is thinner.
But why stop at targeting areas with actives? You can also get more sophisticated with how you layer your hydrators. Pay attention to what different areas of your skin actually need and "Play around with different textures," says medical esthetician and celebrity makeup artist Tiffany Lee. "If you're dealing with dry skin from the winter season, you can put it on areas that are really affected." This is a tip I've started adopting since hearing about it from Lee: I apply a lighter, breathier hydrator over my entire face, then go in with a more occlusive number on my forehead, around my mouth, my eyes, and the tops of my cheeks.
Snack on pomegranates.
Board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., says pomegranates are ideal for your skin: "Pomegranate seeds are an absolute superfood for the skin,"* she says over TikTok about the holiday-approved and seasonal produce. They contain a substance called ellagic acid, which is a type of polyphenol," Bowe says. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that protect your body's cells (yes, including skin cells) from free radicals, which can lead to premature aging in the skin.* Specifically these pomegranate polyphenols "help protect your skin even from sun exposure, as well—there are clinical studies supporting that,"* notes Bowe. Take this randomized controlled trial, for instance, which found that pomegranate extract increased skin's resilience against UVB rays; or this double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, which found that taking pomegranate extract orally could help with common sun-induced pigmentation.*
Be smart with how much you exfoliate.
"The most important tip is that 'less is more.' You want to exfoliate just enough to increase cell turnover and reveal fresh new skin," says Ife Rodney, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology. "But be sure to not scratch or damage your skin by overusing these devices or products."
OK, but let's put it into numbers, shall we? "Most people with normal or combination skin can get away with twice or even thrice-weekly exfoliation," she says. "Those with more mature, dry, or sensitive skin, may only want to exfoliate weekly."
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director at mindbodygreen. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She has worked at many top publications and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends and updates in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as travel, financial wellness, and parenting. She has reported on the intricacies of product formulations, the diversification of the beauty industry, and and in-depth look on how to treat acne from the inside, out (after a decade-long struggle with the skin condition herself). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.