How to Fake Your Way to a Beachy Glow Using Beauty Products
Step 1: Start with your skin care
Before anything, you're going to need to determine your skin's current state. If you're oily, apply an oil-control primer or toner as your first layer. Try Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner ($26; sephora.com), which you pour onto a cotton pad and then dab on clean, dry skin. "For your dewy look, you'll be adding light-reflecting products, so this will keep you from becoming way too shiny," says Katie Jane Hughes, a makeup artist in New York City.
On the flip side, if you're dry and you put on something shimmery, it can clump up and make your skin's texture look uneven. So premakeup, smooth on a hyaluronic acid serum, like Vichy Minéral 89 Fortifying and Hydrating Daily Skin Booster ($30; vichyusa.com), and/or a lightweight gel cream, like Boscia Tsubaki Swirl ($38; sephora.com), which offers hydration yet soaks into your skin quickly.
Step 2: Layer on your first glowing formula
"To get the gleamy look, I like to use two luminizing products," Hughes says. At this stage, apply luminizer number one. Pick a shimmering primer, which goes all over your skin before your foundation (or BB Cream or tinted moisturizer)—even if you're already wearing an oil-absorbing primer from step one. "You can apply it directly to your skin or mix it into your moisturizer," Hughes says. The lightweight liquid contains optical brighteners that diffuse light to give your entire face a subtle radiance. We like Lune + Aster RealGlow Primer ($30; bluemercury.com) and Becca First Light Priming Filter ($38; beccacosmetics.com); its lavender hue blends into your skin tone to counteract dullness.
Step 3: Move on to the rest of your makeup
Apply foundation, then tap blush onto the apples of your cheeks and blend it diagonally toward your temples. "A shimmery warm tone, like peach, will amplify the gleaminess of your skin," says Hrush Achemyan, a makeup artist in Los Angeles. Adds Hughes: "It's also especially important to pick the right formula in summer. I find that creams and liquids sink into your skin easily and look more real in bright sunlight." But if you're very oily, a powder will stay on longer. (If you're applying mascara, choose a waterproof formula to avoid a meltdown.)
Step 4: Reach for another luminizer
Golden or bronze-tinted luminizers (also called highlighters) are available in cream and powder form and have a touch of shimmer to them. "But unlike versions of the past, these formulas don't provide a glittery cast; instead, it's glossy," Achemyan says. This innovation also makes skin look nearly flawless. "Large particles of mica or pearl can magnify pores and wrinkles," Hughes says. In general, you'll find the smallest particles in creams and liquids and almost none at all in new clear balms, which rely on rich hydrators (like murumuru butter in Ciaté London Dewy Stix, $26; sephora.com) to create a dewy finish. "I stick to these formulas for daytime because they're more subtle," Achemyan says, adding, "Powders are for nighttime and Instagram."
Step 5: Make it look real
"Blend that second highlighter on all the high points of your face," Achemyan says. This makes your bone structure stand out. Apply it to your cheekbones and brow bones, along the hairline, down the nose and Cupid's bow, and to the tip of your chin. (Here's a video demo.) "If you swipe along only, say, your cheekbones, then it looks too purposefully placed and unnatural," Hughes says. Tap and press a cream formula onto skin with your fingers so you don't risk disrupting the rest of your makeup. For the same reason, apply powder with a fan brush; its bristles lightly dust on makeup (Achemyan loves Morphe Deluxe Soft Fan brush, $7; morphe.com).
Step 6: Touch up
Midday in the summer heat, your look can go one of two ways. If the air is dry and your makeup suddenly looks dusty, has settled into fine lines, or has faded, refresh it with a facial spray. The super-fine mist offers a hit of hydration and sheen without making your skin too wet, says Achemyan, who recommends Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist ($48; tatcha.com). Or if you're dripping in the humidity and your makeup is sliding, pat yourself down with a blotting paper (we're fans of Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets, $5; target.com).