How to Apply Highlighter Makeup for a Natural Glow?

As a makeup enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for techniques that can help me achieve a radiant, natural-looking glow. One of my favorite ways to do this is by using highlighter makeup. When applied correctly, highlighter can enhance your features, making your skin look healthy and luminous.

In this guide, I’ll share my tips and tricks for applying highlighter like a pro, so you can achieve that coveted “lit from within” look.

What is Highlighter Makeup?

Highlighter is a cosmetic product designed to reflect light and draw attention to the high points of your face, such as your cheekbones, brow bone, and the bridge of your nose. 

It comes in various formulas, including powders, liquids, and creams, and can range from subtle, pearlescent shades to bold, shimmery hues.

Why Use Highlighter?

There are several reasons why you might want to incorporate highlighter into your makeup routine:

  • It can give your skin a healthy, radiant glow
  • It can help define and enhance your facial features
  • It can make your skin look more youthful and awake
  • It can add dimension to your makeup look

What are the Different Types of Highlighters?

Before we dive into application techniques, let’s take a look at the different types of highlighters available:

Powder Highlighters

Powder highlighters are the most common type and come in both pressed and loose forms. They’re easy to apply and blend, making them a great option for beginners.

Liquid Highlighters

Liquid highlighters have a more intense, dewy finish and can be mixed with foundation or applied directly to the skin. They’re ideal for those with dry or mature skin.

Cream Highlighters

Cream highlighters have a balmy texture and provide a subtle, natural-looking glow. They’re perfect for those with dry or sensitive skin and can be applied with your fingers or a brush.

How Do I Choose the Right Highlighter for My Skin Tone?

Choosing the right highlighter shade is key to achieving a natural-looking glow. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Fair skin tones: Look for pearly, champagne, or pink-toned highlighters
  • Medium skin tones: Opt for golden, peach, or rose gold shades
  • Deep skin tones: Choose bronze, copper, or rich gold hues

When in doubt, swatch the highlighter on your skin and look at it in natural light to see how it complements your complexion.

Where Should I Apply Highlighter?

Now that you’ve chosen your highlighter, it’s time to apply it. Here are the key areas to focus on:

  • Cheekbones: Sweep highlighter along the tops of your cheekbones, starting from the apples of your cheeks and blending upward toward your temples.
  • Brow bone: Apply a small amount of highlighter just under your eyebrows to make your eyes appear more awake and lifted.
  • Bridge of the nose: Dab a bit of highlighter down the center of your nose to create the illusion of a slimmer, more defined nose.
  • Cupid’s bow: Highlight the dip above your upper lip to make your lips appear fuller and more defined.
  • Inner corners of the eyes: Brighten up your eyes by applying a touch of highlighter to the inner corners.

Remember, less is more when it comes to highlighter. Start with a small amount and build up the intensity gradually to avoid looking overly shimmery or artificial.

What are the Best Brushes for Applying Highlighter?

Using the right tools is essential for achieving a flawless highlighter application. Here are my top brush recommendations:

  • Fan brush: A fan brush is perfect for applying a sheer, diffused layer of powder highlighter. Sweep it lightly over the high points of your face for a subtle glow.
  • Tapered brush: A small, tapered brush allows for more precise highlighter application, especially in smaller areas like the brow bone and cupid’s bow.
  • Damp beauty sponge: For a more intense, dewy finish, apply liquid or cream highlighter with a damp beauty sponge, gently tapping it onto the skin.

How Can I Make My Highlighter Last Longer?

To ensure your highlighter stays put all day, follow these tips:

  • Prep your skin: Start with a clean, moisturized face to create a smooth canvas for your highlighter.
  • Use a primer: Apply a makeup primer before your foundation to help your highlighter adhere better and last longer.
  • Set with powder: If you’re using a liquid or cream highlighter, set it with a light dusting of translucent powder to prevent it from sliding or fading throughout the day.
  • Layer your products: For extra staying power, layer a powder highlighter over a cream or liquid formula.

What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying Highlighter?

While highlighter can work wonders for your complexion, there are a few common mistakes to watch out for:

  • Applying too much: Avoid going overboard with your highlighter, as this can make your skin look greasy or artificial. Remember, a little goes a long way.
  • Using the wrong shade: Choose a highlighter that complements your skin tone to avoid an unflattering, ashy, or overly glittery appearance.
  • Highlighting the wrong areas: Focus on the high points of your face, rather than applying highlighter all over, which can make your skin look oily or sweaty.
  • Not blending enough: Be sure to blend your highlighter seamlessly into your skin to avoid harsh lines or patches of shimmer.


Can I wear highlighter if I have oily skin?

Yes, you can still wear highlighter if you have oily skin. Opt for a powder formula and focus on applying it to the high points of your face, rather than all over. Be sure to set your makeup with a translucent powder to help control shine.

Should I apply highlighter before or after foundation?

It’s generally best to apply highlighter after your foundation and concealer. This allows you to create a smooth, even base and ensures your highlighter stands out and looks more natural.

Can I mix highlighter with my foundation?

Yes, you can mix a liquid highlighter with your foundation for an all-over glow. Just be sure to use a small amount and blend it well to avoid looking too shimmery.

How do I choose between a powder, liquid, or cream highlighter?

The type of highlighter you choose depends on your skin type and the look you’re going for. Powder highlighters are best for oily skin and provide a more subtle glow, while liquid and cream formulas are ideal for dry or mature skin and offer a more intense, dewy finish.

Can I wear highlighter without other makeup?

Absolutely! If you’re going for a minimal makeup look, you can still add a touch of highlighter to the high points of your face for a fresh, radiant appearance. Just be sure to blend it well into your skin for a natural effect.


Highlighter is a game-changing makeup product that can instantly elevate your look and give your skin a beautiful, natural-looking glow. 

By choosing the right formula and shade for your skin type and tone, and applying it strategically to the high points of your face, you can achieve a radiant, lit-from-within appearance that looks effortless and stunning.

Remember to start with a small amount of product, blend well, and build up the intensity gradually to avoid looking overly shimmery or artificial. 

With a little practice and experimentation, you’ll be able to master the art of highlighter application and enjoy a gorgeous, glowing complexion every day.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *