Skin with brightness and bounce—it’s what we all covet, and the right highlighting product is the key to achieving it. It’s an essential product for life’s biggest photo moments and the secret that celebrities and their makeup artists swear by for big red carpet moments. But there is an art to using highlighters. Take a scroll through your Instagram and you’ll no doubt notice there is a lot going wrong out there when it comes to how and where it’s applied. We spoke to Toronto-based makeup artist Sheri Stroh about how to wear highlighters well, what the differences in formulas are and what famous faces to look to for application inspiration. We also recommend some of our favourite products to get the perfect glow.
What are benefits and differences between powder and liquid highlighters? How do you know which is best for you?
“The benefits of different forms of highlighters will depend on your skin and also your personal preference really. I typically prefer a cream formula as I find they give a more natural and realistic glow, but if you have oily skin or are intimidated by creams you may want to give a powder highlighter a try as they can be easier to use and not look greasy. For both types, I will avoid anything with chunky glitter so I always recommend highlighters which are very finely milled so the shimmer isn’t glaringly obvious and faux looking. And a little goes a long way, especially when it comes to powder ones as they can look heavy and ‘gilded’ pretty easily if restraint is not used. Overall, I would recommend using a dab of cream highlighter for day and a powder for evening or if you have an event.”
Where should highlighter be applied?
“I will always apply highlighter to the tops of the cheekbones and onto the temples, kind of in a C shape around the eye and up to the brow. I see a lot of people using their highlighters on their noses, and while I’m fine with a light, almost nothing, tap of it, please avoid the tip of your nose as it can just look odd, and if you are worried about looking too glowy, stay away from the nose entierly. Other areas open to highlight are the brow bone (keep it super light handed and avoid frosty white eye shadows please!) and the cupid’s bow of the lips (again, please use a cream and stay away from frosty light powders).
Can you reference a few celebs you think do highlighting right?
“I think Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Kate Bosworth, Meghan Markle, Helen Mirren, Tracy Ellis Ross, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Olivia Munn, Octavia Spencer ALL do highlighter brilliantly (or at least their makeup artists do, anyway!)”
Fenty Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Starstruck, $31, sephora.com
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow, $80, charlottetilbury.com
NARS Orgasm Illuminator, $39, narscosmetics.ca.
Stila Heaven’s Hue Highlighter in Kitten, $42, sephora.com
NYX Away We Glow, $12, nyxcosmetics.ca.