The days of ultra-matte makeup are long gone — for now at least — as radiant complexions have officially taken over. In recent years, glowing skin has been on the rise, with cult-favorite brands like Glossier encouraging consumers to swap their powders for dewier alternatives like luminous foundations and liquid highlighters. And now, makeup artists and aficionados are going for even more dewiness, with the latest trend being a full-on wet effect.
The ubiquity of the wet makeup trend is undeniable. The hashtag #wetmakeup has amassed over 3.2 million views on TikTok and almost 25,000 posts on Instagram. Posts show the most enviably-glowing faces with creators sharing how they achieve the look using hero products like glosses and highlighters that have more sheen than sparkle. Celebrities like Bella Hadid and Hailey Beiber are getting in on the trend, too.
So, what is wet makeup exactly? “The wet makeup look is a more intense but less shimmery version of the glowy skin we’ve seen in seasons past,” celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman tells GLAM. Much like the wet hair trend, it emulates the still-damp dewiness of a fresh-from-the-shower look. Or, perhaps that pretty sheen you have after a really good sweat-session.
Rather than using shimmery products that reflect light, the goal is to create a high-shine finish with glossy textures. This gives the complexion a more natural-looking dewiness. “I think people are tired of the heavy makeup look, and the wet makeup trend is the antithesis of the heavily contoured and highlighted look,” Dorman says.
How to create the wet makeup look
If you want to try the wet makeup trend, it’s important to start with your skincare. “Make sure to prep the skin well so it’s properly hydrated,” Dorman says. “This will make a huge difference as to how long the wet finish will last.” She recommends using a humectant moisturizer, like Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer. Then, top it with a facial oil to lock in moisture, she says, pointing to LOLI Beauty’s Plum Elixir Organic Revitalizing Face Oil.
When it comes to makeup, there isn’t one particular way to go about getting a wet look, but glosses and glitter-free highlighters seem to be the most popular products being used. (Keep scrolling for specific recommendations.) After applying your complexion products of choice, you’ll want to add gleam to certain areas of the face that catch the light: the cheekbones, brow bones, cupid’s bow, down the bridge of the nose, and on the center of the forehead. Ultra-glossy lips and eyelids are also key to creating a wet finish.
Products picks for the wet makeup trend
Dorman likes using this dual-sided clear gel to create the wet makeup look. One side adds a glass-like shine and the other mattifies. You can use it to change up the texture of your skin, strategically adding dewiness to certain areas of the face and mattifying others for contrast, she says.
This lightweight gel layers seamlessly over makeup, adding a transparent veil of high shine wherever you apply it. You can also mix it in with foundation for more of a luminous finish.
This multi-use gloss isn’t goopy or sticky, making it ideal for creating a wet effect on eyes, cheeks, and lips.
Another way to add allover dew? Balms. This translucent formula delivers a super-glossy finish with no shimmer. Tap it onto the high points of your face and use your fingers to melt it into the skin.
As demonstrated on TikTok, the last step to a wet makeup look is a heavy-handed spritz of makeup setting spray. This one was formulated specifically to give skin an ultra-dewy, hydrated look.