It's officially fall, and we don't know about you, but our complexions are experiencing some serious aftershocks post-summer and not in a bronzed, glowing, and hydrated kind of way—more in a half-poached, dull, and clogged kind of way. Welp.
We're currently in the process of curating our fall and winter wardrobes to perfection (give us all the boots, sweaters, and denim, please), and we're equally keen on whipping our downtrodden complexions into tip-top shape. Stubborn and radiance-hampering dullness is currently Undesirable No.1 as far as our skin issues go (come fall, Harry Potter references are quite necessary), so we reached out to esthetician and founder of StackedSkincareKerry Benjamin to lend a helping hand. Below, she's answering all of our burning dull-skin questions in addition to prescribing the ultimate daily skincare regimen to kick skin drabness to the curb in favor of a clear and radiant result. Keep scrolling! Clogged pores everywhere need this content.
What Causes Dullness?
According to Benjamin, lack of exfoliation is the number one cause of dullness thanks to the buildup of dead skin, which also makes it harder for our products to absorb and penetrate effectively. And, you guessed it, that just makes dullness woes that much worse.
To finish, Benjamin rinses the mask off thoroughly before applying a layer of the StackedSkincare TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel ($150). By using a few different exfoliation methods that are still super gentle, the skin is left brighter and far more glowing.
Does Age Play a Role?
Sorry, but yes. As Benjamin explains, as we get older, the speed and efficiency of our cell renewal process decrease significantly, so the need for more regular exfoliation (plus hydration!) is paramount to beat and prevent a dull complexion.
"Since we are producing less oil and our collagen production is decreasing, more exfoliation and hydration is super important," Benjamin tells us. "Maintaining plump, radiant skin requires a good hyaluronic acid serum and a great moisturizer with an occlusive to seal in hydration. Versed has a really nice Hyaluronic Serum, called Hydration Station ($20), which I use under the brand's Skin Soak Rich Moisture Cream ($18), cocktailed with their Found the Light Powder With Vitamin C ($20)."
What Types of Products Should You Prioritize (and Skip) for Dull Skin?
"It's important to include products with ingredients that will speed up your cell turnover including acids, vitamin A, and growth factors, which will all help with dullness," confirms Benjamin.
So what can you skip? According to Benjamin, toners are less important where dullness is concerned—as long as you're choosing a high-quality cleanser that keeps your complexion's pH balanced, a toner is just an extra step that's only draining your wallet.
Keep scrolling for the exact morning and evening skincare regimens Benjamin prescribes to treat dull skin.
"For me, the perfect morning routine is keeping it simple and including products that will protect my skin and leave me with a natural glow," says Benjamin.
A thorough cleanse is the first important step, and we love this formula from IS Clinical, as it's powerful yet effective thanks to a host of bio-nutrients, antioxidants, and mild resurfacing ingredients that slough away everything your skin turned over during the night.
"Hyaluronic acid is always a great daily serum to use for all skin types since it's lightweight and can be used from oily to super-dry skin," says Benjamin. "In fact, if you are oily, this is a really great choice to use daily to help control your oil production and reduce and prevent breakouts."
Step 3: Vitamin C + Moisturizer for Your Skin Type
"I like to cocktail the vitamin C for added protection against UV, as vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant," shares Benjamin. If you're super dry, she recommends adding it to Versed's richer moisturizer, Skin Soak, but if you're part of the oily skin camp, try the brand's Dew Point Moisturizing Gel. It's super lightweight and feels cool and refreshing on the complexion while keeping oil at bay.
Last but not least, and you know this, but SPF. Never leave the house without it, folks! We're obsessed with this formula from Supergoop!. It works as a primer pre-makeup and also gives your skin a glowy hit of radiance that will only heighten your brightening efforts.
You can buy all means use the same cleanser at night as you do in the morning, but we're highly addicted to using this warming honey formula night purely due to how much of a sensorial ritual it creates at the end of the long day. It's loaded with raw honey, royal jelly, propolis green tea extract, and papaya enzymes for extra glow and exfoliating perks.
"After you exfoliate, you always want to apply your serums. Since they are thinner and have a smaller molecule size, they will penetrate best after exfoliation and before creams," directs Benjamin. If you are not exfoliating that evening, then you'll apply your serums after cleansing.
Choose your serums depending on your biggest skin concerns, but for dullness, Benjamin recommends combining a hyaluronic acid serum and a peptide serum.
Next up, micro-needling and another layer of the peptide serum shown above.
"I recommend micro-needling daily, as it will make your serums work better and it's an amazing anti-aging tool that stimulates collagen production," Benjamin shares. "Just be sure to swap out your roller head monthly, since the needles dull and need to be replaced for safety and hygiene."