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Home>Blog>Dull Skin Causes & How to Brighten Your Skin

Dull Skin Causes & How to Brighten Your Skin

MIRA BEAUTY • updated Dec 15, 2020
Dull Skin Causes & How to Brighten Your Skin

Get a brightness boost with these dull skin saviors

Dull skin is a major drag, especially when it seems like you’re doing everything right. You get your beauty rest, drink plenty of fluids, and indulge in face masks regularly… yet still can’t seem to achieve the glowing skin of your dreams. Not cool. The bad news? There are a few dull skin causes that seem inevitable, such as aging and genetics. But the good news? Most of them are solvable with the right beauty products, and you can brighten your skin once you uncover the dull skin causes that are weighing you down.

Maybe it’s dead skin cells (perhaps the most common,) dehydration, lack of sleep, poor diet or environmental factors - as any of these things can reduce your skin’s natural sparkle. Even an excess amount of matte makeup in your routine can become one of the key dull skin causes, as unfair as it may seem. But there are plenty of skin care saviors ready to come to your rescue - exfoliators, masks, serums, moisturizers, and more - to hydrate and brighten your skin, and get to the bottom of the worst dull skin causes.

You deserve the glowing skin that’s always in style, and you can defeat even the worst cases of dullness with these brightening beauty products:


Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica, $59

Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica
Source: Dermalogica

“I love love love this product! I have really sensitive, acne prone skin and use this every morning. Not harsh at all, gentle on the skin. Leaves my skin feeling super soft and bright!” Meet the cult exfoliator that everybody with dull skin needs in their life. Daily Microfoliant contains a blend of Licorice, Grapefruit, and Phytic Acid from Rice Bran to exfoliate and even out tone, leaving you with glowing skin that you probably haven’t seen in a good while. Minimize pores and draw out excess oil with Papain Enzymes and Salicylic Acid, and enjoy the Colloidal Oatmeal in this exfoliant for hydration and a reduction in redness for even the most dry sensitive skin individuals. Speaking of which, the powder formula of this exfoliant is more gentle on your skin than a scrub, and foams up into a creamy paste upon contact with water. All of the power, and none of the irritation - exactly what you need in an exfoliator to beat dull skin and get your brightness back.

Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator by Fresh, $25

Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator by Fresh
Source: Fresh

Dull skin is never fun, but a face mask doesn’t hurt. This 2-in-1 mask and scrub lets you restore sparkle and practice self-care at the same time, formulated with natural brightening ingredients to have you feeling, well, Fresh. Brown sugar is a natural humectant to seal in moisture and gently buff away dead skin, Strawberries are packed with Vitamin C to smooth and brighten, and Plum Seed and Grapeseed oils work together to hydrate and nourish. Use it as an exfoliating product between 1-3 times a week, or leave on your face for a few minutes at night for a self-care session that also provides brighter skin. Even the most rough, dry, and dull patches are no match for Sugar Face Polish, which has top ratings on MIRA for gentleness, brightness, texture and reducing redness.

The Rice Polish: Classic by Tatcha, $65

The Rice Polish: Classic by Tatcha
Source: Tatcha

“It's probably one of the most powerful exfoliants, but insanely gentle at the same time. This is a product that is gentle, pure, clean, and soft. Just leaves you looking and feeling glowy and radiant.” Ah, Tatcha… what would we do without you? The brand uses Japanese ingredients that combine ancient rituals with modern technology, and The Rice Polish is a unique exfoliation product that removes dead skin cells and demonstrates how to brighten your skin in a beautiful way. This powder-to-foam formula feels silky and smooth, and features tons of innovative ingredients to exfoliate, deep clean, and remove the dead cells that get trapped in the skin. Japanese Rice Bran is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nourishing moisturizers to promote cell turnover and get brighter skin, Rice and Papaya Enzymes sweep away dead skin cells, and Pearl hydrates with amino acids, collagen, and minerals. And we can’t forget  Hadasei-3™, a Tatcha-exclusive trio of anti-aging Japanese superfoods (green tea, rice and algae) for youthfulness and glowing skin. While this is the original version of The Rice Polish, you can choose from four types: Classic, Deep, Gentle and Calming.

Moisturizers and Hydration

Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration by First Aid Beauty, $34

Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration by First Aid Beauty
Source: First Aid Beauty

Ultra Repair is basically the dream cream, known to treat nearly every complexion issue and produce your most soft and glowing skin. Especially for those with dry or sensitive skin. It contains Shea Butter and Ceramide 3 to keep your skin always hydrated, but never heavy… restoring your skin’s natural radiance and diminishing any signs of dryness or dullness. Even if you have a skin condition like eczema or rosacea. Speaking of which, this cream even features one of the top eczema treatments, Colloidal Oatmeal, to sooth your sensitive skin and bring brightness back to your face. Or arms. Or décolletage. That’s right, the Ultra Repair Cream is an all-over product designed to add hydration and glow to your entire body. Goodbye dullness, hello dewy complexion!

