Beauty Q&A: How to Achieve Dewy Skin

I have received this question too many times to count; I probably get asked twice a week on Quora. So today I thought I would tackle: how to achieve dewy skin.

Bye bye heavy countouring; dewy skin is IN! Which is fantastic news because keeping your face perfectly matte this time of year is pretty much impossible (though getting easier as the weeks march on). However, there is a huge difference between looking ‘dewy’ and looking like you just ran a 5K.

Dewy skin can give you a fresh, youthful appearance, but overdoing it can make you look like an oily mess! Here are some tips and tricks to rocking perfect, dewy skin:


For Seriously Dewy Skin: Skincare First


step 1 to dewy skinStep 1: Cleanse + Exfoliate

Before you even think about applying any makeup, you need to work on your base! If you have dry, flaky skin, no amount of makeup will make you look dewy. So start off with a gentle cleanser, nothing that will strip the skin of it’s natural oil or make your skin feel tight, as well as a very gentle facial exfoliator to flake off the dry skin. I suggest Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser (it is amazingly gentle and smells like roses!) and ViaBuff’s extra gentle (purple) exfoliator.

step 2 for dewy skin

Step 2: Moisturize + Protect

Then go in with a daily moisturizer (SPF first, preferably! here’s my fav) and let that set for about 10 minutes. I really don’t have a favorite moisturizer, but I have heard good things about Kiehl’s ultra facial moisturizer (pictured) and it’s affordable to boot ($21).

step 3 for dewy skin: get the SHINE glow

Step 3: Get the Glow

For a super glow, once your moisturizer is absorbed, go back in with a light face oil (like SHINE). Press the oil into your skin gently and.. you’re ready for the next step! The face oil will act as a primer for your foundation, giving you a perfect dewy glow.

Pro Tip: And by the way, if you want some really seriously glow skin, the Chinese traditionalist and Amber Rose agree on what you should do before you ever step into the bathroom.

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Makeup Second: A Strong Foundation

Now it’s time for the foundation. Use a product formulated for ‘dry’ skin or one that is made specifically to give you a healthy glow (such as Nars ‘Sheer Glow’ or Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk). If you are feeling particularly ambitious, or want an extra boost of shine, you can mix a liquid highlight in with your foundation (try Becca Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector). I recommend applying your concoction with a damp sponge (like the  Beauty Blender) to sheer the foundation out a bit. Again–get it wet, first. It’s not intuitive, but it is necessary to get a good dewy blend.

For a full guide on how to choose and apply foundation for aging skin, check out our guide here.

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Stick To Cream Products

After applying your foundation with a brush or damp beauty blender, continue your normal routine but stick to liquid or cream products, instead of using powder blushes, bronzers, and highlights. Cream products look much more natural and won’t give you the dreaded ‘cake face’ once your makeup starts to melt in the heat (which is pretty much unavoidable during this time of year because if the sun doesn’t get you, the humidity will).

If you’re going for cream bronzer/blush, I suggest the liquid version of NARS laguna and orgasm. They’re really the best bronzer / blush duo out there; you can buy them as singles in cream form. Eye makeup will matter much less about whether it’s cream/liquid/powder; it’s all about the skin, baby!

If you have oily skin you can LIGHTLY set that cream product with a translucent powder (like the RCMA No Color Powder–the best on the market) and carry blotting papers–like these $5 blotters from ELF–with you for touchups throughout the day.

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Finishing Touches

To finish it all up, go with a setting spray (like MAC Fix+ or Urban Decay Chill Setting Spray) to hold it all in place, and add that extra oomph of dewiness. If you want to add a lip color, go for a stain or gloss. The trick with this look is to be as light and fresh as possible, so anything too heavy or opaque would look a bit out of place.

Better yet – follow the Korean practice of Jamsu – and either dunk your face in a bowl of water, or set your makeup naturally with a dewy (literally) water spray.

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Takeaways: How to Get Dewy Skin

And there you have it. Perfect dewy skin! Remember to start with a clean, moisturized base, followed by a light application of foundation. Stick to creams or liquids instead of powder and set it all with a setting spray or water spray. Good luck!


*This blog is part of the Beauty Q&A series, where our founder Megan answers your toughest beauty questions every Tuesday and Thursday on the blog.  If you’d like your beauty question answered on the blog, email Megan at [email protected]*

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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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