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Highlighting 101: All About Highlighting!!!

Light colors highlight and draw areas forward, while dark colors shade and push them back. Employing these techniques together lets you manipulate light and shadow on your face to create illusions. Use highlighter on the higher planes of the face, such as cheekbones, brow bone, nose, chin, under the eyes, inside the tear ducts, and the Cupid’s Bow of the lips – the idea is to mimic the effect of light on the face. Apply cream highlighter with your finger or a synthetic brush and apply powder with a natural-hair brush.

The Tools

         Cream and powder highlighters are available for fair skin, but if you have dark skin use a foundation two shades lighter than usual. Highlighters can be matte or shimmery, with light reflectors for extra luminosity, but those with a very high shimmer aren’t subtle enough for a lot of contouring work. Instead, mix bone powder eyeshadow with translucent powder to make the required natural tone. Apply cream with a finger, sponge, or synthetic brush; use a medium sized natural-hair cheek brush for powder and a larger brush for blending.


           Apply highlighter on top of the cheekbone and up the outer edge of the eye socket. Highlighting under the hollow on the back third of the jaw will make the hollow appear deeper and the cheekbone more prominent. Shimmering products are fine to use on the cheekbone itself and the look can be  intensified by layering a cream with a high-shimmer powder. Don’t take this more intense shimmer up the side of the eyes and use only a pale contouring powder or cream on the jawbone – Shimmer will attract too much attention.


            A heavy brow ridge can cast a shadow on the nose bridge, which looks as if you are frowning. Place highlighter on the deepest part of the shadow and soften by blending at each edge. A shimmer product is inappropriate, so look for a light foundation or powder. Don’t blend highlighter too high or the correction effect will be lost. A touch of highlighter down the center of the nose will make a wide nose look narrow, but be careful not to extend it to the rounded tip.


             A sagging jawline can be given a crisper edge by applying highlighter at the front of the jaw (behind the chin) and blending out above two-thirds of the way back. Once again, any shimmer will look obvious.


            Dab shimmering highlighter along the center of the collarbone. The effect can be slimming and will draw attention to the décolletage, while also subtly emphasizing cleavage.

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