How I Apply Highlighter Without Going Overboard

You don't need to "strobe" to glow.
Publish date:
October 7, 2015
How-To, nyx, essence, Rimmel, makeup brushes, highlighting, highlighter, lipstick, blush, pacifica, Strobing

I don’t want to say this too loud, but I think we can safely say that what some call “Instagram Beauty” is on its way out. While I seriously adore the drag queen/soap opera look, it's a special makeup style that deserves a special time. I like just having a sip of the Kool-Aid now and again. We don’t need to be chugging it every day.

Subtlety can be transformative, too, by applying the concepts of contouring with a lighter hand. Also much less makeup. Highlighting in particular is universally flattering, easy to apply, and pretty fool-proof. Just stop before you look like an ice wizard.

The most important issue with highlighter is getting the right shade and finish for your skin tone; too pearlescent, and you’ll look frosty instead of dewy. When you find a shade that complements your skin tone, you’ll look luminous, not sparkly. Since I have an olive tone to my skin, I look for apricot or gold highlighters; NYX Born to Glow is my favourite, in both colours.

Daily, I wear my DIY highlighter that I made out of an old Wet 'n Wild shadow. It’s oil-based, so it's super-hydrating and lovely on bare skin, but not the best with foundation. However, most highlighters are just too much for every day wear.

Instead of applying a highlighter straight from the tube, mix liquid or loose minerals with water and apply with a wet brush to blend the shimmer into the foundation instead of patting it on top. Instead of slicking it on, you’re adding the barest wash of shimmer.

I keep a spray bottle of rosewater or botanical water with my makeup; I use it for everything, but it’s perfect for mixing highlighter and wetting your brush without a mess.

To mix the highlighter, add a dab of liquid to a palette (I use the back of my hand because I’m a bum) and spritz until the desired strength.

To get soft, even coverage, swipe it on with a wet kabuki brush, concentrating on your cheekbones, bridge of the nose, center of the chin, eye sockets and cupid’s bow.

Do another pass to the corners of your eyes and cheekbones; the shimmer builds slowly, so it’s easy to control. Because you’re putting down such a tiny amount of product, you don’t really need to blend, so the whole process takes about a minute.

I usually pair this look with either a bold cheek, eye or lip. I don’t normally do blush, but I just got a new Essence Blush Up in Heat Wave, and it’s very... vivid. I added some light beige shadow from Pacifica's Englighten palette to the orbs of my lids, and under my lower lashline.

I finished with Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 17 (a neutral pink), Maybelline Full ‘n Soft Mascara and some Rosebud Salve on my brows. And also in my bangs because I forgot I had bangs. I love the coral blush and pink lip—it reminds me of Alice from Welcome to Me.

  • Are you strobing?
  • Did you love Welcome to Me?
  • Are you over "Instagram beauty"?