How To Make Foundation Dewy But Not Oily

Dewy foundations have been all the rage lately, but it can be hard to find a foundation that doesn’t look oily by the end of the day.

If you have oily skin, you know the struggle of trying to achieve a dewy look without looking like a grease ball.

Matte foundations are usually the go-to for oily skin, but sometimes you want that healthy, dewy look without all the shine.

Here are our tips on how to make your foundation dewy but not oily:

How do you get dewy makeup not greasy

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Start With A Good Skincare Routine

skincare routine

Before you even think about the foundation, you must have a good skincare routine. This means cleansing your face every day, exfoliating regularly, and using a light moisturizer.

Exfoliating is key to achieving a dewy look, as it will help eliminate dead skin cells that might make your foundation look patchy.

It will also help illuminate dull skin and give you an excellent, even base to work with.

Using a light but dewy moisturizer is also essential, as it will help to hydrate the skin without making it look greasy.

Avoid using a rich moisturizer under foundation, as this will only make your skin look oily.

You can skip moisturizing the center of your face, as this is usually where the majority of oiliness occurs. Instead, focus on the outer areas of the face, such as the sides of your forehead, the top of your cheekbones, and down your jawline.

TIP: Allow your skincare products to sink in for a few minutes before moving on to the foundation, as this will help to ensure that your foundation goes on evenly.

Apply A Mattifying Primer

nyx shine killer primer

Once your skin is prepped and ready, it’s time to apply a mattifying primer.

If you have oily skin, using a primer is necessary to control shine and oiliness throughout the day, giving you a much better chance of achieving a dewy, not oily, look.

Many primer formulas are available on the market, so make sure to choose a mattifying primer.

Pore-minimizing primers help to blur the appearance of pores and create an overall smooth canvas for your foundation. However, they might not help keep your foundation from looking oily.

Dewy primers, on the other hand, can make your foundation look oily by the end of the day. So, if you’re prone to shine, it’s best to steer clear of dewy primers and use a mattifying one instead.

Look for a primer that contains oil-absorbing ingredients which will help to absorb excess oil and keep your makeup looking fresh all day long.

You don’t need to apply primer all over your face. Be sure to focus on the areas that tend to get oily, such as the t-zone.

When it comes to primer, less is more. Start with a pea-sized amount and dab it gently onto the skin.

Once it’s applied, leave it for a couple of minutes to set before moving on to the foundation.

Apply A Liquid Highlighter

charlotte tilbury highlighter

For a glowy look, I like to apply a liquid highlighter to the high points of the face before the foundation.

This will help give the skin a nice healthy glow and make the foundation look more dewy.

Choose a subtle formula that’s not overly glittery or sparkly, especially if you have mature skin.

I love the strobe cream for this purpose, as it has a beautiful shiny finish that’s not too over the top.

To apply, focus on the areas where light would naturally hit the face, such as the tops of the cheekbones and down the center of the nose.

Start with a small amount to prevent your highlighter from looking oily. Use a small fluffy brush to blend it in. Avoid using your fingers to prevent any oils from transferring to the skin.

TIP: If you don’t have a liquid highlighter, you can also use a lightweight face oil. Just make sure to use a small amount, as too much oil will make your foundation look greasy.

Apply A Dewy Setting Spray (optional)

hydrating mist

You can apply a dewy setting spray before the foundation to prep your skin for the makeup and create a dewy finish.

This will help give your foundation extra staying power and make it look more glowy.

The setting spray will also create a barrier between your skin and the foundation, which will help your skin to look less greasy.

I like the MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ because it has a nice light mist and dries down quickly.

Make sure to hold the bottle about 6-8 inches from your face and spray a small amount to prevent the foundation from looking too wet.

You can also use some setting sprays without foundation, which will give your skin a nice healthy glow.

Choose A Semi-Matte Foundation

revlon candid foundation

If you want a dewy look, choose a foundation with a satin or semi-matte finish, not too matte and not too dewy.

The difference between a matte and a dewy foundation is the finish. A matte foundation will have a flat, almost powdery finish, while a dewy foundation will make your skin look too shiny.

A semi-matte foundation will give your skin a healthy glow without making it look too oily, and it will also provide the necessary coverage without making your skin look cakey.

As your natural oils start to come through during the day, the foundation will start to look more dewy.

There are many great semi-matte foundations on the market, so take your time to find one that’s right for you.

When choosing a foundation, it’s essential to find one that matches your skin tone perfectly. The last thing you want is your foundation to look like a mask.

Test the foundation on your jawline, as this will give you a good idea of whether the foundation is too light or too dark for your skin.

Choosing a foundation formula that doesn’t look heavy on the skin is also essential. You want your foundation to look like skin, not like a thick layer of makeup.

This Photoready Candid Foundation is one of my favorites. It’s lightweight, buildable, and has a semi-matte finish that looks natural on the skin.

If you don’t have a semi-matte foundation and you don’t want to get a new one, you still can use your matte foundation to get a dewy look.

Mix your foundation with a moisturizer or face oil to make it look more glowy. However, doing so may cause the foundation to wear off more quickly.

