How to Create a Dewy, Glowy Look Without Looking Like a 12 Year-Old

Get Glowing

I love the look of fresh, healthy and glowing skin.  That’s why I drink a ton of water, eat my weight in kale and slather on sunscreen even if I never leave the house.  But it’s also why I’m beyond obsessed with skin highlighters and illuminators that help create a dewy, glowy look.  Don’t believe me?  Just take a peek at my Sephora receipt.  I went a wee bit crazy during the big spring sale and scooped up a whopping NINE products in a search for the perfect glow maker.

My requirements?
1) Smooth consistency
2) ‘Wet’ finish
3) Easy application
4) Minimal pigment

I find those formulas tend to not accentuate fine lines and pores. And absolutely no glitter.  After all, I have no interest in looking like a 12-year-old.  I added two more products that weren’t available at Sephora.  I’ve reviewed a total of 11 amazing highlighters with great tips on how to create a dewy, glowy look you will love!

swatches on arm create a dewy glowy look, how to create a dewy, glowy look

How & Where Do I Apply It?

Liquid & Cream Formulas

Liquid and cream formulas can be worn alone or mixed with your moisturizer, sunscreen or even foundation.  This works especially well with a pigmented highlighter.  The result is really natural and gives a more all-over glow.  If that’s not your thing, you can just apply it on top of your makeup, after blush (great blush choices here), as a highlighter.  Just apply a teeny bit at a time to the tops of your cheekbones, brow bone, cupid’s bow and chin for a dewy, glowy look.

Balms & Sticks

Balms and stick formulations work best when applied directly on top of your skin (not mixed) whether you’re bare-faced or wearing makeup.  Again, aim for the high points – the spots on your face where the light would naturally hit.  Think the tops of your cheekbones, your brow bones, the center of your top lip and down the bridge of the nose. And, if you want to add a touch to the very tip of your nose, too, go for it!

Please let me know which highlighters you love – and don’t love – in the comments below. Besides, since I’m always ready to stretch the limits of my Amex card, I’ll happily road test your favorites! If you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to the newsletter to get more beauty inspiration here.

Super sheer with no pigment or shimmer, this balm has a smooth, non-greasy texture. Rub it on cheeks, forehead, lips, everywhere! I actually wear this all over my face for a super dewy look. It's excellent.
This gel-like highlighter manages to amp up the glow factor yet still feel super light. There's barely a hint of pigment, so you're simply left with plump, hydrated skin. If you have oilier skin, this may be the perfect highlighter for you!
Available in three shades, this formula is pretty rich, though it's not sticky, tacky or pigmented. I have this in the Rose Glow and it's perfection (I have light olive skin). I have used this alone, mixed with sunscreen, mixed with foundation and also directly on make-up. If you're fair-skinned, the Crystal Clear would look amazing. WOC will adore the Spectrum Bronze. It's tied as my most favorite!
This is so versatile. It can be used on its own (kind of like a primer), mixed with moisturizer or foundation for more oomph, or dabbed on top of your make-up for added glow. There is some pigment, but not enough to make it too shimmery or settle into fine lines. It comes in a few shades so most everyone can wear it, too.
I love how easy it is to apply. This particular one has more of a golden glow so it didn't really "pop" on my olive skin. I think it would be ideal on fairer complexions and even WOC.
The most PERFECT stick glow ever. Truly. Glides on smoothly and leaves almost a wet finish. I cannot believe it's $12. Get this NOW.
This has been on the market forever. It's actually a primer but still manages to perk up a dull complexion with reflective particles. It looks pink in the tube, but applies far more neutral with gold shimmer. A great choice if you need a primer/highlighter in one!
Every woman needs this in her beach bag. It's a fantastic sunscreen that you can use as a body highlighter, face highlighter, and more.
Ilia's Illuminator comes in 5 pretty shades. The formula and texture are great. But the shimmery finish was just a little too shimmery for me.
Gucci Westman is a world-renowned makeup artist who recently launched her own line. This highlight stick which comes in three shades, is nearly always sold out. If you want shimmer, this is for you.
Hmm. I wanted to LOVE this. After all, I'm a huge fan of Glossier's Future Dew and Cloud Paint. The texture was great, but this shade (Opalescent) was just off. Next time I'll try the Quartz shade which is supposed to be more universally flattering.
Join the Conversation

3 thoughts on “How to Create a Dewy, Glowy Look Without Looking Like a 12 Year-Old

    1. Hi Addison – So glad you liked the post! In terms of favorites, I have the say that the Saie product is pretty perfect. Because it’s a gel, it vanishes into the skin so it’s great on top of makeup. I also really love the Kevyn Aucoin product but only wear it alone or mixed with sunscreen since it’s so creamy. (Tip: if your sunscreen gives you a white cast, mix it with a bronzer or any illuminating product!) Let me know what you end up trying!


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