Get Glowing Skin That Looks Like You Just Got a Facial, With the Help of a Liquid Highlighter and a Flat Foundation Brush

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Illuminator in Opal

Ah, spa! Here I’m wearing BECCA’s Shimmering Skin Perfector Illuminator in Opal on my upper cheekbones, down the bridge of my nose and on my cupid’s bow

No, seriously, if you and I get J-Renn’s permission to open a spa called “Deep-Tissue Massage by Jeremy Renner” we would make GAZILLIONS. We could even have, like, a rewards card, where you “Book nine deep-tissue massages with J. Renn and get the tenth free!”

It would be almost as rad as these cat lady shoes by Vans

Cat lady says what now?

See, dreams DO come true

But I digress…

I’ve been using this technique to get glowing, “you just got a really, really, really great facial at a fancy-schmancy spa” skin with liquid highlighter and a foundation brush lately that I think you might like. It’s like getting an entire spa day in 60 seconds or less. 🙂

1. Start with a good liquid highlighter

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Illuminators

The $41 BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Illuminators from the left in Moonstone (a pale gold), Pearl (a white pearl), Opal (a golden opal pearl) and Topaz (a golden bronzed pearl)

First, grab a good liquid highlighter, and there are lots of ’em out there, like MAC’s Lustre Drops, the NARS Illuminators or Benefit’s Highbeam, to name a few.

I use a variety, but my current favorites are the Shimmering Skin Perfectors by BECCA ($41, available in four shades).

BEYOND obsessed with these, for so many reasons. I love the way their pearlescent, natural-with-a-kick finish catches the light, and yet isn’t frosty, so it doesn’t emphasize my fine lines or pores. Because they contain just the right amount of shimmer, they glow without looking oily.

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Illuminator

The BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Illuminators from the top down in Pearl, Moonstone, Opal and Topaz

Just as importantly, I love that I can layer them on top of foundation and/or powder without them breaking up or disturbing whatever makeup I may already be wearing.

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfectors from the left: Pearl, Moonstone, Opal and Topaz

The BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfectors from the left in Pearl, Moonstone, Opal and Topaz

So, yeah…we’re talkin’ highlighter makeup GOLD.

2. Grab your favorite flat foundation brush

I prefer applying liquid highlighter with flat — ideally clean, because it makes blending easier — brushes, as opposed to other brushes, fingers or sponges, because I just think they apply more evenly. (I like the MAC 190.)

A previously used (also known as grimy) foundation brush will work, too, but the cleaner the better. Even quickly rubbing a brush head across a clean paper towel a few times, if you don’t have time for a proper cleaning, will dislodge some of the built-up product from the bristles.

3. On your mark, get set, PAT!

Now it’s time for the fun part. 🙂

After applying your face makeup — in my case, that’s usually primer, foundation or tinted moisturizer, powder, blush and bronzer — load a smidgen of highlighter on the back of your hand.

Dip your foundation brush lightly into the highlighter, then gently work the liquid into the fibers of the brush between your thumb and forefinger. I find that this makes the coverage more even/less patchy.


Now, right on top of whatever other makeup you’re wearing, swipe your brush along a clean portion of your hand to remove some of the excess highlighter, and pat it on your upper cheekbones, in the center of your forehead between your brows and down the bridge of your nose (just like the pic below).

Place your highlighter in the highlighted areas

Your liquid highlighter will slightly temper/dial down the powdery effect of whatever makeup you happen to be wearing, while highlighting those areas we targeted, giving you that post-facial glow. 🙂

Pat one more layer on if you’d like, but be careful. It’s pretty easy to go overboard (at least for me).

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 20 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Katherine says:

    Cool! I’ve never really known what to do with liquid highlighters, but I might have to give one a go now. On a related note, would the 190 be good for applying MAC CCBs? I have Diamonds, and I love the colour, but I can’t get it to apply evenly on my dry skin, using my fingers. Any hints would be fantastic!

  2. Kelly says:

    Karen you are SUCH an enabler, and not in the way you might think. I totally just bought those Vans! LOL! 😀
    Kelly recently posted … Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Retsina

  3. Cindy says:

    I think it’s an excellent idea to pair them under your foundation because some of them like the MAC lustre drops are hard to blend.

  4. MonicaP says:

    I’ve always wanted to pick up the Becca illuminator, so glad to know it isn’t oily. I really like Moonstone.


    PS: those vans are cute!
    MonicaP recently posted … A few items from All Cosmetics Wholesale

  5. Erin says:

    I love Becca Highlighter! I recently reviewed the pearl!
    Erin recently posted … Quick Updates and Budget Buys!

  6. Chelsea says:

    Love highlighters! Glowy skin is the best.

  7. Rhea says:

    BECCA seems like a really rad brand but it isn’t available anywhere nearby!:(
    Rhea recently posted … Lush : Dark Angels

  8. Vineetha says:

    The Becca Highlighter looks really good! Now I might have to pick tis up!
    Vineetha recently posted … Giorgio Armani Maestro Foundation Review, Swatches

  9. Gowthami says:

    Sounds good and nice that’s it isn’t oily!
    Gowthami recently posted … EOTD: Brown Eye-Makeup Look

  10. Vanessa says:

    Good tips. I have the skin perfector, so I’ll try it.

    Also,Karen, you’re on a roll. All your articles are making me laugh out loud.

  11. I wish I could get my hands on Becca! Have heard so much about their highlighters.
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Video Tutorial : Super Easy Party Eye Makeup

  12. Bella says:

    I’ve kind of gone crazy for Becca since your top 5 video. I bought the things sight unseen from SpaceNK. I’ve loved everything I bought, except that for the Radiant Skin Satin Foundation I need to mix Olive and Bamboo to get my perfect shade.
    The Shimmering skin perfector is on its way to me in Moonstone; I didj’t choose Opal because of the pinkish undertones….they would be very obvious on me.
    Now to hope that it works out!!

  13. Fran says:

    Thanks for the tips, Karen! I’m always afraid of going overboard with highlighter and so rarely use it. Now I know what to do with that deluxe sample of High Beam that’s been sitting in my makeup bag.

  14. Alison M says:

    Woohoo! Love me some highlighter! I haven’t used it recently due to unfortunate sugar-induced spots, but I’ve got my eye on getting back into it. I’ve never tried to apply with a flat foundation brush before as I more often use my fingers. Definitely will give that a go.
    Alison M recently posted … Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Review and Swatches Part 2

  15. Madeleine says:

    Your skin looks amazing! I’ve never tried a liquid highlighter before, looks like something I’ll have to check out! x

  16. traci bender says:

    Have a great day:)

  17. Fancie says:

    I always use my fingers for liquid illuminators but I’m going to try this method instead. That way I can avoid having messy hands lol
    Fancie recently posted … MAC Playland Collection

  18. Michelle says:

    Headed to get one of these highlighters this afternoon….you get me in so much trouble 🙂

  19. Sylirael says:

    Awesome tips, Karen! I’m always a bit lost when it comes to highlighter because I glow in the dark already (very pale), but I’m gonna try this out!

    Wish I had some Becca SSP in Pearl to try it out with, hehe!
    Sylirael recently posted … The Eye of the Beholder: Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara in 01 Black

  20. Amber says:

    I’ve been wanting to check out BECCA, but have yet to buy anything. Love the look! And I LOVE your Walking Dead shout out!

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