There are two things 2016 did not want to stop talking about: Highlighter and Kim Kardashian ! Now while the former is surely fun to talk about it’s not the topic of this post. No, what I’m writing about today is the bright luminous almost white line every girl under the sun was wearing on their cheek. Pun intended. The highlighter shining so brightly that it could be the out of this world may be the reason we have yet to discover life on other planets: they simply were blinded by some girls (or even boys, this is 2016 people) highlight. I have yet to see an Instagram post that didn’t hashtag #HighlightOnFleek. So if you are desperately looking for a way to look dewy and fresh without becoming another Kim K mannequin, then this blogpost is for you. If you don’t see anything wrong with the last paragraph please exit now or keep on reading at your own risk!
To be able to pick the absolutely best highlighter for your skin type and tone let me explain the definition and original use of the highlighter. Back in the day a shimmery powder or liquid were used to enhance the skin’s natural texture and give back some dimension after erasing everything with foundation and concealer. Highlighter can actually be used on its own and even on bare skin and, contraire to popular believe, is not a way to get Maleficent cheeks and neither is contour. They key is to find a texture and color that looks like your skin tone or maybe slightly lighter. The highlight doesn’t need to have a lot pigment color wise because it’s just used for the „glow“, the oily effect if you will. Use a light concealer or matte cream highlighter (like these MAC sticks) to highlight your cheek bones with color and then add some shimmer on top. I hope this makes sense.
„I have yet to see an Instagram post that didn’t hashtag #HighlightOnFleek“
The Liquids vs The Powders:
The biggest question of all is what kind of highlighter to choose. While powders can look more glittery and well, powdery, liquids tend to make you look more oily but also more dewy! It really depends on your skin type but here is my advice. If you have dry skin I would choose a liquid or cream highlighter. Most likely you won’t have to set your foundation with powder so you don’t need to worry about covering the liquid highlighter with your setting powder. Even if you use some setting powder you can leave out the past where you highlighted and all is well. This would be a little tricky with oily skin since not setting liquids mostly means they will be sliding off the face after 5 minutes. Depending on exactly how oily your skin is you could use some liquid highlighter, lightly set the cheek area and brush some powder of the previously highlighted area. If this is too much for you and you only want to invest in one highlighter I would say pick a powder formula. It may take a while to find one that doesn’t make you look like the glitter fairy but it’s defiantly worth it. Just set your foundation like you always would and then add powder highlighter, blush etc. on top !
My all time favorite liquid highlighter is the Burberry fresh glow and my all time favorite powder highlighter is BECCA „moonstone“ ! But let’s not spoil anything and go through the three color categories you need will need to choose your skin color from!
Choosing the right tool to apply highlighter with is probably just as nerve-wrecking as finding the right shade. That’s why there are so many different options for so many different formulas. In the end it really comes down to the type of brush or sponge not to the name or brand of the tool. I have simplified the whole concept and will show you three different options. For a liquid of an kind that’s in a tube I would recommend a beauty blender. They come in three different sizes so you can really pick the perfect size for your face shape. The original pink one will give more of an overall glow since its the biggest and the little green micro one will get you a really concentrated small (but blended) line. I don’t have the medium grey one yet, and even though it’s technically a blush sponge it can totally be used for everything as well. For creams that come in a pot and are a little bit more on the powdery side it can be difficult to get the pigment on the brush, therefore I’d recommend a synthetic brush. If you don’t know what that means, those a typically those brushes with the yellow/orange colored bristles or a duo fibre brush which has synthetic and real hairs. Synthetic bristles are made from plastic and there will easier pick up creams than real animal hair brushes since the faux-hairs are a little bit more stiff and tacky. One of my favorite face synthetic highlighter brushes is the „foundation“ brush from Real Technique, it’s the one with the gold handle that comes in a set only. It has the perfect size to apply and blend highlighter on the cheeks and nose. And lastly, my favorite brush for powder highlighters is the Anastasia Beverly Hills #A23 brush! They released this brush along side the 4 original illuminators a while back and is a fluffy and small duo fibre brush perfect to concentrate but still blend out powder highlighters. It also surprisingly picks up a lot of pigment for a fluffy brush so make sure to go in lightly.
