When it comes to foundation, you’ll find many different finishes including matte, satin, full or light coverage, tinted moisturisers and of course, dewy. The best dewy foundations are designed to give the appearance of a healthy and glowing complexion and are especially fitting for the warmer months or if you want your skin to look luminous all year round.
Depending on your skin type and the type of coverage you’re looking for, there are several different dewy options available – and we’ve put them all to the test. Check out our buying guide below for some key information to consider before you decide to buy, or scroll on for reviews of our recommended dewy foundations.
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Best dewy foundations: At a glance
How to choose the best dewy foundation for you
What makes a foundation dewy?
Dewy foundations make your skin look glowy and hydrated. Most don’t completely cover the natural skin that is underneath, offering light coverage instead. They enhance your natural skin and reflect light, to make skin appear more hydrated and youthful.
What skin types do dewy foundations work for?
Even though the word dewy may lead you to believe they might not work for oily or more acne-prone skin, many dewy foundations are suitable for all skin types. That being said, not every dewy foundation is created equally or with every skin type in mind. Below we’ve picked out the best options for dry, oily and mature skin, with most of the dewy foundations on our list suiting those with a normal skin type.
If you struggle with an oily or greasy forehead, T-zone or nose, it means that you most likely have oily skin, so you’ll want to avoid foundations that add too much shine. Those with dry or dehydrated skin, however, will be looking for formulations that add hydration back into the skin when they’re applied. The great thing about a dewy foundation is that no matter what issues you have with your skin, the glow it produces makes skin look healthier and more nourished.
What is the best way to apply dewy foundation?
When it comes to applying dewy foundation, you have a couple of different options available. For those who prefer applying their foundation with a beauty sponge, we recommend wetting the sponge lightly and then applying a pump or two of your chosen foundation directly onto the sponge. You can then stipple it onto the skin to both build up coverage and blend it out seamlessly.
Alternatively, you can use a buffing brush to buff the foundation into the skin or even use your fingers to blend it out.
Is there a way to tone down the dewiness if I need to?
There may be certain occasions when you wish to mattify your foundation, for example in the sweltering summer heat. If this is the case, we suggest applying a light dusting of powder on top to take away some of that glow. You can use a pressed or loose powder to this, as both will behave in the same way, setting the foundation a little, without compromising too much of the glowy finish.
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How much should I spend?
While most dewy foundations are in that mid-range price bracket between £30 and £35, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t more affordable versions available, as you’ll see below. If you’re looking to splurge or invest in a great dewy foundation, you don’t need to spend any more than £45 to £50 for brilliant results.
The best dewy foundation to buy
1. NARS Cosmetics Sheer Glow Foundation: The best all-round dewy foundation
Price: £35 | Buy now from Look Fantastic
This lightweight foundation provides a glowing, satin finish to the skin, making it look more luminous and hydrated. It’s a buildable foundation but the word sheer in its name can be a little misleading. Rather than being see-through, it minimises visible discoloration and redness and lightly covers any imperfections without masking the skin completely.
We’ve worn this for a full day in the summer and not had to worry about touching it up. It also works for almost all skin types, to give you flawless-looking skin without too much weight.
Key details – Vegan: No; Fragrance-free: Yes; Dermatologist tested: Yes
Buy now from Look Fantastic
2. Exa High Fidelity Foundation: The best dewy foundation for oily skin
Price: £35 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Those with oily skin may assume a dewy foundation would only make their skin look more shiny. However, Exa’s is perfect for oily or acne prone skin and packs a lot into one bottle.
With over 40 shades to choose from, covering a vast array of undertones and skin shades, this semi-satin finish controls oily areas without drying out the skin. Hyaluronic acid adds hydration, keeping your foundation looking just as good as it did when you first applied it, and maqui berry acts as a soothing agent to reduce any inflammation. Those who live in cities or suburban settings will also be happy to know that this formulation is enriched with anti-pollution actives. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.
Key details – Vegan: Yes; Fragrance free: Yes; Dermatologist tested: Yes
Buy now from Cult Beauty
3. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation: The best dewy foundation for dry skin
Price: £43 | Buy now from John Lewis