I cannot believe there was a time in my makeup life when I thought of highlighter as something optional, and a time before that when I didn’t wear it at all.
That is just so crazypants to me, because now, I think of it as an absolute, can’t-live-without-it necessity…like caffeine in the mornings and wearing a bra.
Nowadays, I wear highlighter almost every single day, and I think it makes a huge difference in my overall look. I feel like everything looks livelier, and my face appears just so much brighter when I wear it.
So, I guess you can tell — I’m on Team Highlighter, LOL!
To share the highlighter love, here are five things you can do to make your highlighter hotter…
1. It’s prime time, baby!
OK, now, I know that adding a face primer into the mix is an extra step, but it’s so, so worth it, especially if you have pores for days (like moi).
You know the deal: primer evens out the surface of your skin, creating a smooth surface upon which to apply products. So, if you apply primer before your foundation, powder, etc., everything you layer on top, including your highlighter, appears that much smoother.
Which is great, because highlighter shimmers, and that shimmer can draw unwanted attention to pores and imperfections, so anything you can do to create a smoother canvas beforehand helps you get you closer to a flawless look.
It’s probably not a big deal in your teens and 20s, but as you get up into your 30s (and beyond), primer can make a bigger difference, especially when you’re wearing shimmer on your cheeks.
As far as brands, I swear by MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance. I’ve literally gone through cases of the stuff (OK, bottles), because it does a number on my pores and fine lines. Plus, it layers nicely with skincare products and makeup, and it doesn’t give me breakouts.
2. “T” for tapered (as in tapered eye brush)
Keri suggested that I apply it with a MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush, and I did.
Totally changed my life.
I’m particularly fond of using the 224 with high-shine highlighters, like the Iridescent/Loose Powders and MAC Mineralize Skin Finishes. Compared to a bigger blush brush, the smaller, thinner 224 brush head gives me a lot of control over the product I’m applying, and anything that reduces mistakes gets a big win from me.
3. Play with different levels of shimmer
Dramatic, shimmery highlighters look super cool! — but they aren’t the only highlighters around. There are also highlighters designed for toned-down looks with softer sheens, and their glow is just as gorgeous.
These are really great for mature skin, or for anyone of any age who wants a subtle effect. A couple of the ones I love: MAC Shaping Powder in Lightsweep and Hourglass Ambient Powder in Dim Light. They don’t look heavy on the skin, and they’re super forgiving.
4. Highlighter, meet Mrs. Matte Blush
Another “changed my life” moment! I picked up this tip from Marc Reagan, Bobbi Brown Manager of North American Artistry, and I use it often.
If you want the look of highlighted skin but don’t want your face looking shockingly shiny, apply your highlighter first on your upper cheekbones, and then layer a matte blush directly on top. That way, you still shimmer as it shows through the matte, but you don’t shimmer quite as brightly.
5. Highlight here and there
When I first started wearing highlighter, I only wore it on my upper cheekbones, but it wasn’t until I started wearing it on different parts of my face — down the bridge of my nose, my cupid’s bow, on my brow bones, and sometimes even above my brow bones — that I really fell in love with it.
The trick is to not over-apply and end up looking like a shiny light bulb, which is where the tapered brush comes in.
Now go forth, friends, and highlight hotter!
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,