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The best dewy foundation for a glowing complexion in 2023

Find the perfect foundation for you, whatever your skin tone

When it comes to foundation, you’ll find many different finishes including matte, satin, full or light coverage, tinted moisturisers and, of course, dewy. The best dewy foundations are designed to give the appearance of a healthy and glowing complexion and are especially fitting for the warmer months or if you want your skin to look luminous all year round.

Depending on your skin type and the type of coverage you’re looking for, there are several different dewy options available – and we’ve put them all to the test. Check out our buying guide below for some key information to consider before you decide to buy, or scroll on for reviews of our recommended dewy foundations.

READ NEXT: Our favourite tinted moisturisers

Best dewy foundations: At a glance

How to choose the best dewy foundation for you

What makes a foundation dewy?

Dewy foundations make your skin look glowy and hydrated. Most don’t completely cover the natural skin that is underneath, offering light coverage instead. They enhance your natural skin and reflect light, to make skin appear more hydrated and youthful.

What skin types do dewy foundations work for?

Even though the word “dewy” may lead you to believe they might not work for oily or more acne-prone skin, many dewy foundations are suitable for all skin types. That being said, not every dewy foundation is created equally or with every skin type in mind. Below we’ve picked out the best options for dry, oily and mature skin, with most of the dewy foundations on our list suiting those with a normal skin type.

If you struggle with an oily or greasy forehead, T-zone or nose, it means that you most likely have oily skin, so you’ll want to avoid foundations that add too much shine. Those with dry or dehydrated skin, however, will be looking for formulations that add hydration back into the skin when they’re applied. The great thing about a dewy foundation is that no matter what issues you have with your skin, the glow it produces makes skin look healthier and more nourished.

What’s the best way to apply dewy foundation?

When it comes to applying dewy foundation, you have a couple of different options available. For those who prefer applying their foundation with a beauty sponge, we recommend wetting the sponge lightly and then applying a pump or two of your chosen foundation directly onto the sponge. You can then stipple it onto the skin both to build up coverage and blend it out seamlessly.

Alternatively, you can use a buffing brush to buff the foundation into the skin or even use your fingers to blend it out.

Is there a way to tone down the dewiness if I need to?

There may be certain occasions when you wish to mattify your foundation – for example, in the sweltering summer heat. If this is the case, we suggest applying a light dusting of powder on top to take away some of that glow. You can use a pressed or loose powder to this, as both will behave in the same way, setting the foundation a little, without compromising too much on the glowy finish.

How much should I spend?

While most dewy foundations are in the mid-range price bracket between £30 and £35, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t more affordable versions available, as you’ll see below. If you’re looking to splurge or invest in a great dewy foundation, you don’t need to spend any more than £45 to £50 for brilliant results.

How we test dewy foundations

At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing delivers the most complete information about a product. As such, we test all the dewy foundations we review.

To do this, we apply each foundation to clean, dry skin to evaluate ease of application and the dewiness of the finish without having used any illuminating primer or other such priming products first. This is to garner an accurate idea of a product’s consistency and performance on its own. We assess how well the foundation lasts over a typical day of wear – does it stay put, or does it slip or smudge as the hours progress. Finally, we confirm whether or not the foundations are vegan, fragrance-free and dermatologically tested.

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The best dewy foundation you can buy in 2023

1. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation: The best dewy foundation for dry skin

Price: £39 | Buy now from John Lewis

If you suffer from dry patches of skin or dehydrated skin more generally, this luminous foundation from Giorgio Armani is an excellent option to consider. It doesn’t cling to dry areas or look cakey around parts of the face, such as the nose or eyes, which can typically build up on dry skin. This is an oil-free formula infused with glycerin, a known humectant that attracts moisture to the skin and keeps your face looking hydrated all day long. The finish is silky smooth, too, so it’s no surprise it’s won countless awards.

Key details – Vegan: No; Fragrance-free: No; Dermatologist-tested: Yes

Buy now from John Lewis

2. NARS Cosmetics Sheer Glow Foundation: The best all-round dewy foundation

Price: £35 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

This lightweight foundation provides a glowing, satin finish to the skin, making it look more luminous and hydrated. It’s a buildable foundation, but the word “sheer” in its name can be a little misleading. Rather than being see-through, it minimises visible discoloration and redness and lightly covers any imperfections without masking the skin completely.

We’ve worn this for a full day in the summer and not had to worry about touching it up. It also works for almost all skin types, giving you flawless-looking skin without too much weight.

Key details – Vegan: No; Fragrance-free: Yes; Dermatologist-tested: Yes

Buy now from Look Fantastic

3. Exa High Fidelity Foundation: The best dewy foundation for oily skin

Price: £35 | Buy now from Cult Beauty

Those with oily skin may assume a dewy foundation would only make their skin look more shiny. However, Exa’s is perfect for oily or acne prone skin and packs a lot into one bottle.

With over 40 shades to choose from, covering a vast array of undertones and skin shades, this semi-satin finish controls oily areas without drying out the skin. Hyaluronic acid adds hydration, keeping your foundation looking just as good as it did when you first applied it, and maqui berry acts as a soothing agent to reduce any inflammation. Those who live in cities or suburban settings will also be happy to know that this formulation is enriched with anti-pollution actives. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

Key details – Vegan: Yes; Fragrance-free: Yes; Dermatologist-tested: Yes

Buy now from Cult Beauty

4. L’Oréal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Water-Cream: The best-value dewy foundation

Price: £11 | Buy now from Superdrug

At a little over £10, this tinted “water-cream” from L’Oréal is a great budget option and one that you can easily pop in your basket when shopping at the drugstore or supermarket.

With buildable, lightweight coverage, this is ideal for those looking to even out their skin while achieving a dewy finish. The built-in SPF 20 UVA/UVB protection is ideal for those who regularly forget to apply a separate SPF in the morning. What’s more, ingredients used in this foundation, such as Aloe Vera and Witch Hazel, offer a boost of hydration to the skin. The shade range could be a little bit more expansive – there are currently only ten shades available, many of which fall in the middle between fairer and darker tones – but if you can find a good fit, this is a great budget buy.

Key details – Vegan: No; Fragrance-free: No; Dermatologist-tested: No

Buy now from Superdrug

5. Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation: The best dewy foundation for mature skin

Price: £36 | Buy now from Charlotte Tilbury

All of Charlotte Tilbury’s foundations are fantastic for mature skin, but this is easily the dewiest of the formulations, leaving the skin looking incredibly healthy and glowing. The shade range is also one of the most impressive currently available, covering every skin tone from the very fairest to the very darkest.

For those with fine lines, wrinkles or any other imperfections, this does not settle into or accentuate them. It also allows your natural skin to show through, to really give you that “your skin, but better” appearance.

Key details – Vegan: Yes; Fragrance-free: No; Dermatologist-tested: No

Buy now from Charlotte Tilbury

6. Huda Beauty GloWish MultiDew Skin Tint: The best dewy foundation for a no makeup look

Price: £32 | Buy now from Boots

Huda Beauty’s idea to marry makeup and skincare has been done expertly in GloWish and this particular skin tint offers some serious glow. We adore the blurring effect this has on due to its light-reflective pearl pigments. There are also an impressive amount of darker shades, which is ideal if you typically struggle to find skin tints in your shade.

With rose oil to soothe the skin and lock in moisture, the skincare benefits are what keep us coming back to this pick. It’s also fragrance-free and ideal for warmer weather and holidays abroad, as it’s sweat and waterproof.

Key details – Vegan: Yes; Fragrance free: Yes; Dermatologist tested: No

Buy now from Boots

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