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Highlighter Makeup for Beginners

Amber has written about fashion, beauty, and skin care for several years.

So many highlights, so little time!

So many highlights, so little time!

What Is Highlighter?

A highlighter is used to reflect light. When you wear a highlighter, it draws attention to certain areas of the face, such as the cheeks, eyes, or your perfect pout. You'll have a gorgeous, radiant glow that appears natural.

Highlighter is designed to give you a radiant glow. It has the power to make your eyes pop or give you a youthful radiance that you simply cannot get with other makeup products. This comprehensive guide will tell you everything that you need to know about highlighters!

Different Types of Highlighters

When you start shopping for highlighter, you'll come across several different types of highlighter. These are the most common types of highlighter that you'll see. It's important to take some time to learn about the different types of highlighter so that you can pick the right one for your skin type and for the look that you want to achieve.

Strobe Cream

Strobe creams are an illuminator, just like highlighters are. While these are designed to be used on the entire face, you can use them as a highlighter. Most strobe creams are liquid, so you would simply apply them as you would liquid highlighter.

Liquid Highlighter

A liquid highlighter is a liquid version of a highlighter. These formulas often contain moisturizing ingredients, which makes them great for dry skin. You can find them in a variety of colors, shades, and finishes. Most liquid highlighters offer a better glow than powder highlighters do.

Powder Highlighter

Powder highlighters are an exceptional choice if you need powder makeup to pair with your powder foundation. These are a great choice for oily skin types. You can find powder products available in every color imaginable. These often pull off a matte finish better than liquid products do. However, they are also usually less pigmented than their liquid and cream counterparts.

Novelty Highlighter

Novelty highlighters are all of the highlighters that go away from your basic, natural glow. These are your duochrome highlighters that offer shimmery shades of blue and lilac. They are powder formulas that offer a subtle sheen of mint green. Some highlighters go the opposite way and offer a darker shade of shimmering pink to truly add a pop of color to your face. You can find them as liquid or powder highlighters.

Stick Highlighter

A Stick highlighter is also referred to as a dewy stick. These are available as a clear option for a touch of natural radiance or in colored forms. They can be challenging to apply over powder foundation, but make touch-ups on the go easy. They are mess-free, and you won't need a fan brush to apply them. These work well for all skin types and can be paired with both powder and liquid makeup.

Make all the right places POP with highlighter!

Make all the right places POP with highlighter!

Tips for Buying the Right Highlighter 

Finding the right highlighter can be tricky. In the beginning, it's best to start out by looking at liquid or powder highlighter. These are both easier to apply, and you can achieve any makeup look with them. Whether you want natural makeup or want to use your makeup to add an extreme amount of shimmer to your face, you can do it with liquid and powder highlighter. Keep these tips in mind when choosing which one is right for you.

Powder Highlighter Is Best for Oily Skin

Oily skin can make your face look shimmery as the day goes on. This makes powder highlighter perfect for oily skin, though. The excess oil on your skin will be absorbed by the powder on your face. Powder highlighters are also known for having a more matte look than liquid highlighters. If you have oily skin, you don't want to make your face too shiny. The combination of your makeup products and your oily skin can be too much radiance.

Liquid Highlighter Will Moisturize Dry Skin

Liquid makeup products are usually designed with dry skin in mind. They are packed with powerful moisturizing properties to help your skin stay hydrated as the day goes on. These can be blended perfectly with a makeup sponge on top of a liquid foundation. However, you can also use them with powder formulas.

Keep Your Skin Tone in Mind

Darker skin tones will benefit from a liquid highlighter if you want the color to show up. Powder formulas simply do not have the same amount of color that a liquid does. Lighter skin tones will work well with both formulas.

Powder Works Well for Beginners

Although it can be hard to apply powder highlighter with a precise application, the colors tend to be less pigmented. This formula is a bit more forgiving than the bold colors of a liquid formula, making it perfect for beginners to achieve subtle highlights.

