If you've been flipping through your Instagram feed and thinking, "Dang, why can't I get my skin to look like that." Don't worry, I've got you girl. I've created this makeup tutorial to show you how to get glowing skin with makeup, and the bonus is: I'm going to let you in on some pro secrets about highlighters.
When you watch the tutorial, don't freak out that I didn't show you how to do the same eye makeup, because I actually created a separate video and post for that -- which just means more for you. You can completely recreate the entire makeup look I did on my lovely model, Franzi.
Disclosure: The featured products contain affiliated links. However, as always, I only recommend things that I would use or have used.
Step 1 - Clean your skin
Start on clean skin. This seems like a given, but just in case you're lazy and you're the person who does a quick wipe away of the makeup you slept on last night, this is for you. You need to clean your skin. Makeup sits so much better on skin that has been taken care of.
Since Franzi didn't have any makeup on, I used a face wipe to do a little exfoliation and remove anything that might've been left on the skin.
Step 2 - Use a softening lotion
A softening lotion will condition and boost depleted skin with moisture for a smoother, more supple look. It leaves the skin looking refreshed, exceptionally soft, more clarified and brightened. It's not a miracle product by any means, but it does help the skin look a little better.
I put a bit in the center of a cotton round and wipe it over the skin.
Step 3 - Apply a moisturizer
Applying moisturizer is essential. If you do have an oily skin type, choose a moisturizer that will help control the shine. On the other hand you could have secretly undercover dry skin, so pay attention to which kind of moisturizer you should really be using.
I like to use a brush to massage the moisturizer into the skin when I'm doing makeup on someone else. On my own face I use clean hands. So either way, work that moisturizer in.
Step 3 - Wet highlighter or illuminating cream
There are quite a few illuminating or illuminzing creams out there. I do love this one Wonder Glow by Charlotte Tilbury since it looks really natural. When getting glowing skin, this sort of a product either mixed in with your foundation or used before it really gives your skin a boost. And if you just so happen to be one of the luckily gals who don't need foundation, you can use this all by itself.
I chose to use it before the foundation and applied it all over using a synthetic brush.
Step 4 - Choose a "natural" or "dewy" finish foundation
When your skin is discolored it can take away from the focus being on a dewy finish. So I like to choose foundations that give some coverage, but aren't too heavy. You also want to select a foundation that has a "natural" or "dewy" finish. Most foundations will tell you what the finish is. Obviously, stay away from a matte finish.
I chose to use MAC's Face & body. It feels moisturizing, gives very light coverage, and maintains a very natural finish. I almost always apply foundation with a damp sponge; I will either use water or a setting spray to make it damp. Avoid brushes and buffing motions if you have ANY dry skin. That will lift the dry patches, and you'll end up looking even more "scaly" (you dry-skinned gals know what I mean).
Since I like foundation to last, I chose to set it with a transparent powder. I only used a very small amount of product and very lightly dusted the face. This will take away a tiny bit of the dewy, so if you have dry skin you can probably skip that. But the rest of us, combo and oily skinned peeps, I recommend setting.
Step 5 - Perfect with a concealer
It's beyond me why people just pack on foundation to cover a few problem areas, when using a concealer is going to give much more natural-looking and better results overall -- but whatevs. There are a few color-theory rules you must follow, but it's worth the little extra time.
My favorite concealer products tend to be creams, and I often use a full coverage cream foundation instead of an actual concealer. Apply with a synthetic brush, and use your fingertips to blend it in. Lightly dust with transparent powder to keep it from going anywhere.
Step 6 - Contour your face
I like to add a contour most of the time, but particularly if I've used foundation. While foundation does make your complexion pretty, it also takes away some of the natural shadowing your face has. Beauty is all about proportions, so it makes sense that you would need to add those shadows back in. Contouring also gives you the chance to balance your face shape, so I say do it.
Years ago, I found this blush product by MAC named "Taupe" and it's wonderful for a decent range of light to medium skin tones. It doesn't have any red or orange undertones, so yes, it's more on the cool side. See, where I'm going with this? It's perfect for face shadows.
Step 7 - Blush is a must
Blush is a must in my book. It makes the skin look alive. If you choose a blush that compliments your skin tone and apply it properly it will look like natural coloring, and that's what you want. Sure there are exceptions like, someone with really bad rosacea or someone with naturally flushed cheeks, but the rest of us are missing out on the youthful-look benefit that blush provides when we don't use one.
I typically use two colors of blush but this time, since I'm applying it so lightly, I chose to go with a warm orange-undertoned blush by MAC.
Step 8 - Highlight
Did you suddenly become excited when you read, "Step 8 - Highlight". I totally did as soon as I wrote it. But I have been called a highlighter hoarder, so you know.
Ok, so here's the tip that you have been dying to hear. The pro trick to highlighting is to 1.) Choose a highlighter that matches your skin tone, and 2.) Only apply it to the tops of your cheeks, tip of your nose, the bridge (optional), and your cupids bow.
I also do a double application. I use a big fluffy brush to get a broader part of the above mentioned sections, and then I use my finger to apply it in a more concentrated amount to all the high points of the face.
Franzi, has an olive skin tone so I thought I would test out the Laura Mercier golden highlighter. I do think that it is a tad too yellow for Franzi, but still wearable for her. So, if you feel like you have a yellow undertone more so than any other undertone, that highlighter will be heavenly on you. If you need help selecting the right highlighter for you, then you gotta check out my highlighter blog post! It will be so helpful.
Step 9 - Give your lips a little glow
In my professional opinion, having a subtly glossy lip completes dewy skin. I love using Carmex for that! I use it before I put on a lipstick and it just adds the slightest bit of shine.
Sometimes the natural color of the lips matches perfectly, and sometimes it doesn't. Since Franzi's lips were a little too much on the red side, I chose to use MAC's "Pretty Please" to make them a little more pink and soft.
Step 10 - Enhance your eyes
Sometimes just using an eyebrow gel and a volumizing mascara can be the perfect pairing to glowing skin, but if you want to know how I did the eye makeup for this, then check out the accompanying blog post and video makeup tutorial.
It's time for you to glow girl. Any questions? I would love to help. Just leave your question in the comments below.
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I am a professional makeup artist and licensed cosmetologist. I absolutely enjoy sharing hair and makeup tips to help others enhance their natural beauty. Trust me, you're gorgeous.