Monday, July 16, 2012

Tutorial: Full Face Highlighting

Here's to hoping this fills the last gap of my face tutorials (for a complete list of tutorials I've written, see here). I've mentioned time and time again that contouring/highlighting is my favorite thing about makeup, so it's about time I showed you how I do it.

Highlighting is the natural complement to contouring. If contouring is about making shadows, highlighting is about creating light. Using both hand in hand makes for sharper features.

Here, a ridiculous photo of me with all the highlighted spots:

In list form:
  1. Along the browbone/above the arch
  2. Along the center of the nose
  3. Under eyes/above the cheekbones
  4. Smile lines
  5. Cupid's bow



Highlighting provides soft focus on certain areas of my face and diffusion on needed areas. My brows look more defined, nose taller, lips fuller, cheekbones sharper, and smile lines a little less obvious. The effect is subtle, some might even say unneeded, but I personally would rather do with than without.

You can use any highlighter you have on hand. My current favorite featured in this post is Dior's Airflash Primer, which isn't technically a highlighter (more like an illuminating primer), but works for me. Some others I like are Guerlain MeteoritesNARS Luxor, and LMdB Whisper. As you can probably tell, I prefer highlighters that are more opal/white/pink-toned as opposed to yellow ones, just because it works better for my skintone.

While highlighting is not something you'll ever need, if you're in a pinch and want a similar effect, I've gotten results using my concealer. It doesn't have the light reflecting qualities that highlighters do, but since my concealer is sometimes just slightly lighter than my skintone, it does the trick.


  1. You are ridiculously cute in that first pic. I do have a too pale concealer that might work better for me since I abhor the extra sheen on my oily face. Great tip!

  2. YES. I've been guiding my sister into the wonderful world of makeup recently and hilighting's up next, so this post is perfectly timed! :D

    (She tried hilighting her face without me the other day; it was adorable. Glitter everywhere and not a soft focus in sight.)

    <3 thank you, soulmate!

  3. I rarely highlight in areas other than the tops of my cheekbones or my brow bones, but I think that's just because I haven't found the right highlighter. I' shall check our your recommendations, darling! :)

  4. I'm with Dani - I rarely highlight other than cheekbones and brown bones, but I'll try this. I prefer opal-colored highlighters, too, but I haven't any. Despair! Well, I like gold, too, I suppose.

  5. This post was super-duper helpful.

  6. I love highlighting, it's such an important step in my make-up routine! Interesting that you highlighted your smile lines as well, I never thought of doing that! I love the first pic, it's so helpful for a lot of ppl :)

  7. Goodness, look at that bone structure. You don't even NEED to highlight and contour Xiao--but you sure look damn good with it, too :)

  8. I love to highlight, but since I have quite noticeable pores, I prefer using Shiseido High Beam White, since it's subtle. I also like Nars Copacabana and Mac Lighstcapade for this purposes.

  9. What, it's that simple? No way. You must be holding out on us, Xiao! ;p

  10. Liz- Arianne said I have a starfish on my face :P

    Rae- You need to expose this sister of yours to the bandits so we can loveflail her as well.

    dani- Oh you know I always put a million things all over my face :P

    Larie- It shouldn't be too difficult to find!

    Anonymous- thank you for that! I hoped it would be :)

    Bellachique- I don't know if it actually works, but I like to think so! It makes sense in my mind...

    Becca- You say the nicest things to me <3

    Anne JF- Ooh good to know!

    Leigh- But that's all! :D

  11. Wow the difference is beautiful! Subtle yet beautiful!! Great post.. very informative! Thanks hun!

  12. Nice post on highlighting! Your rendition in the first pic takes me back to portrait painting days. Highlighting is very much part of the process. It really does accentuate overall features. I like using powder highlighters but the YSL Touche Eclat works just as well.

  13. Your face, it is perfect. I really need more contouring and highlighting in my life and you are making this abundantly clear.


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