Highlighter Application Featured Image

Master the Art of Highlighter Application: Tips and Tricks to Glow Like a Pro

featured image: mad.mado

Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

Ever wondered how to emulate beauty influencers and achieve that smooth, radiating, lifted skin?

The secret lies in knowing the best makeup artist tricks to master the art of highlighter application! Ready to glow like a pro? Let’s dive into the world of highlighter and unveil the secrets to a stunning, luminous complexion!

Key Takeaways

  • Glow like a pro with the perfect highlighter for your skin type!

  • Brighten up your skin and customize your look with cream, powder or liquid highlighters.

  • Follow our expert tips to enhance you best features and create a professional eye-catching, radiant glow!

Understanding the Purpose of Highlighter Makeup

Woman with great highlighter application
source: mor_beauty_makeup

Highlighter makeup is designed to reflect light, illuminate, and accentuate the high points of the face, giving a lifted and youthful appearance – how amazing is that? To apply highlighter makeup, focus on areas where the light naturally hits, such as:

  • The tops of your cheekbones.

  • Your brow bones.

  • The cupid’s bow.

  • Along the tip and bridge of the nose.

With a variety of stunning lighting effects, from subtle sheens to glossy finishes, highlighters offer a versatile addition to your makeup routine. Makeup artists love using cream formulas to build and layer with powders for a glamourous glow.

Use a damp makeup sponge with a radiating setting spray to blend cream or liquid highlighters.

Ready to take your makeup look to the next level? Let’s learn how to choose the perfect highlighter for your skin type!

Choosing the Right Highlighter for Your Skin Type

Highlighter inventory products
source: tashsbeautyspace

There isn’t a black and white solution when it comes to choosing your highlighting makeup product. BUT texture does play a huge role on the outcome of how your skin looks.

To select a highlighter that complements your skin type and makeup look, we created a basic guideline to help you start off and not get overwhelmed!

  • All Highlighting Formulas: are great for normal skin. Depending on what makeup look you are wanting to create, you can obtain a gorgeous glow through any highlighting product.

  • Cream Highlighters: are well suited for dry skin. Cream highlighters usually have a moisturizing effect, which prevents the skin from drying out and showing unwanted texture.

  • Powder Highlighters: are ideal for oily skin. These highlighters have a powder base, which can help to absorb oil, control oil, and ensuring a long-lasting glow effect.

  • Liquid Highlighters: Perfect for combination skin types. Liquid highlighters offer versatile application, allowing for a buildable glow that can be tailored to the varying needs of combination skin.

Keep reading to see what these different highlighters have to offer!

Cream Highlighters

Cream highlighters are perfect for dry to normal skin, offering a natural and dewy finish that can give your skin a dewy, healthy, and radiant lift. They’re easy to blend and can be applied seamlessly onto the skin, making them a favorite among makeup artists.

Cream highlighters can be used on various parts of the face and body, allowing for versatile application. Plus, they provide a subtle and buildable glow, allowing you to control the intensity of the highlight.

Atelier Mini Petite Lit Up Cream Highlighter Stick a highly recommended cream highlighter stick, perfect for achieving that sought-after dewy radiance. Another exciting cream highlighter stick is the ROSE INC Solar Radiance Hydrating Cream Highlighter, which is clean beauty and has natural ingredients.

Powder Highlighters

Powder highlighters are the go-to choice for those learning how to apply highlighter, have oily to normal skin, and want and effortless look.

One of our top picks is the L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Shimmerista Highlighting Powder, a lightweight, buildable powder highlighter with a fine shimmer texture that can be used on the eyes, face, and body.

When applying powder highlighters, it’s essential to use a brush specifically designed for this type of product, such as a fan brush or small to medium-sized blush brush. This ensures a smooth and even application, allowing you to achieve the perfect level of glow without any harsh lines or patches.

Liquid Highlighters

Liquid highlighters are perfect for combination to normal skin, as they provide a versatile and buildable glow that can be tailored to your preferences.

Try the LYS Beauty Aim High Multi-Use Liquid Highlighter, which can be used all over the skin as a luminous priming base before foundation, mix in with your moisturizer, or applied to more specific areas for a targeted glow. Another fantastic liquid highlighter is the Danessa Myricks Beauty Vision Flush Glow – Hyper Radiant Liquid Highlighter, which is hydrating, contains no glitter, and is perfectly buildable.

To apply liquid highlighter, you can use a variety of tools, such as SEPHORA COLLECTION PRO Highlight Brush #90 or even your fingers. Regardless of the method, the key to a flawless liquid highlighter application is to blend well, ensuring a seamless and natural finish that enhances your face shape.

Step-by-Step Guide to Applying Highlighter

How to apply Highlighter Image
source: peachbeauty_pb

Now that you’re familiar with the type of highlighter that’s best suited for your skin, here’s our step-by-step guide on how to wear highlighter.

Following these easy steps will make sure that your highlighter reflects light perfectly and enhances your natural features without overpowering your makeup look.

Applying Cream Highlighter

To apply cream highlighter, follow these steps:

  1. Use a sponge or your fingers to apply the highlighter onto the skin.

  2. Make a dabbing/tapping motion for a melted, blending effect.

  3. Apply cream highlighter after your foundation and before your pressed powder to ensure a long-wearing and radiant finish.

We recommend using a damp beauty sponge for blending cream or liquid highlighters, as this can help to create a more natural-looking glow. Feel free to experiment with different application methods to find the one that works best for you and your desired outcome!

