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Pearl Skin Is TikTok’s Latest Makeup Trend for 2024

It’s all about that reflective, iridescent glow.
  • Leann Garofolo
May 16, 2024

If the 44.8 million TikTok videos (and counting) dedicated to “pearl skin” are any indication, this opalescent look has mass appeal. And it’s easy to see why: The beauty trend involves using makeup to give skin an ethereal glow and silky-smooth finish inspired by the look and feel of a pearl. One of the biggest reasons why the pearl makeup look may be so popular (besides that killer glow) is because there’s no need to shell out for new beauty products—you likely already have everything needed on hand. Keep scrolling to learn how you, too, can pull inspiration from the precious sea gem.

What Is Pearl Skin?

In line with its name, pearl skin is a trend that uses luminous makeup to help skin resemble the metallic luster and smooth texture of a pearl. The easiest way to achieve the look is by applying cream or liquid highlighter to the high points of your face. When the light catches just right, pearl skin can help give your complexion a reflective finish that toes the line of subtle iridescence and outright shimmer. It’s almost like a no-makeup makeup look, except the goal is to appear more illuminated rather than fresh-faced.

Pearl Skin vs. Glass Skin

Pearl and glass skin may seem similar at a glance: Both are glowy skin methods that can help give your complexion a healthy-looking sheen. However, they’re more like cousins than sisters. Glass skin is an ultra-shiny look that uses hydrating skincare products to help plump your skin so it looks wet and glossy. Pearl skin, on the other hand, is a silkier, more glistening look typically achieved using makeup—though a hydrated base is still key. And, as mentioned, pearl skin is more strategic in its placement. Unlike the all-over dewy finish of glass skin, a pearl makeup look only glows in the areas you choose.

How To Do Pearl Skin Makeup

Like your skin tone, pearls also come in a variety of shades, making the look fully customizable. White, cream, and rose-toned pearls may be the most well-known kinds, but the pearl color palette extends to most hues—including black, blue, and gold. Pick highlighter shades that mesh well with your skin tone and undertone for the most impactful look.

Below, we’re breaking down how to get skin like a pearl using some of our favorite products.

Step 1: Hydrate your skin

A hydrating skincare routine is a must to help you achieve that silky, pearl-like smoothness. One way to attain it is by prepping your skin with hyaluronic acid-infused skincare products. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant ingredient that helps attract moisture to your skin, encouraging a smooth, supple, and even-looking appearance.

Start with a few drops of the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. This serum immediately delivers intense moisture, leaving the skin with a hydrated, dewy glow. Then, follow it up with the equally hydrating L’Oréal Paris Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water to help visibly re-plump skin with 50% more moisture.

Step 2: Apply your primer

After moisturizing, it’s time to prime your skin for your pearl makeup look. If you have tan to dark skin and want to brighten it up, smooth an illuminating makeup primer, like L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Dullness Reducer, onto the high points of your face (namely, the tops of your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, below your eyebrows, and over your Cupid’s bow). You can also apply it all over your face—it’s ultimately up to you how much radiance you want. For those who want a more dewy finish, opt for a hydrating formula and apply it in a similar manner. Either way, a primer can help your pearlescent makeup better adhere and last longer.

Step 3: Add pearly luminosity

Since pearly skin is all about a lived-in glow, it’s best to avoid applying a mattifying, full-coverage foundation. Instead, reach for a multi-tasking skin illuminator like the L’Oréal Paris Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer and be deliberate about where you apply it. This tinted moisturizer contains luminous pearls (very appropriate) that help enhance the skin’s natural glow. When using it to create your pearly highlight, choose a color that’s similar to your skin tone. Then, use a makeup sponge to blend a few drops onto the high points of your face.

Step 4: Play up your eyes

You can skip this step if you prefer a more natural look. But if you want a glam finish, you can keep the luminescent vibes going with pearl eye makeup. We have just the eyeshadows for the job, too: L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 HR Eye Shadow in Always Pearly Pink and Endless Pearl. The former rosy shade pairs well with cooler undertones, while the latter golden hue is particularly striking against warmer undertones. If your undertones are neutral, either of these options will work for your pearl eye makeup look.

It’s worth noting that you don't need to create an intricate cut crease with your chosen eyeshadow. The goal is to add a hint of iridescent shine to mimic the luster of a pearl. Use an eyeshadow brush to sweep the velvety eyeshadow all over your lids, or use your fingertips to tap the formula below your brow bone. The shimmery particles will help catch the light and enhance your skin’s natural-looking radiance.

It may go without saying, but no eye look is truly complete without a few swipes of mascara. A couple of coats of a black or brown mascara is all you need to play up your pearl eye makeup. Black can help bring noir drama to your visage, while brown is best for a more daytime or no-makeup makeup vibe. We’re partial to L’Oréal Paris Eye Makeup Panorama Washable Mascara (which is available in dark black, black, and black-brown shades) to help create flirtatious, corner-to-corner volume.

Step 5: Add your finishing touches

Complete your pearly skin routine with your go-to makeup products. If there are areas you’d like more coverage, like on blemishes or under your eye, consider the L’Oréal Paris True Match Radiant Serum Concealer. As the name suggests, this hyaluronic acid-infused concealer provides medium coverage with a radiant finish that’s ideal to pair with your pearly makeup looks.

In our opinion, a hydrating lip gloss is the perfect accompaniment to ethereal-looking skin. Our L’Oréal Paris Glow Paradise Lip-Balm-in-Gloss with Pomegranate Extract instantly moisturizes and conditions your pout for a healthy-looking glow. Take your pick from 12 buildable, dewy shades for a sheer yet glossy touch of color.

Last but certainly not least, mist a setting spray, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Makeup Oil-Free Setting Spray, all over your complexion to help lock in your pearl makeup. Whether you’ll be lounging on land or by sea, this spritz can help keep your makeup in place all day long.

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