Yes, you read that right. Have you ever thought of skin brightening instead of skin whitening?
As women of East Asia or India, we’re all familiar with our culture’s obsession with white skin. I applied a fairness cream (Fair & Lovely) to my skin when I was younger, thinking it would make me “beautiful”. Others dodge the sun or use umbrellas to shield themselves from exposure. Both practices can be harmful to your skin and your health; the mercury and other chemicals found in fairness creams can cause skin poisoning and permanent skin damage, while eliminating exposure to the sun can lead to Vitamin D deficiency and depression.
So let’s not think about skin whitening for a moment. You have been given the skin you were born with, why not learn how to look beautiful naturally? Whether you have pale alabaster skin or are as dark as ebony, you can have luminous, bright skin that emits a gorgeous glow. And if you’re still hung up on pale skin: skin brightness can also give the illusion of lighter skin.
What is skin brightening? Think of it as a light bulb being turned on behind your skin. Your skin is clear of redness and dullness; it looks fresh and youthful; literally, it is brighter.
How do you get brighter skin? Try these beauty secrets, tricks, and tips!
1. Drink plenty of water
The top beauty rule for looking good in any way is staying hydrated. Toxins flush out and your skin stays fresh and blemish-free. Drink 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day, especially if you exercise!
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before- exercise to give your skin a healthy glow. How so? It gets, as my old Biology teacher used to say, the blood flowing from the butt to the brain… and to your skin! Exercise picks the body up in more ways than one and encourages the transportation of skin-saving vitamins and minerals to your skin cells. Take Bollywood babe Bipasha Basu’s advice and exercise at least four times a week for an hour.
3. Eat healthily; supplement your diet with Omega-3s, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B
Make sure you are getting plenty of fruits and vegetables every day. This encourages a good digestive system and will promote the detoxification process, reducing the occurrence of acne and blemishes. It will also provide your skin with a zap of healthy vitamins and minerals. You can also supplement your diet with Vitamins C and B to encourage a healthy immune system and metabolism.
If you do not regularly eat fish, be sure to take fish oil capsules (full of omega-3s) as well. Fish oil will keep your skin and hair well moisturized, and we all know that dry, flaky skin is a sure sign of dullness!
4. Sleep well
5. Apply a lemon and honey face mask
This is my number one beauty secret for naturally brighter skin. Every night, after washing your face thoroughly, mix together fresh lemon juice and a half teaspoon of raw manuka honey, or another minimally processed honey you like. Massage the mixture onto your skin and leave on for ten to fifteen minutes. Rinse off with cold water and check out your gloriously bright skin!
How does it work? The lemon juice is exfoliating your skin as well as giving it a high-powered boost of Vitamin C. The honey is moisturizing and working its antibacterial magic on your skin along with the lemon. This mask is also good for fighting acne and fading scars.
Try it at home; I can use it every day, but see what suits your skin best. Lemon increases sun sensitivity so avoid spending long hours in the sun the next day.
6. Apply a gram flour and turmeric face and body mask
Exfoliation is crucial to having bright skin. If you want to have bright skin all over your body, try this traditional Indian bridal body mask. Mix together besan (gram flour) and haldi (turmeric powder) in a 3:1 ratio. Mix with either milk or water into a thick paste. Smooth over skin and allow to harden. Step into the bath and rub off with firm strokes of the hand. Rinse thoroughly. The gram flour is excellent for scrubbing off dead skin cells and the turmeric powder has powerful antiseptic properties and will impart your skin with a golden sheen.
7. Use a papaya soap or a fresh papaya face mask
Check out my post on the ancient Philippine beauty secret of papaya for skin brightening.
8. Use a sunscreen: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PA+++
I do believe Shiseido’s sunscreen may be made of powdered angel halos. Because every time I apply this baby my skin is SO BRIGHT! And it’s not just me- I recommended the product to a friend and she says the same thing!
The Shiseido Sun Cream reduces redness, somehow manages to reduce the appearance of blemishes and old scars, and is a better makeup primer than any I’ve ever used. But most of all, it imparts my skin the same luminous brightness as my lemon and honey mask!
In general, apply a sunscreen to keep your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, which can cause spots, sagging, and wrinkles.
9. Remove excess facial hair
Read up on my post about Bollywood newcomer Sonakshi Sinha’s beauty secrets and makeup tips to learn about the value of removing excess facial hair to have bright skin that looks more clear and radiant. You have fine hairs on your cheeks and near your jawline that, fine or coarse, will cause your skin to look darker than it really is. Wax, thread, laser… just don’t shave (unless you’re a man)!
10. Use makeup: concealer, illuminators, and highlighters
For skin brightness, conceal-illuminate-highlight. Find a good concealer and apply liberally to blemishes, undereye circles/hollows, and the corners around nostrils. Apply illuminators like MAC Strobe Liquid or a NARS Illuminator to the bridge of the nose, brow bone, cupids bow above the lip, and the top of the cheekbones. You can also apply highlighters to these areas.
The rule of thumb in makeup is that darker shades contour or shrink, and lighter shades highlight or expand. If you are looking to brighten you want to highlight and draw attention to the planes of your face in a flattering way. Avoid applying too many darker shades, like bronzing powder, which contour the skin and will make areas appear darker.
And that’s how you can use diet, exercise, lifestyle choices, natural beauty products, and cosmetics to have brighter skin. Try it out and, as they say, learn to love the skin you’re in! When your skin is healthy, shining, and gorgeous, you’ll remember the days of dreaming about white skin as a thing of the past.