How to brighten dull skin with your skincare routine

Hannah Wilson

Did you know that your skincare routine plays a huge role in the look and health or your skin? If you’re experiencing skin that’s grey, lifeless and dull, a few simple tweaks to your routine could be all it takes to get skin glowing again. 

However, deciding on the best skincare routine for you is tricky at the best of times with 1,000s of products out there to choose from. But it’s even harder when you have a concern like dull skin you’re trying to tackle. How do you know if your routine is helping or hurting? And what exactly should you be using in the first place? 

That’s where we can help. Here at Face Dr, we’ve treated thousands of clients and helped them get the glowing, healthy complexions we all strive for. Our team of skin experts have decades of experience and are clued up on the latest products and advice. 

If you’re suffering from skin that’s grey, lifeless and flat, read on to find out what you should be doing daily to brighten your complexion. Plus, if you’re looking for our latest product recommendations for dull skin, we’ve covered that too

For the best skincare routine for glowing skin, we recommend: 

Before we dive into more details about the routine, here’s what’s going on behind dull skin. 


What is dull skin?


Dull skin is exactly what it sounds like, skin that’s not looking as glowing and healthy as it should. You may also notice discolouration, blemishes, an uneven skin tone or a complexion that’s simply flat and lifeless. 

Dull skin is usually caused by: 

  • A buildup of dead skin cells 
  • Dehydration 
  • Poor diet and lifestyle 
  • Pollution  
  • Sun damage
  • Using the wrong products 


Skincare routine to treat dull skin 


 woman applying skincare product


Thankfully, those of us with dull skin can soon get that dewy look back with a few simple tweaks to our skincare routines. Here’s how. 


What to look out for 

Look for high-grade products from reputable brands, many even say they’re targeted at dull skin or work to brighten the complexion. 

While toners can be great for balancing the skin, many dermatologists say they could be an optional step, especially as investing in higher quality cleansers and serums often gives you better results. However, if you're keen on including a toning step into your routine, ZO Skin Health's Complexion Renewal Pads exfoliate your skin by removing dead skin cells and dirt, making them a perfect option if you have dull skin.

Whatever you go for, try to include hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin and an exfoliating product is key to brightening the look of skin, so don’t skip this step. 

The perfect skincare routine for brightening dull skin 




 woman cleansing face


Cleansing everyday is important as it’s all too easy for dirt and oil to build up on the skin, and that’s not to mention makeup and how important it is to remove that before bed. A good cleanser will remove all of these without stripping the skin of moisture or aggravating it. For those looking to brighten the look of their skin, this is more important than ever as cleansing helps to fight blemishes and keep skin clear and healthy. 

Opt for a high-quality cleanser that promises to be tough on makeup and dirt, but gentle on skin. Be sure to cleanse morning and evening. 

Product to try: ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser around £39 




ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish


Exfoliating may be the most important step in a skincare routine designed to tackle dull skin. This is because a buildup of dead skin cells is the most common cause of skin that’s looking grey and lifeless. To help, simply add an exfoliator to your routine to buff away dead skin cells and reveal a healthier complexion beneath. 

If your skin is dry or sensitive, be sure to patch test on a small part of skin and begin exfoliating only once a week. For others, your skin may be able to withstand exfoliating more often. Many dermatologists recommend exfoliating two to three times per week. 

For those who don’t want an additional step, but still want the glowing skin, opt for an everyday product that contains exfoliating ingredients. For example, you can get a cleanser that’s designed to exfoliate the skin as you’re taking off your makeup. Serums can also contain acids which work to breakdown dead skin cells and exfoliate this way.


ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish

Product to try: ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish around £50  



Next up, apply a serum. Serums are a great way to give your skin a potent dose of ingredients to help with a range of concerns. For those with a dull complexion, opt for a moisturising serum which can help to top up the skin’s moisture levels, leaving it looking healthy and glowing. You can also try an exfoliating serum that will work to remove the buildup of dead skin cells and promote a fresh glow. 


ZO Skin Health Brightalive Skin Brightener


Product to try: ZO Skin Health Brightalive Skin Brightener around £96



 woman applying sunscreen


Of course, sunscreen is going to feature in any skincare routine. For those concerned about dull skin, sunscreen is an important step in protecting the skin from sun damage, which can cause discolouration, hyperpigmentation and signs of ageing. Be sure to wear sunscreen year-round, even on overcast days, and opt for one that’s got an SPF of at least 30 and protects against UVA and UVB rays. 


ZO Skin Health Broad Spectrum SPF 50


Product to try: ZO Skin Health Broad Spectrum SPF 50 around £40 



A product that you can turn to once or twice a week to brighten dull skin is a mask. Masks can help to top up moisture levels and keep skin hydrated and glowing. If you opt for one that uses exfoliating ingredients, you can also use this as an opportunity to refresh the complexion with a deeper exfoliation.

If you have any other concerns, like acne or signs of ageing, you can also opt for a mask that can tackle these, too. Plus, it’s relaxing to sit back with a face mask on and reducing stress will always help to improve the look of skin. 

Look out for soothing botanical extracts, exfoliating acids and hydration boosters like hyaluronic acid or squalane. 

Product to try: SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque £60 




Dehydrated skin that lacks moisture is a common cause of dull skin so moisturising is a key step in any routine designed to get a dewy glow. For those of us with dry skin, moisturiser can help boost hydration levels. Others may find that a moisturising serum is enough and can skip this step altogether. 

If you do include this step, lock in moisture with a high-quality moisturiser after applying a serum. Be sure to use one that’s suitable for your skin type to avoid irritation. Most products will say which types of skin they’re suitable for, but look for creamy products if you have dry skin and lotions for oily skin. 

Product to try: iS Clinical Moisturising Complex £74


Get expert advice


Now you know the basics of what a brightening skincare routine should look like, why not get an expert opinion on what exactly will be best for your skin. At Face Dr, we offer free online consultations where a member of our team will analyse your skin and give you tailored advice for getting a glowing complexion in no time. 

We only recommend brands we trust and know work extremely well, so you can be sure you’ll be using products that actually work. Plus, if you have any questions about in-clinic treatments and other ways to banish dull skin once and for all, we’re on hand with the latest advice. 

Want to find out more about how to banish dull skin for good? Click the titles below to read more:

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