How to Use Highlighter Makeup

How to Use Highlighter Makeup: Enhance Your Glow

In this article, we will explore how to use highlighter makeup, the various types of highlighters, techniques for application and much more. Highlighter makeup has become an essential tool in every makeup enthusiast’s kit. With its ability to add a touch of radiance, dimension, and youthful glow to your face, it’s no wonder why highlighter has gained such popularity. Whether you’re new to makeup or a seasoned pro, learning how to use highlighter effectively can elevate your overall makeup look. So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets to achieving a luminous and dewy complexion.

What is Highlighter Makeup?

Before we poke around into the details, let’s start with the basics. Highlighter makeup is a product designed to attract light and create a subtle shimmer on specific areas of the face and body. By applying highlighter strategically, you can accentuate your facial features, add a healthy glow, and create the illusion of a lifted and radiant complexion.

Understanding Different Types of Highlighters

Highlighters come in various formulations, each offering a unique finish and application experience. It’s important to understand the differences between these types to choose the one that best suits your preferences and desired look.

a) Powder Highlighters

Powder highlighters are the most common type and often come in pressed or loose powder form. They are easy to work with and offer a buildable intensity. Powder highlighters work well for oily or combination skin types as they can help control excess shine.

b) Liquid Highlighters

Liquid highlighters have a lightweight and blendable texture. They are perfect for achieving a natural and dewy glow. Liquid highlighters are versatile and can be mixed with foundation or applied directly to the skin for a subtle sheen.

c) Cream Highlighters

Cream highlighters have a smooth and creamy consistency, making them ideal for those with dry or mature skin. They provide a natural-looking radiance and can be applied with fingertips or a sponge for a seamless blend.

d) Stick Highlighters

Stick highlighters offer convenience and are travel-friendly. They have a creamy texture and are easy to apply directly to the skin. Stick highlighters are excellent for targeted application and touch-ups on the go.

Choosing the Right Highlighter for Your Skin Tone

When selecting a highlighter, it’s essential to consider your skin tone to achieve a harmonious and flattering effect. Here are some general guidelines to help you choose the right highlighter shade:

  • Fair Skin: Opt for champagne or pink-toned highlighters to enhance your complexion without overpowering it.
  • Light to Medium Skin: Rose gold or peachy-toned highlighters work well to add warmth and radiance to your skin.
  • Medium to Tan Skin: Gold or bronze-toned highlighters can provide a beautiful sun-kissed glow and enhance your features.
  • Deep Skin: Look for highlighters with rich gold or bronze undertones to complement your skin beautifully.

Remember, these are just suggestions, and personal preference plays a crucial role in choosing the right shade. Experimentation is the prime key to finding your perfect match.

Preparing Your Skin for Highlighter Application

To achieve a flawless and long-lasting highlighter application, it’s important to prepare your skin beforehand. Follow these steps to create a smooth canvas for your highlighter:

a) Cleansing and Moisturizing

Start by cleansing your face to remove any dirt, oil, or impurities. Ensure using a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. Hydrated skin provides a better base for makeup application and helps the highlighter blend seamlessly.

b) Applying Primer

Applying a makeup primer helps extend the longevity of your highlighter and provides a smoother surface for application. Choose a primer with a radiant or illuminating finish to further enhance the glow of your highlighter.

c) Setting Your Base Makeup

After applying foundation or concealer, set your base makeup with a light dusting of translucent powder. This step ensures that the highlighter adheres evenly to your skin and prevents it from looking patchy.

Applying Highlighter to Specific Facial Features

Highlighter can be strategically applied to different areas of the face to enhance your natural features and create a youthful glow. Here’s a guide on how to highlight specific facial features:

a) Cheekbones

To accentuate your cheekbones, apply highlighter on the highest point of your cheekbones, blending it towards the temples. This technique helps lift your face and creates a defined structure.

b) Brow Bones

Apply a small amount of highlighter on your brow bones, just beneath the arch of your eyebrows. This technique opens up your eyes, giving them a lifted and refreshed appearance.

c) Cupid’s Bow

Highlight your cupid’s bow by applying a touch of highlighter on the center of your upper lip. This technique adds dimension to your lips and creates the illusion of a fuller pout.

d) Bridge of the Nose

For a more defined and sculpted nose, apply a thin line of highlighter down the bridge of your nose. Blend it gently for a natural effect.

e) Inner Corners of the Eyes

To brighten up your eyes, dab a small amount of highlighter on the inner corners. This technique gives a fresh and awake look to your eyes.

f) Collarbones and Shoulders

If you’re wearing an outfit that exposes your collarbones and shoulders, applying highlighter in these areas can give you a radiant and ethereal glow.

Techniques for Applying Highlighter

The application technique you choose can affect the intensity and finish of your highlighter. Experiment with these techniques to achieve your desired look:

a) Fingertip Application

Using your fingertips, gently tap the highlighter onto the desired areas. This technique warms up the product and helps it melt seamlessly into the skin.

b) Brush Application

Using a small tapered brush or a fan brush, pick up a small amount of highlighter and sweep it onto the high points of your face. This technique offers precise application and allows you to control the intensity.

c) Beauty Blender Application

Dampen a beauty blender sponge and lightly bounce it over the highlighter to blend it into your skin. This technique provides a soft and diffused glow.

Blending and Diffusing the Highlighter

After applying the highlighter, it’s crucial to blend and diffuse the product for a seamless finish. Use a clean brush, sponge, or your fingertips to gently blend the highlighter into your skin. Circular motions or gentle tapping can help soften any harsh lines and ensure a natural-looking glow.

