In the makeup world, foundation and bronzer have always gotten most of the glory. They’re go-to staples that people turn to for coverage and color. However, today we want to talk about highlighter, which has been stealing the spotlight lately.
In our opinion, highlighters are just as important as the two aforementioned makeup products because they deliver luminosity and brightening qualities that can completely transform your complexion. To show our devotion to highlighters everywhere, we’re breaking down the basics of both liquid and powder illuminators so you never have to question their roles in your life again.
A Tale of Two Highlighters
First and foremost, let’s be clear that liquid and powder highlighters are not the same, and therefore serve different purposes. Liquid illuminators are typically more pigmented than powder formulas and should be used to accentuate or brighten specific spots on the face. You know the strobing craze that’s been hitting the beauty scene? Liquid illuminators are perfect for that!
Powder illuminators typically have softer application and deliver more of a sheer, shimmery finish. These types of products work well over foundation or blush to lend your skin that all-over dewy look.
When using a liquid highlighter, make sure you use a blending sponge or finger to work it into your skin. After applying foundation — before you reach for concealer — dot the liquid along the areas of the face that are naturally hit by the sun (the top of cheekbones, bridge of nose, brow bone, Cupid’s bow, etc.).
Make sure to not go overboard and apply thick streaks of the formula, as it will look too drastic. The key is for the liquid to blend into skin naturally and subtly.
If you’ve got a bad case of under-eye bags or dark circles, simply dot highlighter under the eye area and in the inner corners, blending downward toward the lower cheekbone. This will brighten your eyes and make you look more awake (even if you’re running on a couple hours of sleep).
Product Recommendations: NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator, Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concelear, YSL Touche Éclat
When using a powder-based illuminator, use either a medium-sized fluffy powder brush or an angled powder brush for application. After applying foundation, dust highlighter on the cheeks, chin, nose and top of forehead. Because the application is less localized than that of liquid highlighter, the result is more of an all-over dewy glow, as opposed to a contoured one. You can also swipe a little along the top of the brows to accentuate their shape!
Mixing Liquid and Powder Highlighter
This is a practice for the more maximalist makeup guru out there, but minimalist beauty lovers, hear us out. Start by applying a liquid illuminator or drops — our current favorite certainly has to be the Lancôme Teint Idole Custom Highlighting Drops in Rose Glow — to your cheekbones, down your nose and on your cupids bow. One to two drops is all you’ll need for this, and blend it out with your fingers or use a stippling brush. Next, lightly apply the center shades of Lancôme Bronze & Glow Palette in It’s Time To Glow overtop with a fan brush for the silkiest, sparkliest and softest touch. Your highlight will be officially blinding and beautiful, garnering double takes from far and wide (insert smirky emoji).