Golden Hour Glow is a TikTok beauty trend you’ll never want to the sun to set on, and we’re covering exactly how to nail this luminous look. We spoke with celebrity and editorial makeup artist J Guerra to learn how to capture the radiance, amp up the light and own your glow.
Meet the Beauty Expert:
A makeup artist known for his work on everyone from Bethenny Frankel to Matthew Gubler, J Guerra has made a name for himself both on screen and in print. Self-taught, Guerra has gone from assistant to industry giants to a coveted makeup artist with multiple Paris Fashion Weeks under his belt.
What is Golden Hour Glow?
If you’re familiar with professional photography, you might have heard this term before. If you’re like me and just like to take pictures for fun, you’ve probably noticed on your own that photographs look amazing right around sunrise and sunset.
“In professional photography, Golden Hour is the period just before sunset or shortly after sunrise,” Guerra explains. “That’s when the sunlight is soft, even, and has a warm golden hue.” You can think of Golden Hour as a natural beauty filter, Guerra says.
“It’s highly visually appealing. Golden Hour is the most diffused and flattering light, the sun’s rays create a natural beauty filter over the skin,” Guerra explains. “And it’s the perfect light for photos.”
What does that have to do with makeup?
“The Golden Hour Glow makeup trend is a look that captures that warm and glowing light at sunrise and sunset,” Guerra says. “The final look is ethereal; it’s a magical play on light with how it illuminates makeup and skin-care products and brings these reflective textures to life. The lighting does all the work for you.”
Bringing this element of radiance to your skin will also leave you looking rested and youthful.
“The look is ephemeral, romantic, and so aesthetic,” Guerra says. “It creates more than just the perfect photo—it creates a real feeling of warmth. It makes skin look youthful, balanced, and healthy. This look epitomizes the trend of natural, sun kissed, beauty.”
How to Get the Glow on Your Own
This look is all about putting your skin front and center, so Guerra suggests beginning with a solid skin-care routine that prioritizes radiance. “Start with a refreshing skin spray, and layer skin-care products to maximize the skin’s suppleness and glow,” Guerra says. “Moisturizers and serums with hyaluronic acid will give you the best sheen.”
Remember, we’re trying to catch the light here, so minimizing extra texture is important.
“Foundation should be sheer, and concealer used sparingly to brighten areas without adding unnecessary texture,” Guerra explains. “Cream products give the best results for this trend, including blush, bronzer, and even eyeshadow.”
Since achieving glow is the point, Guerra advises against using setting powder on the entire look. “Instead of setting your entire makeup, only add powder in areas you want to minimize texture and shine, where ‘glow’ could look ‘greasy.” Guerra says. “That would be areas like the center of the forehead, around the mouth, nose, and chin.”
To solidify that sun-kissed look, you can add a warm bronzer in just a few key areas.
“You can create a halo effect in the center of the face using a lighter foundation shade or concealer for brightness and adding bronzer to the outside perimeter of the face, defining your cheekbones as well,” Guerra says. “Blush can be under-painted to just barely show through the bronzer. You can also bring warmth into all areas of the skin by incorporating bronzer into your eyeshadow. Sweep it under the lower lash line for soft definition or blend it through your crease for natural depth before your eyeshadow.”
The rest of the look is all about marrying warm, neutral tones with those pops of shimmer and glow.
“Choose eyeshadows in natural brown tones with sparkle textures,” Guerra advises. “Lips can be softly defined with skin-tone liners in slightly deeper shades and topped off with golden lipgloss or a lip oil. Creamy lipsticks in tones of honey and molasses can be used instead for a softer shine.”
Can Anyone do Golden Hour Glow?
Absolutely. “This look is also super inclusive!” Guerra explains. “It can be adapted to various skin tones and features, allowing a wide range of users to participate. This inclusivity encourages more people to try the trend, share their unique takes on it, and recreate that beautiful, ethereal glow on their own faces.”
You’ll be looking for monochromatic, gilded neutrals to complete this look, so you’ll want to adjust your shades to best compliment your skin tone. Golds, coppers, and bronzes are all great choices to bring Golden Hour to your skin.
“Think dewy skin, highlighted cheekbones, and soft, warm eyeshadow tones,” Guerra adds. “Your lips should be ultra-hydrated in neutral colors. Everything looks like it’s been brushed with honey.”
No matter your skin tone, you’ll need to access to light to make this look work. That way you can see exactly where to place your products.
