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How to Apply Highlighter Like a Pro: Easy Steps to Highlight like a Pro

How to Apply Highlighter

Highlighter is a cosmetic product that reflects natural light. It is applied on the highest points or areas of the face like the cheekbones and bridge of the nose to make them pop out or brighter. Highlighter not only can reflect or attract natural light, but it can also improve the skin tone. Use of highlighter started way back in the early 20th Century in Hollywood. This is the time when they started filming indoors, thus they needed to imitate the natural light outside. They use highlighter along with contour to change how the face looks and achieve the desired look despite the condition of the face. However, there are instances that highlighters were overused, making the face greasy- or oily-looking. There are only specific areas where highlighters should be applied. 

Highlighters contain mica or potassium aluminium silicate, a mineral that provides shimmer and glow on the face. It can come in different colours like blue, purple, and pink. Highlighters come in different formulas; cream, powder, and liquid. They are formulated for specific skin types and to achieve a desired makeup finish. These formulas have to be applied using specific makeup tools in order to get its full potential and reduce product waste. Nowadays, highlighters are getting popular on the market as a finishing touch to their makeup look. It can help light up a dull or tired face by brightening it up or lifting it. With that being said, there are tips and ways to follow in order to apply the highlight on the face appropriately. 

Listed below are the easy steps to highlight like a pro. 

  1. Prep Your Skin
  2. Apply Your Foundation
  3. Choose Your Highlighter Formula
  4. Pick the Right Highlighter Applicator
  5. Apply It to the High Points

1. Prep Your Skin

Step 1 How to Apply Highlighter

Prep the skin by using a makeup primer to prepare the skin for the application of highlighter. Opt for a primer that has SPF to protect the skin against damage from UV rays. Makeup primers are great at blurring out the pores of the skin to make a smooth base for the makeup. Additionally, it can improve the makeup coverage, and how it stays and sits on the face. Furthermore, it can treat oily and dry areas of the skin as well. Makeup primers can smooth the texture of the face and improve the skin’s discolouration. Another step to prep the skin to keep the body hydrated is by drinking glasses of water daily. 

2. Apply Your Foundation

Step 2 How to Apply Highlighter

This is not a required step, but if the face needs a little coverage, apply a foundation to the face. Other alternatives for the foundation are BB Cream, CC Cream, Tinted Moisturiser, and Concealer. A liquid highlighter can be mixed on them as well before applying to the face. 

3. Choose Your Highlighter Formula

Step 3 How to Apply Highlighter

There are different formulas of highlighter to choose from - cream, powder, liquid, and shimmery bronzer. Creamy highlighters are suitable for people with dry skin. It can be applied on the skin before or after applying the foundation. Additionally, they deliver the most realistic- and natural-looking finish on the skin. On the other hand, powder and liquid highlighter are much more noticeable than creamy highlighters. Powder highlighters are the best suitable for people with oily skin since they can set up the face. Bronzer can be used as a highlighter as well if it is shimmery enough. 

4. Pick the Right Highlighter Applicator

Step 4 How to Apply Highlighter

Highlighters can be applied with different tools. The right tools or applicator will depend on the formula of the highlighter, the level of the highlight, and where the product will be applied. Cream-based highlighters are best applied using fingers. It can easily melt on the skin when applied. Powder highlighters, like any makeup products, are applied using makeup tools like a brush or a sponge. To achieve a light coverage or highlight, use a fan brush because it has thin and scattered bristles. To have more shimmer on the face, tapered and stippling brushes are the best brushes since it is a denser brush. To have more pigment on the face, use a wet or dampened beauty sponge. 

5. Apply It to the High Points

Step 5 How to Apply Highlighter

There are specific areas where the highlighter is applied on the face. It is the opposite of contouring because highlighter is used to “highlight” or bring up the high points of the face. Whereas, contour is used to add more dimension to the face by bringing down the parts of the face.  So highlighter is applied to the top of the cheekbones, brow bones, cupid’s vow, and bridge of the nose. This will make these parts stand out even more. Avoid the parts of the face that are oily or prone to oiliness, as it can make it look even more shiny. These parts are your forehead, middle of the cheeks, and chin. 

What are the ways to choose the right Highlighter for skin tone?

