Tips for Applying the Best Highlighter Makeup

Wearing highlighter on your face can mean the difference between a flat, dull look and a radiant, just-got-out-of-the-shower glow.

Whether you’re looking to enhance your facial features with a subtle shimmer, or you prefer looking like you just washed your face in glitter, highlighter is an amazing way to make your makeup pop and express your creativity.

Portrait of beautiful young female model with highlighter on facial skin

Unfortunately, there’s a very thin line between the perfect highlighter application and looking like you just sweat out a half-marathon. The key difference? Highlighter tone and placement.

And to help you with your experimentation with gorgeous, glowy makeup, here’s everything you need to know to apply highlighter like a seasoned makeup artist!

What Is Highlighter?

Highlighter is a lightly pigmented, shimmery makeup product designed to bring dimension, a youthful glow, and shimmer to your skin. Just like contour is used to create shadows and depth, highlighter can be used to highlight your bone structure and bring life back to your skin.

Plus, highlighter just gives your whole look a lush, sparkly glow, and honestly, who doesn’t want that?

Types of Highlighter Makeup

Just like blush and contour, there are three main types of highlighter.

Liquid Highlighter

Depending on your preferences, liquid highlighter can come in a lightly pigmented, subtle shine, or a bold, highly pigmented shimmer.

Liquid highlighter can be tricky to apply because of its fluid consistency, which means you need to blend it well to avoid streaks or really noticeable patches of highlighter on your face. Luckily, once you’ve applied foundation and contour, you can use your fingers, a beauty blender, or even a foundation brush to get the perfect highlighter application.

Cream Highlighter

Cream highlighter is usually a lot thicker than liquid highlighter and can offer more pigmentation and a whole lot more glow.

One of the benefits of applying cream highlighter is that it blends flawlessly into your skin, making it super easy to use and so satisfying to apply. Cream highlighter is a great way to go if you’re looking for a pop of color and shimmer and know you have the blending skills to make it work.

Powder Highlighter

Powder highlighter is by far the most diverse and easy to use. It comes in hundreds of different shades and offers everything from a muted, light shimmer to brilliant, I’ll-blind-you-in-bright-light radiance that catches everyone’s attention. Many makeup artists, including Scott Barnes, prefer the results of using powder highlighter makeup.

Where to Apply Highlighter

The simplest rule for applying highlighter is to identify the high points and certain areas of your face and add glow to that.

Where you apply highlighter is all up to you, but some of the best spots to define your features and add a gorgeous shimmer to your face include:

  • The tops of your cheekbones, which will highlight your bone structure and help you achieve a snatched look
  • Your brow bone, which can create the illusion of higher, more defined arches
  • The bridge of your nose to add definition to your nose shape
  • Your Cupid’s bow—highlighting the center of your Cupid’s bow can help your lips look fuller and juicier
  • The inner corners of your eyes, which can make your eyes look more awake and make any makeup look all the more eye-catching

Tips for Applying the Best Highlighter Makeup From Scott Barnes

Now that you know where the highlighter should go, your next step is to figure out how best to apply it.

Highlighter is usually one of the last steps in your face makeup routine. After the concealer, foundation and contour, use a highlighter brush to apply and blend the makeup on the parts of your face mentioned above.

Highlighter is a great addition to smokey eye makeup so that you can add a pop of glitter and light to dark, sultry eyeshadow.

Beauty model woman with bright makeup

Highlighter on the tip of your nose can also create the on-trend button nose look a lot of celebs and influencers are sporting these days.

Once you’ve applied and blended your highlighter to perfection, you can use a light setting spray to keep everything in place. By using a dewy setting spray, you can also make sure your look is perfectly set and blended, while taking away any powdery effect if necessary.

Benefits of Using Scott Barnes Highlighter Palettes

There is an endless amount of shades and shimmers when it comes to highlighters. One of the best highlighters to start with if you’re new to contouring or full-face makeup is something that matches your skin tone but adds a little sparkle.

Scott Barnes is a makeup artist to the stars who has spent years using his fine art background to personally design and develop flawless makeup products to suit every personality.

If you’re looking for a great, versatile highlighter palette to experiment with, the Scott Barnes Glowy & Showy Highlighter Palette has beautiful shimmery shades that will match or enhance your skin tone and look.

Another favorite is Downright Dewy, a gorgeous golden highlighter made from Japanese pearls. It is a highly pigmented highlighter which makes it great for the perfect cheekbone highlight and offers incredible light refraction for a blinding glow.

And, if you’re looking for more of an all-over shimmer, Scott Barnes’ Pavé Powder is a loose highlighting powder made not just for your face, but for your whole body. Plus it comes in three beautiful shades so you can match your glow to anything from your outfit to your mood.

If these palettes make your heart skip a beat, don’t forget to check out all the amazing highlighter palettes from Scott Barnes today!