Make it Glow: How to Revive Dull Skin

revive dull skin

What is the first thing you do when you notice your skin looking dull and tired?

Clean up your diet?

Start drinking more water?

Add a new product to your routine?

Treat yourself to a facial?

Whenever my skin looks a bit dull and, well, sad- it’s pretty much always due to lack of sleep and not drinking enough water. If I travel, change up my routine or don’t manage my stress well, when I’m very busy- it immediately shows on my skin.

During those busy or stressful periods in life, we often forget to include those little self-care rituals to our routine. This includes things like staying hydrated, keeping a healthy diet and getting enough sleep. All of those things are important, not just for your overall wellbeing, but also for your skin. No need to panic though, as there are quite a few products that can help you get that glow and revive dull skin.

quick pick-me-up for your skin


Whether I’m wearing makeup or not, my skin tends to feel quite dehydrated and dry during the day. One of the best and easiest way to soothe it is with a face mist. I’ve said it many times before, but face mists are among my favorite skincare products. To soothe, to refresh, and revive dull skin.

Usually, if I’m home and my skin feels dry, I just reach for my favorite drugstore moisturizer. I can’t do the same when I’m wearing makeup, or I’m at work, out running errands, etc. That’s where a face mist comes to the rescue. Right now, my most-loved one is Aglow Face Mist from lilah b. Others that I use on a regular basis are e.l.f. Glow Dewy Mist, Mario Badescu Aloe Herb and Rosewater Mist, and Pixi Glow Mist.


Face masks are probably the first thing I think of using when I want to revive dull skin, or when it just needs a little pick-me-up. When acne is an issue, I reach for something clay-based like Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, GlamGlow’s Supermud Clearing Treatment, or Caudalie Instant Detox.

When it’s dullness and lack of glow, I go for something brightening like Bobbi Brown’s Radiance Boost Mask, Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial or, my most-loved face mask: Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. Radiance Boost and Babyfacial are good at brightening the skin and both are resurfacing masks. This means that they’re good at exfoliating the skin, which can help revive dry, dull skin types. Instant Perfecting Mask, on the other hand, is fab for puffy, irritated, tired skin. It’s my go-to before any special occasion; lovely cooling sensation and calm, healthy, rosy, glowing skin.

Sheet masks usually help me best with very dry, flaky skin- even though I always dread using them because of how cold and awkward they feel. Patchology’s Get Dewy With it and Soothe are always my first picks. They don’t slide off, they fit well and work in just 5 minutes, revealing happy, balanced skin.

Revive Dull Skin

After a mask session, I go in with a serum. My pick always depends on whether my skin is congested and needs brightening, or dehydrated and feels tight and sensitive.


Something like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes Treatment also does wonders for acne marks, dark spots, etc. The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid is a similar product that is less irritating and of, course, much more affordable. Both target the same skin issues. However, Good Genes brings overnight (or, instant) results, while TO’s Lactic Acid has to be used long-term to make a noticeable difference. For those who are new to acid products, it’s always best to start with a gentler formula and build your way up to higher concentrations. If my hormonal acne is acting up, I skip acid serums and go with Retin-A,

Usually, my skin does not agree with Vitamin C serums, but the C-Firma Day Serum proved to be different from everything else I’ve tried. Vitamin C serums are usually very effective at minimizing hyperpigmentation, acne scars, red marks- and C-Firma has definitely helped me with that. I highly recommend patch-testing Vitamin-C serums if your skin is acne-prone.


Dry and dehydrated skin are not the same. While dry skin is a skin type, dehydrated skin is a skin condition. Dry skin produces less oil; dehydrated skin lacks water, not oil. This means that your skin can be oily, but still be dehydrated. My skin always shows signs of dehydration when the seasons change, temperatures drop and the air becomes dry. This means tight, red, inflamed and congested skin.

To treat dehydration, I reach for serums and layer them under my moisturizer (it’s also important to use non-stripping, non-irritating cleansers. Your skin should never feel tight or dry after cleansing). The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid is a skin thirst quencher. It immediately soothes and balances skin, making it feel comfortable and plump. Another favorite is Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, which works very well with dehydrated, sensitive and irritated skin. Both serums have a gel-like formula and can even be mixed together.

I always follow up with a moisturizer and seal it with Aquaphor. I take a tiny bit amount of Aquaphor and gently press it into my skin. Now, the Aquaphor itself will not add any moisture to the skin, BUT it will help seal the moisture in and keep it in. I didn’t believe how much of a difference sealing your moisturizer can do until I tried it for myself a few years ago. It leaves the skin plump and hydrated the next day. If you want to give it a try, apply it as the last step in your routine and don’t use too much.

If your skin is dehydrated, remember to drink enough water and get yourself a humidifier. This can often make more difference in your skin than any serums, creams, and masks.

revive dull skin Chanel-Bronze-illuminator


Other than skincare, good hydration and nutrition, makeup can also help you revive dull skin. Or at the very least, make it look healthy and glowy. When my skin is in need of that fresh glow, there’s nothing I love using more than MAC’s Strobe Cream. It’s actually a great skincare product that I also use as a moisturizer, not only under makeup. It contains nourishing antioxidants and mineral pigments that brighten and revive the skin. Another similar product that I talked about here is Pixi’s Glowtion Day Dew lotion.

I also love adding a subtle touch of a highlighter on top of my foundation just to give my skin a little healthy glow, but without going overboard (I’d avoid using it wherever you have large pores, especially if you’re having a “bad skin day”). I apply it on my cheeks, inner eyes and brow bone. My favorite subtle highlighters are Soleil Tan de Chanel Fluid Illumizer, RMS Beauty Lumizer in Champagne Rosé, The Balm Mary Lou Manizer. For adding a subtle touch of color there’s Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose, Milani Blush in Luminoso, and lilah b. Glisten and Glow Illuminator in b. captivating.

Pixi Glowtion, MAC Strobe Cream in Pinklite, Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose, Milani Luminoso Blush, The Balm Mary Loumanizer, lilah b. Glow and Glisten in b. captivating, Soleil Tan de Chanel Fluid Illumizer and RMS Beauty Luminizer in Champagne Rose. 

Remember that skincare and makeup can only do so much when you want to revive dull skin. Good sleep, a healthy diet, proper hydration, and good stress management also play an important role.

You can read about more detailed skincare and lifestyle changes that will help you revive dull skin in this post


  • Reply
    January 8, 2020 at 6:31 am

    I simply cannot make myself drink water. Even in the height of summer.

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:50 pm

      That’s crazy! Have you tried infusing it with herbs or fruit? That’s what I usually do when I drink more water during warmer seasons and feel like it gets a little boring. I wrote a few posts about my favorite ways to infuse it. x

  • Reply
    January 9, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Such a great post! So informative and awesome recommendations!

    XX Angelica

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks, Angelica!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve been so into glowy face masks lately and I’ve been noticing a difference in my skin. My favourites have got to be the go to glow sheet masks and the Ole henrikson phat glow mask.

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:48 pm

      Curious about that Phat Glow Facial- it has amazing reviews, might have to try it next!

  • Reply
    January 13, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    This is such a true post! Whenever I eat Hershey’s (not sure why it’s brand-related) or fried foods, my skin lets me know I’m doing it some wrong, ha! Most of the time, it’s within a day or two and a zit pops up from Hershey’s. If I have too much decadent or heavy foods, my forehead is super oily. I haven’t used face mists in years so I’ll give it another shot! Going back to Mario Badescu because they were my first skincare love. I could always use that quick pick-me-up! Do you have a skincare fridge, love?

    She Sweats Diamonds

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:46 pm

      My skin is the same way, if I don’t watch what I eat, I immediately break out. I don’t have a skincare fridge but keep a lot of my skincare products along with my Tazorac and Retin-A in a bar mini-fridge my husband keeps in his “man cave” hehe ;)

  • Reply
    Gemma Etc. (@GemmaEtc)
    January 14, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    I love a good glowy primer, setting spray and highlighter! Give me all the glow, and hydration especially in the winter months xx

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:41 pm

      Yess! Much needed during winter, for sure. x

  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Well aren’t you darling!!! Chanel baby hehehehe I love beauty posts as I just bought the new IN STYLE magazine have sm new revlon products and a revolution logon palette I am INSPIRED to do a BEAUTY blog post….. it will be this month or the next!!! Im always trying to do too much and post at least 1 blog post a week! My best days are friday, then I post to instagram and make sure it is the best “time”…… i love the body shops mist sprays!!!! thats y favourite and then the Sukin one is good too!

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:41 pm

      Haven’t tried body shop mists yet, had no idea they made them!

  • Reply
    Amar Kumar
    January 17, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Hello Paula,

    Drinking more and more water is really beneficial when it comes to overall health.

    It includes wide range of benefits including skin health. Face masks are really good choice to make your face skin glow throughout day.

    Beauty creams are also play vital role to maintain skin care for prolong time but we need to choose them wisely.

    Eventually, thanks for revealing a light on this healthy topic.

    With best wishes,

    Amar Kumar

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:40 pm

      It’s crazy how much drinking more water and avoiding sugary sodas and juices can change your skin.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2020 at 7:13 am

    You are so right.
    Water is so important for healthy skin.
    make up with soft skin looks so much better.

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:39 pm

      Makeup always looks so much better when your skin is healthy and hydrated. x

  • Reply
    January 29, 2020 at 9:25 am

    I need this for January! Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      January 29, 2020 at 11:36 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Natalie! x

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Walker
    March 7, 2020 at 9:40 am

    Thanks for such an awesome recommendation!
    Best Belt Review

  • Reply
    Royal Aesthetic Center
    March 19, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this Paula! I will keep my skin healthy underneath the makeup. This is a perfect tips to achieve healthy glowing skin!

  • Reply
    June 23, 2020 at 3:12 am

    I cant withstand drinking 8 glasses a day but I’ll do my best to stay hydrated though. The tip about the diet part is so true! You are what you eat after all. Also, if I may add “beauty comes from within” that’s why we should also keep in mind that the external look of our skin isn’t the only thing that’s important but also the internal and by that I mean eating the proper meals and fresh fruits & veggies for a natural glow!

  • Reply
    June 15, 2021 at 6:32 am

    Drinking water does things to dry skin that makeup products cant do! Very True! xoxo
    Make sure to check out my beauty & lifestyle blog!

  • Reply
    December 14, 2021 at 8:05 am

    I have this skin problem. Thank you for writing this informative post.

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