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Glow Recipe has always been known for creating effective, superfruit-powered skincare products in cheeky packaging—until today, that is. Today, Glow Recipe has officially dipped its toe into the shallow end of the makeup category with the launch of a "highlighting serum" within the watermelon family. Joining cult-favorites like the Pink Juice Moisturizer and Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is the brand's latest launch: Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops ($34). Completely free of glitter, mica, and pearl, this is a pigment-free highlight formulated as a serum. (You can actually use your Dew Drops three ways: as a primer, as a serum, or as a highlight on the high points of the face.) Curious what this makeup-skincare hybrid actually looks like on skin? Same—so I got my hands on it ahead of the launch so I could spill all of the (very juicy) details.
- Provides the look of makeup with the feel and ingredients of skincare
- Multi-use (can be used as a primer, a serum, or highlight)
- Intuitive to use
- Slight tacky texture
- Watermelon fragrance may be off-putting to some (I enjoy it, but it's all about personal preference)
- May pill when applied over sunscreen
The Bottom Line
Glow Recipe's newest addition to the watermelon family is a huge win in my eyes. In a single sweep, this product makes me look like I'm wearing an expensive highlight, but delivers this look with the texture and ingredient quality of skincare.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow NIacinamide Dew Drops
BEST FOR: Dry skin, creating a no-makeup makeup look
USES: Use as a glowy primer before makeup, as a highlight if you aren't wearing makeup, or as a serum under your moisturizer at night.
STAR RATING: 4.0/5
POTENTIAL ALLERGENS: There are no known allergens in this product, though sensitive skin types may not react well with the watermelon fragrance. It's always best to check with your physician.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid
ABOUT THE BRAND: Glow Recipe is a K-Beauty brand known for its line of fruit-powered skincare and quirky packaging. The brand is most known for its collection of watermelon-inspired products.
About My Skin: Combination, but dry in the winter
For the bulk of the year, my skin can be classified as combination. It's typically dry around my cheeks, forehead, under-eyes, and jawline, but oily between my eyebrows, on my chin, and around the corners of my nose. In the winter, things take a turn towards the dryer side, with my oilier areas becoming dry and flaky from November-February. It's also worth noting that I'm 25 years old—I haven't seen any fine lines or loss of plumpness just yet.
The Feel: Thin, slightly tacky viscosity
This product is very thin and doesn't feel heavy on the skin, but it's also not quite watery. Featuring a thicker viscosity than the brand's Pink Juice Moisturizer (but thinner than the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask), this goes on like a serum but dries to a slightly tacky texture. It's definitely not a sticky feeling—it's closer to the texture of a gripping primer; the tacky texture helps the serum stay in place so it can truly operate like a highlight.
How to Apply: As a primer, a serum, or highlight
This is a versatile product, and you actually have a few options when it comes to application. The first, according to the brand, is to use the product like an illuminating primer under your foundation (or to mix it into your foundation for a more dewy finish). On no makeup days, you can also use this serum on the high points of your face, applying it just like you would a true liquid highlight. (If you choose this application method, the brand recommends this be the last step in your skincare routine.) Finally, you can use this product as a normal serum and layer it under your moisturizer morning or night.
- Watermelon: Watermelon is the star ingredient in the Glow Recipe family, and is known for containing potent vitamins A and C, as well as delivering a plumping effect to the skin via amino acids.
- Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a well-known ingredient with antioxidant properties, and is formulated into skincare products to help even out skin tone and illuminate dullness.
- Hyaluronic Acid: HA is one of the most powerful hydrating ingredients currently understood in the dermatological field. It's a lightweight ingredient that miraculously holds 1000x its weight in water.
- No Mica, Pearl, or Glitter: While this isn't a specific ingredient callout, it's worth noting that this product is free of pigment, mica, pearl, and glitter, which means it goes on completely transparent on all skin tones and won't settle into lines or create unwanted texture.
The Results: It truly looks like I'm wearing highlight
I played around with all of the different ways you can use this product and found that my favorite method was to use it as a highlight. Just a few tiny drops on the high points of my face gave me a juicy, illuminated finish. This product gives you that just finished my PM skincare routine, almost wet-looking type of glow, except it actually dries down and stays in place (at least for a few hours—it does slowly get absorbed into the skin). It genuinely looks like I packed on an expensive highlight, without having to actually apply makeup.
One thing to note is that if you choose to use this product as a highlight, the brand recommends you apply the drops as the final step in your skincare routine. But I found that when I applied SPF under these drops, a sunscreen I've used for years that has never pilled... pilled. I had a much better finish when I applied my sunscreen on top of the drops as the last step in my routine (which is what dermatologists recommend, anyway). Layering SPF on top didn't interfere with my glow—but as always, to each their own.
The Value: Priced fairly
At $34, Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops are priced similarly as the rest of the products in Glow Recipe's watermelon collection. For such a versatile product with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, this is a pretty standard price point.
Similar Products: You have options
Glossier Futuredew ($24): Similarly to Glow Recipe's newest offering, this product delivers a makeup-level glow in a skincare product. But unlike Niacinamide Dew Drops, the texture of Futuredew is much oilier and has a tendency to slip around on your face. Glow Recipe wins as far as more targeted, highlighter-like application techniques.
Ilia Liquid Light Serum Highlighter ($42): This product produces a very similar result to Niacinamide Dew Drops, but this serum-highlighter hybrid definitely leans more makeup than skincare. For starters, there's pigment in these highlighters and they create a more pearlescent finish. This option is also lacking the niacinamide found in Glow Recipe's highlighting serum.
Our Verdict: Ideal for anyone who wants to create the look of highlighted skin without makeup
For those who don't wear makeup (or aren't wearing it day-to-day) but still want a little something, you can't do much better than this product. While still technically a skincare product (when you survey the texture and ingredients), Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops delivers the look of freshly applied highlight. Just don't expect quite the same staying power. While this formula was created to feature a slightly tacky texture for precise highlighting, it's still a skincare product and will absorb a bit into the skin (and with ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, you want it to). If you're looking for something with more payoff, look for a pigmented serum-highlight like Ilia's.