How to Glow Up
Glowing up is a fun and empowering, life-changing experience. Whether you are looking for a short-term glow up or a long-term glow up, you will learn what it takes to get a real glow up that you feel good about.
What is a Glow Up?
To make sure that we’re on the same page, let me briefly explain what a glow up is:
According to the Urban dictionary, a glow up is a mental, physical, and emotional transformation for the better. Glow ups can be both natural and planned. As well as being gradual and permanent, or fast and temporary.
As you can see from this definition, the most common and most popular glow up is a holistic one – where you undergo a mental, physical, and emotional transformation to become a better version of yourself.
And as the Urban dictionary confirms, you can totally plan your glow up.
So let’s start planning your glow up now by taking a deep dive into the steps you need to take to have a glow up.
(Note: I recommend you start your glow up journey on a Friday night, Saturday night, or on the eve of another “free” day so you can fully experience each step of the process.)
Disclosure: *This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small commission at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.
How to Glow Up In X Steps – The Popular Holistic Approach
#1. Get At Least 8 Hours of Sleep The Night Before.
(Hint: This is where you’ll learn how to glow up emotionally)
Having a glow up starts with what you do the night before. Specifically, you need to make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep.
Why? Well, have you noticed what happens when you get just a few hours of sleep, wake up with a headache, and have to go to school anyway?
You’re not your best self. At school, you’re tired, moody, unmotivated, frustrated, and clumsy maybe?
And what about when you’re running late for work?
How sweet are you when the guy driving in front of you is driving like a snail and won’t move out of the way?
Are you smiling and singing karaoke songs in your car? Or are you anxious, pissed off, honking your horn, and yelling at the guy through your car window?
These negative, ugly emotions are almost certain to manifest inside you when you don’t get enough sleep.
And you cannot glow up emotionally if you struggle with these ugly emotions.
Glowing up emotionally means becoming a happier, patient, and more relaxed person who expresses herself in a mature, positive way.
How to overcome this struggle once and for all is to discipline yourself into getting more sleep. With enough sleep, you can avoid ALL these ugly emotions.
Instead, you’ll wake up happier, relaxed, and ready to receive the tasks of the day.
You’ll walk into work with a smile on your face and respond to “how are yous” with “I’m doing spectacular,” instead of “meh…I’m okay. I want to go back to bed.”
If you get enough sleep on a consistent basis and show up to work/school happy and carefree, before you know it, people will start to notice and say “you’re glowing…what have you been doing?”
So get your first glow up in just 12 hours tomorrow by getting at least 8 hours of sleep tonight.
Finally, go to bed early enough to complete step #2.
#2. Get Up At Least 1-Hour Before You Need To Start Your Day
The second step to glowing up is to get up at least 1-hour before you need to start your day.
This hour is your time to do the things that make you happy and will mentally prepare you for the day ahead.
Here is some great morning glow up activities that you can do during that hour:
- Pray and/or meditate
- Read some positive affirmations
- bible verses
- quotes on Pinterest
- Watch a motivational video(s) on YouTube.
- Think about three things that you are grateful for
- Brain dump your thoughts in a journal
- Working on a passion project or side hustle
- Write your to-do list for the day (do this last or one of the last things you do)
You can choose to do one, three, or all of the above activities.
In the morning, I personally enjoy praying, reading the daily bible verse of the day in the Bible App, writing my to-do list, and getting blog work done.
When we give the first hour of the day to ourselves to do the things that make us happy and invigorate us, we can operate from a positive, giving mindset in our interactions with others.
#3. Drink Water
The third step to glowing up is drinking water. You should drink at least three cups of water when you wake up in the morning. You stand to gain huge benefits from doing so.
According to Pinnacle Care, there are seven benefits to drinking water after you wake up:
- increases skin radiance
- helps with weight loss
- improves your metabolism
- increase shine and hair texture
- relieves heartburn and indigestion
- prevents kidney stones and bladder infections
- strengthens your immune system
This may be hard to do at first but it’ll get easier as you make drinking more water a habit.
And because you’re likely to start seeing the benefits from drinking water in just ten days, you’ll be hugely motivated to keep going!
#4. Take A Cold Shower
If you want a fast glow up, then don’t skip step number 4: take a cold shower.
A morning shower is another great reinforcement to help you wake up, get energized, and feel refreshed before a long day.
You can take a hot shower, cold shower, or alternate between cold and hot.
To get the best glow up reward, most health experts recommend taking cold showers. Cold showers are insanely beneficial because they:
- improve your circulation > demands more oxygen > helps you fights fatigue
- treats depression by sending electrical impulses to the brain
- stimulates weight loss
If you are don’t feel comfortable taking a completely cold shower and wish to operate between hot and cold, this guide will show you how to do it right.
Nevertheless, if you’re like me, who likes the water scalding hot and is too chicken to take a cold shower then, by all means, take a hot shower.
Up your glow up reward in the shower even more by getting the best shower steamers for your glow-up shower session:
Find it on Amazon here: Shower Steamers by Cleverfy
#5. Establish a Skincare Routine
(Hint: This is where you’ll learn to glow up physically)
The fifth step is to establish a skincare routine. In tandem with drinking water, establishing a skincare routine is super important to getting and maintaining glowing skin.
