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This Easy Trick Will Help Your Foundation Look Seriously Dewy

Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
By Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Image by HANNAH CRISWELL / Stocksy
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March 5, 2022

To elevate your base makeup, add a few drops of serum or face oil to the formula. The advice is nothing new—makeup artists have endorsed this tip for years—however, the type of product you drop into the mix matters: Liquid highlighter, for example, will offer more of an allover glow, while a rich face oil will add much-needed moisture and deter flaky makeup.

And to impart a fresh, dewy film over the skin and secure lightweight coverage, a humectant serum is your best bet—TikTok users are singing the praises of polyglutamic acid. 

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A foundation hack to make your complexion seriously dewy. 

First, let's discuss what this sciencey-sounding active is, exactly: Polyglutamic acid (PGA) is a humectant derived from fermented soybeans, meaning it draws in water to the surface of the skin (just like hyaluronic acid, the buzzy humectant we all know and love). In fact, "Polyglutamic acid is a powerful humectant that can hold four times more water than hyaluronic acid," says board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D. Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, for reference, so with a little mental math, that means PGA holds up to 4,000 (!) times its weight in water. Talk about a fabulous hydrator. 

"It's a surface hydrator, so it smooths and plumps your skin and works so well with foundation," notes fashion and beauty influencer Maxie Elise in a recent TikTok video. By "surface hydrator" she means humectant—since these ingredients draw water into the top layer of the skin, they can instantly plump the skin with hydration. Think about how a dry sponge rises under water, board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., once told me. "Run it under water, and it is instantly plump, dense, and smooth. Even the color is brighter." And as Elise notes, PGA blends quite seamlessly with makeup formulas; in fact, it plays nice with a bunch of ingredients, even notoriously finicky vitamin C. 

Convinced yet? Here's how to add PGA to your makeup routine: 

  1. Choose your PGA product. It's a relatively new ingredient on the market, so there aren't too many options out there—but there are a few! Elise uses The Inky List Polyglutamic Acid Hydrating Serum, but see here for some more of our favorites.
  2. "Take your favorite foundation, add one to two drops of the serum, and mix it all together," Elise demonstrates in the video. A liquid or cream foundation will be easiest to blend here. 
  3. Apply your foundation as usual—with a beauty blender, a brush, or with your fingers. Continue with the rest of your dewy makeup routine.
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Just a couple of final caveats: Make sure to add a few drops of PGA to your foundation with each use rather than dumping the whole serum into the bottle. While the humectant does work well with a bunch of ingredients, introducing the two together might mess with the foundation's texture long term. No need to play product formulator here; simply mix the two on your hand or on some sort of palette before applying. 

Of course, a seamless makeup application always starts with a hydrated base, so make sure to include humectants (like PGA) in your proper skin care routine as well.

Sure, adding a PGA serum to your foundation can elevate the makeup, but that foundation will sit even better on skin that's aptly moisturized beforehand. You could even dabble in a skin-care-focused supplement that supports the skin's lipid layer and moisture levels internally—mbg's cellular beauty+ helped me personally cross the finish line into dewy skin territory.*

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The takeaway. 

Liquid foundations, meet polyglutamic acid. The super-hydrating humectant will thin out the foundation formula and help your makeup appear oh-so-dewy; you might not even need a stamp of highlighter. 

Jamie Schneider
Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.