You might remember a while back when a challenge surfaced on
YouTube and Instagram that encouraged beauty enthusiasts to create an entire makeup look using only highlighter. Videos of the #HighlighterChallenge went viral as beauty vloggers from around the globe jumped on the chance to adorn their visages with shimmer and shine. Needless to say, the trend produced more than a few E.T.-meets-Edward Cullen looks. As you'd expect, some were a bit too much for every day, or even for Saturday night. Because, well, many were really, really glittery. The idea itself, however, is pure gold. To find some middle ground, we called upon celebrity makeup artist Andre Sarmiento for his tips to making the concept work IRL — without looking like a disco ball. Ahead, read his tricks for layering highlighter like a pro, which formulas to choose, and how to wear it all over your face. Sit back, relax, and prepare to master your glow.
Trick #1: Choose The Right Shades The first thing Sarmiento suggests is choosing a highlighter, or multiple highlighters, that will complement your skin tone. Those with cool undertones should reach for pink and silvery shades, while warmer complexions should opt for champagne or gold hues. White and silver shades are best suited to those with very pale skin, and deeper, golden highlighters are great for darker complexions. "There are also a lot of universal highlighters," Sarmiento adds. "The best ones tend to have opalescent finishes that seem to reflect several colors, particularly blue, pink, and gold." (For a shade that works on everyone, pick up this NARS formula!) NARS Copacabana Illuminator, $30, available at NARS.
Trick #2: Know Your Skin Type Unfortunately, allover face highlighting isn't suited to every skin type. Dry or uneven complexions will love allover illumination because products with light shimmer help to mimic the ultra-hydrated glow less dry skin tends to have. Highlighters can also help blur the look of spots and balance color differences on the skin, says Sarmiento. However, those with oily skin might want to avoid allover highlighting. "Your skin is already pretty luminous, and a lot of people with oily skin like to manage their shine, not draw attention to it," says Sarmiento. He adds that full-face highlighting can sometimes draw attention to acne, acne scars, or large pores. The solution for anyone with oily skin? Simply add a powder to your T-zone that keeps things matte, while still providing radiance. Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Powder, $35, available at Laura Mercier.
Trick #3: Don't Skimp On Radiance Primer For those new to strobing, we suggest reaching for a light-reflecting primer like this one from L'Oréal. It can be worn alone or under makeup. Shimmery primers will leave a thin veil of radiance on your skin, improve the wear time of your foundation, and help correct any uneven texture. "I love to smooth primer on in long, sweeping motions either with my fingertips or a flat foundation brush," says Sarmiento. Once you're done, feel free to follow up with foundation. The highlighting effect won't be dramatic, but it will give your skin a subtle glow. L'Oréal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer, $12.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Trick #4: Start With A Liquid Liquid highlighters are some of the most versatile, according to Sarmiento, who loves this formula from Chantecaille because of its range of shades. You can use this product for traditional highlighting (just tap it onto the high points of your face) or mix it in with foundation to give your base a bit more luminosity. "The easiest way to [do this] is to mix two parts of your base with half to one part of highlighter right onto the back of your hand," says Sarmiento. Then, buff the mixture onto your skin with a brush or fingers. Chantecaille Liquid Lumière Anti-Aging Cheek Illuminator, $39, available at Nordstrom.
Trick #5: Move To Cream Although cream formulas are usually used for precise highlighting, Sarmiento loves using a duo-fibre brush to lightly "whisk" creams over skin. If you use a light hand, a thin layer of cream highlighter applied before or after foundation will give your skin a dewy allover glow, he says. "Plus, it's a great option for people who prefer cream foundations but still want to mix in a [highlighter] without changing the consistency of their foundation," he adds. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Crème, $38, available at Ulta Beauty.
Trick #6: Pop On Some Powder Illuminating powders are one of the easiest (and fastest) ways to achieve allover radiance — just make sure you're reaching for a highlighting setting powder, rather than a traditional powder highlighter (this will have too strong an effect if dusted all over your face). "When it comes to radiance powder, Hourglass is the top dog," says Sarmiento. "It sets your makeup, comes in a variety of tones, and blurs imperfections." Plus, it's totally goof-proof. Simply grab a powder brush and dust it all over. "It really brings light to the face," says Sarmiento. Ambient Lighting Powder, $46, available at Hourglass Hourglass.
Trick #7: If All Else Fails, Look To Skin Care Too lazy to highlight, but still want that glow? Then, highlighting skin-care products will be your best friends. "You get the benefits of skin care plus radiance, without having to layer a lot of products," says Sarmiento. He recommends MAC Strobe Cream, which is a classic moisturizer with subtle shimmer. Work this product onto your visage and leave it at that, or follow up with a tinted moisturizer or concealer and you're good to go. MAC Strobe Cream, $33, available at MAC.
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