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Crucial Update

Achieving That Wet Look

Inspiration for That Wet Look.
Inspiration for That Wet Look.
Digital Vision / Getty

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I’ve spent many months cultivating a look that might be unpopular, even sickening, to many. I like to call it That Wet Look, and I’m trying to get it copyrighted as a $159 joke to myself. It started, as so many trends do (normcore, early-aughts revival, Regina George’s nipple shirt, clown contouring), as a joke.

I have a tendency to apply lip balm really poorly so that it gets all over my cheeks and nose. That part’s not the joke; I just wasn’t born with deft hands. You should see my handwriting! But if someone were to point out that I have goo all over the skin right above my lip, I’d brush it off and pretend it was intentional. "I love that wet look," I would say.

The Wet Look started, as so many trends do, as a joke.

That Wet Look then was borne from necessity: First a defense mechanism, and then a lifestyle. That Wet Look has become shorthand for the wonderfully dewy results of an intentionally soppy lifestyle.

My friends who are also interested in beauty will text me photos of balms and cremes they’ve been testing, with three simple words: That Wet Look. It’s really caught on among an elite crew of women who don’t just want their cheekbones reflecting light like regular, run-of-the-mill contourers do, but also their foreheads, their nose bridges, and their forearms.

Why is That Wet Look desirable? Because it makes me appear to not be wearing any makeup to such an extreme length that peers might whisper to one another, "Did she even wash her face?" Then I appear low maintenance and, as a result, serious and trustworthy when I am probably neither of those things, least of all low maintenance. Of course I washed my face –– and then I spent another hour applying gels to it! But nobody has to know.

The Wet Look is the quality of physical oversaturation for the purposes of aesthetic beauty.

I’ve been meditating on a definition for That Wet Look for all of five minutes, and I think the best way to define That Wet Look, as it applies to me, is the quality of physical oversaturation for the purposes of aesthetic beauty. This isn’t so outlandish in the context of 2016 beauty trends: of-the-now Korean beauty-inspired glow and a clean, skin-first bareness are the building blocks to That Wet Look. But I tend to overdo everything, and I’m willing to bet you are too; That Wet Look isn’t misty and ethereal, it’s waterlogged. Some might call it greasy. I call it That Wet Look.

That Wet Look has a elusive quality. Here’s a list of everything it is and is not:

That Wet Look is spending forty-five minutes washing and priming your face every morning but not bothering to brush your teeth.

That Wet Look is wearing heavy nighttime moisturizer during the day everywhere except your chin.

That Wet Look is not wearing your glasses on the treadmill to the point where they fog right up.

That Wet Look is using a desk humidifier.

That Wet Look is not rolling out of bed with no makeup.

That Wet Look is finding relief in crying in neutral public spaces, though not necessarily.

That Wet Look is not strobing, exactly, but you are getting close.

That Wet Look is using a sheet mask and not wiping the essence off after you peel it back.

That Wet Look is not going to work with wet hair.

That Wet Look is going to work with lip gloss on your cheekbones and eyelids.

That Wet Look is not highlighting, though That Wet Look could certainly include highlighting.

Is this making sense? Here are some products that you might be able to use to cultivate That Wet Look. Not all of these are guaranteed to be non-comedogenic.

Embrace That Wet Look. Unction without fear.