How To Use Your Highlighter Correctly

How To Use Your Highlighter Correctly

Highlighter can enhance your bone structure and make you look more youthful. It just comes down to the right texture and correct application. Here, make-up artist, Valeria Ferreira, shares her tips…

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Apply It Before Your Base

“If you’re aiming for an overall glow, apply your highlighter before your foundation for a dewier base. This may sound odd, but it’s a make-up artist trick that works every time; your dewy highlighter breathes through your base more naturally. It’s also worth mixing your highlighter in with your base if you’re after more general radiance that doesn’t need too much thought. But remember, using the latter technique will give you an overall glow, not a targeted highlighting effect. Opt for formulas like Crème de La Mer’s Hydrating Illuminator if you want a pretty sheen that blends with the rest of your make-up or Charlotte Tilbury’s cult Glowgasm.” 

Stick To Brushes

“Try to apply your highlighter with a soft brush and then use a beauty blender (or a sponge) to erase any edges. I also use what I call a ‘double glow’ technique. This consists of applying a cream or liquid highlighter, and then setting it with a powder highlighter. First, apply the cream highlighter with a brush, then airbrush it with a damp sponge. Finally, use a soft, fluffy brush to go over the skin very lightly with a powdery, silky highlighter. This allows for more of a soft-focus glow that’s even, but also very believable and ethereal-looking.” 

Know The Areas To Avoid

“The best places to apply your highlighter are the areas where you want to enhance volume – so, for instance, your cheekbones, forehead, and cupid’s bow. Avoid highlighting an area where the pores are enlarged or where texture is uneven, because you’ll only draw attention to this further. If you’re someone with rough skin, highlight with a lighter, brightening concealer instead. Look for a product that’s matte, but doesn’t have any iridescence, as these formulas will again just draw attention to problematic skin.” 

Keep Shimmer To A Minimum

“If you have oily skin and therefore tend to glow naturally, you probably don’t need a highlighter. However, you can use it on your brow bone or on the very high point of your cheekbones. If your skin texture is uneven, highlighters can pick up on imperfections, so it’s better to highlight with ‘light’ instead of shimmer. Cream, liquids and powders are all great, but it’s good to invest in those with small shimmer particles. These provide a glow that looks like it comes from within, rather than appearing cakey or thick.” 

Apply your highlighter to the areas where you want to enhance volume – so, for instance, your cheekbones, forehead, and cupid’s bow. Avoid highlighting an area where the pores are enlarged or where texture is uneven.

Mix It With Your Blusher

“If you want to tint your highlighter, mix it with a liquid blush or bronzer before buffing it into your skin. The Armani A-Blush is great for this as it’s so sheer and buildable. Another trick is to use a cream blusher, then apply a powder over it. This will boost the volume of your cheeks and give both colour and shine.” 

Don’t Confuse Highlight With Gloss

“A lot of people think the wet-skin look can be achieved with highlighters, but really, you want to look for clear textures to do this. Think of these more like ‘dew enhancers’ – or glosses for the skin. BeautyBlender do an incredible one called Glass Glow Shinelighter, and Topshop has its Ultra Gloss in Glass. They are clear and can be used to give instant luminosity – without any colour, shimmer or sheen. The application technique is similar to a normal highlighter, too.” 

Match Your Tone

“While it’s hard to go wrong, it is possible to choose an incorrect highlighter shade. This happens a lot with darker skin tones, as shading can really vary. If you end up with the wrong colour, it can give off more of an ashy appearance and this isn’t flattering on anyone. If you’re unsure, always ask a beauty advisor or swatch it when you’re out shopping – the same as you would for a foundation or concealer. Both Fenty and Danessa Myricks do wonderful formulas for darker skin tones, with plenty of bronze undertones that blend beautifully.” 

Remember, There Are No Hard & Fast Rules

“There are no rules when it comes to highlighter – just endless styles and tastes. You can be more of a minimalist and just use a little on the cheekbones, or amp things up and get creative. Don’t be afraid to play and mix textures. Providing you take a steady, light-handed approach and know your skin and the textures that suit it, you can’t go too wrong.” 


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