At a minimum, your skincare routine should include washing your face in the morning and washing your face at night.
The best face cleaners for the morning are:
The best face cleansers at night are:
You can also get this excellent two for one combo face cleanser that is really good on the skin:
In the morning, I personally love using Oil-Free Acne Wash Neutrogena (OFAWN) because there isn’t a ton to clean.
Just eye debris. OFAWN does the job of removing the debris away and leaves my skin feeling light and clean.
At night, I love using the Clean & Clear Deep Clean Exfoliating Scrub at night after a long day at work or school.
Without knowing it, my face makes contact with thousands of elements and germs in the air.
In addition, sometimes I like to wear make-up. As such, I need something strong to scrub the dirt and invisible grime from my face.
That’s what C&C’s scrub does for my face and I love it!
Another thing that you should add to your skincare routine is the practice of moisturizing your skin.
This is something that merely drinking water cannot help you with.
Moisturizing your skin will keep your skin from cracking and make your skin glow even more.
These are hands down the best body lotions for glowing skin that women obsess over:
If you’re interested in a scented lotion, these are the top scented lotions to achieve baby soft, fragrant skin.
#6. Enhance Your Appearance
The sixth thing you ought to do to have a glow-up is to enhance your appearance with some makeup.
Notice, that I didn’t say “change” your appearance.
If your goal is to have a permanent, more enduring facial glow, it should look as natural as possible through natural means (i.e. drinking water) and small enhancements such as light makeup using neutral and skin tone-matching colors.
The first facial feature you should enhance with makeup is your eyes.
To enhance my eyes, I like to use a neutral tone eye shadow, a dark ink liquid eyeliner, and black mascara for my eyelashes.
The second facial feature you should enhance is your lips, as it is the second most common place people’s eyes wander when they are facing you.
A neutral lipstick or a neutral lip gloss from is a good choice.
If you can avoid it, I would caution against using foundation on your face because it’ll just seep into your pores and may cause pimples, acne, bumps.
It should not be used as a regular part of your skincare routine but the product you use sparingly on special occasions.
The seventh step in glowing up is exercising. I won’t spend too much time here because there are obvious reasons why exercising is a great way to glow up.
You can lose weight and tone areas of your body that want to sculpt or shed for a prettier physique.
Exercising can also help you glow up mentally. According to Healthline, exercise can:
- make you feel happier
- increase your energy levels and
- help with relaxation and sleep quality
…among other things!
If you’re not a fan of the gym or don’t like to exercise, try doing something light or fun to start, such as going for a light 30-minute jog, walking a mile, or dancing to your favorite music for 15 minutes.
When you’re ready to up your exercise game, you can. Doing something is always better than nothing.
Most importantly, small improvements over a long period of time can make a big difference.
#8. Incorporate More Fruits and Veggies In Your Diet
The next step to glowing up is to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet. Eating more fruits and veggies will help your body glow in many ways, including:
- giving your body the nutrients it needs to function at its best
- giving you fuel to work and study without the inevitable crash that comes with eating something sugary
- helping with weight loss by preventing you from overeating on bad calories, and
- helping you fight off diseases and common flus so you don’t get sick
A great way to start incorporating more fruits and veggies is to have a meatless Monday.
You can also opt for a fruit smoothie for breakfast in lieu of eating cereal or waffles for breakfast.
I enjoy eating oatmeal with bananas for breakfast, apples and oranges as a snack, spaghetti with lentils for lunch, and bean burrito with guacamole and salsa for dinner.
#9. Change Your Wardrobe
The ninth step to glow up is to change your wardrobe. One of the fastest and easiest ways to glow up is to level up your wardrobe by buying something new and flattering.
Clothes are one of the things people notice first and quick way to earn validation that you’ve glown up!
But depending on what kind of shopper you are, you may or may not need to do step number 9.
If you know you’ve already shopped a ton and are quite satisfied with your wardrobe, then skip this step. You met this glow up goal.
However, if you have been wearing the same tired sweater, jacket, or shoes that have seen more days than you care to admit, then glow up by treating yourself to something new.
You don’t have to buy everything all at once. You can start by purchasing one thing at a time until you’ve replaced everything that you feel needs to go.
You can also put money away and save up to do a big overhaul. Whatever you decide, set a goal and feel good that your glow up is coming! 🙂
Finally, I want to leave this video of some great cute and comfy outfit ideas, just in case “cute and comfy” is the style you’re looking to glow into.
#10. Change Your Hair
The eleventh step to glowing up is to change your hair. Hair contributes to our appearance in a big way.
If you show up to work with your head looking crazy or nappy, you probably won’t feel beautiful and others might think you’re having a bad day.
Having your hair done up and looking good, however, sends a very different message. Inside, you’ll feel so pretty and on the outside, you’ll look confident, attractive, and radiant.
What’s great about this step is that you can achieve a hair glow up in just a few hours.
You can give yourself a nice wash and conditioner, give yourself a new hairdo, or go to the hair salon for something even nicer.
