1. Exfoliate - make sure you wash your face with a gentle exfoliater with microbeads (as these tend to be the most effective) or use your cleanser with a soft silicon exfoliating pad. These should be done about 3 times a week for ideal results. I don't recommend doing extreme chemical peels as these can sometimes cause harsh skin reactions and may remove even healthy skin layers. The ideal exfoliation practice removes only the oldest, dead skin cells on the outermost surface of the skin and reveals the healthy, glowing layer underneath. Sugar scrubs, salt crystals, pumice, loofahs, sponges and microfiber cloths all can achieve the same results. Getting rid of dead skin cells and build-up naturally means that your makeup will go on smoother and you will avoid nasty clumps.
2. Moisturize - you'll want to use an emollient to make the outer layers of your skin more pliable and soft, this increases the skin's hydration level (or water content). Usually moisturizers tend to be a little bit fatty and may have a greasy feeling on the skin, but these lubricants really do make an enormous difference to the way your makeup (specifically foundation) will apply and last on your skin. If you have dry skin, it is extremely important to use a heavier moisturizer or even a dry oil - this will reduce your makeup's patchiness if used well in advance of application.
3. Use a liquid highlighter and a moisturizing foundation - Some women prefer to use their highlighter over top of their foundation, however I have found that for the most natural looking results and to blend your highlighter seamlessly into your foundation, you will want to mix the highlighter you are using (in my case this is the Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid (Shade 03 - Rose Gold)) with a moisturizing foundation of your choice (my favorite is The Body Shop Moisture Foundation in Shade 04). I use equal parts and mix them on the back of my hand with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.
|Equal parts liquid highlighter (Stila All Over Shimmer)|
and foundation (The Body Shop Moisturizing Foundation)
|Mixed together on the back of my hand with Real Techniques Expert Face Brush|
4. Highlight and contour your face - For a maximized dewy complexion, apply a powder highlighter (such as Stila's Kitten Highlighter) to the areas on your face which should reflect light and a bronzer (such as Wet n Wild Coloricon Bronzer - Ticket to Brazil ) to the areas on your face you would like to recede to the background. Here's a handy infographic on highlighter/bronzer placement.