Cloud Skin Is The Soft Matte Look We're Loving This Spring

The constant rebranding of beauty trends has finally brought back the 2016 matte beat, but with a refined twist.

By Simone Sydel3 min read
Victoria Chudinova/Shutterstock

Say hello to “cloud skin,” the new beauty trend taking over Instagram and TikTok. A beautiful trend for spring, this look entails a soft matte complexion, flushed cheeks, and emphasizing natural beauty.

In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about cloud skin and how to achieve it.

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What Is the "Cloud Skin" Makeup Look?

Cloud skin is the 2023 version of 2016 makeup, but with a refined and classy twist that won't have us looking like a human wax doll every time we do our makeup.

Originally made popular by MAC makeup artist and judge of BBC's hit show Glow Up Dominic Skinner, cloud skin is experiencing renewed interest on social media platforms like TikTok, where it currently sits at 36.4 million views. Makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts alike are embracing the look that lies between a cakey, full-coverage matte and a glowing complexion.

Now, don't be fooled. Glowing complexions are not going anywhere; but this spring season will be all about a soft-focus, velvety matte look that will give you an airbrushed complexion and stay put all day.

It's the best of both worlds, perfect for any occasion, and allows you to achieve that elusive “no makeup” look, which is the ultimate goal in modern beauty.

How To Achieve Cloud Skin

Achieving cloud skin is about striking the perfect balance between matte and glowing. While this might sound a little complicated, it all comes down to using the right products and layering them correctly.

Here's how to do that step-by-step:

Blurring Primer

If hydrating, nourishing, and glowing primer is the base product for a clean girl makeup look, then a blurring primer is the same for a cloud skin look. A blurring primer will smooth out imperfections, minimize the look of enlarged pores, and give you an airbrushed base for the following products.

Product To Try: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base, $66

Lightweight Foundation

Whether matte or glowing, your foundation has to be lightweight and provide a sheer but buildable layer of coverage that won't suffocate the skin and will still look like your own.

Don't worry about the finish, and don't feel the need to buy a matte foundation if you only have a glowing one in your makeup bag, as you will be applying powder later on, which will offset some of that shine.

Product To Try: Lancôme Teint Idole Long Wear Matte Foundation, $57

Minimal Contouring

After applying foundation, add depth and definition to your features by using a cream contour under the cheekbones, the sides of the forehead, and anywhere else you usually like to contour.

Use a light hand, as this is a natural and not an overpowering look. But don't skip contouring altogether, as it's an essential step to adding dimension and shape to your face.

Product To Try: Tower 28 Beauty Soft Matte Cream Contour + Bronzer, $20

Setting Powder

Once you're done with your cream-based complexion products, it's time to set everything in place using a light hand and a blurring, soft-matte setting powder. This will pull the cloud skin look together by adding that soft blur to the complexion, minimizing the appearance of imperfections, and giving you a smooth, airbrushed finish that looks like your skin but more refined.

Focus on areas like the cheeks, chin, and T-zone where excess oil tends to become most prominent throughout the day, but avoid using too much product, as this can make you look cakey and overdone, no matter how lightweight the powder is.

Product To Try: ONE/SIZE Ultimate Blurring Setting Powder, $34

Matte Blush

Let's briefly forget about cream-based blush and return to our trusted, won't-go-anywhere-no-matter-how-oily-your-skin-gets powder blush. This is essential for achieving cloud skin, as it will add some life to your complexion and make you look vibrant without being too intense or overwhelming.

Apply a light layer of powder blush with a velvety matte or a natural finish to the apples of your cheeks, blending it nicely towards the temples to achieve that beautiful lifted look popularized by the clean girl makeup trend.

Product To Try: Danessa Myricks Beauty Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder Flushed, $25

Simple or Glam Eye Makeup

Cloud skin is a trend focused on the complexion, so it's entirely up to you what kind of eye look you want to complete the look. You can go for something minimal by applying eyeshadow in a neutral shade, like nude or brown, add liner to create a soft wing, and add a bit of mascara, or you can go full glam with glitter, cut creases, and lots of lashes. No matter your choice, cloud skin will look beautiful as both a day and evening look.

Product To Try: Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette, $45

Velvety-Matte Lipstick

Finally, the last step in achieving cloud skin is to add velvety-matte lipstick. This will complete the look by providing a soft, blurred effect that will make your whole complexion come together as a flawless canvas.

However, if you’re a gloss girl, there's no reason you can't still wear them. shine and contrast to the look in a subtle and sophisticated way.

Product To Try: Rare Beauty Kind Words Matte Lipstick, $20

Closing Thoughts

If you're a fan of the natural, soft-matte look, then cloud skin is the perfect beauty trend for you! It not only provides a flawless, airbrushed finish and helps your skin look photo-ready, but it's completely versatile so you can adapt it to any occasion.

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