Highlighters have been under the make-up spotlight for a while now thanks to both the contouring and strobing trends. Although the name itself is pretty self-explanatory in regards to what they’re used for (highlighting points of the face), there can be a bit of confusion when it comes to which ones to use. In fact, there are many factors to consider when choosing a highlighter including your skin type, skin tone and the finish you’re trying to achieve. So we enlisted the help of professional make-up artists – Tobi Henney (female), Eloise Proust and Sheri Vegas – to give us the best advice on how to choose the right highlighter.
When to use liquid highlighter
You may presume that liquid highlighters would be better used on dry skin, but it’s more about the finish you want to achieve rather than your skin type.
“A liquid highlighter is great to create a dewy fresh look and can also be mixed into your foundation for the ultimate summer glow, perfect for a natural day look.” – Eloise.
Sheri backs this up by saying that liquid illuminator will “give you a softer glow”. So if you’re going for a more minimal look, or even applying to bare skin, liquid highlighter is the better option.
- e.l.f. Cosmetics Essentials Shimmering Facial Whip
- NYX Cosmetics Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator
- Models Prefer Instant Glow Face and Body Highlighter
- INIKA Light Reflect Highlighting Crème
- Benefit Cosmetics Sun Beam
When to use powder highlighter
“Powder highlighters are fantastic for [night-time] events as they last all night. Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate is an absolute must-have in my make-up kit for the perfect sheer see-through glow.” – Tobi
“I’m a fan of both liquid and powder highlights, however I do prefer powder highlighter for most of my clients, as I know it will last all day and night. I would suggest powder highlighter for a long-lasting look [like] wedding day make-up.” – Eloise
- Paula’s Choice Blush & Contour Palette (bh’s Sam’s current fave)
- Mary Kay Highlighting Powder
- Klara Cosmetics Contour Me Palette
- Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate ($110, davidjones.com.au)
What about combining liquid and powder highlighters?
“If you want super high shine I recommend using both. [Apply] the liquid first and then set with a highlight powder.” – Sheri
“I tend to layer my highlighters to create the perfect glow. My favourite cream highlighter is M.A.C [Cream Colour Base in] Hush and my favourite powder highlighter is Charlotte Tilbury FilmStar Bronze & Glow ($97, www.charlottetilbury.com/au).” (bh note: This was also Eloise’s favourite powder highlighter.) – Tobi
Which shade of highlighter to choose
Highlighters come in a variety of shades, with most falling into a pale pink, white or bronze/gold tone. When it comes to choosing which one, Sheri says, “It all depends on where you apply it and the skin tone you have.”
Tobi agrees, saying that “Bronze and gold highlighters look fantastic on tanned, olive skin types.
“Whereas I would do a pretty soft pink highlighter for those with fairer skin.
“White highlighters can work well on shoots on fair to medium skin types to create a sheer glow to the cheekbones.”
Eloise adds, “Make sure you don’t apply a white highlighter if you are someone with a dark complexion, because this can look way too frosty and harsh on the skin.”
When to use a shimmer highlighter
“A shimmer highlight can be applied day or night. Make sure you only apply highlighters to the parts of your face you want to bring out. I suggest [the] tops of your cheekbones, inner eyelids and Cupid’s bow.” – Eloise
“[While] some people also apply highlighter to the forehead and down the nose – you have to be very careful applying it there [especially if it has a shimmer finish] as it can sometimes look oily.” – Sheri
When to use a matte highlighter
“You can wear a matte highlighter any time and the great thing is that it suits everyone. [Use it] along [the same] key areas that you apply your shimmer highlighter, [but] you can also use a matte highlighter under the eyes and down the t-zone.” – Sheri
“Matte highlighters are great to use down the centre of the nose to create a slimmer nose shape. Remember to contour the sides of the nose to enhance the highlight.” – Tobi
While some people assume that shimmer highlighters are the way to go, Eloise explains that
“You don’t always need shimmer to highlight.
“I love liquid and powder matte highlighters. Always highlight under the eye area with a liquid matte highlighter, which will brighten your face immediately [and] give a fresh youthful look. Don’t forget to apply product around [the] inner corners of the eyes where a lot of people tend to have a dark shadow.”
Did you find these tips helpful? What type of highlighter do you like to use?