Long before the luminous complexions that flood our Instagram feeds, the coveted JLo glow, or even the bright-faced elegance of classic Hollywood beauties Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly, there was Cleopatra’s infamous milk and honey bath ritual done to get skin glowing. Needless to say, radiance is hardly a skincare trend; it’s a fundamental of happy, healthy looking skin.
An even-toned, radiant complexion has long been an important part of Japanese culture too. It lies at the core of Japanese beauty’s understated, pure aesthetic, where the goal is to minimize pigmentation and get a good glow. But it’s not an easy feat. There are multiple factors that can affect the brightness of our skin. “UV light, pollution, lack of sleep, an overwrought lifestyle and aging all cause inflammation within the skin, which leads to oxidative stress and free radical creation,” says London-based celebrity skin expert Debbie Thomas. “These free radicals weaken the skin, slowing down repair and regeneration. When the skin isn’t healthy, it will start to look dull and often grey, and be more prone to pigmentation.”
As is often the case, prevention is worth more than cure when it comes to dark spots. “Use an antioxidant every morning to help neutralize some of the free radical damage you’re facing daily,” advises Thomas. UV rays stimulate melanocytes in the skin to produce a pigment called melanin. “So, if you’re trying to reduce melanin through pigmentation creams and serums, you wouldn’t want to be stimulating further melanin production through sun exposure,” warns Julia Stewart, National Training Manager for SHISEIDO UK. Look for an SPF of at least 30 and a product that includes pollution protection—try SHISEIDO Urban Environment UV Protection Cream Plus SPF50. Finally, be sure to get your beauty sleep, advises Thomas: “Our skin regenerates when we’re in a deep sleep, so missing out on snooze time means missing out on that regeneration and subsequent collagen production —both key to healthy, lit-from-within skin.”
No glow? No problem!
Even with all good intentions, we still often need a little help to brighten up once the damage is done. “Regular exfoliation will remove the very thin layer of dull, dead skin on the surface, revealing the healthy-appearing, smoother skin underneath, which reflects the light better,” explains Thomas. Opt for a once-a-week treatment such as SHISEIDO Bio-Performance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask.
There are many powerful skin-brightening ingredients that work to prevent and get rid of dark spots too. SHISEIDO’s SAKURA-Bright Complex—found in the revamped White Lucent range of products—was inspired by Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms and is made up of a blend of potent plant extracts that inhibit melanin production*, which is what causes pigmentation to appear on the surface of your skin. This is paired with Yoshino Cherry Extract, a type of cherry blossom that helps prevent skin from turning a dull, yellow tone* with age, and Western Hawthorn Extract, which prompts skin to become brighter and clearer. Go for a lightweight moisturizer such as SHISEIDO White Lucent Brightening Gel Cream every morning to target existing dark spots and add instant luminosity underneath your makeup. For a little something extra, try SHISEIDO White Lucent Day Emulsion, which includes an SPF 50 for extra anti-dark spot power.
Special Delivery Service
While these brightening ingredients already pack a punch on their own, what makes them even more powerful is a new innovation in how they’re delivered to the skin. The ground-breaking ReNeura Technology+™ discovered by SHISEIDO focuses on how skin responds to external stimuli - such as touch - and how we then interpret that feeling into a sense of comfort. Here’s how it works:
“The formula is designed to change shape over the surface of the skin, physically stimulating its sensory receptors and making it more receptive to what you put on it,” says Stewart. Try applying the leave-on