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How to Use Highlighter to Brighten Your Face

Need highlighter tips? We can help. Use our tips to apply highlighter the right way

Our guide to using highlighter on your face

A common misconception of women over the age of 30 is that they can’t use highlighter, for fear of looking older. While it’s true that glitter tends to age the skin, highlighters rely on shimmery, multi-faceted micas to reflect light, and as a result, provide the skin with a bright, glowing effect, sans glittery disco-ball.

But just like everything else in your makeup bag arsenal, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use it.

Here’s how to properly use highlighter to brighten up your face. Here’s hoping that this guide helps you to see the light!

Highlighting Guide

The purpose of highlighter is to bring into focus a particular feature that you’d like to play up. For example, if you want your eyes to really pop, the best way to make them stand out is by highlighting under your brow bone and inner corners near the tear ducts.

Highlighting along the cheeks will serve as a contrast to the contouring power of a dark bronzer, allowing you to sculpt yourself some serious cheekbones.

And if you are super proud of your kisser, a dab of highlighter in the valley, called cupid’s bow, will make those gorgeous lips really stand out.

Prep Before Highlighter

Before applying highlighter, ensure that you’re starting on a clean face. You wouldn’t paint a picture on a dirty canvas and your skin is no exception.

Once you’ve sufficiently cleansed your skin, you’ll want to follow up with a moisturizer for dry, mature skin, so that the highlighter won’t settle into the creases. If you have younger, acne-prone skin, it’s fine to skip the moisturizer, as long as your face’s overall consistency is even-toned.

Once your face is prepped, it’s time to decide on the overall look you’re going for, as the type of highlighter you choose, as well as the application process determine the results you’ll achieve.

How to Achieve a Dewy Finish

In order to achieve a dewy look, skin will have to be well-hydrated, so those with breakout prone skin may want to skip this look, as the use of moisturizer is a must.

If you’d like an all-over dewy finish, you can mix a drop or two of liquid illuminator into a dollop of moisturizer prior to application.

However, if you prefer the wet, dewy look only appear on certain areas of your face, use a non-shimmer highlighter stick and spot apply to the desired areas. This creates a moist, fresh-out-of-the-shower glow to your skin, without the addition of shimmer.

The dewy look is perfect for those with mature skin, as a dew finish won’t draw attention to fine lines or wrinkles, but instead conveys a well-hydrated, supple appearance.

How to Achieve a Matte Finish

If your skin is a bit on the greasy side or you live in a humid area, a matte highlighting effect is a great way to showcase your best features without causing your face to resemble an oil slick.

In order to get the look, you’re going to forego an actual highlighter in favor of a matte concealer, one to two shades lighter than your normal skin tone. Use a sponge to dab concealer on areas where light would naturally hit and shine off your skin — including under the eyes, top of cheeks, and the center of your forehead.

How to Achieve a Glow

If you have normal skin, and would like to achieve a subtle all-over glow, the best way to do this is to use a powder highlighter and fluffy brush to lightly dust the product under your brow bones and along your cheek bones. Follow up with a dusting of setting powder on your forehead and nose only, so that your face retains a subtle shimmer.

If you’d prefer a more intense glowing look, opt for a cream highlighter instead of a powder one, and use a sponge to lightly apply to areas where light naturally hits, including brow bones, cheek bones, the center of your nose, and the cupid’s bow of the lip.

If you find that your face looks lit up like a Christmas tree, you can always neutralize some of that luminosity with a bit of foundation and a dusting of powder.

Resources — Cosmopolitan, Loreal

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