Dewy Vs. Matte Foundation: How To Decide Which Is For You

If you've ever had your makeup professionally done, you'll know that the first question most makeup artists will ask is what kind of finish you'd like: dewy or matte? This is also the first question that most sales assistants will ask when you want to buy a new foundation, and to avoid wasting money on the wrong product, it pays to know the right answer! Dewy foundation is made with natural oils and humectants and, according to Beauty Blender, tends to create a look that's more "luminous" by reflecting the light and adding shine. By comparison, matte foundation isn't produced with any oil, so it doesn't reflect light. This leaves you with a look that is more powdery.

Both dewy and matte foundations have their benefits, so, unfortunately, there's no clear-cut answer here. When making your decision, consider three key factors: what skin type you have, what level of coverage you want, and most importantly, what finish you'd like (via Fustany). These will determine which foundation is ideal for you and your skin.

The pros and cons of dewy foundation

Dewy foundation will help you to achieve a look that is more radiant and glowing thanks to the oils and humectants in the product. Furthermore, Skor Beauty highlights that, because dewy foundation is lightweight, it tends to be easier to blend than matte foundation and can easily be applied with your fingers as well as a brush or sponge. The lightweight consistency also means that you can use it on other areas of your body, including the chest, neck, and arms. Dewy foundation is often effective at covering fine lines, and you can use it to achieve both sheer and full coverage.

There are a few downsides to this foundation type, too. Dewy foundation can look shiny or greasy, so it tends not to be a great fit for people with oily skin who want to reduce their level of shine (via Code Eight). The lightweight and glossier consistency also mean that dewy foundation tends to slide off and around the face after time, so a good setting spray or powder is key. Gabriel Cosmetics explains that dewy foundation isn't always effective on hyperpigmentation and can even draw attention to acne or breakouts. Overall, it's best for people with drier or more mature skin who want a luminous look.

The pros and cons of matte foundation

Made with non-reflective ingredients, matte foundation will help you to achieve a look that is less glowing and more airbrushed or velvety. Digital Beauty describes the finish of matte foundation as "polished and precise" with no hint of shine, so this could be a contender if you have naturally oilier skin. Matte foundation has several advantages, including full coverage and properties that combat greasiness. It also tends to conceal open pores, last longer, and help people with textured skin to achieve a smoother finish. With the right preparation, matte foundation is suited to oily, acne-prone, and combination skin types.

However, the exception is those with drier skin, as matte foundation can gather in dry patches and accentuate them. This results in a "crumbly" look and can cause the skin to flake. That said, those with drier skin can still use matte foundation; they just need to adequately prepare the skin with a hydrating primer. Sugar Cosmetics explains that matte foundation can also enhance the signs of aging by gathering in fine lines and wrinkles. It's more difficult than dewy foundation to blend as it dries up more quickly and is heavier, but proper blending is crucial to spread the product evenly over the face. 

Ultimately, matte foundation is best for those looking for full coverage with no shine (via Melanin Factory). While most people have a favorite foundation type, you can also switch it up, opting for dewy when you want a glowing look and matte for a flawless finish.