Insta-Glow! How To Get Your Pre-Pandemic Glow Back In Just One Hour


I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling the need for a little pick-me-up. While I’m super happy at the thought of getting out into the world again, I’d love my appearance to reflect my mindset. I’m not there, yet. TBH, after two-plus years of stress and being in charge of my own maintenance, my hair and skin are less than luminous. I could definitely use a little pro help to get the glow-up I want.

Feeling the same? Well, here are some amazing insta-glow ideas that will add sparkle to your life in easy and uncomplicated ways.

Insta-glow: Face

It’s no secret that the last few years have been a tad stressful. And stress leaves its mark. Need proof? Just look at pix of any U.S. president at the beginning and end of his term, and you’ll see how stress ages us, says Dr. Trevor Born, a cosmetic plastic surgeon TMB Cosmetic Surgery. He adds, “COVID has had a tremendous detrimental effect on people’s aging and stress, and on top of that, wearing a mask has caused other irritations.”

If your skin is lacking radiance, smoothness or tautness, thankfully there are simple, non-invasive options that will give you the pick-me-up you dream of.

Odacite Facial

If you’re looking for a treat that involves skin maintenance with a little pampering, check out the Odacite facial. I just have one thing to say about this experience: Heaven. The treatment relies on a cocktail of products infused into the skin via hand massage and Gua Sha. There are a few types to choose from. I chose the Odacite Temple Rejuvenation Facial to boost firmness and radiance. In the capable hands of Alexis Bonin, a skin expert at The Detox Market, I had a memorable hour of pampering and relaxation, where she used her deft hands and deep knowledge to give my skin an instant refresh. I left sans dark circles and eye bags that have plagued me through my COVID-somnia years. The more lasting effect, though, was the soft glow and smooth skin that I’ve been able to maintain with my at-home routine using Odacite products.

Silk Peel

Dr. Born’s go-to for a facial insta-glow is the Silk Peel. “The Silk Peel is a workhorse for maintenance and monthly care for cleaning up the skin – without a lot of downtime.” It’s a layered, skin-resurfacing facial that uses a specialized wand to buff away old skin cells and clean up clogged pores thereby leaving your skin clean and prepped for the final step, an infusion of anti-aging serums to plump and smooth. If you have more time, or the desire, Dr. Born recommends layering the treatment with micro-needling or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments for an even more dramatic renewal.


Think a hot-stone massage for your face. This painless and comforting facial uses heat and radiofrequency to increase collagen production in your face to tighten and contour skin. The treatment is performed with a wand that can heat skin up to 43-degrees Celsius. For safety, a built-in thermometer ensures the temp never exceeds that number. My skilled medical aesthetician, Vivian Lau at Skin6 in Toronto, explained that it is this constant heat that helps stimulate collagen and promote future growth. While you notice an immediate difference (Lau performed the facial on one side so I could see the results myself), it is recommended to sign up for multiple facials to get the full and lasting benefit. Don’t worry, I indulged in the facial for both sides of my face!

Wondering how to give your hands an insta-glow? Check out our editor faves.

Insta-glow: Eyes

Wow! That’s all I could say when I looked in the mirror after spending an hour in the chair at Veronica Tran’s Pretty In The City salon. Tran, one of Toronto’s first lash aestheticians has been in the biz since 2005, continually topping up her menu of services over the years, which now includes eyelash extensions, brow shaping/tints, permanent makeup and more. You know you are in capable hands the minute you meet Tran who is invested and patient in exploring all possible options. For me, Tran explained what type/length of lashes would work best for my hooded lids and we ended up with a style that added pop without being OTT (a concern for me).  I also opted for brow grooming, a clean-up of the strays and a tint to create more definition and intensity to my eyes. Again, Tran was great at helping me navigate the colour and shape that would give me the insta-glow I was looking for. I felt so comfortable in her care. Lash extensions last about three to four weeks, says Tran, and are really great for a get-up-and-go lifestyle. There’s also a selection of DIY lashes – if you’re rather ease into the look or just want a less-permanent weekend update.

Insta-Glow: Hair

I have been a tress mess. My DIY root care technique over the last two years was off-colour and spotty – I only applied colour to the bits I could see. Imagine how bad the back half must’ve looked!? I was sheepish to visit my colourist with my “50 shades of grey” mop, but she was completely non-judgmental and ready to help. I hope you are all lucky enough to have a master colourist in your life like Liz Foster. As she has shown me, time and again, the right colour – overall or highlights – can give a much-needed boost and take years off your image.

Foster, who you can find at Fifteen Twelve Salon, and I chatted recently about all things hair and her favourite ways to get insta-glow using highlights. For a soft, low-maintenance sparkle and the illusion of an all over lighter feel, Foster recommends babylights. These are super fine highlights applied close to the hairline and sprinkled through the crown area.

But, if you’re looking for something bolder, she suggests tips. “Tips can be loosely teased and foiled or free-painted highlights that concentrate lightness toward the ends of the hair and create a lot of movement and character.” To get the most from this insta-glow idea, it’s important to take cut and texture into consideration. “For example, long layers and blunt cuts pair beautifully with a strong face framing highlight and well blended tips. A heavy fringe with tone-on-tone highlights scattered within and brightness just below can really open up the face and lift the neck and jawline. With naturally curly hair I love going a little heavier than a babylight and adding tips throughout, focusing on where I want to accentuate the curls the most.”

Keep your look tight with at-home facial oils. Here are the best!

If you’re not ready to commit to permanent colour, no worries. “One of my absolute favourites – IMO, the equivalent to a facial for your hair – is a clarifying treatment paired with a gloss one! Clarifying treatments remove build up caused by products, environmental toxins, metal and minerals from water and chlorine – if you’re a swimmer! All of these may make hair dull and brittle over time. Once the hair is clarified and shampooed, I like to add a gloss (an acidic hair colour formula) to condition and bring the hair back to its natural pH. The fun part about a gloss is you can use it to temporarily darken your hair, experiment with tone, or just go clear for tons of healthy shine.”