The RIGHT Way To Apply Highlighter, According To A Makeup Artist

December 20, 2017 by Kiarra Lyles
shefinds | beauty

Highlighter has become one of the most popular and trendy makeup products used today. It attracts and reflects natural light to brighten and create a glowing effect on the face. The look is often referred to as “lit-from-within.” The product can come in liquid, cream, or powder form and is typically applied to your cheekbones, nose, chin and forehead area. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez use highlighter (especially for contouring purposes) during appearances for a glam look. So, how do you apply highlighter exactly? Here are some tips from David Razzano, a Sephora Pro makeup artist.


1. Know What Type of Highlighter Works Best For You

Highlighters come in four different types — powders, creams, sticks and liquids. According to Razzano, the type of highlighter you want to use depends on your skin type. If you have oily skin, you may want to use a powder. For dry skin, a cream or stick highlighter might work best for you. There are no rules to highlighting Razzano says, so use whatever product works best for you.



2. Know What Shade of Highlighter Works Best For You

Like foundation, the highlighter that’s going to look best on you depends on your skin color and undertones. If you have warm undertones, you want to stick with gold colored highlighters. If you have cool undertones, use a highlighter that is silvery or champagne, says Razzano. Again, there are no rules, so play around with highlighter shades to see which work best for you.



3. Find The Right Tools For Application

Razanno’s biggest tip is NOT to apply highlighter everywhere on your face. Highlighter is supposed to make some of your features pop, not your whole face! You want to apply the product typically the cheekbones, chin and forehead. It can also be applied in smaller places on the face like the tip of your nose, your cupid’s bow (the indent at the middle of your top lip) and the inner corners of your eyes.

If your using a cream, stick or liquid highlighter, start by making a few dots with the product on the desired areas that you want to pop and blend using a damp beauty blender or an angle, or contour brush. Stick and liquid highlighters can also be applied by using the finger tips by gently patting the product into your skin. If you’re using a matte highlighter, apply it in a triangle shape right underneath the eye where you would typically apply concealer. For luminous highlighters (with sparkles and shimmers), apply the product directly on the places you want to draw attention to. For powder highlighter, a fan brush can be used to gently sweep the product on the face.


Sounds simple enough, right? If you’re more of a visual learner, watch Sephora’s How To: Choose And Apply Highlighters video featuring David Razzano. In the video, Razzano also suggests specific brand highlighters that will work best for your skin type and tone, as well as specific makeup brushes to use.


Also, be sure to check out these gorgeous swatches of our favorite highlighters, the O.N.S. Afterglow Highlighter Palette by Urban Decay at!


[Photos: Shutterstock]


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