Ginzing Ultra Hydrating Energy Boosting Cream by Origins, $31

Ginzing Ultra Hydrating Energy Boosting Cream by Origins
Source: Origins

Extra dry skin doesn’t only need hydration, it also needs an energy boost. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Ginzing Ultra Hydrating Energy Boosting Cream. It’s made with Caffeine and Ginseng to naturally energize and recharge the most dull skin, plus Origin’s exclusive Hydra Hug™ Technology to “bridge the gap between skin cells to ensure moisture is locked in for lasting comfort.” We’re talking 72 hours of hydration, helping to fill in fine lines and wrinkles while helping you get brighter skin. You’ll always get a boost of moisture and radiance with this lightweight cream, which you should definitely use in the morning and night to kiss dry and dull skin goodbye.


Superfood Skin Reset Mask by Youth to the People, $44

Superfood Skin Reset Mask by Youth to the People
Source: Youth to the People

Even if life doesn’t have a reset button for awkward or dull moments… you can press reset on your skin with this Youth to the People mask. Designed to balance dull and tired skin, it’s packed with all the best superfoods to get brighter skin and give your complexion the strength it deserves. Seagreens spirulina and bioactive microalgae combine with a proprietary superfood blend of kale, spinach, and green tea - providing all the best vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential amino acids and more to rejuvenate and restore. We all know that veggies are the best thing for your body, and your complexion needs them too for a boost of brightness that relaxes even the most stressed skin.

Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask by Fresh, $50

Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask by Fresh
Source: Fresh

Sleeping is one of the best ways to destress, so it makes sense that the best anti-stress skincare products are overnight masks, right? Rose Deep gives a whole new meaning to “petal-soft skin,” made with 100% gentle and soothing ingredients like Rosewater, Rose, and Hyaluronic Acid to lock in hydration and clear up dullness and dry patches. Stressed skin is seriously the worst, and any skin care enthusiast knows that A) moisture is the answer to essentially all skin issues and B) there’s nothing that Hyaluronic Acid can’t do. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but we really love Hyaluronic Acid. Hydrate and add a healthy glow to your skin with this Fresh sleeping mask, and eliminate any signs of redness, dullness, acne, or dryness in the process.

Free Radical Protectors

Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Mask by Kiehl's, $39

Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Mask by Kiehl's
Source: Kiehl's

One of the sweetest overnight masks you’ll ever try. Sleep well knowing that you’re defending your face against pollution and impurities, courtesy of the natural ingredients in this mask to replenish dull skin and produce a radiant and renewed look. Cilantro extract provides essential nutrients and strengthens the skin barrier, which is often diminished by pollution damage - and orange is an antioxidant to protect against pollutants. As you wake up to a radiant and recharged complexion, you’ll also know that you’re keeping your skin protected against free radical damage throughout the day - one of the worst dull skin causes that isn’t as inevitable as you may think. Get brighter skin and stay protected with this Kiehl’s favorite, which our community says evens out skin tone, hydrates, and reduces acne!

Antioxidant Serum by Juice Beauty, $48

Antioxidant Serum by Juice Beauty
Source: Juice Beauty

Free radical damage is one of the biggest causes of dull skin, and only provoked by environmental stressors like pollution and harmful UV rays. Antioxidants are your friend, and this serum by Juice Beauty is packed with them. Made with vitamins and antioxidants from certified organic juices, fatty acid-packed plant oils to moisturize, and a mix of peptides, alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10 to smooth the appearance of fine lines… Antioxidant Serum is basically a vitamin for your face. In addition to beauty benefits like glowing skin and fading of fine lines, the protection against environmental stress and free radicals will keep your skin in check long term. Defend against and defeat dull skin with this antioxidant-rich serum for beauty and wellness.

A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer With White Tea by Origins, $45

A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer With White Tea by Origins
Source: Origins

Pollution and environmental factors aren’t just the leading dull skin causes, they also give you wrinkles. Gasp. A Perfect World is the moisturizer that keeps you looking young, bright, and beautiful 24/7 - thanks to a White Tea-infused formula that delays the natural aging process and keeps your skin protected against pollution, infrared rays, and other damage from the environment. While the potent antioxidants in the blend already do a great job keeping your glowing skin looking youthful and vibrant, they also get a little help from SPF 40. As any beauty junkie knows, hydration and SPF are the two skin care saviors to beat dull skin and bring your complexion back to life… and in A Perfect World you’ll always get both. See what we did there? Brighten up your skin care routine with this ultra-hydrating moisturizer that MIRA reviews say reduces redness and gives you your glow back.

Shop more brightening favorites to treat and brighten up your dull skin on MIRA.