by Sarah

Hey beauties! Next up in our Contouring and Highlighting series is…Highlighting! which also happens to be my personal favorite technique. If you’ve missed the previous two posts on contouring, you can check:

Contouring For Different Face Shapes HERE; and Contouring To Enhance The Features HERE

Highlighting is basically the opposite of contouring. Any areas of the face that we’d like to bring forward are the areas we highlight. There are two basic highlighting methods:

1. Highlighting the center of the face: This not only lightens up the focal point of the face, but also helps frame the face even if you’re not using additional contouring products.

2. Highlighting with Shimmer Products: applied mainly to the higher points of the face where the light would naturally hit, and hence lifting up the features further and giving the face a healthy radiance.


This is a method we use on a more professional level…generally for photography, where we’re trying to create light and draw attention to the center of the face so that it looks illuminated in pictures. The trick to highlighting the center of the face is to use concealers, lighting pens or even foundations that are a few shades lighter than our skin tone…no shimmery or sparkly products ; we want flat, no-shimmer products for this method. Note: Shimmer products in photography, especially flash photography can cause the highlighted areas to glare, sometimes even giving the skin an oily look…which is why we prefer the flat finish products for photography.


The picture of this model is a perfect example of how either concealer or foundation that is a few shades lighter than the skin tone is used to create the illusion of light in the center of the face. I have further highlighted the areas in the picture on the right, to show you where we typically apply these products for this technique. ie: center of the forehead, down the bridge of the nose (stopping just short of the tip), under the eyes in a soft V shape, on the inner corners of the eyes, on top of the lips outlining the cupid’s bow, as well as the center of the chin. If you have other areas of concern such as laugh lines, or around the sides of the nose where darkness can occur, you can also apply highlighting products to lighten up these areas.

As we discussed with contouring, blending is key to achieving the most natural finish when it comes to this highlighting technique also. Whether you use brushes or sponges, it’s important to buff the product in until you achieve a smooth and seamless look.


The concept of highlighting with shimmer products whether they’d be cream/liquid or powder base is to bring forward the higher points of the face. In other words, with the previous technique we were creating artificial light, whereas with shimmer, we’re trying to enhance where light would naturally hit. This technique is perfect for everyday use and looks great in person as it helps to achieve a healthy glowing look.

To avoid looking like a disco ball, it’s best to use a light hand when applying shimmer products. Fluffy brushes for powder highlighters and soft dabbing motions with fingers for cream/liquid products are best for this job. Top of the arch of the brows, under the browbone (which can look beautiful with a warm subtle shimmer), inner corners of the eyes, on top of the cheekbones and top of the lips outlining the cupid’s bow will give the face a lifted, youthful glow. You can also apply a very small amount of highlighter down the bridge of your nose, however I would recommend to draw a very thin line and smudge it out really well with your finger.

Though there are no rules and you must do what you’re comfortable with, even combining both methods if you choose to, I would personally recommend highlighting the center of the face for evening makeup and photography; and highlighting with shimmer products for a healthy glowing everyday look.

Next up in these series will be the products you can use to achieve the best contouring and highlighting results so stay tuned ;)

If you have any questions , please leave a comment below ;) xx


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1 comment

Julie B March 18, 2014 - 6:55 am

This is why I love your blog so much. You always give us different options and explain clearly. Great post and I love the shimmer products for highlight!


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