6 natural ways to brighten your skin

Ready to quite literally glow up your skin? Glass skin's super trendy rn, but how exactly do you achieve it?

Though your skin can't be perfectly smooth and poreless, it *can* give off that crystal sheen. If you're someone who struggles with acne or dull skin, read on to learn more about six natural, simple and affordable ways to brighten your skin.

1. Water


Beauty starts from within, which means your skin is a direct reflection of your diet and water intake. By now, pretty much everyone knows that drinking water can help clear up your skin (along with a healthy diet and a consistent skincare routine, ofc). However, 47% of Americans still don't drink enough water daily.

Water improves your skin hydration levels (goodbye, dry and flaky skin!), oral health, metabolism, digestion and pH levels. Moreover, water sharpens your brain function, balances your body temperature and lubricates your joints and muscles. All of these benefits combined will give you a healthy glow!

As for how much water you should drink, a good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half and drink that number of ounces. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would drink 100 ounces of water daily.

If remembering to drink water is hard for you, start by carrying a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go, drinking unsweetened tea, eating high-water fruits and veggies, ordering water at restaurants and adding daily reminders to your phone. You can even spice up your water intake by drinking flavored seltzer or adding fruit in place of ice cubes.

2. Aloe vera


Aloe vera is a succulent plant that originated in ancient Egypt and has been used for a variety of health and medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The plant contains ingredients such as enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and active plant compounds that help make it anti-aging and moisturizing.

We love aloe vera because of its *amaze* healing qualities—it can treat eczema, sunburn, acne, psoriasis, wounds and other types of skin inflammation. No wonder it's known as a superfood! You can glow up this summer by drinking aloe vera juice (which eases your digestion, lowers blood sugar, balances out stomach acidity and increases collagen production) and by incorporating aloe into your skincare and haircare routine.

Simply use aloe vera gel to moisturize your skin and reduce dark spots, stretch marks or acne. You can even use it as a hair conditioner by mixing it with water and your favorite essential oil to glow up your hair!

3. Papaya


You may think of Papaya as an exotic fruit, but did you know it is also a great natural skin brightener? It contains ingredients like vitamins A, E and C and enzymes called papain and chymopapain, which aid in digestion while reducing inflammation.

You can score hydrated, glowy skin by drinking papaya juice and using skincare products that contain papaya. Papaya exfoliants remove dead skin cells and buildup to prevent acne and blackheads, while DIY papaya facials fade blemishes, control oiliness and alleviate dryness. You can make several different types of papaya face masks at home using other natural ingredients such as honey and lemon.

4. Sleep


Getting enough sleep is an all-natural way to keep your skin bright and glowy (and it's completely free!).

The CDC recommends 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night for teenagers. Sleep offers a host of health benefits including getting sick less often, reducing stress and improving your overall mood.

Sleep is also one of the easiest ways to get glowy, dewy skin. Our skin makes new collagen while we sleep. When you don't sleep enough, your skin can look dehydrated, especially in the under-eye area where your skin is the thinnest.

If you're having trouble winding down at night, try relaxing with essential oils or a sound machine to help you drift off to dreamland.

5. Turmeric


Turmeric is yet another natural ingredient to give your skin that summery radiance. This spice is a natural antioxidant that can reduce blemishes, dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties, and it's traditionally used in India as a beauty product to add some extra glow. It can even help reduce acne breakouts and moisturize dry skin.

To add some turmeric to your summer beauty routine, try a turmeric face mask like the ANAI RUI Turmeric + Vitamin C face mask (Amazon, $12) or make your own with this recipe. You can also mix turmeric essential oil with olive oil to make a smooth facial oil to remove makeup and moisturize your skin.

6. Vitamin C


You've probably seen vitamin C as an ingredient in everything from serum to face wash, and for good reason! Vitamin C can hydrate your skin, brighten it and reduce redness from acne or irritation.

There are a ton of great serums out there across all different price ranges. And don't underestimate the importance of eating vitamin C for glowy skin! Citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli and tomatoes are all great foods to nourish your bod *and* your skin!

What are your favorite natural ways to keep your skin dewy? Tag us in your selfies @girlslifemag and show us your glow!

Looking for more skin inspo? 
☀️ The best K-beauty sunscreens you *need* to try
💄 5 waterproof makeup products you need to try this summer
🥝 Our fave vitamin C serums to boost your summer glow

Slider image: @haileybieber
Top image: @solarpowered_blonde


by Danielle Phillip and Ava Slocum | 8/26/2023