How To Use Highlighter: A Basic Guide

How highlighter can enhance your features, how to choose and apply highlighter. Also, I've never used the words sparkly and it's synonyms so many times as here.

  I wanted to write about highlighter because shimmery makeup is so fitting for Christmas and the Ney Years! You'll often see that the faces of celebs on the red carpet catch the light in all the right faces. It's a kind of subtle glow, which makes the skin look translucent and healthy. This is done by the strategic use of a highlighter. A highlighter is a skin-toned product that is several shades lighter than your own skin tone, and often sightly shimmery.
   Along with bronzer or contouring powder it can chisel and model your features, adding depth as well as that glow.And it's not as difficult as it looks!

Choosing the right highlighter

   Highlighters come in sticks, powders, creams, pencils, sticks, pearls, you name it. They might be called shimmers, enhancers, glows, radiance enhancers, and even fairy dust. If these names confuse you, just know that if it is light and shimmery, it is probably a highlighter.
   I find that powders are easiest for beginners, but then I personally find powders and brushes easier to use than creamy products. For small areas, highlighting pencils are really nice. 

Use what you have:
   If you don't want to buy anything, chances are you already own something you can use as a highlighter. You can use a foundation that is too light for your skin tone (as long as the coverage is not too heavy). Eyeshadow also works, try the pearly creams and beiges. Baked eyeshadow is especially amazing, since the shimmery particles are really fine. In fact, a professional makeup lady used baked Alverde eyeshadow on my cheeks, and I loved it. For small areas a light concealer can work, also creamy eyeshadow in pencil or stick form.

Sparkle vs matte:
   Leave the sparkly and shimmery highlighter for evenings out. For the day a pearly or satiny finish is best. A matte highlighter can make the face look too matte and flat, but I sometimes use it when doing "invisible make up". Also: if you are already using sparkle and shimmer on your eyes or lips, you might want to keep you highlighter subdued. And vice versa. Unless you are preparing for a night out, in that case bring on the sparkles!

Cool vs warm:
  For cooler skin tones make sure your highlighter is cool: white-ish, silvery, pinkish or even blueish; warm skin tones need to look for peach, gold. Darker skin tones would do good with copper or bronze.

What I use:
   For the day, I  use samples of mineral foundation in the lightest shades, as I can pick one that is really close to my skin tone (lightly warm), so it looks very natural. For the night, I like the face and body enhancers from Lumiere Cosmetics -- the palette of choices is amazing -- from barely there to iridescent sparkles, in all kinds of shades, and they are sorted according to whether they are warm or cool! My favourite super-subtle highlighter is Lumiere´s Bare Skin.
  I also own and like the P2 Perfect Face Soft Focus Highlighter (from DM) -- it is very handy as it can be applied without a brush. Another nice product is the Logona highlighting pencil, great for small areas. ELF carries shimmer sheets which sounds like a great thing to have in your purse or your travel bag.

Lumiere small buki, e.l.f. mall tapered brush, Lumiere dome brush, ebelin (DM) powder brush

The tools:

   I apply powder highlighter on smallest areas with a small domed eyeshadow brush. For the rest of the face I love the small tapered brush from ELF (second from left), it is amazing for this purpose because the tapered tip can be quite precise. The blush brush is for bigger areas, and the big powder brush is for blending at the end. Any smaller fluffy brush will work well here: a smaller blush brush, or a kabuki, a contouring brush: basically anything that is not too big or too fluffy. You can also pinch the bristles together to get a more precise effect. For liquid or cream products you might like the beauty blender, or a brush. I'm not an expert on cream products but I'd probably use my ELF stippling brush for this.

How to apply highlighter:

    Always apply a very small amount of highlighter. It should be almost invisible! You can always add another layer if you want, but go for a subtle effect. Celebs on the red carpet often have heavy-handed highlighter, because light makeup just doesn't register on camera. For real-life situations the highlighter should not be visible, it should be just a hint of light and shimmer. Remember to blend well! Use a big fluffy brush to blend everything at the end. I like to light dusting of a finishing veil from Lumiere to blend, diffuse, and to even out the makeup.

Where to apply highlighter 

   Here are the places where highlighter looks best on almost everyone:
* Below the brow bone: lifts the eye area upwards. You can also highlight above your eyebrows, like Eva Longoria in the photo at the bottom of the post.
* Inner corner of the eye: (exception: very wide set eyes), makes you look more awake
* On top of the cheekbones: sculpts cheekbones and draws attention to the eyes. Apply on top of the cheek "shelf", not below! Feel for you cheekbone with your fingers if you´re not sure where that should be.
* Above the top lip: makes the lips look fulle. You can also try going all the way around your lips with the highlighter.

   There are a couple of other places where highlighter can balance out your features, however it depends on your individual face shape and features. In these areas I would stick to matte or pearly textures and avoid anything too sparkly.
* Jawline: (on and above, not on the underside): sculpts jawline, especially if you also use a dark shade below the jawline. Great for top-heavy faces, and undefined jawlines, avoid if you have a dominant jawline.
* Center of the forehead: great for bottom-heavy faces. Avoid if you get oily there.
* Middle of chin: on top of the "shelf" (right below that crease between the lips and chin point). Elongates and slims the face. Avoid if you have a long face or a dominant chin.
* Down the nose: to bring out a flat or broad nose, works best if you use a dark shade along the sides.

   Another two places where a touch of highlighter can be very pretty: a spot in the middle of the eyelid to brighten up the eyes (if you are wearing darker eyeshadow), and in the middle of the lips to make them look plumper.

Balancing your features with highlighter:

   Highlighter makes the features pop, so you should use it on the parts you want to bring forward. For example if you have a heart-shaped face with a prominent forehead and receding or undefined jawline, skip the highlighter on the forehead in favour of some on your jawline and chin. It helps to study photos of celebs with a face shape similar to yours to see how they use highlighter to make their features pop.

Eva Longoria seems to have highlighted the top outline of her brows, which opens up nd lifts her eye area.

   Feel free to throw any questions my way. Those of you who have experience with highlighters, what do you use and which features do you like to highlight?

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