Your Highlighter Questions Answered
Your Highlighter Questions Answered

Your Highlighter Questions Answered

In this series, we ask the pros to answer your beauty questions – and this time around, they’re all about highlighter. From where to apply it to finding the best one for you, we put some of the SL Community’s recent questions to make-up artist Cat Parnell…
By Sapna Rao

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Powder Or Liquid Highlighter – Which Would You Recommend?

I suspect this is one of the most asked questions in the SL Community, but the answer depends on your skin type and personal preference. My go-to would be a liquid highlighter set with a powder highlight. This technique ensures longevity and real colour payoff. However, if your skin type is dry, a liquid will deliver more of a glossy, fresh look. If you're on the oilier side, opt for a powder to avoid excess shine. For liquid highlighters, the Iconic London Illuminator and Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Light Wand are my go-tos, and for powder it’s the Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Highlighting Powder.

What Is The Best Way To Apply A Liquid Highlighter For The Most Natural Finish?

It all starts with a good base. Ensure your foundation, concealer and anything already on your skin is blended thoroughly and properly set. This won’t just make any highlighting products applied on top look their best; it’ll also stop them sliding off during the day. To avoid stripping away the rest of your make-up when applying highlighter, I like using a small fan brush. They’re incredibly lightweight, so they can glide over your skin without disturbing any of your hard work underneath. Also, be sure to apply your highlighter in thin layers for the most natural-looking finish. You can always go back in with a bit more to build things up and intensify the glow if needed.

How Do You Find The Best Highlighter For Your Skin Tone?

It’s all about your undertones. If your skin is fairer with cooler undertones, you don't want anything too warm as this will bring down the complexion, rather than lift it. So, opt for a champagne or pearly pink shade, as these create more luminescence – rather than a warm tint that you may otherwise get from your blush or bronzer in other areas of the face. For medium-toned skin with yellow undertones, a peachy shade will look really beautiful. Deeper skin tones should avoid shades that will give off an ashy look – so highlighters with a golden undertone work best. For this I’d recommend NARS St Barts, M·A·C Mineralize ‘Global Glow’ and Laura Mercier ‘Seduction’.


Is There Anywhere You Should Apply Highlighter Other Than Your Cheekbones Or Tip Of Your Nose?

Don't forget in the corner of your eyes! This really makes such a huge difference in brightening up the face. It actually creates a bit of an optical illusion too. Don’t forget to apply it under the brow bone either, as it’s also a lovely spot for creating depth in the face. Additionally, the cupid’s bow and down the centre of the nose can also help lift your complexion.

What’s The Best Brush To Use To Apply A Powder Highlighter?

If a fan brush isn’t for you, try a regular powder brush. Opt for a smaller size so that you can precisely navigate the product to the correct place and avoid getting shimmer all over the face. The BareMinerals Diffused Highlight Brush is perfect for this, as is a small blending brush like M·A·C 221S Mini Tapered Blending Brush if you’re working on the areas around the brow bone and eyes. Also, don't be afraid to spray your brushes with a bit of setting spray to allow for a more precise and intense application. Regardless of whether you’re using a liquid, cream or powder highlight, this step really helps with blending out the pigment. It allows the product to melt into the rest of your make-up for that glass-like finish.

Is There A Way To Prolong The Look Of Highlighter?

To keep highlighter (and the rest of your make-up) in place, make sure you’re using a setting spray like the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray before and after you apply your make-up. Another tip would be to ensure your skincare has fully absorbed before applying anything on top. Sometimes, if your skin is still tacky or wet from skincare, it can cause your make-up to slide around later in the day.

Remember, WE DON'T NEED HIGHLIGHTER ALL OVER OUR FACE – instead, we need to use it to highlight the top points of our face to CREATE LIFT AND DIMENSION.

How Do You Set Your Face Without Mattifying The Glow From Your Highlighter?

If you want to set the skin but not lose your glow, just don’t powder in the areas where your highlighter sits. I tend to only powder under the jaw, around the nose, between the eyebrows and into the temples. This allows your highlighted areas to stay radiant, and other areas that may potentially look too shiny, stay matte.

How Do You Make Sure Texture Doesn’t Look Worse With Highlighter?

I find a liquid highlighter works best for this because these products keep the skin hydrated – especially if you’re using a product that contains a kind-to-the-skin formula like Glossier, for example.

Is It A Good Idea To Mix Highlighter With Foundation?

I tend to avoid this personally. If I want to add extra glow to my foundation, I’ll add an oil into my skincare routine for a really radiant finish. Remember, we don't need highlighter all over our face – instead, we need to use it to highlight the top points of our face to create lift and dimension. I do, however, sometimes mix a few drops of liquid highlighter into my body moisturiser if I ever need an extra shot of glow on my body.

Follow @CatParnell on Instagram.

Have more advice you’d like to share with members of the SL Community? Share it here.

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