When it comes to skincare, the general motto is that slow and steady wins the race. Meaning that you have to wait at least a month, as that’s the time it takes for your old skin cells to shed from the surface and for newer, plumper, younger ones to reach the top and for your latest moisturiser purchase, with all its whizz-bang ingredients to kick in and for you to notice a difference.

However, in this day and age where we expect our online purchases to be on our doorstep within 24 hours, our take-out to be on our table in 15 minutes and our taxis at our pickup location in under five, there is a huge time and place for fast-acting, quick responding skincare products.

‘Of course we all want great looking skin and we want it now,’ says skincare guru Emma Hardie.

‘Ultimately using great skincare ingredients consistently and regularly will improve your skin, but this takes time. And we all need a quick fix, especially on the days when we feel our skin looks a bit lifeless, dull or tired. This is where products that give instant results - whether that’s adding an instant glow, giving your skin a surge of moisture to make it look plumper or using clever products that create subtle optical illusions - come into play.’

But this isn’t just because we’re getting more and more used to everything working in super rapid time frames, but also because there are days when you want to look better, more awake, brighter, fresher and glowier quickly because your self-confidence and self-esteem need it. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Research has shown that the better our skin looks, the better we feel in ourselves.

On the flip-side of that is that bad skin days can lead to negative feelings. In fact the British Skin Foundation revealed that 95 per cent of people who suffer with acne said the appearance of their skin impacted their daily lives. And there is now more and more research being put into psychodermatology and the link between the state of our mind and the appearance of our skin. Which is where we are reminded again of the power that great skincare and other skin-boosting products can have. Yes to many it may seem frivolous to buy yet another lotion or complexion-enhancing wonder, but if it makes your skin look better instantly, and in turn lifts your soul and your spirit, then it’s worth its weight in gold.

Read on to discover the seven wonders of instant skin boosting trickery.

Acids Reign

‘Honestly, I don’t think there is a more transformative and quick-working product than a really good acid-based exfoliator,’ says Tom Ogden from skincare brand Alpha-H (who happen to do one of the best, Liquid Gold, if you can get your hands on it).

‘Not only does it take off the top layer of skin, which is all dead cells and debris just making your complexion look dull and tired, but they can shrink the appearance of pores and even out skin tone.’ Hoorah. And don’t be put off by the idea of rubbing ‘acid’ all over your face.

Whilst these are slightly astringent, and can feel tingly on first use, they are in fact normally derived from fruit - pineapple and papaya being common sources - and are perfectly safe for your skin. And they work speedily. Most are designed to be used overnight so that your skin isn’t exposed to the sun while they get to work and you wake up to a truly rejuvenated face.

However, more and more are being designed to be used morning and night so you can plump things up during the day too. Just make sure to pair them with a really good, broad spectrum SPF.


Sarah Chapman Skinesis Liquid Facial Resurfacer, Dh187

This can be used day and night and is packed with fruit acids, lactic acid, that’s essentially derived from milk, and phytic acid, which comes from grains and legumes. Saturate a cotton pad and swipe it all over your face and wait a few hours for velvety feeling and seriously glowy looking skin to be yours.

Let There Be Luminous Light

Keeping your skin hydrated is a key step to it looking good. This is, of course, something that takes time and needs to be done on a daily basis and it starts from the inside out. ‘Healthy skin is hydrated skin so you need to be aiming for at least 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day and keeping alcohol and caffeine to a minimum,’ advises dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham.

‘It’s also essential to moisturise, moisturise and yes, you heard it, moisturise! Look for moisturising ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E.’

However, as well as those key hydrating ingredients it’s also essential to have a moisturiser that contains light reflecting pearls as this it is these that will make a difference to the appearance of your skin instantly, whilst the other ingredients work on a long-term basis. Light reflecting pearls are literally little balls of shimmering particles that stay on the surface of the skin, because they’re too big to sink in.

They’re spherical shape allow more natural light to bounce off your skin and create an instant luminous sheen which makes your skin immediately look fresher and healthier. A lifesaver for early starts and those days when you need to look like you’ve had eight hours sleep, when the reality has been far from that.


Givenchy Hydra Sparkling Velvet Luminescence Moisturizing Cream, Dh285

Not only has this been proven to boost skin hydration by 52 per cent in just two hours but it also contains a very special technology that does as light reflecting particles do but one step further. Givenchy trademarked its Sparkling Water complex, which, as you may have guessed, creates the effect of sparkling water on your skin. We know that sounds too good to be true, but it really does work. With one application, your skin looks as luminous as the top of water when the sun shines on it.

Clever Concealer

‘If I wake up and either don’t have long to do my make-up or need to add life quickly and instantly to my skin, then it’s a light-reflecting concealer I reach for,’ says celebrity make-up artist Florrie White.

