Glowing skin is in. But how does one achieve a dewy winter makeup look when colder temps dry and irritate skin more than usual? In short: With the right products like nutrient-rich moisturizers and shimmering facial mists.
“In cool climates, winter can be a challenging season for the skin— the alternation of outdoor cold with indoor heat tends to make it look dry and dull. A youthful, dewy makeup look is the best antidote,” makeup artist Brigitte Reiss-Andersen tells Vogue of the look. And so, we spoke with eight pro makeup artists to get the scoop on how to achieve the look now.
The pros emphasize the importance of boosting hydration of the skin even before diving into makeup. “One of the first steps in achieving a dewy makeup look in the winter is to start by exfoliating and hydrating the skin properly prior to any makeup application. Skin needs to be prepped to achieve any degree of dewiness, whether it’s an ultra glass look or just a hint of natural sheen,” explains celebrity makeup artist Robert Sesnek. “Exfoliating before any hydration allows removal of any dead skin cells, lets the serums and moisturizers really penetrate the skin’s surface, and allow products to do their thing.” Reiss-Andersen is a fan of Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate treatment, while pro makeup artist Shannon Pezzetta reaches for Youth To The People’s energy facial “because it does what it says. I use this product myself twice a week. You feel like you had a facial after using it. My skin is smooth, and it has a healthy glow.”
Sesnek continues that “dry and oily skin both need hydration especially in the winter months, just figure out which works best for your particular skin type and regimen. I find that most people can go a little heavier and up their moisturizer game in the colder winter months.” According to celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles, “You’ll want to layer rich face creams or oils with cream or liquid foundations and cream blushes for skin that looks plump, supple, and hydrated during the dry winter months.”
As a general rule of thumb, start applying lighter products first, then move onto thicker formulas. So, perhaps the Amorepacific Vintage Single Extract Essence is a solid starting point, coming at the recommendation of makeup artist Melissa Hurkman, who says it’s “packed with incredible ingredients to not only hydrate your skin but fight [signs of] aging. Then, add in your moisturizer of choice. Reiss-Andersen likes Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream to plump and soothe, otherwise celebrity makeup artist Lilly Keys shares two recommendations. For example, she loves how makeup blends after using the Osea Seabiotic Water Cream, while Clinique’s Moisture Surge will leave you glowing for hours.
Moving onto oils, Pezzetta likes the Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil for before and after makeup. “I use a small amount before all over the face, and then after I do my makeup, I use it on the apples of my cheeks for extra glow.” And Reiss-Andersen uses a similar methodology with Chanel’s Huile De Jasmine. “For extra radiance and glow, I love to add a drop of oil to the foundation and then apply it with a damp soft sponge.”
Perfect The Base
“Choose a sheer liquid foundation to show off the natural quality of the skin,” says Reiss-Andersen, who would reach for Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation. “Most foundations that have luminous or luminizing qualities tend to be more sheer to medium coverage. Fuller coverage foundation tends to have pigment and contain less glowing ingredients,” explains Sesnek. Otherwise, Stiles covets the Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Fluid Natural Foundation. This has quickly become a favorite of mine. A beautiful formula full of skin-loving ingredients with a radiant finish that looks like a second skin.”
But don’t be afraid to mix products together for better results. “I love [the Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray] to help blend makeup by spraying my blending sponge as I do someone’s base. It softens foundation and powder while keeping redness at bay and inflammation down,” says makeup artist Andre Sarmiento, even for those with sensitive skin.
At the end of the day, your blending method is a personal choice. But for celebrity makeup artist Grace Pae, “I personally think applying any liquid or cream products with a Beautyblender or sponge results in a dewier look than using a brush or your fingers. It helps melt it into your skin for a seamless application.”
Now that skin is prepped properly, using radiant, luminous formulas will add some depth and hints of sparkle to your makeup look. “Another product that you can add either into your foundation or as a highlighter is Armani Fluid Sheer Enhancer,” explains Sesnek, continuing that “mixing this can be used as a glowing enhancement to foundation or as a blush or bronzer.” Similarly, you can also look towards Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter—a product that’s been rising in popularity lately on TikTok, and now recommended by Hurkman.
After finalizing foundation, “Give yourself a nice post-spa look with a rubbed-in blush like Trinny London’s Sheer Shimmer or a creamy glow bronzer like the RMS Beauty Buriti Cream Bronzer,” says Reiss-Andersen.
“Next is the go-to classic trick for a dewy skin look is to use an iridescent product along the cheekbone,” she continues. “It can be subtle (think the Chanel Baume Essentiel Multi-Use Glow Stick) applied with fingertips or high bling (Lancôme Dual Finish Highlighter) swept on with a brush.” Stiles likes this Chanel stick too. “This product gives skin a soft, stunning glow with zero sparkle, just the smallest hint of sheen, which lets the skin look healthy and radiant without looking like makeup. (It comes in several tints, plus a version with no reflective particles). It’s a favorite of mine to instantly bring life to the skin.”
“Highlighter creams and balms are a must for the dewy skin look. I love adding these to the high points of the face, bridge of the nose, the cupid’s bow, and sometimes even on the eyelids and lips to add sheen and dewiness to these areas,” Sesnek says. “Adding glow strategically to those areas really makes everything pop and glow even more. I find it especially makes all the difference in photographs. One of my all-time go-to highlighters is Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Highlighter + Balm Duo.” And for his other glow hack? “Another favorite way to have a monochromatic look with dewiness is adding gloss to the lips, which I love as it adds a balance to the overall glowing look. My favorite I’ve been using for years, is the Dior Addict Stellar Gloss!”
A Pop of Color
While a pigmented blush may not be necessary for dewy winter makeup, it can add a nice flush of color—especially if you prefer a sunkissed, warm face. “Cream blush is another way to add additional luminosity and sheen to the skin. I always use a cream blush even if I add a powder blush over cream and layer product. It really gives the skin a lit from within look and is another way to add dimension,” explains Sesnek. His favorites are the Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Color that’s been in his kit for years or Fenty Beauty’s Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush for its shade selection and texture.
Set The Look
Ensure your look wears well all day with the right setting products. Consider the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dewy Set Setting Spray. “I love this spray because it seems to give the right amount of glow no matter your skin type. This spray sets your makeup while giving you radiance without any shimmers or glitters,” says Sarmiento. Next, Sesnek loves Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Mist. “I use a mist prior to preparing the skin so the serums and moisturizers really sink in better. These sprays can be used all over or strategically to high points depending on your desired glow.” Pro tip from Pae: “If the face looks too matte or the makeup looks too heavy at the end, spraying the Tatcha mist will help the makeup blend into the skin and give a fresher look to the skin. If you tend to get oily in the t-zone, just spray the sides of your face and avoid spraying the center of your face.”
If hydration is your concern, he is also a fan of the Rare Beauty Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist because it “works to keep texture balanced no matter your skin concern. It seems to bring the right kind of moisture whether you [have] dry or combination [skin].” Furthermore, Hurkman would reach for Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray. “Spraying this at the end of the makeup application will subdue any powdery finish to your skin and lock and all of those products.”
And certainly, there is a thing as being too oily. For setting spray, Sarmiento likes Benefit Cosmetic’s Porefessional formula. “This spray controls oil while also blurring pores and texture. It’s so effective because it combats the things that bring out texture so you end up with a long lasting smooth appearance.” For on the go maintenance, Reiss-Andersen recommends using the Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Blotting Papers “if you’re concerned about looking too shiny.”