Get Glowing Skin From A Bottle

Results RX Eye Doctor
Paula's Choice Resist 15 Super Booster
Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment
L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Essence
Lancôme Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector

Everybody wants a natural glow, even if no one actually knows what that means because it's just two nice-sounding words that some marketing department stuck together. I mean, does anything objectively constitute a "glow"? Insane hydration levels? Circulation so good it's like you live in a Bikram studio? Literally sticking salad bits to your face until you're one with The Great Kale? I don't claim to have the answer; everyone has to approach glow-ification his/her/zir own way. One thing I do know, though, is that brightening products exist, and they make your skin look good, which is probably the same thing as "glowing" for most of us. So if you're interested in a little over-the-counter help, I got your back—and your front.

Before we get started, one caveat: There are no bleaching or whitening products in this story. I strongly object to anything or anyone trying to make you ashamed of your skin tone, so if you're looking for a fairness cream I would say A) whoever is telling you that your natural shade isn't beautiful is wrong, and B) this article isn't about those. Now, who's ready to hear about how a variety of acids and tiny pieces of metal can make your skin look amazing?

Active Ingredient: Crystals
Results RX Eye Doctor says it contains 'liquid crystals,' like it's the big-screen TV of brightening serums or something. I don't know how it actually works, but it's so cool-looking that I don't care. The opalescent finish is what makes this a standout, and also what produces the immediate, miraculous "glow." It's ingenious—because it's pearly instead of shimmery, you don't look like you have microscopic glitter everywhere, you just look hot. I put it on my lips, under my eyes, and on top of my cheekbones for maximum "Hey, Girl." When Ryan Gosling wanders by me at the MoMA and becomes transfixed by my perfect, suspiciously television-like skin, it'll be straight from Bauhaus to my house.

Active Ingredient: Vitamin C
If you've ever thought Fruit Roll-Ups were healthy because they have 100% of your daily value of Vitamin C, congratulations—you're awesome. Also, I found a couple products you might like. Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster is a verrry potent Vitamin C and ferulic acid serum that's as effective as some glycolic peels I've had. If your skin loves being chemically exfoliated, then you and this product will be very happy together. Start off using it once a week if you decide to try it, because this is tough stuff is not for sensitive skin at all.

There's a gentler alternative, of course: Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment. It's supposed to treat dehydration, fine lines, and dark under-eye circles, but I find that it makes a nice all-over enhancer, too. It has a little bit of Vitamin C to slough off dull skin, a lot of hydrators like mango seed oil, and a couple of minerals like mica and titanium dioxide to refract light and make you look literally more luminous.

Active Ingredient: Daisies
Acid is pretty direct—it just removes damaged skin cells—but other brightening ingredients work differently, like the daisy extract in L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Essence. Instead of eating away at cells, this serum is supposed to block additional melanin production so you don't end up with hyperpigmentation. If sun damage, uneven skin tone, or acne discoloration are your main worries, give this one a try. It's gentle and did (slightly) fade a couple of my freckles. Plus, it's in a sheer, hydrating serum base that's inoffensive and layers really well under moisturizer.

Active Ingredient: Mystery
Lancôme Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector has a proprietary compound in it called "LR 2412" that supposedly helps reduce lines, pores, and unevenness, which initially seems like lies. BUT from reading the bottle, there's a lot of dimethicone, which makes your skin look smoother, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump it up. Instead of skincare, I regard this as the ultimate hydrating primer, because it goes on so well and multitasks really beautifully. The best option for filling in fine lines and layering under foundation.

—Lacey Gattis

Photos by Lacey Gattis.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Molly Lyon

    Please do a post on fading freckles! (I know someone will say they're lovely, but when you have them, you don't always like them)

    • Amanda Raponi

      SPF 50 everyday!

    • malteseproverb

      My boyfriend has freckles all over his face, but since he's been slathering coconut oil on his face day and night, they've diminished (so have his blackheads :D). I have no idea why, just sharing my anecdotal evidence.

