There’s no denying the hold that glowing, “no-make-up” make-up trends have had on us for the past few years. Various iterations have made headlines and flooded our feeds: glass, glazed donut, laminated, candlelit. Whatever you call it, the common denominator is dew.

Basically, you want to seem like you’ve worked up a sweat – while also looking nothing like you’ve been sweating. It’s no small feat (especially when you actually are).

As the line between skincare and make-up continues to blur, the key to mastering a dewy complexion lies in the ingredients listed on the bottle. Products that promise to hydrate, protect and repair your skin are the stars this summer. And if they have SPF in the mix, it's a bonus.

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The skin tint

The skin tint is this year's answer to the CC and BB creams of summers past. Sitting somewhere between a hydrating serum or moisturiser and a full-coverage foundation, skin tints are generally fluid in texture with a natural finish. They create a solid base that still lets your skin shine through (think freckles on show but refined texture). Ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalene and marula oil are to thank for the skincare-like effect of these products. Rationale Beautiful Skin Superfluid SPF50 C3, Summer Fridays sheer skin tint and Eye of Horus skin tint serum each vow to give you that “your skin but better” vibe. The just-launched (and already sold out) Queen Screen SPF50 Super Glow Drops from Ultra Violette are another subtle superstar to try – the brand is restocking later in the summer.

The concealer

The art of nailing no-make-up make-up is knowing when to cover up, and where. Concealers that brighten the under eye and blur imperfections are your best friend. Be on the lookout for creamy formulas that won’t cake or crease (again, nourishing ingredients are the key here). Eye of Horus Triple C concealer, Kosas Revealer concealer and Estee Lauder Double Wear and each has a cult following, with good reason.

The bronzer

When it comes to bronzer, you want to go for subtle sun-kissed shine rather than the muddy overload of the early 2000s (one Y2K trend we’re happy to leave in the past). To master this, be strategic with your placement. For a contoured effect, apply bronzer to the points of your face that would naturally catch the sun: cheekbones, forehead, chin and décolletage. The Eye of Horus Complexion Duo Luminate does double duty, offering bronzer and blush in a single-mirrored compact for on-the-go ease. If you prefer a liquid formula, try mixing a few drops of Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops into your moisturiser or skin tint for an all-over glow. Naked Sundays offers its SPF 50 drops for extra sun protection. And Glossier’s Solar Paint is a fan favourite – ICYMI the brand now ships Down Under.

The blush

There’s a fine line between being suitably flushed and overdoing it. And while “sunburnt blush” is having its moment in the sun, a less-is-more approach has the biggest pay out on sweltering summer days. Choose a cream formula and apply to the high point of your cheeks, blending up into the hairline to give your face a lifted look. Rose Inc cream blush refillable cheek & lip colour, Naked Sundays SPF50 sheer glow balm in Rosé and Milk Makeup Bionic liquid blush each lets you build up colour for your desired level of rosiness.

The highlighter

Highlighter is the hero when it comes to creating a glowing finish. Generally the final step in your routine, you want to apply your chosen product to the highest points of your face, just above where you’ve blended your bronzer and blush. This will help to reflect natural light and enhance your features. Steer clear of anything with sparkle, opting for the subtle shimmer given by Holme Beauty highlighter, RMS beauty Magic Luminizer or Flavedo & Albedo High Glow. Drunk Elephant’s B-Goldi drops are another hot launch from 2023.

The lip gloss

Millennials rejoice, the lip gloss is back. Gone are the days of trying to maintain a matte lip through cocktail hour, as plump, glossy pouts make the perfect finishing touch for dewy complexions. Look for formulas that help hydrate and repair the effects of sun and wind, while offering a subtle wash of colour like Ere Perez Beetroot cheek & lip tint, Ilia Balmy gloss tinted lip oil and Ultra Violette Sheen Screen SPF50 lip balm.


The bonus round: sunscreen. Even though more and more make-up products are introducing SPF into the mix, it's important to stay topped up on your sunscreen throughout the day. Always start with a layer of SPF (you should apply about one teaspoon to your face and neck – measure it out, it's more than you think) like Ultra Violette Fave Fluid, Mother Universal Face SPF 50 or Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ superscreen beneath your make-up. Naked Sundays SPF50+ Hydrating Glow Mist Top Up and Ultra Violette Preen Screen are good choices for setting make-up or spritzing throughout the day.

Just make sure you learn the rules about chemical vs mineral sunscreens to make sure you’re getting the best protection.

This story was originally published December 22, 2022 and has since been updated.

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