I’ll do almost anything to get glowing, dewy, Glossier-campaign-level skin. I’ve tried techniques inspired by the expected—supermodels and makeup artists—and the unexpected, like dairy (both cream and butter) and glass. The newest shiny skin ideal that’s all over my Instagram comes from another unlikely source: dolphins.
Its name coined by makeup artist Mary Phillips, an ambassador for Iconic London, which pioneered the trend, dolphin skin is essentially how you’d imagine your face looking after a dip in the pool—slick, sun-kissed, and a little slippery. While the trend is similar to glass skin in that it’s all about a super-radiant, smooth, luminous complexion, achieving the former is rooted in your skin-care routine, while dolphin skin can be achieved by strategically piling on the highlighter. Since it’s also about looking a little wet, it happens to be the perfect summer vibe, since it’s impossible to leave the house this year without a steady stream of sweat.
Personally, I can’t resist a ridiculously named beauty trend, and I’ll also never tire in my quest for glowing skin. And although my acne-prone complexion could never truly reach glass levels, I decided to put dolphin skin to the test. I called in the help of makeup artist and CEO of her eponymous beauty brand Danessa Myricks, who’s known for her signature dewy looks, to break it down for me.
While this is more of a makeup-centered trend, what you do before is crucial for setting the stage. “Prepping and preparing your natural skin is the key to maximizing this dewy, hyper-radiant look,” says Myricks. “Even if you’ve been naughty and have ignored your skin-care routine, there are a few instant solutions you can use before adding your glowing makeup elements.”
First, perk up your complexion and enhance your natural radiance by exfoliating. Myricks likes to use a peel pad for chemical exfoliation or a nubby cloth like the Croon Pad for physical exfoliation. Another way to exfoliate is using a dermaplaning device like Dermaflash (or an eyebrow razor). “It’s an easy, effective at-home solution for instantly creating a flawless canvas by removing the oldest layer of dead skin cells while eliminating peach fuzz,” says Myricks. “The skin radiates immediately after.”
After exfoliating, Myricks swears by a five-minute hydrating mask. Last, prep your skin with a dry oil like Myrick’s Beauty Oil to deeply hydrate your skin without leaving a greasy feeling behind. “To dial up the amplified glowing effect, try an oil infused with reflective pearls or a moisturizer with prismatic or brightening pearls,” she says.
I got a bit of a sunburn yesterday so I skipped exfoliation and went with the Avène Tolerance Extreme Mask for my moisture mask. I then prepped my skin with Mutha’s new face oil, which smells incredible and leaves my skin glowing, not greasy.
Build Your Base
“This look is best achieved when it is built up in layers starting with your skin-care and skin-prep routine,” says Myricks. “Use complexion products that are hydrating and have a luminous finish, and then amp up the look with hyper-radiant highlighting products like balms and oils as the perfect cherry on top.”
After you’ve done your skin prep, go ahead and apply your foundation as usual. It’s best to keep things glowy, so use a luminous primer and foundation for maximum dew. But if you’re on the oily side, using a matte foundation and strategically adding glow later will keep things from sliding into grease territory. I used Benefit’s POREfessional Pearl Primer for some luminosity but stuck with my favorite Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Foundation for more coverage, and to avoid a shiny forehead.
$44.00, Charlotte Tilbury
$32.00, Benefit Cosmetics
And now for the part you’ve been waiting for: adding the “dolphin” dew. Keep in mind that the strategy here is all about adding shine to targeted areas so you look gleaming, not as if you just dunked your head in oil.
“Glow looks beautiful on all of the natural high points of the face,” says Myricks. “The bridge of the nose, the small area between the brows, the brow bone, the temples, the tops of the cheekbone and chin are perfect points to target.” She notes you should avoid placing the glow around your nose and forehead.
When you’re choosing what products to use, remember that this is all about that wet-looking, natural shine, so skip anything with glitter in favor of layering dewy balms and creams. Start with either a cream or powder highlighter; Myricks recommends her Illuminating Veil and Light Work Palette, respectively. The secret here is to add a crystal-clear balm or gloss on top, to give you that dolphin-like sheen. Myricks recommends her Dew Wet Balm a clear dewy balm with no shimmer and a Glamour favorite for glass skin.
I didn’t have the Dew Wet Balm on hand, so I used a bit of Pat McGrath’s Highlighter & Balm Duo, which I layered with the Bodyography Inner Glow Stick. You could also use Aquaphor or a clear lip gloss in a pinch.
$22.00, Danessa Myricks
$48.00, Pat McGrath Labs
$18.00, Tower 28
$50.00, Patrick Ta
After taking the trend for a test run myself, I can confidently say that this is an easy way to dive into the glowing-skin trend. Since I'm pretty on top of my skin care, the only real addition to my usual routine was some strategically placed balm. One note: To get it to show up in a photo, I had to apply an absurd amount of dewy balm, which could be a byproduct of my shitty home lighting, so just keep that in mind if you’re doing this for Instagram—which, to be honest, is probably the only reason many of us are wearing makeup at all now. Still, I appreciate the way it adds life to my skin, and something about adding balm on the bridge of my nose and temples looks so fresh. If you need me, I’ll be applying highlighter and pretending to be a mermaid until 2020 is over.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
Originally Appeared on Glamour