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Let’s Talk About Makeup: All About Highlighters

So I have come to realize that I have a slight addiction to highlighters.

I know contouring has been super popular the past few years but strobing is my jam (I will explain what that is in a second). I love how a little highlighter can immediately make your skin more radiant.  I have had breakouts that were pretty obvious but thanks to my highlighter, people have told me how beautiful my skin looked. It also can really complete a look, I always feel like my makeup comes together once I dust some highlighter on my cheek bones.

Since some of my lovely reader may be new to makeup, I will first explain what a highlighter is and why you use it.

 Highlighters are a makeup product and usually either come as a powder or a creme (it sometimes also can come as a creme stick or as a liquid).  Due to highlighters being very shimmery you are able to create the illusion of an “inner glow”. Just like contour powders are used to accentuate shadows and minimize certain features, highlighters are used to draw the eye to places on your face where light naturally hits.

Many people use both contouring products and highlighters together to fully contour their face but I very rarely contour my face and just like to use highlighter in conjunction with my blush/bronzer.

This technique is called strobing.

With strobing your highlighter can be placed anywhere on the face but generally is applied to the cheekbones, tip of nose, cupids bow, and/or center of the forehead. I always place some on my cheekbones and occasionally in my cupid’s bow but stay away from my forehead and nose since I have an oily t-zone and prefer those areas to stay matte. Be careful applying highlighter too close to the area under your eyes as it can accentuate fine lines.

Those who love a “dewier” look and/or who have dry skin should use creamy highlighters while those with oily skin do better with powders.

Choosing the right color highlighter for your skin tone is important as it will allow your highlighter to work with the undertones of your complexion (i.e. those who have pink undertones, those who have olive undertones etc). I tend to use warm toned and pink toned highlighters but occasionally I will use a cooler lavender toned highlighter. I often let my eye makeup dictate what highlighter to use so that everything flows well together.

One way to pick the right highlighter shade is by “using your jewelry”, an old trick a fellow makeup artist taught me. If silver or platinum jewelry looks better on you then you want find a highlighter that has cooler tones with hints of silver or lavender. If gold flatters your skin tone you want to get highlighters that are warm, copper, or gold.  Pink toned highlighters tend to look good on pretty much everyone.

Now I have explained the how and why of highlighting, lets get down to business!

These are my favorite highlighters:

Mac Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish in LightscapadeSoft candlelit beige with multidimensional shimmer

This was the first highlighter I bought when I started to really get into makeup at age 20.  It’s a beautiful opal highlighter with cool undertones and would be perfect to use during the winter when your skin is paler. It may be too cool toned for those who have darker skin due to the hints of light blue and lavender.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighters in Champagne Pop: Soft white gold w/ pinky peach undertones

This has been one of the top selling highlighters the past few years and rightfully so. It was co-created by Becca Cosmetics and Jaclyn Hill, a popular makeup artist with a huge youtube following. The color looks beautiful on pretty much everyone and the powder is buttery soft. A little goes a LONG way so be sure to tap your brush to get off any excess powder before you apply.

NYX Cosmetics Strobe of Genius: true gold with gold pearl, cool toned pink shimmer, lavender shimmer, golden pink with shimmer, light gold with peachy undertones and shimmer, bronze with gold pearl, and true champagne with shimmer.

I bought this palette for my best friend and ended up loving it so much I decided to get one for myself. The palette has 7 highlighters most of which are warmer toned with two cooler toned highlighters.  This would be the perfect palette for those who are new to using highlighters or makeup artists who need a wide variety of shades.

Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Powder Duo in Rosy Glowsheer golden powder warms skintone, while the gilded-rose formula brightens and illuminates.

Two Faced is a product line I haven’t used before but I fell in love with their highlighters shopping at Sephora last summer. These two highlighters can be used separately or together. I like that the light opal color has a hint of pink and the corresponding soft pink highlighter is absolutely lovely. You can also use the pink highlighter as a blush by just applying it to your cheeks.

Bare Minerals Invisible Light Translucent Powder DuoMatte absorbs oil and is the perfect setting powder while Glow, infused with rose gold pearls

I first got to try this highlighter/matte powder duo when I needed to borrow some makeup from my mom because I didn’t pack any for a trip. I like that you can place highlighter wherever you want and then use the matte powder to keep your T-zone from looking shiny (you can also use them together for a new highlighting technique called kitten paws). This highlighter is the most subtle product of this list so it’s perfect for those who are a bit more cautious with their makeup.

I used the NYC Cosmetics Strobe of Genius palette for this look I did a few weeks ago. You can see how strobing makes your skin look flawless but still is subtle due to the product having shimmer instead of glitter.

What are YOUR favorite highlighters?

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