Here are some videos of beautitful hairstyle ideas/tutorials that can show you how to glow up your hair:
For my straight-haired readers:
For my curly-haired readers:
For my kinky-haired readers:
#11. Do Your Nails
Another great way to glow up is to do your nails! You can either get them professionally done or do them yourself.
I personally like to put a fresh coat of white paint on my nails. White nail polish just looks so clean, crisp, and can go with any outfit.
Want to get some white polish for yourself? Get it here on Amazon.
#12. Set Short-term and Long-Term Goals
The twelfth step to having a glow up is to set some short term and long-term goals.
What would you like to achieve 90-days from now?
What about in 6 months?
In one year?
or even 10 years from now?
Part of the reason the act of glowing up became so popular is that people on Instagram and Facebook would post “10 years then, 10 years now” pictures of themselves, which usually revealed how much they transformed or glown up over the years.
It was remarkable to see for example how healthy a friend’s hair looked 10 years later because she chose to stop perming her hair and go natural.
Or how accomplished a friend was because she was faithful to her studies and transformed herself from aspiring doctor to a family physician.
You can have a similar glow up if you set goals for yourself. It can be as small as losing five pounds or as big as paying off one of your debts.
Either goal will bring about a glow up that you’ll be so proud of yourself for because you worked for it.
Want to learn how to set goals you actually follow through on? Then, check out this post on 10 must-have goal-setting books.
#13. Learn a New Skill
After you’ve set your goals, the next to glowing up is to learn a new skill. This skill can be anything.
It can be to learn a new workout routine, learn how to create and edit a YouTube video, learn how to cook another three new plant-based meals.
Just find something that will bring improvement and/or “leveling up” to your life.
#14. Set aside one to two hours a day to work on your dreams
Do you desire to have your own web design company? Or your own clothing line? Or an author?
Take an hour or two for yourself each night to work on your dreams.
Working on your dreams little by little each day can add up to something beautiful, successful, and rewarding glow up later.
#15. Set at least 30 minutes to 1-hour to unwind before bed
We’ve finally arrived at the last step of glowing up. Before you end each day, set aside 30 minutes to an hour to unwind.
Doing so will help your mind relax from the busy tasks of the day and the busy tasks that are waiting for you tomorrow.
Most importantly, this time will help you clear your mind so you can sleep peacefully.
Some great bedtime activities are:
- brain dumping your day in your journal
- reading a light and entertaining book
- reading the bible
- watching an episode of your favorite show
- doing breathing exercises with HeadSpace (a sleep app)
What age do you normally glow up?
You can glow up at any age. It really comes down to when you want to glow up.
For many people, glowing up happens when they reach a birthday milestone (like 16th, 18th, 21st, 25th, or 30th birthday) or a milestone moment in their life (new dorm room, first apartment, first new home, first fine dining experience, etc.).
How long does it take to have a glow up?
The length of a glow up depends on your goals for a glow up.
A glow up could happen in as little as a few hours if you are focused on glowing up one area of your life (eg. a new hairstyle), a few weeks if you desire a mental, emotional, and physical transformation (e.g. to feel and look healthier and confident) or several years if your goals will take years of hard work to accomplish (i.e. make a career change).
Is glowing up real?
It’s as real as setting a goal and crushing it. Glow ups don’t happen by themselves. You have to put in the work.
But once you do, eventually or all at once, depending on what the glow up goal is, you’ll have your glow up!
Is glowing up natural?
In many respects it is. For example, it is common for teens to break out in pimples and bumps due to hormonal changes in their bodies.
As most teens age into young adults, however, their skin improves and even clears up resulting in a natural glow up.
Glowing up naturally also occurs when you go from applying excessive heat to your hair all the time to cutting heat out of your hairstyling routine.
The result is healthy long hair.
Can you glow up after 18?
You sure can. You can glow up whenever you want.
Just choose what area of your life you want to glow up (e.g. lose five pounds), learn what you need to do to achieve that glow up (e.g. run one mile per day) and do it (e.g. you run Monday – Friday for the next four weeks). Before you know it, you’ll glow up!
The Benefits of Glowing Up – Why Glow Up
There are many benefits you can gain from glowing up. These include:
- Feeling healthier
- Becoming a better version of yourself
- Feeling and becoming prettier
- feeling more energized
- Feeling less anxious
- Having more self-control
- Feeling more at peace
- Feeling Happier
- Carrying Joy in Your Heart
- Learning and practicing better habits
- Gaining new skills
- Becoming a doer
Here are some additional Glow Up ideas:
- Get a fresh shave
- clean out your nose with a nose wash cleaner
- buy new perfume
- tone your stomach
- tone your arms
- tone your calves
- learn a new recipe
- buy new lipstick
- get your nails done
- learn or get a new hairstyle
- buy shape wear
- buy new undergarments
- buy new athleisure
- buy new boots or heals
- Buy a new coat or outerwear
- Try a new hair product
- new home screen
- new ringtone
- go on a vegetarian diet for 7 days or 30 days
- create a new playlist
- find and listen to an empowering podcast
- Dye your hair
- Get a new haircut
- Read more
- Meditate more
- Buy a new dress
- Get a fresh natural tan