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How to wear highlighter without looking OTT

Written by Victoria Chong


We’ve all been there before: you finish applying your base, crack open a new, beautiful, glittery highlighter, and start applying it all over the ‘high points’ of your face, just as all the beauty gurus tell you. You get enthusiastic, maybe a little too trigger happy, and by the time you’re finished you end up looking like a shiny disco ball.

Highlighter in the pan is tantalisingly pretty, but over-applying it tends to drown out your features or makes you look oily. It can be tricky to work out exactly how to apply highlighter, so fear not! This guide will help you achieve that perfect glowy look that we all long for.

Picking the right highlighter 

Trying to pick a highlighter while you wander the aisles of any makeup store is almost dizzying in its range of choice. The general rule of thumb is that cream highlighters work better for drier skin, and powder formulas are more suited to oily skin types.  

Also, the shade of highlighter you should reach for differs depending on your skin tone. If you have pale or fair skin, you should generally opt for highlighters with an icy or pearlescent sheen. If you have a warmer skin tone and don’t want to look too frosty, highlighters with bronze or gold undertones are for you. For dark skin tones, variations of rose gold work best for achieving  that perfect lit-from-within look.

One of our favourite versatile highlighters is, without a doubt, Napoleon Perdis Highlighter Patrol. The multi-tonal baked powder formula incorporates swirls of champagne flecks with nude and bronze undertones for the ultimate flattering finish, no matter your skin type or tone. The ultra-fine reflective pigment brings your cheekbones to life and the forefront, each and every time.


Where to put highlighter

One of the toughest things to work out is how to apply highlighter to best complement your features. You know the theory: highlighting is the opposite of contouring. But how do you put on highlighter makeup properly?

The overall goal is to bring out the high points of your face. If you’re using a cream highlighter, use your fingers; if you’re using a powder, use a brush to dust along the tops of your cheekbones, along your brow bones, and down the bridge of your nose - ie. the areas the sun would hit if you were standing outside. If you’re looking for an even more glowing look, you can dot product in the inner corners of your eyes, along the Cupid’s bow, and in the centre of your chin. When applied in the right places, highlight, along with your contour, helps add amazing dimension and angles to your face that can bring your look to a new level.


Blend, blend, and blend some more

The most important step in achieving that natural-looking glow is blending out your highlighter properly. Once you’ve applied your product, use your finger or a small brush to diffuse the shine. You can even grab your foundation brush or a damp beauty blender to further buff the product out if you feel that the sheen looks too severe. 

And there you have it! Now that you know exactly how and where to put highlighter, you’re fully equipped to give your makeup looks a little glow-up. Makeup trends will always come and go, but a radiant complexion will never go out of style. Highlighter instantly elevates any look; just remember that sometimes less is more! When in doubt, start with a little product on the key areas of the face and build  from there. 

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