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Skin Finishes: Matte vs. Dewy

Skin Finishes: Matte vs. Dewy

matte or dewy skin finishes

To matte or to dew. Oh, the choices we face as women! Dewy skin seems to have replaced matte as of late (think Jennifer Lopez at the Golden Globes and just about every supermodel worth mentioning), but matte was all the rage back in the day: Marilyn Monroe up to Madonna circa 1990s. So, while the current trend is certainly pointing towards dew, matte will definitely have a resurgence. And just because something is trendy, doesn’t mean it’s what will work best for you (one of life’s greater lessons!).

We turned to celebrity makeup artist Quinn Murphy, who painted the face of Natasha Lyonne for the Golden Globes and Nicola Peltz for the InStyle post-Globes party, and works with dewy-skinned goddesses like Kate Upton and Lily Aldridge on the regular, to find out the when, where, why, and how of the two most coveted skin finishes: matte and dewy.

What is the difference between matte and dewy skin?

The difference between matte and dewy skin has to do with the finish that the skin leaves; the amount of shine and radiance.  Matte skin is void of any excess oil. It has a more velvety finish that pulls light inward, often with a powdery texture.  Dewy skin has an almost moist appearance. It has natural oils that reflect light and create a radiance.

Why choose matte? Are there certain skin types that should only do matte?

Matte skin is good for people with excessively oily skin or acne/breakouts. People with this concern usually want to minimize the oil and prefer a matte formula that won’t add more moisture.

Why choose dewy? Are there certain skin types that should only do dewy?

Dewy skin is my favorite. It is young, fresh, and vibrant. It works well on any age including mature skin as it moisturizes and reflects light, softening any fine lines or imperfections. Dewy skin gives the appearance of health and an active life. And it’s sexy!

When wearing matte skin, how do you wear eyes and lips? 

It’s always good to play with textures when thinking about your makeup. If the skin is matte, I like to play with glossy, shimmery finishes in other parts of the makeup. Perhaps the lip has a sheen or is glossy, or a bit of shimmer or cream eyeshadow on the eyes.

When wearing dewy skin, how do you wear eyes and lips?

There are many ways to wear your makeup with dewy skin. I would make sure that the rest of the makeup isn’t too glossy or wet looking as it can be too much if it’s everywhere. Choose a feature to give a natural or matte finish to. It adds more texture and interest to your makeup.

5 best products for matte finishes?

1. NARS Matte Velvet Lip Pencils ($25) – Beautiful shades and easy to apply. Dragon Girl is a must for red lovers.
2. NARS Matte Eyeshadows ($25) – Coconut Grove and Blondie are just a few of my favorites. They are pigmented, easily blendable, and come in a great range of colors.
3. Benefit Bronzer in Hoola ($28) – It’s matte, not at all orangey, and is basically universal. Also doubles as a great contour.
4. Mac Prep and Prime Loose Powder ($26) – It’s finely milled and totally invisible. It won’t change the shade of your foundation or look chalky and white.
5. Armani Silk Eye Pencils ($28) – They are matte but easy to use and blend and smudge. All of the colors are great.

5 best products for dewy finishes?

1. Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($62) – The name says it all! Beautiful, luxurious finish but not greasy. Simply the best.
2. Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil ($150) – The top oil on the market; it smells like heaven. It’s smooth and ultra moisturizing for the perfect dewy finish.
3. RMS Cream Eyeshadow ($28) – Beautiful shades with subtle shimmer that are buildable and sultry.
4. Sonia Kashuk Sparkling Sands Highlighter ($11) – The perfect champagne shade to mimic natural dewy skin. This is a makeup artist secret weapon. It can be used on the body, too.
5. NARS Satin Lip Pencils ($25) – Highly pigmented and a beautiful range of colors. Easy to use and mix together; very modern.

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