7 Best Types of Makeup to Get Dewy Skin, Even During Winter

Getting glowing, dewy skin is a great goal year-round. But it’s usually a lot easier to accomplish in the summer than in the winter, when you’re probably battling flakiness, dryness, and ashiness. All of those problems get harder to solve when the cold and the wind make the air outdoors extra uncomfortable, and heating systems make the air inside extremely dry.

When we’re dealing with dry skin, we all know that we should swap out our light lotions for heavier moisturizers. And we try to practice more restraint with the temperature of our hot showers and the length of our baths. But no matter how many adjustments we make to our skin care regimens, they don’t always result in the dewy results we’re after. Surprisingly enough, that may be pretty easy to accomplish by making a few changes to your makeup routine.

Changing your makeup isn’t always what we’d recommend if you’re looking to make lasting changes. (For that, rethinking the skin care products you use is usually a more successful strategy.) But it turns out a judiciously chosen makeup product (or two) may be just what you need to get the dewy skin of your dreams — even if you’re dreaming those dreams while tucked under flannel sheets, two comforters, and a wool blanket.

1. Choose a moisturizing foundation

Hourglass Veil Fluid Makeup

Get a dewy look even in the middle of winter with a moisturizing foundation. | Sephora

A tried and true shortcut to getting a dewier finish with your foundation is to add a few drops of moisturizer. That not only makes it more sheer, but also punches up the moisture that you get from leaving it on your skin all day. But if you’d prefer not to mix products in the palm of your hand, you can opt for a moisturizing foundation instead.

Some favorite formulas that pack a hydrating punch at a variety of price points? Hourglass’ Veil Fluid Makeup, MAC’s Face & Body Foundation, and L’Oréal’s True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup. As for what you should avoid in a foundation? Steer clear of formulas that look shimmery. (They won’t look natural, and won’t make your skin look naturally glowing.) 

2. Use a primer to add moisture and longevity

Laura Mercier 'Hydrating' Foundation Primer

Choose a hydrating primer to look glowing all day long. | Nordstrom

Applying a primer before you add your foundation is a great way to increase the longevity of your makeup in the summer, when you’re probably sweating and perhaps producing more oil than usual. But the right primer can also be a great tool to lock moisture into your skin in the winter. A few of our favorites for a variety of budgets are Laura Mercier’s Hydrating Foundation Primer, Smashbox’s Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer, and Pixi’s Flawless Beauty Primer. If, on the other hand, you’re not big on primer, you can mimic some of the benefits (like the smooth makeup application) by applying your makeup immediately after your moisturizer when your skin still feels moist.

3. Opt for a cushion compact foundation

Lancome Miracle Cushion Foundation

Haven’t tried a cushion compact yet? Anyone who wants a dewy look needs to give this trend a try. | Lancôme

A great liquid foundation is a useful way to get coverage that’s moisturizing. But a bottle of liquid foundation, and whatever tool you prefer to use to apply it, isn’t exactly user-friendly if you need to apply or reapply on the go. Enter the cushion compact. This is an innovation that puts liquid foundation into a package you can carry around in your handbag and apply even in the midst of a hectic commute. Some great formulas to try include Maybelline’s Dream Cushion Foundation, Lancôme’s Miracle Cushion, and Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Makeup To Go

4. Add a highlighter on areas that naturally catch the light

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector

Adding a highlighter is a great way to fake a dewy look even when your skin is dry. | Sephora

An easy way to fake a glow even in the middle of a brutal winter is to use an illuminating lotion or a highlighter on the areas of your face that would naturally catch the light. Your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose are prime spots for application. You can also add some to the center of your forehead and to your cupid’s bow for some extra illumination.

Chances are pretty good that all of your favorite bloggers, makeup artists, and celebs have a favorite highlighter they swear by, but if you need a few recommendations, we’ve got you covered. Try BECCA’s Shimmering Skin Perfector, Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminators, Josie Maran’s Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer, or NYX Cosmetics Illuminator

5. Swap your powder blush for a cream formula

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

If you usually apply a powder blush, switch to a cream formula instead. | Sephora

Powder formulas are great for mattifying your skin. That’s great in the summer, or anytime you’re trying to minimize shine, but it’s probably not what you want if you’re aiming for a dewy look. So, you should swap your powder blush for a cream blush in the months when you’re trying to fake a glow. You can apply a good cream blush not only on the apples of your cheeks, but also down your nose and on the sides of your forehead to fake a glowy, natural flush.

Finding the right blush means finding the right formula and choosing the right color. But to point you in the right direction, we have a few favorites. Try Clinique’s Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm, NARS The Multiple, L’Oréal Visible Lift Blush, or Revlon’s PhotoReady Cream Blush

6. Set your makeup with a moisturizing spray

Urban Decay Chill Cooling and Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray

Use a hydrating spray to set your makeup and get a glowy look. | Sephora

There are tons of sprays that help set your makeup to get a more natural finish after applying your favorite products. In the winter, it’s a great idea to pick one with moisturizing ingredients. (Look for formulas that include some of the ingredients you’d look for in a good moisturizer, like hyaluronic acid.) You can spray your face not only when you first set your makeup, but also when you need to revive your look (and punch up the dewy look) throughout the day. Many setting sprays are focused on minimizing shine, but a few moisturizing formulas we’ve discovered include Urban Decay’s Chill Cooling and Hydrating Makeup Setting Spray, NYX Cosmetics Makeup Setting Spray in Dewy Finish, and Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist

7. Add a hydrating lip color

Tom Ford Ultra-Rich Lip Color

Choose a hydrating lip color to add subtle shine and keep your lips moisturized. | Nordstrom

If you’re aiming for a dewy look, it might be your instinct to finish with a shiny lip gloss. But an extremely glossy lip may detract from the more subtle glow you have going on elsewhere on your face. Swap the lip gloss for a hydrating lip color with a more subtle shine instead. A great side effect of choosing a hydrating formula will be that it’ll help keep your lips soft and moisturized. Though many of our favorite lip products are already hydrating, we recommend you check out Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche Lipstick, Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Lip Color, and Tom Ford’s Ultra-Rich Lip Color.

Bonus: Exfoliate regularly to boost your glow

Paula's Choice skin perfecting liquid

Exfoliating can make a world of difference, too. | Nordstrom

An important step in keeping your skin dewy and glowing year-round is to remember to exfoliate. Especially during winter, dead skin cells can easily build up on the surface of your face. That makes your whole complexion look dull. Slough off those dead skin cells with a gentle exfoliant. It may not be a makeup product, technically or at all, but a gentle exfoliant is a great step to add to your routine. Some of our favorites are Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum and Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid.

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