Which Do You Use More Often — Highlighter or Bronzer?

Published in: Face, Just For Fun

Wearing MAC Antonio Lopez

Highlighter or bronzer, babe?

Ohmigosh! — bronzer, for sure. I feel weird without it.

I love both of them and wear one or the other (or both of them at the same time) practically daily, but I definitely do grab bronzer more often, especially when my foundation is a little intense.

Too Faced Bronzers

“I call this meeting of the Too Faced Cosmetics Bronzers Society to order!”

I used to not take bronzer very seriously because — hello! I’m already pretty tan — but then I started using it for very soft contouring and to slightly warm my skin tone when I wore medium- or full-coverage foundations.

Now I’m hooked!

Guerlain Crazy 68 Terracotta Bronzer

“Let the record show that I heart Guerlain Crazy 68 Terracotta Bronzer.”

Whenever I wear a medium- or full-coverage foundation, I feel like my skin looks kind of flat, especially in pics, but sweeping a bit of bronzer below my cheekbones, around the edge of my forehead, down the sides of my nose and beneath my chin puts the lifelike contours back where they belong.

It’s just sort of reflex now. Sometimes I think I actually do it in my sleep, LOL!

Jouer Sunswept Mattifying Bronzer, $28

Jouer Sunswept Mattifying Bronzer

As for highlighter, I wear it year round, but I wear it more often in spring and summer. A little dusted on the tops of my cheekbones after tinted moisturizer, followed by a light sweep of blush, and guurrrrrl…good stuff.

Oh, and I keep meaning to mention this: I just recently re-discovered a couple of highlighter loves in the MAC permanent line — Silver Dusk and Golden Bronze.

MAC Golden Bronze Iridescent Powder/Loose

MAC Golden Bronze Iridescent Powder/Loose

If you don’t have them already, drop everything immediately, and get thee to a MAC counter ASAP! You need them in your life (well, you don’t need them, but I think they’re great).

Both are very fine, loose shimmery powders that make skin glow, and a little goes a long way. I’ve met some MAC artists who use both of these often on brides.

mac silver dusk

MAC Silver Dusk Iridescent Powder/Loose

I can’t seem to find them on the MAC website right now…and that’s freaking me out a little (I hope they weren’t discontinued!), but if you happen to stumble across a jar in your makeup adventures, grab it.

Looks like they are available now on nordstrom.com, if you’re interested.

How about you? Which one do you use more often — highlighter or bronzer?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Welcome to the hump!

Have a good one today. I have to go to the dentist on my lunch break, and I’m already anxious about it…

Perhaps I should reward myself afterward with makeup. 🙂


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So far, 38 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Neither, actually! Both tend to be shimmery, and I try to avoid using too much shimmer on my face as it emphasizes my pores.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Neon stitched denim nail art with Beauty Nails Advance

    • Jax says:

      Phew, I thought I was going to be the only one.
      Thought the reason I don’t use bronzer because it always looks horrible on me, I have very pale skin and it just looks fake. I like being pale and interesting 😀

  2. Highlighting since I am better at that than I am contouring.
    Rikki Poynter recently posted … 2NE1 (MINZY) / 투애니원 (민지) – “HAPPY” MV makeup tutorial | closed captioned

  3. Agata says:

    I was just at a Mac counter on Monday. I will have to track down those powders next time. I use bronzer and highlighter every time I wear make up but I need a better bronzer for highlighting.

    And you should definitely reward yourself with make up after a visit to a dentist!!

  4. Gowthami says:

    I use highlighter often and avoid bronzer on daily basis!
    Gowthami recently posted … Gel Eyeliners: 5 Best Buys

  5. Sunny says:

    I do both, but if I had to pick, I’d go for bronzer! I was skeptical about bronzers in the beginning because some look really orange, but at some point I found out that isn’t always the case!
    Sunny recently posted … Dior Diorskin Nude Tan 2014: Aurora & Sunlight Diorskin Nude Tan Light

  6. Fancie says:

    I’m well past tan so I definitely don’t take bronzers seriously lol. I don’t even bother with them. Highlighters all the way for me! I doubt anyone will ever make an actual bronzer dark enough for me to contour with so I just use Sleek’s Contour Kit which is amaze balls!
    Fancie recently posted … ELF Studio Daily Brush Cleaner Review

  7. Trisha says:

    Oh, that’s tough. I think I use them pretty evenly, although highlighter just a BIT more, perhaps. I love both!
    Trisha recently posted … Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream Review

  8. Danielle says:

    I wear highlighter everyday. I typically only go for bronzer during the summer, even though I’m still just as pale.
    Danielle recently posted … Candles for Springtime | 2014

  9. Erin says:

    I’ve gone through periods of prioritizing one over the other … currently, I use bronzer every day and highlighter maybe every other day. Love both!
    Erin recently posted … Goodies from Whole Foods

  10. gio says:

    Highlighter, definitely. I use it daily, while bronzer only on special occasions, and only to contour.

  11. Natalie says:

    Bronzer for sure! I like highlighter and all, but bronzer is a must to add dimension to my face.
    Natalie recently posted … Pamper Week: Fresh Sugar Lip Scrub

  12. Samantha M says:

    I use neither :/ I stick to blush mostly but I’d definitely love to try a highlighter! x

  13. Allison C says:

    That’s quite a collection you’ve got there, Karen! I am quite fair so I feel like bronzer doesn’t look good on me (or I don’t know how to apply it correctly) though I do contour from time to time. I use highlighter on rare occasion, e.g. going out at night. I probably need to do more of both 😉
    Allison C recently posted … Milani Coming Up Roses Blush, Spring 2014

  14. Alison M says:

    Bronzer…every day! Highlighters are more of a full face product for me since I prefer luminous blushes for more every day glow.
    Alison M recently posted … Monday’s Most Wanted – Vol 17

  15. Corinne says:

    Karen BOTH of those MAC powders have recently been discontinued!!! STOCK UP STOCK UP…and i’m a highlighter chick…

  16. Ashley Celikay says:

    Bronzer. I almost always use bronzer. I never highlight alone either, if I’m highlighting my face, I’m definitely bronzing too.

