If you want to add a bit of pizazz to your look or something subtle but eye-catching, highlighter makeup is the perfect way to do it and today, I’m sharing the different types of highlighter as well as how to apply it!
From liquid formulas to powders and even pencils, there’s a huge selection of products available in all sorts of shades and finishes.
So keep reading if you want tips on finding the right type for your needs and learn how these incredible products can take your makeup game up a notch.
What is highlighter?
Highlighter makeup is a cosmetic product used to add luminosity and dimension to the face. A highlighter is typically applied after foundation, blush and bronzer.
Traditionally, highlighters are powders or liquids that come in a variety of shades ranging from light pink to deep gold colors. However, there are also cream highlighters available the market.
Different types of highlighter and their uses
Here are the most popular and different types of highlighter makeup:
Powder highlighter is the most popular type of highlighter due to how easy it is to apply and blend. It gives the skin a soft, luminous finish that’s perfect for natural-looking radiance.
Cream highlighters provide a more intense, metallic finish than powder formulas. These are great for those who want a more intense glow — and are often used to create a sculpted, contoured look.
Liquid highlighters are the most versatile type of highlighter. They can be used as a traditional shimmery highlighting product, mixed with foundation or moisturizer for an all-over glow, and even as a lip topper.
Stick highlighters are best for creating a more intense, concentrated highlight. The creamy formula is easy to apply and blend — and perfect for on the go!
Gel highlighters are best for creating a subtle, dewy finish. The sheer formula is lightweight and easy to apply with fingertips or a sponge. Gel highlighters are also great for creating an ethereal glow when applied to the body.
Shimmer highlighters are the most intense of all the types of highlighter makeup. They provide a sparkling, reflective finish that’s perfect for adding a touch of sparkle to any look. Shimmer highlighters are best applied with a brush or sponge for an even, seamless application.
Metallic highlighters are great for achieving a reflective, foil-like finish. These can be used to create a more intense glow, or applied in a subtle way for a more natural-looking shimmer. Metallic highlighters are best applied with fingers or a brush.
Duochrome highlighters are the most unique type of highlighter makeup. They contain a combination of two different colors that reflect off of each other and give the skin a multi-dimensional, prismatic finish. Duochrome highlighters are best applied with fingertips or a sponge.
Iridescent highlighters provide a subtle, yet beautiful glow. They are great for those who want to give their makeup look an extra boost of luminosity. Iridescent highlighters are best applied with a brush or sponge for an even, blended finish.
Holographic highlighters are the most unique type of highlighter makeup. They create a multidimensional, prismatic finish that catches the light and reflects off of the skin. Holographic highlighters are best applied with a brush for an even application.
Pearlized highlighters create a soft, luminous finish. They are great for creating an all-over glow and can be used as a traditional highlighter, or applied to the body for a more subtle sheen. Pearlized highlighters are best applied with a brush.
Glitter highlighters provide a more intense, reflective finish than other types of highlighter makeup. They are great for creating a fun, sparkly look. Glitter highlighters are best applied with fingertips or a brush for an even, blended finish.
Opalescent highlighters are perfect for achieving an ethereal glow. They contain a combination of shimmery and matte pigments that reflect off of the skin and give it a luminous, opalescent finish. Opalescent highlighters are best applied with a brush or sponge for a seamless, even application.
Brick highlighters are best for creating a subtle, sun-kissed finish. The warm tones reflect off of the skin and create a natural-looking radiance. Brick highlighters are best applied with fingertips or a sponge for an even, blended finish.
Each type of highlighter offers unique benefits and finishes, and the choice of highlighter often depends on individual preferences, skin type and undertones, and the occasion.
How to apply highlighter
Now that I’ve shared the different types of highlighters, let’s talk about how to apply it!
- Once you’ve applied your foundation, concealer, blush, and contour, it’s time to apply highlighter. Highlighter should be applied to the highest points of your face, such as the tops of your cheekbones, your brow bone, down the bridge of your nose and around your cupids bow.
2. Start with a small amount of highlighter and then build it up if you want more coverage. Remember you can always apply more. Start by picking up some blush with your sponge or brush.
3. Tap off any excess to ensure you don’t apply too much. Apply to the tops of your cheekbones, brow bone, and your cupids bowl (optional).
4. Blend it in using a brush or damp beauty sponge and gradually work it outwards. If you want to add more definition, apply some highlighter along the bridge of your nose and blend it out.
I personally like to apply my highlighter with a fan brush for precise placement. I’ll then go in with a fluffy blush brush and blend out so that my highlight is diffuses and looks very natural!
So this is how you apply highlight step by step! Check out my video, where I share how to apply contour, highlight and blush!
