If you haven’t tried a highlighter, chances are it’s because you don’t really know how to apply it or you don’t think you need it. But, a quick swipe of one, be it across your cheekbones or down your nose, can instantly make you look brighter, more awake, and in some cases, younger. Celebrity makeup artist and Violet Grey brand ambassador Kira Nasrat says, “When your skin looks dewy and radiant, that’s when it looks most youthful and fresh, and a highlighter can help you achieve that.”
The key to getting that just-right luminous sheen is knowing which formulas to use and what areas on the face to stay away from. “I don’t use any highlighters that give a glitter effect, but instead, I like to use products that give more of a subtle sheen, especially on more mature skin,” says Nasrat. “I also stay away from highlighting near areas on the face that aren’t smooth (like those where wrinkles are visible).”
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If you’re using a cream formula, Nasrat recommends applying it with your fingers. “I warm the highlighter between my fingers (thumb and ring finger) and gently press it onto the areas that I want to highlight, such as the cheekbones, brow bones, inner corners of the eye, tip of nose, or Cupid’s bow of the lip. The product just melts into the skin. I really love the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate ($80). For those who don’t want a cream base, but still want something with movement, try Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #2 ($62) using a damp beautyblender and stippling the product on, pressing gently. For those who shy away from liquid formulas, try Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow ($68) and apply it with a small fluffy brush so you can really concentrate and blend it in on certain areas of the face, neck and shoulders.
You should also consider your skin tone when determining which shade to use. “I tend to use bronzy shades for deeper skin tones and I love a champagne hue for olive tones. I try to stay away from any iridescent pink shades unless it’s on a super fair complexion,” says Nasrat.