Beauty is back in its soft matte era, again.
Let’s get a little nostalgic, shall we? Imagine it’s the year 2016. Your brows are blocky and meticulously drawn on. Everything from your foundation to your liquid lipstick (Kylie Lip Kit, of course—your most prized possession at the time) is matte. You had no idea that a few years later, beauty would go through its “glazed donut” era. How were you to know that your makeup drawer full of ultra-matte products would soon be replaced with a much more minimal regimen?
Fast forward to present day and the skin finish trend du jour is a halfway point between matte glam from yesteryear and a modern, glowy complexion. Enter: “cloud skin,” the viral trend bringing soft matte makeup back. Sort of.
@victorialyn Cloud Skin Makeup!☁️ Loving these soft matte looks @hungvanngo 😍 Would you try this spring trend? #makeup #beauty #foundation #cloudskin ♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K
The term “cloud skin” was coined by MAC Cosmetics UK’s Director Of Makeup Artistry Dominic Skinner. Its name speaks to the soft-focus finish that this look seeks to achieve. “It’s velvety, blurred — it’s like dewy skin and matte skin had a baby and it’s gonna be trending so hard for Spring,” explains TikToker @victorialyn in a makeup tutorial.
From OG beauty gurus to the next generation of BeautyTok creators, cloud skin has been co-signed by makeup artists and lovers alike. In fact, the hashtag #cloudskin currently has 35 million views on TikTok. As the look circulates through the beauty community with tons of tutorials and interpretations to sift through, there are a couple of fundamental tips to keep in mind.
@dominic_mua #CloudSkin #MakeupTrend ☁️#MACCreator #MACCosmetics #MAC @maccosmetics ♬ Flowers – Miley Cyrus
The first step toward achieving cloud skin is in its name. Before you reach for your primer and foundation, prep and hydrate your skin with a base of moisturizing skincare. Then, mix a couple pumps of luminous matte foundation with a mattifying primer. As you blend, you’ll reveal a fluffy concoction of cloud skin foundation, with just the right amount of sheen. “When this dries down, the finish of it is like the perfect soft matte and that’s basically what cloud skin is — a reintroduction to soft matte makeup,” shares @victorialyn in her tutorial.
As you carry on with the rest of your routine, stick with a matte concealer and top off any cream blushes or bronzers with your ol’ faithful powder products. This will give you the right balance of radiant but matte skin. Tap into a blurring powder with a powder puff to set your skin, spritz with a matte setting spray to make it last all day, et voila!
@purenavamakeup Replying to @Makayla Cooper Cloud skin tutorial for dry skin, part 1 – The base! #cloudskintutorial #cloudskin #makeupfordryskin ♬ original sound – Makeup Tips For Everyday Women
“Us dry skin girlies can’t do matte,” commented one user on @purenavamakeup’s viral cloud skin tutorial (above). The MUA responded with two tutorials on how to achieve this look, even if your skin is on the drier side.
The main takeaways? Load up on hydrating skincare products first. Then, apply luminous foundation by pressing it into your skin with a damp sponge. Lastly, use cream products, such as blush and bronzer, and go over them with a setting powder (rather than choosing matte products from the get-go). Remember, cloud skin is not entirely matte; it’s more of a soft matte with hints of underlying dewiness. So you can absolutely work hydration into your routine without compromising the look.
So, is cloud skin the dream solution that meets 2016’s matte makeup and 2023’s glowy skin in the middle? If so, we welcome it with open arms.