‘Unlike heavier concealers that are better for hiding spots or foundation which is really for masking larger areas of skin, a light reflecting concealer adds a subtle wash of colour to even out the skin tone and make it look more unified, but adds that instant glow and healthiness to the skin. I use them under the eyes, across the forehead, across the cheek and even above the cheekbones and on the brow bones as a low-key highlighter. That way it still looks like your skin but it’s not caked in make-up and it creates that gorgeous dewy effect that is an instant skin transformer.’ We’re sold!


Clinique Airbrush Concealer, Dh155

There are so many great felt-tip applicator concealers out there, but this is one of the best-selling around the world. And for good reason. It contains all those magical light reflectors that you need and is available in 11 shades, so there is one for everybody.

Masterful Mists

You might think that spritzing something as light weight and seemingly inconsequential as a face mist over your skin isn’t going to do a lot. We’re here to tell you, you’re wrong and it’s time to invest in a great facial mist for your instant perk-me-up skincare arsenal.

‘During the day when your skin gets dehydrated it’s not practical to start applying more moisturiser. This is where mists come into their own as they can easily be applied on top of what you’re already wearing,’ says make-up artist Amanda Bell. And they really do have an instant skin-reviving effect, thanks to the amount of actives they contain – plus, because of their watery nature, they naturally create a dewy effect. There is also something very reviving, if you’re flagging midway through the day, in spritzing a light, refreshing mist all over your skin.


Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Dh80

This is perhaps the most cult facial mist out there. It contains 100 per cent natural ingredients that all pack a serious skin boosting punch, including grape extract that instantly adds radiance. Because it contains so many natural ingredients it also has aromatherapy benefits, too, so take time to inhale as you spray for some instant calm. It comes in a nifty travel size that makes it the ideal travelling companion to keep your skin hydrated, looking fresh and smelling amazing.

Optimus Primer

‘It used to be that primer’s sole purpose was to get your make-up to stay in place for longer,’ says make-up artist Lan Nyguen-Grealis. ‘However, their formulations have moved on so much that they do so much more than that now. A lot of them contain blurring pigments that give the skin that soft focus - perfect if you have enlarged pores, fine lines or generally just need to create that instant airbrushed effect.’ And who doesn’t want that?! They can also contain hydrating ingredients so for some skins, a decent primer could be all you need to transform your skin from drab to fab in one simple step.


Dior Diorskin Forever & Ever Wear Primer, Dh204

Packed with hydrating ingredients, this primer comes in one universal shade that blends seamlessly into all skin tones. It contains those wondrous soft focus pigments to make your skin look instantly more flawless and like you’ve applied an Instagram filter to it. And if that wasn’t enough, it also has a broad spectrum SPF in it, so this truly can be all your skin needs to wear.

Powerful Masks

We can’t imagine it’s passed you by, but we’re in the midst of a face mask explosion right now. Why is this? Because they deliver instant, visible changes to your skin with minimum effort and maximum results. And that’s what we all want. This is all thanks to the huge innovation in the delivery mechanism of masks, specifically sheet masks, using high-tech sheet fibres that can get fast-acting, active ingredients into your skin better than ever before. And all it takes is 10 to 15 minutes whilst you watch your favourite Netflix show, and you can see an immediate change to your skin.


Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, Dh85

There’s a reason the word magic is used in the naming of this face mask as you can’t believe that it’s actually doing anything, but it is! Meet one of the first dry face masks to hit the market. It utilises a clever delivery system - bio-mimetics - to release ingredients slowly into the skin so that they keep working for longer. Ingredients such as shea butter, avocado oil and stearic acid - all of which plump, hydrate and make skin look instantly healthier.

It also leaves a very slight sheen on the skin which keeps going for eight hours, so you can either use this before applying make-up and have the most gorgeous glow base to work from. Or use it on top to revive what you’ve already got on. Plus you can reuse it three times – making it a bit of beauty bargain.

Fake It Better

If all else fails then there’s no better way to quickly revive exhausted looking skin than by taking it a few shades darker. In fact a survey carried out by supplement brand, Imedeen revealed that 57 per cent women feel more confident about their skin when it’s tanned. Self-tanning guru, James Read says ‘tanned-looking skin makes you look more glamorous and ultimately, makes you feel better.’ And thankfully self-tan formulations are so advanced now that long gone is the wet biscuit aroma and fear of dreaded streaks. Now you can apply an instant tanning lotion and get the bronzed look you want in minutes.


Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel, Dh160

This clear gel creates an instant tan but also develops over time so the more you use it, the darker you will go. It also contains some really effective skin boosting ingredients such as aloe vera and shea butter so your skin will get drenched in hydration as it gets transformed. And it smells of holidays. And there’s nothing better than that.