Do you love beauty tutorials? Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Highlighting is one of the most fun ways to add dimension to your look, and with the right techniques, you can have a stunningly radiant complexion.
The best types of brushes for highlighter:
When it comes to applying highlighter makeup, the type of brush you use can make a huge difference in how your look turns out.
Fan brushes are great for applying a light dusting of highlighter to your face. The fan-shaped bristles allow you to easily sweep the product across your cheekbones and other areas where you want to highlight.
Angled brushes are perfect for creating more precise lines with your highlighter. This type of brush allows you to create a sharp line along the edges of your cheekbones and other areas. Angled brushes are also great for highlighting small areas of your face, such as the bridge of your nose or cupid’s bow.
Highlighter brushes are specifically made for applying highlighter. The bristles are often densely packed and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Highlighter brushes can help you achieve a more intense highlight if that’s what you’re looking for.
Flat top stripping brush:
The flat top blush brush is great if you’re applying a cream highlight. The flat surface allows you to blend the product easily and evenly across your face. This type of brush is also great for achieving a more subtle highlight.
A highlighter makeup sponge is a great way to blend your highlight seamlessly into the rest of your makeup. The sponge allows you to press the product onto your skin and blend it out in one seamless motion. This is a great way to achieve a more natural, glowing look. My personal favorite sponge is the beauty blender.
No matter what look you’re going for, there are plenty of brush options that can help you achieve the perfect highlight. Experiment with different types of brushes and find the one that works best for you.
How to find the best highlighter color for your skintone
Unsure what highlighter color you should choose? Here are a few tips to find your perfect color based on your complexion:
If you have fair or light skin, look for highlighters with shades of pink, rose gold or champagne. You should stay away from colors that are too dark, such as bronze or copper.
If you have medium to tan skin, your best option would be a gold-toned highlighter. You can also try shades of bronze, copper or peach to add a subtle glow.
Those with olive skin should stick to warmer shades such as gold, bronze or a light copper. This will give you a beautiful and subtle glow.
For those with dark skin, opt for a gold, deep bronze or copper hue. This will give you an extra bold look and accentuate your features.
Those with deep skin should choose a highlighter color that is warm, such as gold or bronze. These colors will bring out your natural glow and add dimension to your look.
No matter what skin tone you have, it’s important to remember that experimenting with different colors is key. Try out different shades and find one that works best for you!
Do’s and dont’s of highlighter
- Do apply highlighter to the highest parts of your face such as the tops of your cheek bone, below your brow bone, above your cupid bow, and down bridge of your nose.
- Do apply highlighter with contour. Contour is used for the darkest parts of your face, and highlighter is used for the lightest parts.
- Do choose a highlighter color that compliments your skin tone. Choose one that matches the undertone of your skin, whether it’s pink, yellow, or neutral.
- Do use a light hand when applying. Too much highlighter can make your face look greasy and unnatural.
- Do use a soft blending brush. This will help the highlighter blend seamlessly into your skin.
- Do set your foundation before you apply it. This will help keep the highlighter in place for longer periods of time.’
- Don’t use shimmery glitter highlighters on oily skin or mature skin. These types of highlighters can emphasize the oiliness of your skin, and make you look greasier. Additionally glitter highlighters can age you as they emphasize wrinkles and fine lines.
- Don’t use too much at once. Start with a small amount and gradually build up until you get your desired effect.
- Don’t use a highlighter that is too light for your skin. Too light of a shade can make you look washed out and unnatural.
- Don’t apply highlighter over foundation that is still wet. This can cause the highlighter to move around and look patchy, due to the oils in the foundation.
- Don’t forget to set your highlighter once you’ve applied it. A good setting spray will help keep your look in place all day.
Following these do’s and don’ts can help you find the perfect highlighter color for your skin tone, and have you looking your best.
List of highlighters:
- Powder Highlighter
- Cream Highlighter
- Liquid Highlighter
- Stick Highlighter
- Gel Highlighter
- Shimmer Highlighter
- Metallic Highlighter
- Duochrome Highlighter
- Iridescent Highlighter
- Holographic Highlighter
- Pearlized Highlighter
- Glitter Highlighter
- Opalescent Highlighter
- Brick Highlighter
Highlighter can turn the most basic makeup routine into something special, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. With these easy tips, you should be able to find the right highlighter for your skin tone, apply blush like a professional artist, and make sure your makeup looks amazing!
Now it’s time to start experimenting with different formulas and shades until you find that perfect highlighter look! Have fun—you have already taken the first steps towards mastering makeup techniques involving highlighters.
So go ahead and experiment in front of the mirror until you get a look you love! Do you have a favorite highlighter? Let me know in the comments below!