How to get the dolphin skin makeup look

‘Dolphin skin’ is one of the hottest makeup trends around – and these expert pointers will help you dive into the fresh-faced look this summer.

Beauty influence can come from the most unlikely places; even an aquatic mammal.

The hashtag #dolphinskin has been popping up on social media lately – but what exactly does it mean?

What is ‘dolphin skin’ makeup?

US-based celebrity makeup artist Sue Marshall explains this new trend takes inspiration from the smooth and shiny exterior of a dolphin.

“Dolphin skin is about using specific highlighting techniques to resemble the glistening skin of a wet dolphin,” she says.

The dolphin skin trend falls within a broader high-shine makeup movement, according to Aussie makeup artist Melanie Burnicle.

“There has recently been a significant shift from heavier matte looks to a fresh, dewy glow,” says Melanie.

Our changed lifestyles in 2020 has also played a role in the sudden popularity of this look.

“With many of us spending more time at home, our makeup no longer needs to stay put for 10+ hours a day,” explains Melanie.

“So this look is a great way to feel fresh-faced while wearing makeup.”

Signature traits of dolphin skin make-up

Dolphin skin is more than a run-of-the-mill dewy look, according to the experts.

“A very basic dewy look can be achieved with just a moisturiser and foundation, but this look is more amplified, built layer upon layer,” explains Melanie.

“It’s multi-dimensional, wet, smooth and glassy skin,” adds Sue.

“There’s a hydrated base and that’s paired with highlighting to brighten your complexion and create a glossy-glow, rather than a luminous or dewy finish.”

Your step-by-step guide to achieving dolphin skin

Step 1: Base

“Skin is everything with this look – so begin with a hydrating serum followed by a good rich moisturiser and work the product in,” says Melanie.

The first layer of the dolphin glisten also starts here, with Melanie recommending adding “liquid luminiser to the forehead, across the cheekbones, eyelids, down the T-zone and jawline”.

From there you can apply a sheer liquid foundation and concealer if needed.

Step 2: Cheeks

“When you have a moist and hydrated base it’s always best to work with cream products,” suggests Sue.

Start with a light colour cream blush applied to the apples of the cheeks followed by a cream contour under the cheekbones to add dimension to the face.

“With so much gloss in this look, it’s important to create a little shape with cheek and contour colour,” explains Melanie.

Step 3: Eyes

Again, cream products are your go-to in order to achieve the overall dolphin skin effect.

“Light sheen cream eye shadows work well but don’t be afraid to have fun with bright colours,” says Melanie.

“Also, apply a light shimmer in the corner of the eyes as well as under the high point of the brow,” adds Sue.

“I would also place a dab of gloss over the eye to give it extra sheen – and finish with a waterproof mascara,” says Melanie.

Step 4: Lips and finishing touches

Add a creamy and hydrating formula to the lips.

“I love a tinted balm to keep lips hydrated and lush,” says Sue.

To ramp up the high shine finish, strategically apply liquid illuminator to the light-catching points of the face like the cheekbones, nose, forehead and chin.

“Apply the illuminator where needed – but just steer clear of any product that’s too sparkly or glittery,” says Melanie.

Written by Sharon Hunt.