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How to Create Dewy Skin Without Looking Oily

Punkmarkgirl is a freelance writer with a passion for DIY projects, natural health, and makeup featuring the best products for oily skin.

How do you get dewy-looking skin without looking greasy?

How do you get dewy-looking skin without looking greasy?

How to Really Achieve Glowing Skin

There’s a fine line between dewy, glowing skin and greasy, oily skin! Apply the wrong foundation or the wrong highlighter...and you will end up looking like you've dunked your face in a vat of vegetable oil.

When applying your base foundation, it's essential to select the right type of products for oily skin. Advertisements bombard us with ads for BB Creams and Tinted Moisturizers that will give you a “natural glow." However, these are simply not suited toward oily skin. Many contain oils and/or moisturizers that will clog pores and cause oily skin to feel sticky all day long. Pasty and oily is not what they had in mind when advertising products for “glowing” skin!

How to get natural looking dewy makeup - even if you have oily skin.

How to get natural looking dewy makeup - even if you have oily skin.

As a general rule, you always want to achieve a matte complexion first, then add your highlighting products afterwards, to create a dewy look. Matte makeup will create the perfect base, allowing highlighter to last all day, and helping you stay oil-free.

Right: Notice in the top "right" picture, how the model's face is matte and shine-free - yet still looks fresh and vibrant? That's because she applied matte foundation and powder before applying highlighter.

Wrong: In the lefthand "wrong" picture, the model's face looks like she needs some serious oil removal! Shine is present on her nose, forehead, cheekbones, and under her eyes. That black eyeliner is beginning to smudge. This is not your optimal fresh-faced look!

Step 1: Apply Matte Makeup

As I’ve mentioned in a few of my other posts regarding makeup for oily skin, selecting a water-based foundation is a must. Any makeup with an oil base will not be long-lasting and will cause skin to look greasy. It can also plug pores and lead to acne breakouts. This also applies to moisturizer—make sure to select one that is lightweight and oil-free.

Use Matte Foundation Before Highlighting

Use Matte Foundation Before Highlighting

Dinair Glamour Foundation is water-based and provides amazing coverage. The website advertises its use with the airbrush spray gun, but you do not need a bunch of fancy equipment to apply this makeup. It can be applied like any other foundation, using fingertips or a makeup sponge. As an added bonus, this foundation is water-resistant!

If you're looking for a drugstore brand, try L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation. This is one of the only drugstore brands that stays matte for a few hours, blends well, and also provides decent coverage.

Step 2: Apply Highlighter

Next, apply highlighter to the key areas below. Makeup artist describe these areas as “locations where light naturally hits your face.” Place highlighter according to the circles on these diagrams, following either Method # 1 or Method # 2.

Whether you have light skin or dark skin, these sections normally house dark shadows, which can make you appear tired & older. Highlighting enhances any skin tone. By adding a hint of brightness with highlighter, you’ll automatically achieve a dewy, youthful glow—without looking oily.

How to Highlight for a Dewy Look Without Looking Greasy

How to Highlight for a Dewy Look Without Looking Greasy

Best Highlighters

Here are my best recommendations for highlighter products:

Benefit Cosmetics High Beam: This one is a liquid highlighter, housed in a small bottle with a tiny brush. It allows for very precise application and provides a beautiful glow. Since it's in liquid form, it's best for those with combination to oily skin.

ELF All Over Color Stick Highlighter: This product in "Persimmon #3102" makes a great dupe for Benefit if you're looking to save a few bucks. The main difference is that the Benefit is in liquid form, and the ELF is in stick form. Since it isn't as liquid as the Benefit formula, it's good for those with oily skin. When applied to the skin, the two look almost identical.

Mattify Cosmetics Highlighter: This is a mineral powder highlighter (perfect for people who don't like the way liquid or stick highlighters can smudge foundation). It feels feather light—yet still provides a dewy, glowy look. The product also contains a built-in primer for added oil control and is best for those with oily to very oily skin.

Step 3: Apply Matte Powder

In order to lock your look in place, it’s important to use a matte setting powder. Without this, you will find that oil begins to ruin your look within a couple of hours. Setting powder will help absorb oil as it begins to surface, and prevents foundation from dissolving—giving you longer-lasting makeup.

Try Mattify Cosmetics ULTRA Powder for Oily Skin. Use a fluffy brush to apply the powder, or pat it on with a powder puff until it becomes invisible. This powder is completely transparent and can even be applied before your foundation as an oil absorbent primer. If you’re acne-prone or oily, this is a must-have product for staying shine-free.

Set makeup and highlighter using transparent matte powder

Set makeup and highlighter using transparent matte powder

Mission Accomplished! A Non-Greasy, Dewy Complexion

Your complexion now looks youthful and dewy, without a greasy layer of shine. Matte foundation takes care of oiliness, while highlighting adorns your face in a beautiful glow that will bring new vibrancy to your makeup look.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Mariana Fuzaro from São Paulo, Brazil on September 04, 2015:

Thank you! I have extremely oily skin and always use pancake instead of foundation. I've tried oil-free foundation but my skin ends up sticky even so.