Why my highlighter does not give me “that awesome” glow?!
The world, today, is crazy for the dewy, luminous skin that looks fresh and healthy. Most of us have hoarded enough key brightening products and highlighters to ensure that your face will glow more than JLo on the red carpet, raked through all vblogs…. But it is still elusive!
Yep! A very common concern, I come across. Let’s ask you the questions and get the right answers!
A little bit of theory that needs to go!
What is a highlighter? Why do we use it?
A highlighter contains very tiny flecks of pearly material that glow like healthy skin when the light strikes them. Although other shimmering creams and powders have been popular in the past, highlighters are not quite the same as older frosted products; they have a much subtler finish. The overall effect of highlighting the face should be one of dewy, smooth skin rather than a frosted or metallic shine.
Healthy skin has a radiance to it that sometimes gets hidden beneath foundation and concealer. Highlighter restores that luminous look with a subtle gleam that gives the skin a smooth, soft and airbrushed finish. When used at the right areas of the face, they also emphasize facial contours creating greater balance and symmetry through a few clever optical illusions. We use highlighter to make cheekbones more prominent, refine the nose, and make eyes look luminous.
Which areas of the face, we need to highlight?
Use it right on the bits of the face the light hits your face naturally and you want to draw attention to.
There are a few key points to highlight on the face and generally these are the areas where the sun would naturally hit which are:
- The top of the cheekbones – a layer a glimmering product with your blush to create a rosy glow on the apples of your cheeks.
- Bridge of the nose – a swipe an illuminating product down the bridge of the nose to bring all the attention to the middle of your face.
- Under the brow bone – This emphasizes the shape and detracts from any stray hairs.
- Near the eyes – A favorite place for makeup artists to highlight is the inner corner of the eyes. Not only does a dab of highlighter there illuminate the eyes, it also minimizes under-eye circles.
- Cupids bow – to give your lips a fuller appearance.
- Center of forehead – To create a pleasant curvature to the face. Mimic a light-kissed look by applying highlighter in the center of your forehead. Then lightly brush outward to diffuse the product.
- Chin: Heighten your faux glow with a touch of highlighter on the middle of your chin, and blend in a soft circular motion.
Some less common but still often used places to highlight the face
- Makeup artists sometimes apply a dab of highlighter just above the iris to add more dimension to the eyelids.
- Underneath the outer corner of the eyes & lips, the inner corner of the eye, to make eyes appear larger and to minimize the appearance of dark circles.
- On either side of the nose just above the nostrils.
The image below is an easy guide to effectively recognize the areas that ideally has to be brought up or highlighted.
Word of caution: Stay far away from highlighting problem areas like pimples, puffy skin or anywhere where you have wrinkle or deep folds as highlighting will bring unwanted attention to these not-so-flattering features.
Quick tip: A common technique used to give light to the face is to mix a pea sized amount of illuminator/light liquid or cream highlighter with a foundation or tinted moisturizer for a elegant all over healthy glow.
Now, let’s try to get into the real issue! Why even the best of the highlighters doesn’t are not giving you the expected result?!!
Question to you!
Is your skin healthy and smooth?
80% of the battle is won if your skin is good! So sad, there’s no way around it. The luminous skin effect is difficult to fake, if the canvas isn’t smooth! You can’t just dust on shimmer powder and hope for the best. Because what’s really beautiful about dewy skin is that it is a natural glow that looks like it’s coming from within your complexion, not on top.
Sounds discouraging? Please don’t be. Luckily, this isn’t that hard to do. The key is good nutrition, dedicated skin care and you are set!! Your skin is constantly craving good nutrition and care; so if you give it the right mix it, your skin will give a helluva reason to thank for.
Nutrition: Eat healthy. Nothing can beat good nutrition. The mirror will tell you.
Regular care: You just cannot avoid this if you want your skin to remain problem-free. Even if you are not wearing any makeup, your face is what the world sees! Keep the daily regimen simple with usual Cleansing, Toning and Moisturizing with suitable products. Preferably, at or after mid-twenties you can start with serums and eye creams. But whatever steps you follow, do follow religiously; sporadic care will not help in the long run. It’s like, if you gorge once a week, you remain hungry for the rest of the time!
Exfoliate: There is plenty of choice according to your need, a peel, scrub, or glycolic-infused cleanser. Nothing helps to restructure your skin to smoothness like sloughing off dead skin cells. Try to exfoliate in one way or another at least twice a week to keep your complexion looking fresh. Please don’t go overboard to the extent that it irritates or damages; be gentle but be regular.
“Choosing a suitable face scrub – For oily and combination skin”
Hydration, inside, out: Your skin craves moisture, and not only topically. Drink enough water to keep it hydrated from inside and of course keep applying moisturizers on your skin regularly.
Face mists are just excellent to keep your skin thoroughly hydrated throughout the day, no matter where you are.
“Face mist – Why? and How?”
Remove heavy fuzz: Soft fuzz on your skin looks very natural and also gives a nice velvety finish to the skin. But not that all of us are so lucky; heredity, ailments, improper grooming often leaves pretty noticeable fuzz on our facial skin. Remove them to create a soft and smooth canvas for your makeup. Options are galore; shaving, waxing, threading, laser.
