The Highlighting Power of Rosebud Salve

Published in: Beauty Tips, Product Reviews, Skin Care

Written by Julianne

Today Julianne of The Family Julas shares an unconventional way to put a beauty cult classic to work.

We all know the famous Smith’s Rosebud Salve, the famed multi-purpose medicating machine in the pretty tin can. You can use it on your lips, on your skin, and on your diaper rash.  It’s always sold right by the cashiers at Sephora with all of the other beauty musts, like the Shu Uemura eyelash curler. It’s an American classic.


However, you may be underestimating the true power of your tin of Rosebud. While it’s pretty on the outside, and pretty on your lips (maybe not so much on your diaper rash…), it’s also a very pretty highlighter. While droves of makeup addicts have long been spending heaps of cash on Benefit’s High Beam or MAC’s Strobe Cream and other facial equivalents to blinding Christmas lights, the solution to your highlighting woes may be sitting in your purse.

Indeed, when I first tried it for myself and applied Rosebud Salve on my upper cheek bones, I was shocked how it lit up my face…and saved me $24 on Benefit High Beam. When blended into the skin, Rosebud creates a pearlish glow that is subtle yet effective. I also like to put it on above my Cupid’s bow to emphasize my unfortunately tiny lips.

Wearing Rosebud Salve

If you decide to nix your expensive highlighters and try Rosebud for yourself, be mindful of a few tricks. Make sure to blend it — if not you could run the risk of looking (and feeling) greasy. You can build on to your initial layer of Rosebud, but be sure not to turn yourself into a jack-o-lantern. I find that one layer suits me for school and laid back makeup days, and two is just enough for a more dramatic appeal. Also, if you have oily/acne prone skin then proceed with caution.

Either way, Rosebud could be your newest best beauty friend. It’s cheap and pretty, and its easy to carry around with you if you need a touch-up…or that pesky diaper rash strikes again. For me, Rosebud Salve is a MUST — I always keep it in my purse, and I know I’m not the only one. Legions of fans stand by Rosebud as their Holy Grail lip balm; why not make it your HG highlighter, too?

Written by Julianne

This post was written by the talented Julianne, a high school senior graduating in June. She loves writing, her 11-year-old basset hound, Molly, and makeup by MAC, Nars, Urban Decay, Nyx and Revlon. Someday Julianne hopes to work as a writer or producer for TV and movies.


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So far, 28 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Cool post and idea! I will be getting this little handy tin-can soon 🙂 These guest posts are fun!
    .-= Polish Earthgirl’s last blog post… Essie Wedding Collection =-.

  2. Advah says:

    THANKS, this sounds like a genius trick! I’d heard of using vaseline as a highlighter before but never quite figured out how that’s work.

    Off to the work bathroom to try that right now!

  3. Shannon says:

    If been using it on my lips for years. I’ll be trying it as a highlighter today 🙂 Thanks for the great tip!

  4. Nina says:

    Oh wow thats an awesome way to use this product! Ill try it for sure! 🙂 Thanks, J!

  5. Meghan says:

    great post julianne! and congrats on your upcoming graduation!

  6. Sarah says:

    I love Rosebud Salve! I swear by it for my lips, cuticles, and crunchy elbows.

  7. Caitlin says:

    I use Rosebud Salve like it’s my job! It’s wonderful for so many things: lips, dry skin, highlighter, making cream blush, etc.

    Word of warning though, be careful if you leave it around heat (like in your purse that you accidentally left in your car-oops!). The salve will melt and shift around the tin, making it get stuck together. If this happens, lay it on a flat surface and use a blowdryer to remelt it. Once you can get the top off, even out the product and wait for it to solidify again!

    • Julbra says:

      I too have noticed the consistency shift along with the weather…when it’s colder, its more dense, and of course in the heat it gets more liquidy (is that a word??). Anyway, thanks for the heads-up.

  8. Karen B says:

    Lovely post and congrats on your impending graduation.
    .-= Karen B’s last blog post… e.l.f. =-.

  9. snoopysteph says:

    I just used Rosebud as a highlighter for the first time last week! The trick is to definitely blend so you don’t have a “streak” of shine on your upper cheekbone (learned that the hard way – caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror at work and was like WHOA!).

    • Julbra says:

      I know, I’ve had some of those days when I took at the mirror and see some glaring beauty mistake…but I like to think no one notices that stuff, right? 😉

  10. Karen says:

    Thanks for contributing, Julianne! 🙂

  11. Jackie says:

    I love Rosebud Salve! I don’t exactly use it as a highlighter, I just use it to give my face that dewey/ wet look on my cheeks. It works great! This also works great to give your lids that “wet” eyeshadow look, but it can crease like crazy if you use too much. This is one of those awesome multi-purpose beauty products that everyone should have in their makeup bag.
    .-= Jackie’s last blog post… So long red hair…it was nice while it lasted =-.

  12. vnssa906 says:

    how awesome! everytime I’m on line to pay at sephora, I always see the rosebud salve, but never thought of buying it… I have WAY too many lip products, and assumed it would just end up being a part of my collection.. but know i know i can use it as a highlighter?!? nice.

    • Julbra says:

      It’s worth the investment (which is only $6 mind you) and you can use it for your cuticles, and your elbows, pretty much anything! Give it a whirl!

  13. neenaj says:

    another great way to use it is to make your own custom cheek stain and lipgloss. just mix a bit of the rosebud salve with a mac pigment(s) or mineral makeup powder(s). use a clean a qtip stick – cotton tip removed – and mix in a clean container (i like to use cheap, plastic paint pots from the craft store) to whatever color density you prefer. voila! custom colored makeup!

    • Julbra says:

      Wow, that’s an awesome tip! I’ll have to try that for myself. I love the lip-stain look, it’s very romantic…

  14. Alannah says:

    This was really helpful!

  15. Angela says:

    Coincidence! I was just flipping through an old issue of Allure and a celebrity makeup artist shared this same tip! It was nice to see action photos of how it looks. I will definitely have to try it now.
    .-= Angela’s last blog post… haul happiness =-.

  16. Rachael says:

    If you’re saving $24 by buying Rosebud, I must be getting mine for free at my local farmers market. I spend around 75 cents at most per tin and use it as my chapstick constantly, but never as a highlighter because I don’t have the patience to blend it out well enough.

  17. Connie says:

    Mine’s still sealed! But I’ll definitely give this a try! Probably a good way to help finish up my lip balms sooner 🙂
    Thank you for the idea! and you are gorgeous
    .-= Connie’s last blog post… Review: Kji & Co Emergency Lash RX =-.

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