How to get dewy – not sweaty – skin this season

Dewy. Creamy. Radiant. Luminous. Glowing. Glossy. Lit from within. Satiny. Burnished. Incandescent. Anyone else feels the beauty vocabulary is getting increasingly more unattainable?

how to get dewy skin2
Getty Images / Rabbani and Solimene Photography

Yes, dewy skin may be the most coveted look all around but it’s also the most difficult to achieve. Because on one end there’s impeccable-but-matte skin that’s been concealed into submission with an arsenal of full coverage foundations and powdery blushes. And on the other end, there’s a sweaty mess with all those lovely, creamy balms and highlighters running down the face in not-so-glorious streaks.

Where and how do we find the balance? How to create that coveted glow, which seems to be seeping out of the very pores of beauty insiders everywhere from the runway to the red carpet?

Thankfully, it turns out the stars are mortal too and need help from makeup pros to achieve that lit-from-within glow.

And even more thankfully, in the case of dewy skin, less is more… so, these techniques are easily available to us as well, without needing Kate Middleton’s beauty budget. Read, practise and get ready to shine!

Start off right

1. First, you need to prep the canvas. Because ruddy/puffy/dry/blotchy/sensitive/stressed skin is not going to glow, whatever makeup you throw at it. So, the pros have learnt to address skin issues in short order: Applying chilled sheets of aluminium foil on the face reduces puffiness and tightens pores; splashing with cold water soothes redness and blotchiness; misting with rosewater calms down irritation and hydrates; while tapping your fingertips lightly over the face, working from the centre outwards, wakes up circulation and brightens dull skin.

2. Peep into the tents at any fashion week and you will see makeup artists spending the better part of an hour massaging the model’s skin to boost circulation, bring out the glow, take care of patchiness and plump up everything. In fact, at shows like Isabel Marant and Marchesa, where skin is the primary beauty accessory, they spend more time prepping the complexion than on actual makeup. So, right before you apply makeup, gently exfoliate for a minute and give yourself a mini-massage with a facial oil (I am obsessed with the Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil) or a hydrating moisturizer.

Glow for it

3. To avoid a sweaty-looking finish, layer on a shine-controlling primer in the T-zone, while using a richer cream on the perimeter of the face. It’s the T-zone that normally gets most sweaty, so you will cut down on greasiness while still looking all glowy and radiant.

4. For some seriously beautiful, natural-looking luminosity, swipe on the highlighter before foundation – it will peak through for a lit-from-within glow without sliding all over your face.

Getty Images /  Jeff Kravitz
Getty Images / Jeff Kravitz

Lay the base

5. To make skin really luminous, mix a drop of highlighter or liquid bronzer right into your foundation before applying.

6. This one comes from Nicolas Degennes, Creative Director of Givenchy Beauty: To step it up a notch, mix foundation with a golden or pearly white eyeshadow.

7. Nothing brings down the dewy-factor like powder. However, those of us with oily skin can’t escape this without devolving into a streaky, sweaty mess. Makeup genius Tom Pecheaux solves this problem by using a brush to deposit powder only in the T-zone – to set makeup without making it look matte.

Spot treatment

8. To quickly bring down an angry blemish, dab it with a bit of Visine (extra points for a bottle that’s been chilling in the refrigerator); follow with a pasty concealer dabbed on with a tiny, stiff brush. Visine won’t banish the pimple but shall definitely reduce the redness and inflammation for a few hours.

9. To tackle larger areas of pigmentation without looking like you swiped patches of concealer all over your face, look to the colour wheel: mint green concealers bring down the redness of a pimple, orange-hued ones correct under-eye circles, while yellow cancels out dark circles. This makes for more efficient and natural-looking coverage that won’t detract from your natural glow.

10. Or borrow this genius tip from makeup maestro Charlotte Tilbury, who mixes liquid concealer with moisturizer in a 1:3 ratio and then uses it in place of foundation. Concealer is more pigmented than foundation and hence this blend covers up even the toughest marks.

Blush & bronze

11. Because cream and gel blush have a tactile quality and blend effortlessly into your base, they look far more natural and dewy than powder. To make them more glow-y, mix in a bit of cold pressed avocado oil – it’s just the right consistency to add a dewier finish without making them runny.

12. Crave that flushed-from-within glow? Apply blush before your foundation. This will also lock cream and gel blush into place, preventing it from melting down your face.

Featureflash /
Featureflash /


13. Unfortunately, highlighter can go very wrong. Primarily, remember that the right shade will leave only a glow on the skin – as opposed to depositing colour. Usually, this means silvery pink for fair skin, golden tints for olive skin, and bronze highlighter for dark skin.

14. Then there’s the problem of shimmer in most highlighters, which make you look like a disco ball. Makeup pros solve this problem by switching to lip balm – the waxy finish looks beautifully creamy and opalescent on all skin types. Just swipe onto your cheekbones, above the brows and across the eyelids.

15. Have good blending skills? You can borrow this genius trick from makeup expert Pat McGrath for creating a lit-from-within effect: Swipe on foundation a shade lighter than your natural skin tone to your cheekbones, middle of the forehead and down the nose.

The final polish

16. Glossy, creamy eyelids really add to the glow but if the product gets into your eyes, it’s downright painful. To make it stay, apply eye gloss (or mix a loose eye shadow with lip gloss) with a flat brush. This will stop everything from sliding around across your face.

17. Another Tom Pecheux favourite: Just dot a bit of gold cream shadow in the innermost corners of your eyes. This will open up your eyes and make them look ethereally beautiful in the light.

18. For the ultimate in glow, impeccable skin, mix a little bit of moisturiser with a few drops of pearl highlighter and layer it on top of bare skin or foundation – it’s not as difficult as it seems.

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