Are you choosing the right formula of highlighter?
Highlighters are in a variety of different formulas. Choose according to your skin and requirement.
Highlighters in liquid form are the easiest to blend and cover. Liquids can also be mixed with moisturizer to create a subtle shine or with matte foundation to give it a dewy finish. Used alone over bare skin, liquid highlighter counteracts dullness; over foundation, positioned correctly, it adds dimension. This formula is great for dry or mature skin.
Oily skinned beauties should choose this with little caution. Moreover, if you are using powder foundation or very strongly matte base; this type of highlighter will pose a little bit of a problem when it comes to blending.
Cream highlighters are generally more strongly pigmented and shimmering than liquid highlighters. These concentrated formulas also have more staying power. They are easy to apply and blend, but beware; they are concentrated that it is also easy to overdo them. Makeup artists recommend working with cream and stick highlighters a layer at a time, start with less, build up if required.
Creams are a good choice for highlighting near the eyes because these thicker blends stay where they are applied instead of fading over time.
A secret: Often, the professional perfection of highlighting is not achieved by one product only. A gradient of highlights is created with a judicious blend of the sheerest layer covering the widest area going on to layering more concentrated highlighting to the spot you want the shine to concentrate. Cream highlights can be used to that point where you want the highest concentration of light to reflect.
The image will help you to understand better. Note, the model has a specific area of built-up glow on her cheek.
Powder highlighters are versatile, easy to apply and blend. They are safely the beginners’ first highlighting option. You can lightly dust and blend, check and build up if required. Also, is a favorite product for most of the experts, particularly for creating a soft, luminosity. Any, shimmering powder that is close to the natural skin tone can also work as a highlighter. Powder formula is great for oily-skinned beauties. Note to be moderate with the amount of the product as excess can settle in the fine lines accentuating them.
Word of caution: When buying a powder highlighter, test the product on the hand first; some powders have a more intense sparkle to them that can work for the eyes but looks too shiny for use elsewhere on the face. Choose according to your need.
Are you choosing the right color of highlighter?
A big question, “Which shade to highlight with?” that very less people ask. Highlighters are translucent but not transparent. Most of them contain a small amount of pigment as well as reflective particles so that they look less glaring against the skin. Light colors appear more prominent, so choose a highlighter that is just a shade or two lighter than the natural skin tone.
While most shades of the soft bisque or champagne-shade family can be universal for some skin tones it’s best to use the most flattering shade for the best result.
- Light Skin Tones: Lighter skin tones (porcelain/fair) are best flattered with pink, cream, egg shell and off white shades. Avoid anything with a prominent golden base will just result in an orange looking finish.
- Medium Skin Tones: Medium skin tones are best suited with shades which are a little in between such as soft golden colours and rose gold colours, Avoid anything dark or light; you’ll risk looking unnaturally orange or pink.
- Dark Skin Tones: Darker skin tones are best suited with golds and bronze shades. Avoid anything too pink or too light will look very unflattering on the skin. Highlighters are supposed to be blended sheen not standout layers.
- Very Dark Skin Tones: Skin tones which are very dark is better off sticking to warmer and darker shades such as burgundy, dark chocolate, coppers and any dark bronze shades.
Word of caution: In addition to the base color of the highlighter, the shimmer itself can have a color cast. Golden or ivory tints are often most appropriate for skin tones. Products with a green or blue iridescence should be kept near the eyes only and never used on the cheeks.
Are you choosing the right finish of highlighter?
Makeup near the eyes can have more sparkle and still look natural, but highlighters meant to go on the cheeks, nose, and chin should have a dewy gleam instead of a noticeable shimmer. Products for skin typically have a pearly finish in the container. A highlighter with a metallic or sparkly finish can create beautiful special effects for eyes, but they leave the skin looking shiny or slick instead of dewy.
Do you prep your skin right before makeup?
Back to the “smooth-canvas” theory! A well prepped skin helps the makeup to get the best effect. Don’t forget to clean, moisturize and prime before applying makeup.
For all primer queries,
Are you blending your makeup well?
“Blending” the key point of high-impact makeup. Blend with the right tool (brush or sponge), right direction, right motion and force.
With special light on the highlighting, blending is the most important step of achieving the pro-finish. Don’t leave any visible line of transition between shades of colors but at the same time be gentle enough to let the layers of highlight leave undisturbed to speak for them. If, after all the hard work of layering, everything merges together… phew!
“Blend your makeup like a pro!”
A few points to remember, when it comes to highlighting:
- The color of the highlighter should enhance the skin tone without radically changing it, so avoid heavily tinted highlighters in favor of subtler hues.
- Consider where the product will be worn when picking shades, too; a cheek highlighter might have a peachier undertone than one worn near the eyes.
- Don’t try to use highlighter for coverage, especially for areas of hyper-pigmentation or redness. The shimmering tones will only serve to draw more attention to the problem zone.
- Highlighter only works in contrast to other areas of the skin that are left free of highlighter. Applying the product everywhere results not in an all-over dewy gleam, but a hard, slick shine. Overusing highlighter spoils its impact!
Don’t forget to leave your precious comment if you find the points are mentioned are good!! Also, please do pour in your ideas and observations on highlighting!