The "Cloud Skin" Trend Is An Updated Way To Wear Matte Makeup

For a blurred yet luminous finish.

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For some time now, beauty aficionadoes have drifted away from the super matte and powdered makeup we knew all too well in the ’90s in favor of a more dewy and glowy look. Think of the Hailey Bieber glazed-donut trend of ultra-glowy skin that shimmers in the light and creates a glassy, shiny finish. This is achieved with a lot of moisture and cream-based formulas in lieu of powders.

As 2023 comes around, BeautyTok is stepping away from all the glow — but not necessarily reverting back to the extreme matte look that used to reign supreme. Enter: “cloud skin”, a makeup trend originally coined by Dominic Skinner, a global senior artist with M.A.C Cosmetics. This entails a soft and hazy matte finish that isn’t overly shiny but has just a touch of natural glow to it.

According to Chantel Miller, a senior makeup artist with M.A.C. Cosmetics, the shift towards the cloud skin look began over the last year or two during which the lines between matte and dewy have become blurred. “[The look] is a bit more breathable and skin-like,” she says. The key is to really look at your skin and see where foundation is truly needed. For example, if you’re skin doesn’t seem to need much foundation or coverage towards the edges of your face where people tend to be more matte, don’t apply much there — or leave it alone entirely.

Miller recommends applying foundation with a makeup brush that has white bristles on the end, which will act like a “miniature airbrush machine.” “They really help you get a feather-light application,” she says.

It’s also key to have patience when achieving the look. “One of the biggest problems we have keeping our skin matte is that we tend to apply a quick layer after quick layer after quick layer,” says Miller. Instead of rushing through product application, wait for each layer to absorb. “Make sure your skin feels as tacky to the touch as it does when you get out of the shower. Also, use your skin care to make your skin plump but not slick, and your matte products will lock down much better.”

Because cloud skin isn’t as flat as a full-on matte look, Miller notes you don’t need to use too much powder. Instead, let the foundation “go to a natural matte on its own” and then build up the coverage with a small amount of powder where it’s needed.

Some users on BeautyTok also start with a pore-blurring primer followed by a facial oil for a moisturized base before applying foundation and powder. Either way you go about it, your finished glam should be soft, blurred, and look just like that fuzzy glow of sunlight peeking through the clouds.

Shop some makeup essentials below that’ll help you get cloud skin.