- Anastasia Beverly Hills „Starlight“
- MAC Strobe cream
- Colourpop „Monster“
This category is for those with casper the ghost skin like moi or for those with slightly tan skin wanting to go crazy highlighted. Every other lightly golden or olive skin tone I would recommend any of the color categories below. Most white Highlighters are not really white but more silver even with pink and purple reflective elements. The ABH Starlight illuminator is the only one I know of that’s white but still has some yellow undertones. The MAC and colourpop highlighters are defiantly silver with a hint of purple. Keep in mind that those colors look best on cold fair skin otherwise you could look sickly. Again, you want to accentuate your natural skin color and just add some shine not create a whole new fourth dimension on your skin.
- BECCA „Moonstone“
- Burberry „Fresh Glow“ in 01
Highlighters with a yellow-y golden tone are the most flattering color and usually universal useable. If you really don’t know which color will suit you and can’t test it in store I would recommend any of these two highlighters or a product similar in color. Even though „Moonstone“ is a powder it is so lightly milled that it looks similar to the Burberry liquid once blended in. These gold hues will also give less color payoff and also work as „translucent“ highlighters since they work with the natural skin tone. They can also be used on all undertones including cold and olive tones. Another tip, add half a pump of the Burberry liquid into your foundation to achieve an all over glow, this works even with oily skin, just make sure to set your T-zone !
- BECCA „champagne pop“
- Anastasia Beverly Hills „Peach Nectar“
This color is technically for all tan skinned gals out there but also make for some pretty blush toppers in the summer. Just make sure to not apply this color on its own if you are lighter than the highlighter itself. Especially „peach nectar“ can only be used over a bronzer in the summer, which will make not the top of the cheeks pop but defiantly give an overall glow on the cheeks itself. Champagne pop is all the rave on youtube and instagram and is supposed to universally flattering but I find it a tad to dark if I go heavy handed so this is revered as my summer highlighter. If you do want to use champagne pop make sure to use it very lightly if you’re not at least a little tan.
- MAC „Soft + Gentle“
Not a lot of highlighters fall into this category so Soft + Gentle is defiantly something different despite being a cult favorite for years. It has a little bit of that bronze color but a lot of rose undertones yet is almost translucent on the skin. If you want the rose bronze color to show you can use some fix+ and apply it as an eyeshadow. It’s a little bit more powdery than the others but it also is the most versatile out of all of them. Defiantly give it a try the next time you’re in a MAC store!
The Drugstore Option:
I realize all Highlighters listed above are more expensive high end products. Funnily, my favorite one is the most expensive and my least favorite is the cheapest of the high end products. Honestly, I don’t love the MAC Mineralize skin finish that much, it’s too glittery and powdery for my taste. But it’s the very first one I bought and I love MAC so I just use whenever I do want to look more glittery. Nowadays I prefer that fresh dew, maybe because my skin has gotten drier of the past months. Anyway, the best drugstore option for me are the Colourpop Highlighters. I currently only own one highlighters but also have some of their other face powders and love their eyeliners and eyeshadows. I think the formula is a cream-poser hybrid which makes it less glittery and really soft. I know it’s not technically drugstore since you can’t go into Ulta or Target and just buy it, but with a price point of 8$ USD it is really affordable. Most Highlighters range around 50 bucks. Crazy I know. Luckily, Colourpop now offers international shipping with a flatrate of 5 dollars I believe so it’s still a good option for everyone across the globe. I personally don’t use or like drugstore products as I find them poorly made and cheap but the only other brand I can think of that’s still fairly good is NXY and their cream highlighter get a lot of attention on Instagram so they are worth checking out. In my opinion I would just save up and splurge on one really good product instead of getting some cheap products just for the sake of it. Sneaky pro tip, if you really don’t want to buy any highlighter you can just use the tiniest amount of face oil or moisturizer on the cheeks to hydrate and highlight at the same time. This tip also works if you tend to have dried patches or caked up makeup between your brows, under your eyes or along your nose or on your chin.