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The “Dolphin Skin” Trend Gives You A Dewy, Sun-Kissed Glow

Do you ever scroll through TikTok and Instagram and wonder how celebrities achieve such healthy-looking skin? I don’t know about you, but I have this exact thought literally every day. From Hailey Bieber to Ariana Grande, I can’t get over celebs who appear to have that infamous dewy skin year-round — and based on a little research, I discovered a new term for the well-known look: say hello to the dolphin skin beauty trend

Now, I know what you’re thinking. A dolphin? Really? But hear me out: you know exactly what I’m referring to. It’s the shiny, I-just-got-out-of-the-pool sheen that celebs like Zendaya and Hailey Bieber rock so effortlessly. “Dolphin skin” somehow appears super hydrated, but not greasy, which is a rare balance I’m forever striving for. I never imagined that we’d be comparing skin to ocean animals in 2021, but honestly, it wouldn’t be the wildest thing to happen this year.

While it’s unclear where the “dolphin skin” trend originated, it is often credited to Mary Phillips, a makeup artist who regularly works with celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, and JLo to create their classic, enviable natural looks. And during my investigation into the animal-inspired skincare trend, I even learned that people have compared the look to Krispy Kreme glaze donuts — which is brilliant, and if you haven’t tried one IRL, I will personally send a dozen to your house right now. 

Whether it’s the glossy look of your favorite midnight snack you desire or simply a routine that’ll help your skin look mega-hydrated, the “dolphin skin” trend can help you get there. With the magical combination of a regular skincare routine (no, makeup wipes don’t count) and some strategic highlighting, you’ll be on your way to a showstopping look.

To try the “dolphin skin” trend at home, first, prep your skin by exfoliating. The end result is all about having a smooth, seemingly untextured surface, and prepping your skin first will help set the basis for the rest of your skincare routine. If you have the gift of time, use a hydrating mask — which Hailey swears by followed by primer and foundation. The key is to use cream-based products instead of powders; but if those are your go-to, try something hydrating with a slight shimmer. 

Once you’ve cleansed your skin and built your base with products you love, it’s time to go all in on the dolphin look. You’ll want to create a dewy sheen by strategically highlighting the “higher” parts of the face. Think cheekbones, temples, around the eyebrows,bridge of your nose, and even your chin. The bottom line: the “dolphin” trend isn’t about looking greasy or piling on a ton of products; rather, you want to create a clean, healthy routine, then use highlighter to accentuate your natural beauty. 

Even if “dolphin skin” seems like a more dramatic look than you’re used to, it’s a great way to ease into the celeb-inspired routines you’re seeing all over TikTok. And although I was super hesitant when I first heard the term “dolphin skin,” I have to say, the comparison is pretty accurate. (You have to admit, it does look a little slippery). That said, “dolphin skin” somehow feels youthful, timeless, and it’s the perfect way to keep your post-pool summer glow going into the fall. Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes!

Tianna was an Associate Editor at Her Campus Media HQ where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, wellness, and TikTok trends. She graduated from North Carolina State University and received her masters from Columbia University. Tianna currently lives in New York City where you can find her sipping coffee, practicing yoga, and singing show tunes.