Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Highlighting Part 3 - Best Brushes for Highlighting the Face

In the last couple weeks I told you about some of my favorite highlighters, then highlighting techniques, and now in the last part of my highlighting series, I am going to tell you about some of my favorite brushes for highlighting:

Before I get started, this is not an end-all be-all of what you can use to highlight, these are just the brushes I tend to reach for. And yes, I use mostly MAC, but feel free to use whatever you have or want.

This first one is the MAC 138. I really love this brush for powder because the pointed tip really gets into small areas like under the eyes and around the nose. However, this brush is also great for highlighting. It doesn't pick up too much color so it is easy to control the amount of product you apply and you won't end up looking glittery. Because of the tapered shape, I like to roll half the bristles once in a powder highlighter and then roll it against the skin. This technique is best for highlighting above the cheekbones and the temples. This is a larger brush and can be used for highlighting smaller areas like the nose, but it takes a little more control and practice so you don't get the highlight product all over the place.

This next brush is the MAC 165 and is like a smaller version of the MAC 138. I belive this was a limited edition brush, but it seems like MAC releases it about once a year with a limtied collection. You can use this brush in a similar manner as described for the 138 or you can use to to just sweep the product on the skin. It has shorter bristles and the diameter is smaller, so you don't have to worry about getting the product all over the place. This brush works great for both powder and emollient based products.

This next brush has so many great uses and I think everyone should have one. It is the MAC 188, or a skunk brush. This is a smaller version of the MAC 187. Because of the duo-fibers, this brush always picks up the perfect amount of product and allows you to blend flawlessly into the skin. I either brush this against powder highlighters and apply to the skin, or apply cream/liquid highlighters with my fingers, and use this brush to blend the product into the skin. This is great especially for beginners because it does not pick up too much product, and is great for everywhere, because it has so many uses. In addition to highlighting, I use this for cream or powder blushes and sometimes for foundation.

This next one is a brush I constantly rave about and is the MAC 109. I used this for EVERYTHING. I especially love it for liquid foundation, powders, and for contouring. However, I do use it for highlighting the cheekbones too. It has densely packed bristles so you have to be cautious with powder highlighters, because you can pick up too much product. In a hurry, I will swipe this on a powder product, them apply to the cheekbones, and take whatever is remaining on the bristles and swipe against the bridge of the nose. Again, less is more with highlighters, and you don't want to be the white version of Rudolph.

Lastly, I use crease brushes for detailed highlighting, like under the browbone, the chin, and the cupids bow, but I really like using them for the temples. The one pictured here is one of my new favorites, the Stila #9 brush. I typically use this with a loose powder highlighter, but you have to be careful not to pick up too much product. Since it is smaller than all the other brushes, you have more precise control of where to apply the product. Crease brushes are also great for blending, and give a nice soft look.

Overall, highlighting takes a bit of practice and is easily a step that can be skipped for daily makeup application, but really adds a nice touch for special occasions, especially if you are going out in the evening or will be in dimly-lit spaces. Based on the curvatures of your face, figure out what looks best on you and have fun with it!


  1. Great post! Am lusting after the 138 xx

  2. I also really want the 138!


  3. i don't have the 138 or 165...i always consider them though, as i think they're just generally pretty! they remind me of closed tulips!

  4. 安...辛苦了!祝福你在各個方面都愈來愈好!........................................

  5. This is a great post doll! I am so glad I found your blog today! Have a blessed weekend ;) xoxo

  6. I love that you posted this. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when it comes to the slight differences in brushes. Now I know what to do with the "skunk brush!"

    and Thanks for following;)



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