The 5 Best Skin Perfecting Highlighters – And Tips For Using Them


If you’re been reading BOND EN AVANT for some time now, you know we strive to feature the latest skin benefiting products – even when it comes to makeup. Especially, when it comes to makeup.  We think that what we put on our faces should always enhance or benefit our skin. Luckily, cosmetic companies are coming out with more and more dual action cosmetics. The latest trend has been dewy, glowing, strobed out skin and we’ve rounded up five of our top highlighter makeup picks that offer skin enhancing properties, such as – firming, hydration, fading dark spots and brightening – all while imparting a youthful glow. But before we get to the highlighter makeup products, let’s go over a little highlighter 101 with celebrity makeup artist and founder of styling agency, Meg O’Hare Beauty, Meg O’Hare.

Choosing a highlighter color

“If you have pink undertones, then the cooler tones, such as champagnes and frosty pearls will look best. Someone who has an olive undertone should opt for light golds, or if you have bronze skin you would want warm honey colors or rose gold.”

When to apply

Pre-foundation – “If you’re someone who wants a glowing, dewy look, you will want to apply highlighter prior to the application of foundation.”

Post-foundation – “If you put it on top of the foundation, you will want to apply it when your foundation is still dewy and pliable enough where it can marry to the highlighter makeup. This will  give you a brighter spotlight look.”

Mixing with foundation or moisturizer

Mixed with moisturizer – “If you are only wearing moisturizer but want to add that glowing element to your skin, then mix it into your moisturizer. But I’m usually a purist, and believe you should allow your moisturizer to sink into your skin before applying makeup.”

Mixed with foundation – “When you mix your highlighter and foundation together and then apply it it’s going to dull the highlighter down so it wont be as bright.”

How to apply – brushes, fingers, sponges?

Brushes – “Dual fiber brushes are my favorite for applying highlighter. The top layer of the dual fiber is a synthetic hair and so that’s going to pick up the liquids or the creams and then when you start implementing the circular or window wiper blending motions the natural hair fibers will buff everything out.”

Fingers – “If I use fingers to apply, it’s because the client has mature or textured skin and you need to use the warmth and oil in your fingers to work in the product. Or I may apply with a brush and then blend out with my finger; it just depends.”

Sponges – “I love the Beauty Blender sponges, they are awesome as far as sponges go, but they tend to absorb a lot of the product. I usually avoid them for highlighter.”

Where to apply

“You always want to apply highlighter makeup to the high planes of the face, but you have to taper it to your face shape. If you have a large nose or prominent chin, you don’t want to add highlighter to those places. It will draw the eye to those areas. I usually apply to the following areas…”

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Cheeks – “Along the cheekbones starting at the center and bringing it out towards the hairline.”

Nose – “Straight down the bridge of the nose.”

Forehead – “An inch down from the hairline in the center of the forehead.”

Cupid’s Bow + Chin – “I love putting highlighter makeup on the cupids bow. I have a trick where I’ll take my brush from the cupids bow down in one swoop to the chin over the lips. Then when you want to apply product to the lips it has a natural highlight already on the lip for you.”

Brow bone – “Applied lightly under the arch of the brow.”

Collar bone – “You could even do the tops of the collar bone.”

How to blend

“I’m a fan of little baby circles to blend with a brush or windshield wiping back and forth lightly.”

Tips for oily skin types

“With oily skin you have to be careful. If you use powder highlighters, the powders tend to look bad over time. As the natural sebum production starts to happen it mixes with the foundation and actually lifts the powder off. This gives it a heavy and cake-y look pretty quickly. Plus, highlighters have a high level of micah or pearl pressed pigments in them and they will show every bit of texture even more. I like to do a lightweight lotion on oily skin types. Definitely not a cream. I’ll use the lightweight lotion first and then layer on a mattified foundation to control the oil.”

Any hard rules to stick by?

“Never put liquid highlighter makeup on top of a powder (foundation, loose powder, etc). It will cause skipping and will instantly add a dynamic and texture that isn’t pretty.”

5 top skin enhancing highlighters

Lancer Skincare – Dani Glowing Skin Perfector

We’ve got a serious crush on this highlighter/complexion brightener. Yes, we love the micro-fine, light catching mineral highlighters that blur pore and texture imperfections; and the high-antioxidant Asian fruit extracts, which infuse skin with anti-aging firming protection; and the instant absorbing fluffy texture; but it’s the gorgeous light bronze glow with hints of rose gold that shines through our cream foundation that has us swooning. You’ll do right by your skin and your glow with this highlighter.

Perricone MD – No Highlighter Highlighter

Dr. Perricone never lets us down. Some of his products are among our favorites, including his newly launched No Highlighter Highlighter. As the name suggests, this lightweight sheer champagne highlighter makeup imparts the look of an inner glow sans makeup, while brightening sun damage spots with his patented vitamin c ester. If you like a subtle, natural glow, we suggest this silky, almost watery, lotion that blends to a smooth matte finish and compliments any skin tone.

The Estee Edit by Estee Lauder – Flash Illuminator in Morning Light & Day Light

There’s something very sexy about The Estee Edit’s Flash Illuminators. The concentrated pigments have a depth best suited for high shine evening looks that read, full on glamour. And the addition of hyaluronic acid adds moisture binding properties to the illuminators, hydrating skin and giving a dewy finish. We’re obsessed with mixing a little of the Morning Light and Day Light into our favorite body oil and smoothing it all over for that Victoria’s Secret body glow.

Kjaer Weis – Highlighter in Radiance

It’s 5 o’clock and your morning makeup has definitely faded, but you have a hot date/cocktails with the girls/work dinner on your calendar for that night. We recommend keeping Kjaer Weis’ Highlighter on hand. With a few quick swipes your look will be back to glowing and fresh (okay, maybe add an oil-blotting paper in there, too). The creamy illuminator blends easily (you won’t need a mirror) and leaves a powdery finish giving your skin a serious glow. Not to mention you’ll be rehydrating your skin with sweet almond seed and jojoba oil, and nourishing it with Vitamin A rich beeswax. 

-by Amy Chang
Product photo by author
Main image source: Harper’s Bazaar Singapore 
Body image source: Beautyeditor