Monday, February 22, 2010

How to Highlight Your Face - Tutorial, Tips, and Tricks

Last week I told you about a couple of my favorite highlighters here. As promised, here is a tutorial on how to highlight your face. Highlighting is used to draw attention to areas of the phase that you want to emphasize and bring out. Most highlighters are a vanilla, white, silver, or gold color, that can easily blend into the skin tone. Many highlight products can sometimes be too glittery, so when choosing a highlight, aim for something that blends into the skin but gives off a nice healthy sheen. Highlights should not be obvious, but they should enhance. On the other hand, contouring de-emphasizes areas of the phase you do not want to draw attention to. Highlighting and contouring are methods of adding angles to the planes of the phase, creating visual interest, and allowing you to create more definition to some areas of the face.

#1: The first place that most people highlight regularly, and probably don't think of as "highlighting" is when you add a highlight color to the eye area. 

You can simply apply the product to the browbone and blend so it does not look white or garish. In the diagram above, I did not indicate it, but highlighting the inner corner of the eye (the tearduct) is a great way to add brightness to your eyes and helps close set eyes look a little more balanced. 

#2: Higlighting the temples and above cheekbones


Highlighting above the cheekbones (blue drawing above) is probably the second most common area to highlight. Adding a highlight here creates the illusion of higher cheekbones and gives a nice glow. Usually I apply my blush first on the apples of the cheeks, and then add my highlight right above the blush, above the cheekbones. I usually follow this step by highlighting the temples (purple drawing above). Let me tell ya, this might seem insignificant but it looks sooooo good! You want to create a "c" shape around the eye. This should be subtle and glowy. If you can see it on, you probably have too much product on. The highlight should just catch the light, so if you are looking in the mirror and turn your face, you should see the light reflecting on the highlighted area. This looks great especially on all skin tones and just adds an extra special touch, especially if you are going out to a party or a wedding. 

#3: Higlighting around the mouth

This is something I don't do very often on myself, but I like the effect. Highlighting the cupid's bow (above the mouth) is very flattering and really emphasizes the lips. You don't want to put too much product on, just a tiny dot in the middle of the cupid's bow, and blend outwards on each side. You can also highlight the chin area, especially if your chin and cheeks are in the same plane and you want to add more angles to your jawbone and chin area. 

#4: Higlighting the nose

#4: I really love the effect of highlighting the nose, but you want to be sure you don't look like Rudolph, but with a white nose. The product should be applied at the end of the nose and blended upwards on the bridge of the nose. This really adds a nice glow, but you want to be careful, because if you have an oily T-zone, you don't want to be glowing like a lightbulb. 

When highlighting, be cautious of your face and your skin type. If you have oily skin, highlighting certain areas like the nose and chin can make you look greasier, and worsen your appearance. Practice a few times and you will get the hang of it. Like with all makeup applications practice makes perfect. I recommend that you try these techniques with a friend around, so you can apply the highlight and if you can't tell whether you have too much or too little on, your friend should be able to tell if you look sparkly or natural. Highlights should allow the light to bounce off your face, but not in an over the top way...just you have model-esque skin. 

Stay tuned, as I will soon be doing a post on my favorite brushes for highlighting. Till then, hope you all are doing well and enjoying what is hopefully the last few weeks of winter!


  1. Thanks for the pictures! It makes it a lot easier for me to follow. I'll have to try these out. I've only thought about highlighting above the cheekbones, I'll have to add in the rest.

  2. Hi Kajal,

    That was a very helpful post. And the diagrams made it even more easy to understand.

    Thank you..

  3. hey, Wht a helpful post! The diagrams really made it very easy to understand! Will def bookmark this..

    Currently I am using Revlon's Skinlights Illuminating lotion in Pink Light as highlighter. It has more minute, tiny shimmer than their Peach light version, making it wearable in the day to office.

  4. @Neena I think you will like the effect of highlighting around the temples...let me know what you think when you try out the others!

    @G.G.G. Glad you enjoyed the post and found it helpful!

    @Tanveer Yay...I'm happy you found this useful! Ooh I will have to look for that illuminator! The more refined the shimmer, the better the product will look on the skin. Glad you found a product that works for you!

  5. Great post. i don't highlight my nose coz I have retty tall nose and with highlighting, it loks even taller. But I do the lips highlighting quite ofen. Really like the way my lips look after that. :)

  6. Check out my post on highlighting please!



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