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The 6 Places to Consider Applying Your Highlighter for a Natural Glow

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Main image – Live That Glow

I get it, the concept of highlighter can be daunting. After all, the ‘lightbulb look’, often seen in heavily filtered social media snaps, doesn’t exactly scream school run or casual commute to work.

But contrary to what you might believe, highlighter isn’t just for those who want a full-blown makeup look. *PSA* It can actually be used to enhance natural makeup looks too!

Here, I aim to make you feel less like ‘you-should-have-known’ and more ‘in-the-know’. So, along with makeup artists Gabrielle Devine and Janelle Thomason and aesthetician and makeup artist Monina Wright, here, I show you exactly how and where to apply highlighter and which products are the easiest and least intimidating to use. 

 


What is highlighter?

In short, it’s a skin enhancer applied to the ‘high points’ of your face to cleverly catch the light and give skin a glow. So, places like the tops of the cheekbones, along the brow bone and above the top lip. “Highlighter is for highlighting some of your favourite areas and to bring attention to them,” explains Thomason

They come in lots of different formulations – from powders and gels, to liquids and creams. Some people use it to help contour their face, applying it in certain ways to accentuate particular angles and enhance bone structure. Others just like to add a subtle sheen to their skin to make it appear more dewy.

 


The 6 best places to put your highlighter

  • The high points of your cheekbones

This is the most common place to apply highlighter as it’s slightly towards the side of the face, meaning the light can easily bounce off it. It gives the illusion of naturally dewy skin as well as more defined bone structure.

 

Girl showing how to apply highlighter to your cheekbones

Image – Live That Glow

  • The inner corners of your eyes

This creates the impression of brighter and wider eyes and also enhances your eye makeup look. If you don’t wear eye makeup, applying highlighter here is still effective as it helps to make bare eyes look more awake.

 

Girl showing how to apply highlighter to the inner corner of eye

Image – Live That Glow

  • Under your brow bone

Applying highlighter here helps to lift your eyes and sculpt the shape of your eyebrows. The light reflects well here too, making a flattering contrast between your brows and the glowy finish of your highlighter. 

 

Girl showing where to apply highlighter to your brow bone

Image – Live That Glow

  • Your cupid’s bow

This is the V in the middle of your top lip. Applying highlighter here gives your lips a 3D effect, enhances their shape and makes them appear fuller. It also creates a flattering contrast between a matte lipstick and the highlighter’s sheen. 

 

Image – Live That Glow

  • The bridge of your nose

Some like to apply it here to draw attention to the centre of the face, creating the illusion of a thinner face. Applying a small dot on a larger sized nose also helps to make it appear smaller.

 

Girl showing how to apply highlighter to the bridge of your nose

Image – Live That Glow

  • On your shoulders and collarbone

This is a really flattering way to finish off a glamourous look for evening time. Applying it on curved areas like these helps to catch the light as you move and give your body a beautiful glow.

 


Where not to apply highlighter

So now you know the most flattering areas of your face to apply your highlighter. But there are a few places you should stay away from. “It should never go on the outside bones of the nose or around the neck unless directly in the middle,” says Devine

Never put it where the light wouldn’t naturally hit your face and steer clear of areas where you might be having a breakout. “Highlighter can accentuate blemishes, acne scars or any uneven texture on your skin,” warns Wright. “Also, don’t apply it all over your face as it can make you look overly shiny.”

 


How to apply highlighter

Highlighter gels, creams and liquids are usually either applied with your finger or directly from the tube/stick. In many cases with these, a little goes a long way so start with a little bit and build it up if required. 

Blend it into the skin by dabbing with your finger and make sure you apply it in natural light so you can see where it hits your face. Usually with the cupid’s bow and inner corners of the eyes, one dot of cream highlighter with your finger is enough.

Powder highlighters are usually applied with a brush. Don’t press too hard into the product with your brush or you will end up with too much product. This can result in shimmer dropping from the brush and onto the wrong parts of your face. Just do a light dusting and blend in the excess using your finger.

 


When to apply your highlighter in your routine

If you’d prefer to sport all-over radiance, “mix a liquid highlighter with your foundation for a luminous finish,” recommends Wright

Usually though, highlighter is layered on top of foundation on the areas mentioned above for a more subtle look. “Apply highlighter over your foundation, but before setting it with powder,” she says. “This allows the highlighter to blend seamlessly into your makeup and look more natural.”

 


The takeaway

Isn’t it refreshing to know that not all makeup products have to result in a full-works makeup look? Don’t get us wrong, we love makeup. But for those who really want to pair theirs back or who don’t like wearing a lot of it, you can still apply a highlighter and make it work for you.

We’ve discussed the 6 most flattering places to apply it, but remember, you don’t have to apply highlighter on all of them. Choosing one or two of those areas will give you ample radiance too. 

Use yours to add a 3D effect, create the illusion of dewy skin or simply wake your skin up. What do we love most about highlighters? They actually do a lot of the hard work for you!

 

Meet the experts

Gabrielle Devine is an Emmy-nominated makeup artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. With a diverse client base spanning various industries, she has established a reputation for her exceptional artistry and passion for bringing out the best in every individual she works with.

 

Janelle Thomason is an Emmy Award Winning Makeup Artist and CEO of The Makeup Loft and clean cosmetics line, Cosmakery Cosmetics.

 

Monina Wright is a licensed aesthetician and professional makeup artist in the Bay Area. She is the founder + CEO of Moderne Beauty & Esthetics where she works and mentors aspiring makeup artists while helping women achieve their natural glow through individualised skincare.

 

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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University
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