  17. marisa says:

    I use highlighter more often, especially the type that has a lot of shimmer. 😉
    marisa recently posted … The Fashion Industry Is Going Green!

  18. Rhea says:

    i’ve always been more ample in using highlighter but now i am starting to get more into bronzers. Could you do a current favorites for bronzers and highlighters?
    Rhea recently posted … DIY ♡ Concrete/Liquid Sand Nails

  19. Brooke says:

    Highlighters scare me because I can’t seem to ever find my happy place. They are either too meh or holy crap I’m sparkling. That being said, I received a sample of Becca’s shimmering skin perfector and absolutely love it! I use it mostly on my cheeks and it makes a significant difference and gives me a nice glow!

  20. Sylirael says:

    Highlighting I suppose – I’ve never found a contour in the right colour, and bronzing is a disaster waiting to happen on my vampirically pale, cool-toned skin 😀
    Sylirael recently posted … Back to Basics III: A Classic Red Nail Polish for Every Rogue – Butter London Come to Bed Red

  21. Katherine M says:

    If I’m ever in a time crunch and have to pick one, bronzer usually wins. My face looks more sculpted and awake with bronzer. A good highlighter ties it all together, I’ve been using Benefit’s Watts Up and High Beam (may have to look at Sun Beam for the summer). I like Physician’s Formula bronzers and have found a good matte one with SPF 20.

  22. Highlighter. I know that in theory someone very pale can use bronzer but in practice it just doesn’t make a lot of sense for me unless I’m bronzing my neck. I have a very hard time getting a foundation that’s light enough, so it can just exaggerate the issue if I’m adding additional warmth or deepness. 🙂
    Nicole – Beyond the Pale and Freckled recently posted … My Collection: Taupe Shadows (part 1 of 2)

  23. Savannah says:

    I guess I do neither. All bronzers look funny on me ( the too faced chocolate soleil looks muddy on me no matter how little I put on) and then a Mac Pro longwear bronzer that’s just alright. It kind of makes me look yellow. I do this highlight thing with hourglass ambient powder in dim on my cheekbones and nose for something subtle. Now blush I can’t live without. My face looks fat and dead without it! Lol

  24. Grace says:

    Ugh, so jealous of your Too Faced collection! I definitly use bronzer more. Contouring is so fun and makes such a huge difference in my overall look. Don’t get me wrong–I love highlighters. But since I have combination/oily skin, I can only wear them in the winter when I’m drier, or else I look like an oil spill. But bronzer is awesome all year long. Next on my list is NARS Laguna 🙂

  25. Cindy says:

    I use a lot more bronzers than highlighters for an everyday makeup. I just bought the Hoola from Benefit bronzer to contour and so far I absolutely love how it works and blends into the skin.


  26. Chelsea says:

    I was typing this out and all of a sudden my computer restarted!

    I definitely use highlighter more often. I use bronzer sometimes, but I’m very fair and freckly and bronzers can make my face just look dirty. I love me some highlighters though.

  27. Marian D. says:

    I actually use highlights more because it brings out my cheekbones, which are already pretty high, but yeah. Mama loves her some highlights

  28. Denise S says:

    I use highlighter everyday, unless I my blush is shimmery. Occasionally use bronzer.

  29. Natalye says:

    Definitely bronzer! I am a bronzer addict!
    Natalye recently posted … The Best of Both Worlds – Lorac: Pro Palette Review and Swatches

  30. phancy says:

    I seriously have no idea how to use bronzer, and would love a tutorial, or a before and after pics with bronzer. I just don’t get it? I feel like I’m 12, figuring out how to put on eyeshadow! 🙂

  31. Erin says:

    I use highlighter much more then I use bronzer but only since I got Becca’s SSP.
    Erin recently posted … Whomp Whomp: Ménage Á Trois 2011 Pinot Grigio Review

  32. Petra says:

    For a really long time I couldn’t find a bronzer that didn’t look totally bananas crazy on my pale skin – glittery burnt orange is not a good look for me. So i was all about the highlight but now I am more for both but yeah I still lean more towards highligt.

  33. Christine says:

    I use both regularly. I like to contour my face a bit because otherwise there isn’t much shape to it, although I’m still working on my skill! I’m pretty fair so it’s really easy to overdo. I love to highlight, but once again my complexion is a problem because most highlighter barely show up. I know they aren’t supposed to be super obvious but I want it to look like I’m wearing a little something at least close up!
    Christine recently posted … Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick – Outlaw

  34. Judith says:

    I wear contour color a lot, but very seldomly bronzers. I’m not really big on shimmery highlighters either

  35. Sakura says:

    I have a serious highlighter addiction! I like the sheer pearl-pink type highlighters with fine shimmer.(I’m NC30) I actually have one from Victoria’s secret that I love, but I’m always on the hunt for another. I often wear bronzer in the winter. I found that the ones that aren’t a flat powder look best! I especially like the one from Sephora’s desert sunset palette and one by Lorac. My current obsession is to find a palette with a nice highlighter, bronzer and lipstick!

  36. Tammy says:

    Bronzer! My favorite is by Too Faced. 🙂

  37. Aimee says:

    Bronzer for sure! I love using it as a sculpting blush (tan girl here) and it just gives your face so much dimension. I love highlighters, but I’ve been shelving them because I’m scared of drawing attention to those pores. What to do!

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