Applying Powder Highlighter

To apply powder highlighter easily, here are our recommended steps:

  1. Use a soft, fluffy brush.

  2. Focus on the high points of your face, such as your cheekbones, brow bones, cupid’s bow, then the bridge and tip of your nose.

  3. Apply powder highlighter after blush and bronzer to create the perfect finish.

For a more intense glow, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the highlighter brush into your powder highlighter.

  2. Wet your brush with a setting spray like Charlotte’s Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray.

  3. Tap the product onto the back of the hand.

  4. Then apply the highlighter to your desired areas.

This technique will help to amplify your facial high points and create a dramatic makeup look!

Applying Liquid Highlighter

Applying liquid highlighter is a breeze with the right tools and precise application. Here are some tips to help you go pro:

  1. Use a sponge, brush, or your fingers to blend the product well.

  2. Start will less product on the back of the hand, then build onto the skin in fine layers.

  3. For a gorgeous, glowy base, mix the liquid highlighter into your foundation or moisturizer.

  4. To create specific brightness areas, apply the highlighter with a smaller applicator and blend.

Do’s and Don’ts of Highlighter Application

Girl with Highlighter Application Posing for Camera
source: laviinechifor

Feeling comfortable with the art of highlighter application involves following some do’s and don’ts that can drastically impact your makeup results.

Here is our favorite guidelines on what works best for the face.


When it comes to applying highlighter, there are a few essential do’s to keep in mind.

  • First, always apply highlighter to the high points of your face, such as your cheekbones, brow bone, inner eye corners, cupid’s bow, nose, and chin. This will help to enhance your bone structure and elongate the face.

  • Make sure to blend well and select the appropriate shade for your skin tone. This will guarantee a well finished-looking glow that complements your complexion and enhances your features without appearing too harsh or overpowering.

  • Try layering different highlighting formulas on top of each other! Get creative and see what types of layering works for your skin.


When it comes to highlighter application, there are also a few don’ts to avoid.

  • Stay clear of using a heavy hand and applying too much product, as this can make your skin appear overly shiny, oily, and unnatural. Instead, apply highlighter in fine layers and build up the desired intensity.

  • Don’t highlight the areas with skin texture, such as pores, fine lines, or acne scars, or dead skin cells as this can emphasize these areas and make them more noticeable.

Selecting the Perfect Shade for Your Skin Tone

Woman with a red dress with great skin
source: v.i.mua

The key to a stunning, luminous complexion is to choose the perfect highlighter shade that matches your skin tone. Here are some recommendations:

  • For fair skin, opt for opal or pearl shades.

  • Medium skin tones should go for golden or peachy shades.

  • Dark skin tones can rock gold, bronze, or copper shades for a truly dazzling finish.

By selecting the ideal highlighter shade for your skin tone, you’ll be able to enhance your natural features and give your face the best outcome. Feel free to experiment with different shades and formulas to find the perfect color.

Expert Tips for Enhancing Your Features with Highlighter

Woman with great skin posing nude eyes dewy lips
source: dariaxliashenko

Eager to polish your highlighter game skills? By following expert tips to enhance your features with a highlighter, you can achieve a stunning, luminous look that will be sure to turn heads.

Here are some fresh pro makeup artist tips and tricks for using and applying highlighter:

  • Experiment with Eyeshadow as Highlighter: Don’t limit yourself to traditional highlighter formulas. Depending on your makeup look, you can play with pink, peach, or even lavender highlighters for a unique glow.

  • Use Face Highlighters on the Eyes: You can use your highlighter as an eyeshadow for multi-purpose look Just make sure that the product is tested and approved for the eye area.

  • Highlight Your Collarbone Decollete: For an extra touch of glamour on special occasions, dust some highlighter on your collarbone neck area. This will make them stand out and give people something to be jealous about.

  • Mix in with Foundation: For a subtle, all-over glow, mix a tiny amount of liquid highlighter with your foundation. This will give your skin a luminous finish without looking too bright.

  • Setting Spray and Highlighting Drops: Who said that setting spray has to be boring? Apply a couple drops of liquid highlighter to your face spray. This will create a customized setting face glow!

  • Use Two or Three Different Shades: Use a lighter shade for highlighting and a darker shade for a bronzer effect. This will give your face more dimension and a sun-kissed glow.


If applying highlighter to the face seemed intimidating before, we hope that after reading this article that you feel ready with the tools and knowledge to conquer the world of glowy skin!


How do you apply highlighter?

Tap your highlighter onto the areas of your face you want to accentuate, like your cheekbones and bridge of your nose. Use a fluffy brush to blend it out, and remember to tap off any excess before application to avoid fallout. Finish by blending with a makeup sponge or brush for an even, radiant look!

Do you put highlighter on before foundation?

Give your highlighter the best chance of catching the light and creating a stunning makeup look by applying it after foundation. For an all-over dewy glow, mix a little highlighter with your base!

What is the best way to apply liquid highlighter?

For the best results, apply liquid highlighter after your foundation and concealer with a sponge or brush. Avoid using a sweeping motion to apply it, instead lightly stipple or dab for beautiful and smooth coverage.

What is the purpose of highlighter makeup?

Highlighter makeup adds a radiant, youthful glow by reflecting light and accentuating your best features!

How do I choose the right highlighter for my skin type?

Choose the right highlighter for your skin type by selecting a cream for dry skin, powder for oily skin, or liquid for combination skin.