Use The Right Tools

makeup sponge or brush

You can apply your foundation with a brush or a sponge to get a natural and dewy finish.

Although using your fingers to apply foundation is a popular method, the oils from your fingers can end up on your skin and make your foundation look greasy.

I prefer a damp beauty blender because it provides excellent, even coverage without making the skin look cakey.

Beauty sponges need to be damp because they’ll make your foundation look streaky if they’re too wet. You must wash them after each use as they can harbor bacteria.

If you prefer a brush, spray it with a dewy face mist. This will help to add some glow to the skin and will make the foundation look more dewy.

Apply one or two dots of foundation to the back of your hand and dab the brush into it. Start by layering the foundation and applying it to the areas that need more coverage.

Use gentle buffing motions, as this will help to create a natural, even finish.

The key to getting a dewy finish is to apply less foundation than you would if you were going for a matte finish. You want your skin to look like natural skin, so achieving a thick foundation layer is not the goal.

TIP: Apply a thin foundation layer to the areas where you previously applied the liquid highlighter to let the glow show through.

Add Concealer


Concealer will help cover any blemishes that the foundation did not cover.

When it comes to concealer, less is more. You don’t want to overdo it, as this will make your skin look cakey.

Apply the concealer to any areas that need it, and use a brush to blend it in.

It’s also great to brighten the under-eye area and cover dark circles.

For the under-eye area, choose a concealer one shade lighter than your foundation.

Go for a lightweight concealer that doesn’t look cakey. Avoid using a heavy matte formula under the eyes as it might crease and look dry.

Let the concealer sit before blending, as this will give the formula enough time to set, boosting the coverage.

This concealer is one of the best I’ve ever tried. It has a thin formula that blends quickly into the skin and works well for hiding blemishes.

Set The Makeup

setting powders

Once you’ve applied the foundation and concealer, it’s time to set your makeup.

This will help keep everything in place and make your makeup last longer.

Apply a small amount of mattifying powder to the t-zone to keep your makeup from looking greasy during the day.

You don’t need to use the mattifying powder all over the face, as this will make your makeup look dry. Just focus on the areas that tend to get oily during the day.

TIP: After applying a mattifying powder, I like to use a lighting powder all over the face to add a bit of radiance.

Apply A Powder Highlighter

powder highlighter

Apply a powder highlighter to the cheekbones and brow bones to add some extra glow. Select a color one shade lighter than your skin tone to prevent your highlighter from looking ashy on the skin.

I like to use a fan brush to apply the powder highlighter, providing a more subtle finish.

You can also use a small brush or a sponge, but I find that fan brushes work better.

TIP: If you want to add an extra glowy touch, you can apply a bit of highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes.

Choose a light highlighter formula and avoid thick creams and glittery or overly shimmery powders. You want your skin to look healthy and radiant, not greasy or sparkly.

Apply Blush

apply blush

Blush is a must if you want to create a natural and healthy-looking glow.

It will add color to your face and make you look more awake.

To find the perfect blush shade, choose a color close to your natural flush. Avoid using a warm color to prevent your blush from looking orange or dark.

For a natural-looking finish, apply a small amount of blush to the apples of your cheeks and blend it out.

I like to use a satin-finish or a liquid blush. These formulas blend into the skin nicely and don’t look too heavy.

If you have mature skin, avoid using a very shimmery or glittery blush, as it will emphasize your fine lines and wrinkles.

Choose A Dewy Finish Setting Spray

Finish off with a dewy setting spray to make your makeup look extra glowy.

Setting sprays are not necessary, but they will help keep your makeup in place and add a bit of extra glow.

I like this setting spray, as it’s very light and refreshing.

It also has a nice spritz that distributes the product evenly and helps to give the makeup a glowy but natural finish.

Avoid spraying too much, as this will make your makeup look wet and cause it to separate.

TIP: I like to spritz a small amount of setting spray on a makeup sponge and then apply it to my face, which helps distribute the product evenly and prevents it from looking too wet.

Touch-Up During The Day

nyx blotting paper

People with very oily skin will still need to touch up their makeup during the day. To do so, keep a small package of blotting paper in your purse.

Blotting paper is excellent for removing excess oil when you’re on the go, and it will absorb the oil without removing your makeup.

When you feel your makeup getting very oily, take a piece of blotting paper and press it onto the oily areas.

Follow by dabbing a small amount of setting powder onto the skin.


You can still achieve a dewy and glowy makeup look if you have oily skin.

The key is to start with a good skincare routine and choose the right makeup products.

Apply a mattifying primer on your t-zone, use a liquid highlighter on your cheekbones, and finish with a dewy setting spray.

Follow the tips in this article to make your foundation look dewy and natural.

Related Articles

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Can Setting Spray Be Used Alone?

Best Foundation for Large pores

Can You Mix Concealer With Moisturizer?

How Do You Get Dewy Makeup Not Greasy?

Claire is a beauty enthusiast and lover of all things makeup. Her blog is a resource for makeup tips and tricks, product reviews and beauty tutorials.

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