      • Chelsea van den Berg

        The whole coconut oil on skin confuses me. I've been told so many different things! Some say it's good for acne/skin and other say it's not… I guess I'll never get over the day my facialist said it can give you folliculitis! Eeek

        • malteseproverb

          Just like anything it depends on your skin's make up. It doesn't work on me at all (my cheeks get red and stingy), but my face hates virtually anything I put on it. My boyfriend has skin that's simultaneously oily and dry and rough, and it's really worked for him. If you have your routine and it works for you, stick to it.

          Anything dirty can give you folliculitis. I have no idea why coconut oil, which is strongly antifungal and antibacterial, would be implicated in particular.

    • Ruby

      Psh, love them freckles! There are actually 2 types of freckles - simple freckles and sun freckles. SPF and sunscreen are known to help.


  • thebloginista

    The whole Immortelle line has intrigued me for awhile. I just may give the Brightening Essence a shot!

  • Restless Blonde

    I guess this 'natural glow' thing is a key to a perfect-looking skin. Cause sometimes we see people with a nice skin, but it's too matte and not that...healthy? And it's the glow that gives this lil something :) Nice article! I would also recommend a product by Nuxe - Nuxellence Jeunesse. It's really good!

  • equestrienne

    I haven't tried many products that promised glowing skin and really delivered, but there have definitely been a few. Tata Harper's Resurfacing Mask is wonderful and really delivers on its promise of "instant glow". Additionally: any of Pratima's essential oils (especially the Bakuchi Brightening Oil, which also is great for fading discoloration). Pratima's Revitalizing Turmeric Cream used as a mask is also amazing- leaves my skin luminous.

  • nereeyey

    the best for glowing skin for me is Argan Oil!:)

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    Must have Eye Doctor!

  • Alex

    I love the inclusion of gender-neutral pronouns. This sort of progressive attitude really sets ITG apart from the myriad other style blogs.

  • Justsaying

    I've been reading Paula forever and finally, FINALLY, have stopped dropping major cash on products that don't really deliver. Even though she told me it's all hype, I still was willing to buy. Brand name, celebrity endorsements, ads... They all suckered me. Her stuff is fantastic.

    Good to see ITG feature one of her products.

    • HopelesslyCreative

      Just placed my first order. After this brutal NYC winter, my skin is destroyed like never before. So my expectation are high, Paula….

  • Hannah Wilkin

    paula's choice anything is perFECTION!!! i keep waiting for some top shelf's to include her stuff!

  • Chelsea van den Berg

    I've read a lot of cases of mild acne turning into cystic acne by the use of coconut oil, however I've also heard people swear by it.

    If you're looking for a different organic way to help clear your acne I've only recently started using an Apple Cider Vinegar toner and it has worked wonders for my mild acne and scars, particularly the nasty hyper pigmentation acne leaves you. You'd think a 'vinegar' would wreck your skin but ACV is highly alkalising and works very well to destroy fungus and bacteria. (you can also take a shot of it to improve your acne, but it burns and tastes like wildfire)

    If you're curious, its half ACV to half water. Apply after a cleanse and let to try before putting on your usual moisturiser or oil.

  • ITGLacey

    Hi there,
    Have to beg to differ with you:
    1. Maracuja oil certainly does hydrate; it's currently in vogue because it has such a high linoleic acid content.
    2. Mica is the main ingredient in almost any highlighter or shimmer product. Its name even comes from the Latin verb micare, which means "to glitter"!
    3. Daisy extract has an inhibitory effect on melanogenesis & has been tested as a treatment for melasma ( There are currently several patents out for preparations designed to treat hyperpigmentation, the best known of which is probably Belides.

    I know that it's hard to recruit readers when you're building a new site, & I appreciate that you're here trying to establish yourself as an authority on the science of skincare so that readers from ITG will visit the one you're launching—I liked your article on UVA vs UVB, btw—but attacking me without much reason doesn't further the conversation & isn't a good way to build a reputation as a thought leader.

    I'm always happy to talk shop if you're interested in audience-building strategies or want advice on SEO when you're starting out.

    All my best,


Results RX
Results RX Eye Doctor
Paula's Choice RESIST
Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster
Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment
L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Essence
Lancome Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector