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Light Bright

Products To Make You Glow From Head To Toe

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet ... Ah, Bob Marley always pops into our heads when spring rolls around. We also start thinking about ways to brighten up our beauty routines. Thankfully ELLE has gathered loads of products that will make everything from our skin to our nails radiate. —Glo

By April Long for ELLE

Time to get even. Studies have shown that brown spot-free complexions make for younger-looking faces: Hence a recent upsurge in skin-brightening potions promising dermatologist-caliber results. “I believe that luminosity is as big a player as wrinkles in the appearance of aging,” says Cheryl Karcher, MD, consulting dermatologist for Avon Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro-Brightening Serum, which inhibits pigment production with a patented amino acid. Indeed, SK-II researchers have discovered that radiant skin reflects a more balanced transmission of red, blue, and green light than dull skin.

“Collagen acts like a mirror that catches and transmits light — so when it's plumped and healthy, you get that ‘lit from within' look,” says P&G senior scientist Laura Goodman. “However, if you have brown spots or your cells lack hydration, it becomes more like a smoked mirror — it can't reflect clearly anymore. That's true for all skin tones.” Deep-sixing spots and flakes is key, but a little faux glow can't hurt either. “When you catch the light, you catch people's eyes,” says CoverGirl makeup artist Molly Stern. “Accent the places where light naturally bounces off the face — the cheekbones, the temples, the bridge of the nose — with a sheer luminizer. You can even dust a bit of iridescent powder at the top of your ears, which is what I do for the red carpet. It'll make you look magical and radiant.”


To bestow a glow to fingers and toes, apply a coat of opaque white polish underneath a neon shade (or even your favorite red) — the combination amps up nail color to make it eye-catchingly bright.


Rejoice: The days of orange self-tanner, à la La Lohan, are over. “It's no longer about appearing like you've been baking in the sun,” says St. Tropez tanning guru Fiona Locke, who has pointed a spray-tan nozzle at many Dancing With the Stars hopefuls. “People want to have a radiant glow that seems like it comes from within.” To achieve natural-looking color, prep skin by exfoliating away any dead cells that might impede an even application, and always pay attention to the details: “If you're working with a spray, start at the bottom and work your way up, so that there won't be any excess at your feet,” Locke says. If you want to appear both radiant and buff, you can go back over and contour with a bronzing powder or a deeper shade of self-tanner. “I call it the flex-and-tone approach,” Locke says. “Stand on your tiptoes, flex your arms, and watch where the shadows below the muscles appear — that's where you want to add more color.” This trick can also be used by women with naturally dark skin to sculpt their limbs: Although it may seem counterintuitive, bronzers “give a gorgeous luster to African-American skin,” says makeup artist Scott Barnes, whose Body Bling is beloved by everyone from J.Lo to Beyoncé. As a finishing touch, apply an illuminator or pearlescent powder to the clavicles, the top of the shoulders, and down the front of the shins. “The shimmery highlights make the body appear longer and leaner,” Barnes says.


Dull strands? Protein damage — incurred by sun exposure, heat styling, and chemical processing — is probably the cause. “Protein breakdown roughens up hair's surface so that it no longer reflects light,” says Clairol senior scientist Frauke Neuser. Deep conditioners and glossing treatments can help — but there are other ways to maximize shine. “Angle the blow-dryer down so that the cuticle will lie flat,” suggests colorist Kelly Van Gogh. Longer layers and strategic color can also create the illusion of a glowier do: “Textured cuts look more matte because there's less surface area than with a blunt style,” she says. “Highlights are a great way to add sparkle, but don't go too ashy — all-natural hair has warmth in it.” Indeed, shine alone doesn't define radiant hair: Tonal variation is key to vibrant, healthy-looking strands. “Colored hair that isn't multidimensional might look glossy, but it won't look natural,” says Neuser, who recently reformulated Nice n' Easy's shades. “Light hair should have more tonal variety, and dark hair should have less.”


”Teeth should have natural translucency and shine — you don't want them to look matte white,” says Gregg Lituchy, DDS, who recommends coating gnashers with a swipe of Vaseline before photo opps. “It's an old Miss America trick that makes teeth look glossier.” Not all smile-brightening tricks need be so extreme (or bad-tasting), though: Certain lipsticks can create the illusion of pearlier whites. “Try using a stain with blue or lavender undertones; then pop a peach or cherry lipstick on the center of the lips,” Stern suggests. “You'll get the whitening effect without sacrificing your favorite shade.”


In the same way that green concealer can disguise red spots, bright blue eyeliner and mascara can downplay the undertones that make eyes appear bleary and red. As Stern recommends, “If you don't want to go superblue, try a pastel shade, or use a pearly flesh-tone pencil inside the lower lash line.”


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  • Shiseido White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum, $170, www.nordstrom.com, contains vitamin C to oust brown spots. Click through for more of ELLE's favorite brightening product picks.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Matrix Logics DNA Polisheen Gloss Balm, $24, www.amazon.com, protects tone and structural integrity with a UV shield.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Scott Barnes Body Bling Platinum, $40, www.scottbarnes.com,gives a glam champagne glow that washes off easily.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste, $3.29, www.drugstore.com, brings a new dimension to at-home whitening.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Guerlain Terracotta Spray Bronzing Powder Mist, $59, www.sephora.com, imparts an airbrush-light, even application of bronzer with SPF 10 protection.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Essie Bright Tights, $8, www.essie.com, is a traffic-stopping orange.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, $49.50, www.nordstrom.com, inhibits melanin production while breaking up existing pigmentation.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Kelly Van Gogh Wonderlust Hair Color Illuminating Tonice, $30, www.kellyvangogh.com, is a leave-in conditioner that contains mica particles to impart multi-dimensional shine.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • CoverGirl Exact Eyelights Mascara, $tk, www.drugstore.com, contains light-reflecting metallic spheres and iris-enhancing (sapphire for blue eyes, silver for brown, ruby for green, and gold for hazel.)

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Frédéric Fekkai Silky Straight Ironless Smooth Finish Serum, $23, www.fekkai.com, will keep the frizzies at bay while fortifying strands with hibiscus proteins.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • SK-II Cellumination Essence Hydrating Serum, $150, www.shop.sk-ii.com, delivers moisture to improve light transmission from the skin's surface.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
  • Nars The Multiple Tints, $38, www.narscosmetics.com can brighten everything from cheeks to lips.

    Steven Krause/ELLE
Light Bright
Products To Make You Glow From Head To Toe
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