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How to get the perfect 'dolphin skin'

Two celebrity make-up artists tell us how to create the popular shiny, dewy look

Jennifer Lopez shows off the dolphin skin—glistening, luminous, fresh-out-of-the-water makeup look.
Jennifer Lopez shows off the dolphin skin—glistening, luminous, fresh-out-of-the-water makeup look. (Instagram)

With many of us spending more time indoors and attending intimate gatherings, glowing natural-looking skin is what most people are looking for when it comes to makeup. Think glass skin, mochi skin or dolphin skin, all of which emphasize creating natural, wet highlights on the skin to make it look clean and bare.

And if you can’t really go to the Maldives but would like to have a beachy, fresh face, "dolphin" is the look for you. “Dolphin skin is the latest makeup trend, where most of the skin is really dewy, luminous and there is a lot of emphasis on highlighting. It’s basically when your skin is gleaming as if you have come fresh out of water, like a dolphin, with this beautiful glow on your face,” says celebrity hair and makeup artist Bhavya Arora.

Here’s how you can achieve this look.

All about the base

“You need to create a healthy, clean base. Start with cleansing your face with a cleanser, this will help remove excess oil. Toning helps soften the skin, tightens the pores and helps better absorption of products. Choose a non-alcoholic toner,” says celebrity hair and makeup artist Vibha Gusain. You need to hydrate your skin really well for the makeup to sit well on the skin and look natural. Gusain recommends using a sheet mask before you get the makeup on for an instant boost of moisture. “You need to moisturise a lot so pick up a moisturiser or a face oil that is best for your skin type. The idea is to keep the skin hydrated for a long time,” says Gusain. Arora often likes to add highlighter drops to a moisturiser and massage it into the skin, and use an illuminating primer to seal the shine.

Lay the foundation

Once you are set with a moisturized base, work next on the foundation. For dry skin, Arora suggests adding a few drops of beauty oil or a highlighter to the foundation to give a luminous glow. Don’t use matte foundations. The words you need to look for on your foundation bottles are dewy finish, liquid or illuminating foundation, or a luminous foundation.

Get cheeky

To get the wet look, you need to layer multiple luminous products, be it primers, foundations or highlighters. To amp up the shine, you need a cream highlighter.

“For cheeks, I would go for a cheek tint coupled with a cream blush like Pot Rouge from Bobbi Brown. You can also go back on cheeks with a powder highlighter that will give it an even glow and ensure the skin doesn’t get too oily. The last step would be to apply a highlighter on the cheekbones,” says Arora.

Gusain often likes to use a liquid blush or extremely hydrating lipstick to add a hint of colour to the cheeks. “If your T-zone is not very oily, you can skip powdering. But if it is, then you can brush off a mild transparent powder on the T zone or just the nose,” says Arora. A translucent powder not only gives a sheen and amps up the highlighter but also reduces shine overall and sets your makeup.

Eyes on you

You can choose to go easy on the eyes and stick to neutral metallic hues like golds, rose golds and bronzes. “Blend them well to cover the entire eyelid so it looks seamless. For lips, I would either just gloss them up or use lipstick and go back on it with a dab of gloss or highlighter for a beautiful sheen,” Arora says.

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