“While doing your makeup, be sure to have plenty of natural light to see how placement affects the visibility of shimmer in your makeup products,” Guerra says. “If natural light isn’t available, take the lampshade off a lamp—the direct light from an incandescent bulb is a great substitute for sunlight. Avoid fluorescent lighting as the color temperature will be too cool to read warmer tones.”
The most important part is to have fun. You can amp up Golden Hour Glow for an extravagant evening or festival-vibe, or you can dress it down for that natural-looking glow.
“It’s a light show!” Geurra says. “It’s the definition of sunkissed. If adding shine on top of your complexion products looks too intense, try under-painting your highlighter underneath your foundation for a softer, everyday look.”
Expert Product Picks for a Golden Hour Glow
Guerra recommends this multi-tasking Glow Stick for its dewy finish, which catches the light effortlessly to subtly sculpt and softly glow. The sheer formula is extra hydrating and can be applied anywhere the face catches light, including the cupids bow.
Available in seven shades that range from deep bronze to a true rose, just a little of this versatile product will go a long way. Chanel recommends applying with the fingertips either as a final makeup step or alone to add a little bit of glow.
That glow is subtle enough to not appear like highlighter at all. Instead the product effortlessly blends into skin to provide a natural-looking radiance without visible shimmers or glitters.
Uniquely formulated to add a sheer sun-kissed glow to skin, this hydrating gel cream adds depth and warmth to fairer skin. This lightweight bronzer is packed with peptides and good-for-you botanicals to leave your skin plumped, soothed and hydrated.
Guerra recommends this product to get that warm halo effect by applying to the perimeter of the face. Swept over the cheekbones and high points of the face, this face tint will deliver a just-in-the-sun glow that’s lit from within. You can also add just a drop or two to your current foundation if you’re looking to deepen it slightly and add more warmth.
Inspired the hectic, magical world of fashion shows and all that goes on backstage to make them happen, Dior’s Backstage Glow is the secret behind the instant radiance models exude on the runway. Available in multiple palettes, this four-shade, gold-toned highlighter palette is the perfect way to add a healthy, natural looking glow to your skin.
Guerra recommends this palette for its versatility, as you can easily combine shades to best suit your skin tone. Add dimension to your look with complimentary shades of gold, bronze, and rose to create perfectly sun-kissed skin.
This is a buildable, pearlescent glow that you can take from a discreet inner-glow to a sunset of radiance.
Guerra recommends this long-lasting, waterproof eyeliner in the shade Prune Intense, a dark reddish purple that will bring warmth to your eyes. One of the darkest colors in the Golden Hour Glow look Geurra suggests, this humidity-proof eyeliner adds a depth to brown eyes, and brings out and emphasizes blues and greens, making it a great choice for any eye color.
The smooth application can be smudged with the fingertips for a more dramatic look around the lash line, or you can use the detachable sharpener to create ultra-precise designs.
An eyeshadow designed for long-wear shimmer and powerful pigment, Sequin Crush in Confident Nude sports a crease-proof formula that lets you shine for hours on end. Guerra recommends this peachy-orange shade to amp up that just-in-the-sun look with some irresistible glow.
The strong pigment means a little goes a long way to help brighten, define and sculpt eyes with a light-catching radiance. Guerra suggests sticking to shimmer products because of the way they reflect in sunlight. “They may seem similar but there’s a subtle difference you’ll notice in the sunlight,” Guerra explains. “They produce a softer glow than metallic, foil textures.”
An essential part of Golden Hour Glow is getting that sun-kissed flush of color. Skin Fetish: Divine Blush is the perfect way to achieve that, with its silky texture that finishes with a demi-matte, luminous pearl glow for a naturally radiant look.
Available in 11 shades, Divine Blush boasts a light-weight formula that lets you build from sheer to medium coverage. The latest addition to the collection, Divine Blush III is a coral rose that mimics a natural flush. Take your look from bare to bold with McGrath’s most requested collection launch. Go from bare to bold with this feather-light, ultra-fine powder blush to capture the perfect Golden Hour Glow.
This essential oil-infused medium-coverage lipstick packs a high shine into a hydrating formula that transforms lips over time. Available in 29 shades ranging from nudes and neutrals to rosy reds and deep mauves, you’re sure to find your perfect color.
The high-shine formula will catch the light, bringing that warm Golden Hour Glow to your lips for an instantly luminous effect. Guerra suggests sticking with tones that compliment the bronzy colors in the rest of the look. “Creamy lipsticks in tones of honey and molasses will create a soft shine,” Guerra explains.
With the shine of a lip oil or gloss, this lipstick packs in the nourishment of a balm, so you can get the glow without giving up all-day moisture and comfort.
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