Layering and Building Intensity

If you desire a more intense highlight, layering the product can help you achieve that effect. After the initial application, allow it to dry for a few seconds, and then repeat the process. Layering the highlighter gradually ensures that you have control over the intensity and prevents overapplication.

Achieving Different Makeup Looks with Highlighter

Highlighter can be used to create various makeup looks, from natural and subtle to bold and glamorous. Here are some ideas to encourage you:

a) Natural and Subtle Glow

For a natural and subtle glow, opt for a finely milled highlighter with a soft shimmer. Apply it sparingly to the high points of your face, focusing on creating a healthy radiance rather than an intense glow.

b) Dewy and Luminous Skin

To achieve a dewy and luminous skin effect, mix a liquid highlighter with your foundation or moisturizer. This technique creates an all-over glow and gives your complexion a youthful and fresh appearance.

c) Dramatic and Glowing Effect

For a dramatic and glowing effect, choose a highly pigmented highlighter with a metallic or holographic finish. Apply it generously to the desired areas, building up the intensity until you achieve your desired level of radiance.

Setting and Fixing the Highlighter

To ensure that your highlighter stays in place throughout the day, it’s essential to set it. After applying the highlighter, lightly dust a translucent powder over the highlighted areas. This step helps prevent the highlighter from fading or shifting.

Tips for Long-Lasting Highlighter Application

To prolong the wear time of your highlighter and maintain its luminosity, consider the following tips:

a) Using Setting Spray

After completing your makeup, mist a setting spray over your face. Setting spray helps lock in your makeup, including the highlighter, and keeps it looking fresh and radiant for hours.

b) Avoiding Excessive Powder Application

While setting your base makeup, be cautious not to apply excessive powder on the highlighted areas. Excess powder can dull the glow and make the highlighter appear less vibrant.

c) Touching Up Throughout the Day

To maintain a radiant complexion, carry a small makeup brush or a travel-sized highlighter for touch-ups. Gently reapply the highlighter to the areas that may have faded during the day.

Removing Highlighter at the End of the Day

At the end of the day, it’s important to thoroughly remove your makeup, including the highlighter. Here are some steps to follow for effective makeup removal:

a) Cleansing Oil or Micellar Water

Start by using a cleansing oil or micellar water to dissolve and remove the highlighter from your skin. Massage the product gently in circular motions to ensure complete removal.

b) Double Cleansing

Follow up with a gentle facial cleanser to remove any residue and impurities. Double cleansing helps ensure that no traces of highlighter or makeup are left on your skin.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Using Highlighter

To make the most of your highlighter, it’s important to avoid these common mistakes:

a) Overusing Product

Remember that a little goes a long way with highlighter. Applying too much can result in an overly intense or unnatural-looking glow. Start with a small amount and build up if needed.

b) Applying in the Wrong Areas

Applying highlighter in the wrong areas can detract from your overall makeup look. Stick to the high points of your face, such as the cheekbones, brow bones, and cupid’s bow, for a flattering effect.

c) Using the Wrong Shade

Choosing a highlighter shade that doesn’t complement your skin tone can result in an unflattering finish. Always swatch and test the shade before purchasing to ensure it suits your complexion.

d) Neglecting to Blend

Blending is crucial for achieving a seamless and natural-looking highlight. Failing to blend the highlighter can result in harsh lines or patches, detracting from the overall makeup look.

How to Use Highlighter with Other Makeup Products

Highlighter can be combined with other makeup products to create a harmonious and radiant look. Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate highlighter into your makeup routine:

a) Layering with Blush

After applying blush, lightly dust a touch of highlighter on the highest point of your cheekbones. This technique adds dimension and a healthy glow to your cheeks.

b) Combining with Bronzer

For a sun-kissed and luminous complexion, apply bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks, temples, and jawline. Then, sweep a highlighter on the high points of your face for added radiance.

c) Pairing with Illuminating Primers

If you want an all-over glow, mix a few drops of liquid highlighter with your illuminating primer. Apply the mixture to your entire face before foundation for a luminous and radiant base.


Highlighter makeup is a fantastic tool for adding radiance and glow to your face. By understanding the different types of highlighters, mastering application techniques, and incorporating it into your makeup routine, you can achieve a luminous and youthful complexion. Remember to choose the right shade for your skin tone, prepare your skin properly, and blend the highlighter for a seamless finish. With practice and experimentation, you’ll become a pro at using highlighter to enhance your natural beauty.

FAQs: How to Use Highlighter Makeup

Can I use a highlighter on oily skin without looking greasy?

Absolutely! Opt for a powder highlighter or a liquid-to-powder formula that offers a matte or satin finish. These types of highlighters will provide a beautiful glow without adding excess shine to oily skin.

Can I use a highlighter on mature skin?

Yes, highlighters can work wonders on mature skin. Opt for cream or liquid highlighters that have a hydrating and non-drying formula. These textures blend seamlessly into mature skin, giving a natural and youthful glow.

Can I use a highlighter on darker skin tones?

Definitely! Darker skin tones can rock highlighters with rich gold, bronze, or copper undertones. These shades complement deeper complexions beautifully and create a stunning glow.

Can I apply highlighter on bare skin for a natural look?

Yes, you can apply highlighter on bare skin for a subtle and natural glow. Just make sure to moisturize your skin beforehand to create a smooth canvas for the highlighter.

How do I choose the right brush for applying highlighter?

For a precise application, use a small tapered brush. If you prefer a softer and diffused glow, a fan brush works well. Experiment with different brushes to find the one that suits your preferred highlighting technique.

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