When you achieve that perfect highlight, one turn into the light gives your skin a natural glisten that shines juuuust right. And when it goes too far, you can look more disco than dewy. Regardless of your skill level, highlighting is something you can easily do at home (we promise). We compiled tips from the pros to help you achieve glowy perfection, including an easy way to tone down the shine if you got a little overzealous with the shimmer stick.
Undertones come in three different categories: cool, neutral, and warm. Look for a highlighter that coordinates with your skin tone. (Need help figuring out your undertone? Check out our easy quiz ). If you have a cool undertone, go for a product that has a bluish-pink tinge. We like the sparkly colors in the Anastasia Beverly Hills Moon Child palette ($40, anastasiabeverlyhills.com ). For warmer undertones, choose something with champagne or golden flecks like Glossier Haloscope in Topaz ($22, glossier.com ). If you can't decide whether you are warm or cool, neutral complexions can wear any highlighter shade and look fabulous.
The number of makeup brushes lining the beauty aisle is mesmerizing/confusing AF. And when it comes to highlighter, the right brush depends on the type of formula you're using. For powdery products, look for a small, fluffy brush that allows you to concentrate on the small cheekbone area. Try Anastasia Brush #23 ($25, anastasiabeverlyhills.com). A fan brush like the Sephora Pro Brush #65 ($27, sephora.com ) is also an option.
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Liquid highlighters will give you an amazing glow, but they're hard to apply with a brush. "If you are using a liquid highlighter, you typically want to use a sponge to buff the highlighter into the skin and to sheer it out," says Taylor Frankel, co-founder of Nudestix. Try Beautyblender Pro sponge ($20, sephora.com ).
"My personal favorite is using a cream in the form of stick or a pencil because a cream is usually very long-wearing," says Frankel. "I love the pencil because you get a lot more precision for delicate highlighting, such as the inner corner of the eye, the bow of the lip, and the upper cheekbone. Not to mention a pencil is super easy, fast, natural looking, and portable!" He recommends the Nudestix Sheer Eye Pencil in Stardust ($24, sephora.com ).
You don't have to add another product to your collection to get the perfect highlight. You can use an oil or serum you already own to get a subtle glow. "I love oil or serums because they give you a fresh glow without adding any shimmer or sparkle," says Frankel. "Many makeup artists from the runways have used tricks like Vaseline to achieve that dewiness."
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“The highest planes of the face are the best for highlighter—brow bone, center of the nose bridge, cheeks, and cupid’s bow are ideal," says Talia Cich, director of education & artistry for Anastasia Beverly Hills .
If you're a beginner, you can just swipe on your highlighter in a sideways V formation that goes from the temple to the cheekbone. This is an easy way to highlight your cheeks without mapping out the entire face with product.
"First, I apply my contour, then highlighter for dimension, and finally my blush to add a touch of color," says Frankel. "I apply in this order because typically your contour helps to creates definition. It helps to determine where your cheekbones are and makes it easy to know where to apply blush and highlighter."
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Getting glitter happy happens to makeup pros, too. But too much highlighter is easy to tone down. “Softly dust contour powder over highlighted areas of the skin that have been accidentally over-applied to achieve a more minimized glow," says Cinch. "Often, you can dust a fluffy brush with no product over the areas as well, and this will help to control excess shine.”
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