The Resurgence of Matte Foundation and the Cloud Skin Trend on TikTok

Like baggy jeans and whale tails, everything that goes out of style trends again eventually.

This time, matte foundation is back thanks to the new cloud skin trend taking over TikTok — but there’s a twist.

First, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane.

When matte foundation was last trending in the late 2010s, TikTok wasn’t even around yet.

Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube were the go-to platforms for beauty inspiration.

Phone cameras were not what they are now, so looks tended to be more intense — harsher contour lines, super-arched eyebrows, and thicker eyeliner, all layered over a thick layer of full-coverage matte foundation.

Even lip products were mostly matte at the time as the trend was to only shine on the cheekbones and under the eyebrow arch where highlight was applied.

As the 2020s began, people naturally started to drift towards the opposite style (just like how we switched from side parts to middle parts, but now side parts are coming back again, for example).

Coupled with measures to stay home and mask mandates due to the pandemic, the demand for thick and full-coverage foundations slowed down.

Around this time, K-beauty started to trend in the west, so there was more of an emphasis on skin care and not just makeup.

From this, the shiny, poreless glass skin trend became popular, influencing people to swap their full-coverage foundation for a light coat of sheer tint and a solid skin care routine.

The Korean makeup spatula even trended because it gave people an easy way to apply a super thin layer of foundation.

We really embraced the less is more mindset in this era.

Now, we have a cloud skin — a makeup style that’s a combination of both the late 2010s and early 2020s.

While it is still trendy to have a blurred effect and light coverage, cloud skin just reintroduces the matte look.

The goal is to still have a subtle natural look but with less of a glean.

It’s said to be more about glowing from within, further emphasizing the importance of taking care of your skin.

It may sound difficult to achieve, especially for those with super dry skin and in the winter, but it wouldn’t be TikTok without hacks.

In fact, you might have already caught wind of the cloud skin trend when TikTok taught us how to make the ever-controversial, low-key traumatizing Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse foundation actually work.

The trick to making these matte foundations work is just having a good base and technique.

The first step is keeping up with your skin care routine and making sure your skin is well-moisturized and well-hydrated.

This is especially important in low-humidity, cold climates because matte face makeup can become cakey or patchy on dry skin.

In addition to moisturizing in your routine and as needed, you might even want to consider another TikTok-viral technique: slugging.

Next, find the right primer for you.

If you need some extra help getting that smooth, blurry look, you might like the TikTok-viral e.l.f.

Poreless Putty Primer.

If you need help achieving that subtle glow, there’s Live Tinted’s Hueguard which has a subtly shiny finish and built-in SPF that doesn’t leave a dull white cast.

Or if you’re not ready to commit to spending money on a new matte foundation, you can reach for a dermatologist-approved mattifying primer and some powder, which brings us to the last key to the look.

After you’re done applying foundation with whatever tool of your choosing — whether it be spatula, sponge, or just your fingers — fluff your face with some setting powder like TikTok-favorite Laura Mercier Ultra-Blur Talc-Free Translucent Loose Setting Powder, known for its non-drying, matte finish.

As for your blush and highlight, to achieve the cloud skin look, you can apply powder versions after to keep that matte look.

Or, if you’re still emotionally attached to your liquids — no judgment here — you can use the Mary Phillips technique and apply them after primer and before foundation.

Then, continue with setting powder all over the liquids.

Once you’re all done, you should have dreamy base makeup.

It’s a fitting look to go with recent makeup and fashion trends like fairycore, cottagecore, and even the doll-like Barbiecore.

Alternatively, you can stick to your everyday makeup routine and try it with cloud skin as a subtle way to change it up.

However, if you’re not yet ready to give up glowy skin, to each their own.

After all, everything eventually just trends again..

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