Just like any other makeup products, there are also different highlighters that are formulated for specific skin tones. To pick the best highlighter for skin tone, follow the following tips. People with fair skin tones should opt for highlighters that are pearlescent, icy silver, or champagne sheen. The pigment of the highlighter can add brightness to the skin’s complexion. People with medium and olive skin tones should opt for highlighter that have gold-bronze or iridescent undertones. It can leave the skin with a sun-kissed glow. People with deep skin tones should opt for highlighters that are in the shade of rose gold or bronze. They have the right amount of pigment that can pop on the dark-toned people. 

What are common mistakes when applying Highlighter?

Highlighters can greatly enhance the makeup look, but misusing it can make the look unpleasant. There are common highlighter mistakes that people do when they are applying it on their face. 

Listed below are following common mistakes that people make when applying the highlighter. 

  • Wrong Highlighter. Highlighter comes in different formulas and shades that are designed to fit every skin type and tone. There is a specific highlighter formula that should be used for oily faces that is different from the highlighter that should be used for dry face. Moreover, highlighters can also differ from shades that are also formulated to fit every skin tone. 
  • Wrong Areas. Highlighters should only be applied to specific areas of the face. It should only be applied above the cheekbones, brown bones, bridge of the nose, inner corner of the eyes, cupid’s bow, chin, and collarbones. Do not apply it on the areas that are prone to oiliness. 
  • Too Much Highlighter. Too much of anything is not always good. Too much highlighter can make the face look very shiny and sweaty.
  • Wrong Tools. Different highlighter formulas have to be applied using different makeup tools. The right makeup tools can make it easier to achieve the desired look. Brushes are great for highlighters that are powder-based, whilst sponge or fingers can be used for creamy or liquid highlighters. 
  • Lighting. The lighting of the place to spend the day should be considered as well. The lighting of the place can affect how the highlight will look on the face. If the place is dim or dark, a very sparkling one is a great option because it will stand out. A subtle highlight is suitable for a well lit place because it will not make the face look super oily. 
  • Wrong Foundation. Highlighters are usually applied after foundation. The wrong foundation cannot bring out the best highlight desired, even if the highlighter is high quality.
  • Does not go well with the rest of the makeup. The rest of the makeup products must coordinate with each other. The tone of the makeup products should be considered so that it will complement one another. 
  • What are the best places to apply highlighter on your face?

    Highlighter is formulated to be applied on specific areas of the face to give it a spotlight. That is why highlighter is called highlighter because it should be applied on the high points of the face to highlight it further. Additionally, highlighter is used to brighten up some parts of the face. 

    Listed below are the areas or places of the face to apply highlighter. 

  • Cheekbones. This is the most common area of the face to apply highlighter to. Highlighter is applied on this area to give the face a lifted-finish by boosting the appearance of the cheekbones. 
  • Bridge of the Nose. The highest point of the face is the bridge of the nose. Natural light can easily hit this area of the face, thus applying highlighter can highlight the bridge of the nose further. 
  • Cupid’s Bow. To make the lips appear fuller and defined, apply the highlighter on the curved area of the lips.
  • Brow Bone. Just like the cheekbones, applying the highlighter on the brow bone can enhance its look as it also gets hit by the natural light easily. 
  • Inner Corner of the Eyes. Brighten the corner of eyes by applying a highlighter. This area is prone to be darker, thus applying a highlighter on this part can make the eye appear awake. 
  • Center of the Eyelids. Highlighter can also be applied as an eyeshadow on the eyelids. This is to also give a subtle lift to the centre of the eyelids.
  • Center of the Chin. Highlighters can also manipulate the shape of the face by highlighting the centre of the chin. They can make an oval-shaped face rounder.
  • Which is better, liquid highlighter or powder highlighter?

    Highlighters can also come in different formulas; liquid and powder. They are formulated to achieve different makeup-finishes. Liquid highlighters give a more natural finish as it easily blends on the skin. Liquid highlighters are great for a dewy makeup look as well. Just mix it in with a foundation. It is suitable for those people who have normal to dry skin. To apply this on the face, use a beauty sponge. Powder highlighters, on the other hand, are perfect for those who have a combination to oily skin as this can set up the oil areas of the face. This is great to add more silky shimmer and sparkle on the face. Opt for makeup brushes like fan brush when applying powder-based highlighters.

    Is highlighter applied before or after foundation?

    Highlighter is applied after foundation as it is the finishing touch of the makeup look. It is usually applied at the end of the makeup routine. After applying foundation and blush, highlighter is applied on the areas of the face to give it a spotlight. If the highlighter is applied before foundation, the highlighter may not appear on the face and may achieve the desired highlight.