Why pearl skin is the must-try dewy make-up look of 2024

Move over glass skin; pearl skin is the ultimate make-up trend for all ages. Here’s how to perfect the softly luminous, dewy glow.

In beauty circles, skin is always in — and thanks to social media, there is never a shortage of new looks to try.

While satin skin and cloud skin remain popular trends, the beginning of 2024 saw the rise of pearl skin.

Considered to be the latest iteration of glass skin, pearl skin is all about creating shimmery lustre rather than a high-shine finish.

Here’s the lowdown on the pearl skin trend and how you can achieve the look.

What is pearl skin?

According to make-up artist Chereine Waddell, pearl skin is not just a make-up trend but also an aesthetic phenomenon.

“It embodies a glossy pearl sheen, creating a dewy complexion with light-reflecting focal points,” Chereine, the current MAGAP Australian Makeup Artist of the Year, explains.

“Imagine a soft, ethereal glow that mirrors the celestial allure of peals themselves.”

Why is the pearl skin trend so popular?

TikTok videos on pearl skin have clocked up millions of views — and it’s no wonder, as this aesthetic is not only easy to achieve with the right light-reflecting products, but also versatile.

“Whether applied pre-foundation or mixed in with your base, liquid, cream or satin powder formulas, it’s easy to create the desired effect,” Chereine says.

“With undertones of silver or pink hues complementing various skin tones, pearl skin offers a wearable texture suitable for all ages and skin types.”

Ultimately, the pearl skin trend’s appeal lies in its youthful and luminous glow.

Pearl skin v glass skin: what is the difference?

Glass skin focuses on giving the skin a hydrated, almost-wet look, resulting in a texture that is very smooth and clear like glass, make-up artist Julia Green says.

“Pearl skin is the slightly more ‘dressed-up sister’ to glass skin,” Julia, the ABIA High Fashion Makeup Artist of the Year 2023, explains.

“It has a radiant and reflective glow that outshines glass skin because of the use of tiny reflective particles in the products that catch the light.”

How to get the pearl skin look

To achieve pearl skin, you first need to choose light-reflective products, Julia says.

“(Look for) something that gives pearlessence in the light,” she suggests.

To do this, Julia recommends swiping a product across the back of your hand and moving it in the light to check if it has any reflective pay-off.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Hydrate your skin

Both Chereine and Julia recommend starting by prepping your skin with hydrating skincare.

“Begin with a skincare regimen focused on brightening serums and hydrating creams to create a smooth, radiant canvas,” Chereine says.

  1. Add glow

“Apply a luminising skin primer for a sheer glow,” Julia says.

“This can be worn alone, with foundation, or mixed into your foundation for a softer look.”

  1. Control unwanted shine

When choosing a foundation, Chereine says to opt for products with a radiant finish.

“Alternatively, mix a few drops of metallic or pearl liquid highlighter into your foundation for an extra-dewy finish,” she suggests.

“Avoid matte setting powders and go for translucent, light-reflecting ones to control shine in unwanted places.”

  1. Highlight key areas

“With a soft, medium powder brush, apply a light-reflecting pearl mineral highlighter to the high points of your face, such as the cheeks, brow bone, nose bridge and cupid’s bow,” Chereine says.

  1. Complete the look

Last but not least, Chereine recommends finishing with lengthening mascara, a tinted brow gel and a soft peach or rose lip.

When it comes to choosing blush, Julia suggests finding one that has a metallic sheen.

“This could even be an eyeshadow colour that you love,” Julia says.

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Written by Melissa Hong.