How to Make Mineral Makeup Look Dewy, Straight From Pro Makeup Artists

Close up of a cream foundation and a powder foundation

Lumina / Stocksy

ICYMI, gone are the days of ultra-matte face makeup. Nowadays, beauty trends are heavily leaning toward plump, dewy, radiant skin that looks au naturel (even if it technically took several products to master). To achieve such a look, most makeup artists recommend opting for cream formulas due to their naturally dewier textures.

Here’s where things get tricky, though: Generally speaking, cream formulas work best for folks with balanced to dry skin, which leaves oily skin types (who more often opt for mineral and powder formulas) out in the dust when it comes to rocking one of the season’s top makeup trends. Or so you’d think. According to celebrity makeup artists, you can make mineral and powder makeup look dewy, too—you just have to know how.

Fortunately for us, celebrity makeup artists Jamie Greenberg and Kelsey Deenihan are here to tell all. Keep reading for their step-by-step instructions on how to make mineral makeup look dewy.

Meet the Expert

  • Jamie Greenberg is a celebrity makeup artist known for her work with Kaley Cuoco. Her clients also include Rashida Jones, Chelsea Handler, and Brittany O'Grady.
  • Kelsey Deenihan is a celebrity makeup artist who has worked with Maude Apatow, Millie Bobbie Brown, and Emma Chamberlain.
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Prep Your Skin

Since powder foundation is typically matte, if your goal is to achieve a dewy end look, you have to make your skin look as dewy as possible before dusting any mineral makeup on so that your base will shine through.

With this in mind, Greenberg says that her first step for any makeup look, but especially a mineral one, is to prep the skin with primer. “For a dewy look, you should go for anything moisturizing and light,” she says. “A luminous primer like Thrive's Brilliant Face Brightener Illuminating Primer ($35) is a great option and works well with powders.”

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Consider Your Formula

Not all mineral and powder foundations are created equal. While many are matte formulas, some are specifically designed with a radiant finish. So if you want to embrace a dewy, glowing complexion from the very first pigmented product you apply, look for powders with words like "luminous," "radiant," and "glowing" in the name. A few popular options include Huda Beauty's GloWish Lightweight Blurring Pressed Powder ($33), PÜR's 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15 ($30), and the SoftSculp Transforming Skin Perfector by Makeup By Mario ($34), which looks dewy and gorgeous on its own or over traditional powder foundation.

For an ultra-dewy end look, Greenberg and Deenihan say to apply this concept to all powder and mineral products. “Often people think a liquid highlighter will give the best blinding reflection but some of my favorite highlighters are powders,” says Deenihan. “Right now, I’m very into the Laura Mercier Face Illuminating Highlighting Powder, specifically the shade Champagne Highlight. It blends to perfection and melts into the skin for a true glow that looks radiant on the skin.” As for a powder product that increases the overall luminosity of the skin? A light dusting of the bareMinerals Pure Radiance Loose Highlighter Powder ($22) or Tarte's Shape Tape Vegan Glow Powder ($30) goes a long way. That’s the beauty of glitter-free radiance powders: Deenihan says that can be applied anywhere and everywhere you want to build a lit-from-within glow.

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Switch Up Your Application

After prepping the skin, you’re ready to apply your mineral or powder foundation. While fluffy brushes tend to be the most popular tool for applying powder makeup, Deenihan, who is a bareMinerals ambassador, says that adjusting your application can greatly affect how dewy your skin looks in the end.

  • Option 1: Skip the brush and opt for a sponge. “Try applying your foundation wet instead of dry,” Deenihan says. “I like to dampen a beauty sponge before picking up the product and applying it directly to the face in a stippling motion.” While the very thought of this might make you cringe due to the common misconception that adding moisture to powder makes for a cakey mess, she assures us that it can turn out beautifully if done right. “The moisture in the sponge will help set the texture of the powder foundation with a dewier finish,” she explains.
  • Option 2: Apply powder, then moisturizer. (Yes, really.) Unconventional as it may seem, Deenihan says that applying powder foundation followed by the tiniest taps of lightweight moisturizer can lead to a dewy visage. “Apply your powder foundation and then with your hands, take your moisturizer and lightly press over your face,” she instructs. “Lightly pressing a little moisturizer over the powder will let the full coverage powder stay in place but leave a glistening glow over the skin.” (And yes, she assures us that it won’t make your skin look cakey, so long as you only use a little bit.)
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Set With a Dewy Spray

Whether you follow the steps above or are hoping for a one-stop-shop for dewy-looking mineral made-up skin, a setting spray can help. When selecting your spray, Greenberg says to look for words like dewy (obviously), glowing, hydrating, and luminous. A few popular options are the Urban Decay Ultra Glow All Nighter Setting Spray ($33), the Dewy Set Setting Spray ($26) by Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Milk Makeup's Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray ($21). These setting sprays are designed to lock makeup in place for flawless-looking, longer-lasting wear while imparting a radiant glow—no matter the type (or finish) of the makeup used underneath. Just keep in mind that they’re meant to be sprayed from a distance (ideally, eight to 10 inches away from your face), as spritzing too close can lead to oversaturation and spotty coverage as a result.

The Final Takeaway

And there you have it: The tricks to making mineral makeup look dewy, according to two of the best-known makeup artists in Hollywood. The beauty of these tips is that they can be applied beyond powder and mineral foundation—they work for mineral makeup as a whole. So, if you love powder blush, bronzer, and highlighter but don’t want a matte finish, these tips can ensure that your skin looks radiant as can be.

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