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Makeup Formulas Should Match

In general, makeup formulas should match each other. If you're using powder foundation, powder bronzer, and setting powder, stick with a powder foundation. Likewise, consider a liquid formula if you are already using liquid products.

Highlighting your cheekbones has never been easier.

Highlighting your cheekbones has never been easier.

Where to Apply Highlighter

Apply a lighter shade of highlighter to the high points of your face.

These are the areas that are protruding from your face, such as:

  • Tip of your nose
  • Your cheeks
  • Along the bridge of your nose

Keep in mind that everyone has a different face shape. When deciding where to put highlighter, make sure that you take a look in the mirror instead of listening to beauty junkees. We're full of good advice, but you need to apply makeup for your face.

How to Apply Highlighter

To apply highlighter, you'll need your highlighter and application tool. Use a makeup sponge, such as a beauty blender, for liquid and cream formulas for flawless blending. If you would like to use a brush, use a stippling brush.

Powder Highlighter

  1. When applying powder highlighter with a brush swipe your brush across the highlighter.
  2. Using a stippling motion, press the highlighter onto the high points of your face.

Liquid Highlighter

  1. For liquid formulas, put small dots of highlighter where you would like to apply highlighter.
  2. Then, blend it thoroughly with your beauty sponge using pressing and small circular motions.

When blending your highlighter, be careful not to blend it all over your face. Instead, slowly and carefully blend it in the exact location that you would like your highlighter. If you don't, you can accidentally blend your highlighter all over your face.

Applying Highlighter to the Corner of the Eyes

Applying a highlighter in the corner of your eyes is a technique that beauty junkees swear by. This technique instantly makes your eyes appear wider and brings attention to your killer smokey eye.

To do this:

  1. Simply put a small dab of highlighter on an eyeshadow brush and give the corners of your eyes a light dusting.
  2. Apply your highlighter as the finishing touch to your eyeshadow if you want to wear eyeliner over your highlighter.
  3. If not, apply highlighter as the last step of your makeup on your eye line.
Highlighter is the best makeup secret!

Highlighter is the best makeup secret!

Highlighter Tips and Tricks

Highlighter is a fun makeup product. There are plenty of highlighter hacks to help you learn different ways to use illuminator makeup. From learning how to give your entire face a radiant glow to discovering whether you can use a highlighter as eyeshadow, these highlighter hacks are going to take you from a highlighter novice to a pro.

When to Apply Highlighter in a Makeup Routine

Apply your highlighter after your foundation. If you are also applying contour and bronzer, apply your highlighter after both of them. It does not matter whether you apply a highlighter or blush first.

What Should I Use to Put on Highlighter?

You should use a stippling brush, makeup brush, fingers, or a small eyeshadow brush. For precise application, use an eyeshadow brush. If you are applying large amounts of highlighter to a large area, a fan brush is suitable for the application. When blending cream or liquid highlighter, use your fingers or a makeup sponge.

Mix Strobe Cream With Liquid Foundation

This is a trick that has been used by beauty junkees for years and still is. Mix a small amount of your Mac Strobe Cream with liquid foundation to achieve an all-over glow that lasts all day.

Avoid too Much Highlighter if You're Going to be Near Light

Planning on spending the day outside? Going to a party where there will be blinding fluorescent lights? Save the radiant novelty highlighter for another time or it will give you a blinding glow. Instead, stick with subtle highlights for the day.

Make Your Lips Look Larger

Put a small dot of highlighter on your cupid's bow to give yourself a plump pout without having to use lip plumper.

Mix It Up

Wearing a highlighter down your nose, on your cheekbones and on your cupid's bow are basic beauty skills. Up your glow game by switching things up. Apply a highlighter over top of your blush to instantly shine like a diamond. Use it as eyeshadow for a one color glam look. Take the time to experiment with your new beauty product!

Highlighter started as a beauty trend and quickly became a beauty staple. Use these tips to master how to use this beauty favorite. Browse through the rest of the wonderful makeup articles on the site to learn more awesome tips that every beauty beginner needs to know.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Amber Lynn

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