Highlighters! The Which, Where and How?

A highlighter, sometimes called an illuminator, is one of the prettiest “accessories” you can use to dress up your makeup. It lights up the whole face and makes the skin look luminous. Pretty Public has rounded-up the best cream, powder and liquid highlighters. In addition, below is how and where to use each formula.

The Creams

Cream highlighters go on after your moisturizer but before your foundation or after your foundation and before powder. These two places in your makeup step-by-step, is where cream highlighters do their job best. If you have very oily skin, skip ahead to the powders.

NARS Multiple is a cream to powder highlighter. There are two really universal colors that work on almost everyone. The first is NARS Multiple in “Copacabana,” a glistening pearl color.

NARS Multiple in”South Beach.” This color is a shimmering apricot with bronze flecks, which is great for warmer complexions.

MAC Cream Colour Base in “Shell” is versatile and multi-purpose. Apply this with your fingertips to the apples of your cheeks after foundation and before loose powder. It blends with foundation effortlessly.

Josie MaranArgan Illuminizer” has a hint of bronzer to it, along with shimmer. This one is rich in Vitamin E too. It comes in a pump so you can mix a little with your foundation for a total glowing result or place small dabs strategically. If you have any shine, skip the all-over effect, you’ll end up looking greasy in photos.

Scott Barnes best selling, “Body Bling Platinum.” We love this stuff. Largely intended for the body, this can also do double duty. Use it sparingly on the cheeks and of course smooth over the neck and shoulders. Scott’s site has regular size tubes for $42 and mini tubes for $8. We never travel without a mini tube and it’s a great way to try both formulas.

The Powders

Powder highlighters are best applied after you have set your foundation with powder. They can also be used at the very end of your entire makeup application. These can be used on all skin types and are great for oily skin.

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in “Candlelight.”  This powder creates an angelic glow as if you were really sitting by candlelight. Apply it before blush or after blush, onto the cheeks. It can also be used around the eyes and down the bridge of the nose.

Physicians FormulaPowder Palette “Mineral Glow Pearls.” With the swirl of a brush, these irredescent multi-colored pearls blend together to create a glowing complexion.

GIELLA Custom Blend Cosmetics “Eye M Glam” is a loose powder highligher. It was created under the direction of super popular makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic. After foundation, powder and blush, apply with a small brush onto the cheeks, down the bridge of your nose and in the inner corners of your eyes. It creates a beautiful golden glow. Be careful, a little goes a long way!


GuerlainMeteorites Powder for the Face.” This is a makeup industry favorite. The Pearls employ the technology of white light, which is used in photography and film to erase imperfections and soften features. The difference between this and Physicians Formula Pearls above, is this one is going to give more of a radiant effect and Physicians Formula is going to give more shimmer.

LORAC Perfectly Lit Luminizing Powder in “Spotlight.” This is an oil-free powder so it’s great of those want to add a glow but have oily cheeks. Spotlight brightens and evens the complexion. This is also perfect for someone who wants a glow that is very subtle.

The Liquids

Liquid highlighters can be used like the creams, at the very beginning of your makeup process. The second one below, can be used at the end, because it’s an airbursh makeup that sprays and sets instantly.

BenefitHigh Beam” is a makeup artist secret for a healthy glow. This month’s PPB featured makeup artist, Troy Jensen used this on Megan Fox for one of her appearances on the “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” High Beam creates a sheen, making your skin look better than ever before. This one is used before or after foundation, so it melts into the skin.

DINAIR Shimmer Opalescent Colors in “Champagne.” Created by the founders of Hollywood airbrush makeup, this product has to be used with the Dinair Airbrush Machine. This is a spray makeup, which allows it to be used at the very end of your makeup process. The best part, aside from a gorgeous glow, no blending necessary with this one.

Applying The Magic:

There are only certain places on the face you want to put highlighter: The cheekbones, the apples of the cheeks (done with a small brush in small circles), below the eyebrow on the brow bone, above the outside of the eyebrow and in a sweeping motion, along the outside of the eye, come around to the orbital bone (think of creating a large “C” shape), the very inner corners of the eyes, down the bridge of the nose. Lastly, above the top lip on the cupids bow.

Use small amounts because you will need to blend very well and the product will spread out quickly. A little goes a long way and you can always build them, adding more to get your desired effect. Use your fingertips and very small brushes.

Too much highlighter can cause your face to look greasy, so just highlight one or two of the places listed above. A big tip, keep space between the rest of your makeup and your highlighted spots. The whole cheek  or nose should not glimmer like a Christmas tree. However, with these tips, you’ll look like a holiday angel.