Getty Images

Not to be confused with lightening, which is completely different. 

Jan, 04, 2017

One of the biggest beauty woes we face every winter is dull looking skin. Let's be honest: sometimes the creamiest moisturizer doesn't stand a chance against subzero temperatures that literally hurt your face.

We covet skin brighteners year round, but they're especially useful this time of year when we want to retain a summer glow until warm weather returns. For starters, it's important to know exactly what a skin brightener does.

Unlike lighteners, which are typically formulated with hydroquinone to diminish spots and reduce pigmentation, brighteners require a bit more time to show results and increase radiance with ingredients like vitamin C, retinols and hydroxy acids.

In short: when combined with SPF (a year round must!), and a hydrating cleanser, your melanin will literally glow. If you're a brightening newbie, Amazon's best-selling ones are just the ticket:  

available at Amazon | $19 SHOP NOW

Now, here's a drink your skin will appreciate! These exfoliating pads are infused with resveratrol, an ingredient fermented with red wine. Scrub gently across your face and neck after cleansing to get rid of dead cells for more radiant skin. 

available at Amazon | $8 SHOP NOW

Korean beauty enthusiasts will fall in love with this budget friendly find, formulated with all natural lemon that brightens and energizes your skin after a long day. 

available at Amazon | $45 SHOP NOW

If soap bars are your jam, reviewers can't stop raving about this creamy cleanser that uses a combo of shea butter, vitamin C and fruit acid complex to exfoliate and balance facial skin cells. 

available at Amazon | $45 SHOP NOW

Both dry and oily skin types can appreciate this concentrated serum of ascorbic acid, lavender oil and more. Apply just a few drops every other night for glowing skin and a more even complexion. 

available at Amazon | $34 SHOP NOW

Detoxing is a New Year must for many and this cooling masque is literally the spa in a bottle. A refreshing mix of vitamins C/E, mango butter and bearberry and more turn into a foam that boosts skin radiance. Use 1-2 times a week to see results. 

available at Amazon | $32 SHOP NOW

The strawberry aroma of this best-selling cleanser is enough to win anyone over. Its tasty ingredient list also includes lycopene from tomatoes and wheat protein that will tighten skin in addition to keeping your complexion in check. 

available at Amazon | $16 SHOP NOW

For instant results, reviewers recommend using this scrub-like peel for the most angelic-looking skin and to get rid of blackheads.