The Art of Highlighting: What To Use and How It’s Done


In the previous article we discussed the Art of facial contouring and now it’s time for part 2. Highlighting and Contouring go together like peanut butter and jam or an LBD with some killer heels. They’re just meant for each other. Since we’ve discussed how to contour, the products to use and what it can for your face, let’s move on.

What is highlighting?

Makeup by me. Photo by Kass Photography

Makeup by me. Photo by Kass Photography

Highlighting is the technique whereby you place a lighter colour on the higher planes of the face to visually draw them forward and by using lighter colours (who generally have more shimmery textures) we can bring focus to facial features we want to draw attention to.

Which products should I use?

Highlighting products come in a variety of textures and finishes and we can really have fun in picking out our favourite kinds. You can find highlighting products in cream, liquid and powder forms and they can come in shade varieties from shimmery white and champagne colours all the way through to gold. Lighter complexions should opt for colours like eggshell, pale pinks and peaches and champagne while darker skin tones should opt for darker champagne colours, gold and bronze. A good tip for darker skinned babes to remember is to choose warmer highlighting colours as the paler more silvery colours could look too harsh on your skin and may give the appearance of ashiness and this is especially true when using cream products (like concealer) to highlight with. The type of texture and finish is completely up to you to decide and each texture comes with its own benefits. Cream products can be applied either sheer or built up for a more intense finish and liquids can be made to look almost like the skin is lit from within. Powders can be more frosted (or not, if you decide to use lighter coloured face powder) and can create almost plastic like finishes on the skin (if that’s what you’re after!). Shop around and play with the different textures on hand and see which one appeals you and your needs.

How do I highlight my face?

Since we’ve contoured our entire face (see my previous article) we can begin to highlight certain areas. I’ve mentioned the “higher planes of the face” and that term may confuse some. The higher planes of the face are the areas that shine naturally white (or light) when your face is wet. The higher planes are your cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the tip of the chin, above the eyebrows, the brow bone and the forehead. Next time you get out of the shower, take a look in the mirror and see which parts of your face naturally reflect light; those are the areas to highlight. Feel free to highlight above the cupids bow of your lip to add a visual fullness, it’s a great tip for those who need a bit of oomph on the lip department.

If you’ve opted to use liquid products, add your highlights to your face before you powder. Applying liquid afterwards will cause the liquid to grab onto the powder and leave a blotchy effect behind, not pretty. Cream products can be worked over powder products if the cream has a thick consistency; like MAC’s Cream Colour Base (I often use these over a powdered face with no problems). Make sure that when you apply your highlight that you blend it correctly and well onto the skin. It’s not meant to look like stripes of lighter colour on the face!

Which tools should I use?

This depends on the texture of the highlighting product that you’ve chosen. Liquids can be easily blended with a foundation brush while cream products work beautifully with fingers. Powders on the other hand need to be applied with a blush brush or large eye shadow blending brush.

Highlighting and contouring can create a beautifully 3D look to the skin and by using products of differing textures; makeup can come alive and create real interest to someone’s complexion. Do play around and see which products work best for you and if you make a mistake, simply clean it off. It’s only makeup after all.

Suaad xoxo

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