via Black Lollipop

Our Wet Beauty Standard

The "dewy" look has already come and gone, evolving into a desire to look wet, oozing, and glistening. When did the beauty standard of the 2020s embrace amphibious sludge?
Arielle Richards
Melbourne, AU

“The goal of every woman trying to be beautiful is to look as wet and moist as possible at all times,” says podcaster and comedian Lady Miss Kay in a video posted to TikTok this month. “So the last thing that you want, really, is to look as if you are not soaked… in mysterious liquid.” 

She’s describing, in jest, the way she would explain modern beauty to “nobility from the 1400s”. But it’s true. 


From celebrities on the red carpet of the Met Gala to the resurgence of lip gloss to a recent Lotta Volkova campaign for Miu Miu, wet people are hot.

The “dewy” look has been in. But rather than elevating itself away, stubbornly it has stuck around, and our desire to look wet, to be oozing, glistening and damp has only increased. When did the beauty standard embrace amphibious sludge? 

The pervasive moisture at this year’s Met Gala was the most interesting facet of an otherwise bland evening. Doja Cat’s white tee-shirt dress was drenched, Dakota Fanning wore an ice sculpture, Tyla’s sand dress melted to her body, and Amelia Gray’s hair melted into her dress. Others wore see-through or crystal-spangled garments that glistened and shimmered like slutty dewdrops. Iris Law, Rebecca Hall, Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, Kim Kardashian and probably ten million more people all went with the “wet hair look”. The goo lust was omnipresent. The rich people are melting.

And unlike previously, where this constantly-drenched aesthetic aligned with childhood, in old tubes of Lip Smackers and candy-coloured beauty products, wet is expensive. Wet is $80 Dior lip oil, it’s lips strained with filler and lubed up like silicon balloons, it’s having an immutable body glow that shimmers, slick. Being greasy might once have been considered gross, now we do it on purpose. Latex, lube and wet-look clothes. Slicked back hair. Products with plasma, hyaluronic acid… we eat collagen, we drink bone broth, we are told to crave konjac jellies and sea moss. We are plumping and we are oozing. We are wet.


Last year the benefits of snail mucin beauty products were lauded on TikTok. Even after witnessing the way it is harvested – buckets of snails agitated as many as three times to extract their excretions before they are finally euthanised – I still want it. The desire for goop has the girls wearing $40 snail slime.

Perhaps it’s nostalgia for dewy times that has brought out our wet cravings. As Zoolander said: “moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty”. Lip gloss and diamontéd accessories. In the 2000s, everything shone. 

Or maybe it’s the state of the world: A reaction to record-smashing heatwaves, floods and relentless rain. Sweat has become inescapable – we may as well embrace it. Sea levels are rising. Ice caps are melting. Droughts stretch across barren lands. Water is running out. 

But for those who can afford it, we are moist. We are slick like dolphins. Our moisture appears, as Lady Miss Kay told us, to be “seeping up out of the skin.”

Arielle Richards is the multimedia reporter at VICE Australia, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.