Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Brighten a Dull Complexion

Makeup Tips for a Brighter Complexion

You have a date, a family portrait, an interview or some other special occasion for which you want to look your best -- and hydrating, exfoliating and moisturizing haven't done the trick yet. If you wear makeup, however, it's possible to alter your look without changing your skin.

First, make sure you use a gentle cleanser before you start working with powders and other cosmetics. Then, lay the foundation for brighter skin by choosing a liquid that contains vitamin C, which may lessen the appearance of blotchiness and make your skin tone more uniform. Liquid products typically beat powder ones for brightness, because the water in the makeup reflects light.

Next, find the correct colors for your skin tone. Look at your skin when you're in the sun. If you notice a bronze, gold, green or yellowish cast, you have warm undertones. Cool skin will have a pink, rosy, beige or brown cast. Once you know your undertones, you can select the best shades of foundation and other makeup to complement your skin. If you have trouble, ask a cosmetics salesperson for help. Remember that the best foundation should perfectly blend with your natural skin color, not change it.

To add a bit of glow to your complexion, you can dust blush or bronze powder across prominent facial features such as your cheekbones. For the finishing touch, you may want to use a liquid iridescent highlighter. Just like the highlighter you use on books or notes to make text jump out, a facial highlighter will attract eyes by increasing your skin's glow. You can also mix it with your foundation for an all-over glow or use it to contour cheeks and highlight brow bones.

For lots more information on complexion and skin care, follow the links on the next page.