our everyday life

What Is Highlighter Powder For?

by Jennifer Blair, studioD

With the right makeup, you can even out your skin, make your eyes pop and create the illusion of fuller lips. It can even help you sculpt your face to create a more flattering shape -- that's where highlighter powder comes in. By adding light to certain areas of your face, you make them prominent so you have a more chiseled look. If you've never worked with highlighter powder before, it can be a little intimidating. The key is choosing the right shade and applying it in the right spots so you have a natural, illuminated look.

What It Does

Highlighter powder is used to accent features that you want to showcase. It is typically at least several shades lighter than your skin tone, so it catches the light and draws the eye to the areas where it is applied. By using it in strategic spots, you can actually sculpt your face and create a more flattering shape. Highlighter powder can also give your skin a subtle glow that perks up your complexion.

How to Choose

Highlighter powder is available in a variety of colors and finishes. Shimmery highlighters are ideal if you want a candlelit glow for your skin. If you have oily skin, shimmer can make your skin look greasy, so a matte highlighter is a better option. When it comes to choosing a color for your highlighter powder, your skin tone should be your guide. For fair to medium skin, a sheer pink or pearl highlighter is usually most flattering. If you have darker skin, stick to sheer gold or peach tones that won’t look ashy. In addition to specific highlighter powders, you can also use face powder that’s several shades lighter than your skin tone to highlight and illuminate your face.

How to Apply

Choosing the right tool to apply your highlighter powder is key if you want a flattering, natural look. A brush is the best option since a sponge or sponge-tip applicator can apply the highlighter too heavily. A fluffy brush works well for highlighter powder because it diffuses the product for a soft glow – but don’t choose one that’s too big, or you’ll spread the highlighter over too large an area. Instead of a powder-size brush, opt for an angled brush or fan brush. If you do apply your highlighter too heavily, you can always use your powder brush to carefully blend it in so it looks more natural.

Where to Apply

Several key spots require highlighter powder. Start at the cheeks; dust the highlighter powder along the tops of your cheekbones to help lighten the center of your face. You should also apply it to the bridge of your nose and to the centers of your forehead and chin. If you want to brighten your eyes, add the highlighter powder to your brow bone and the inner corners of the eyes. Applying it to the small indentation above the center of your upper lip, commonly known as Cupid’s bow, helps bring focus to your mouth. If you're wearing a strapless or low-cut top, dust highlighter powder along your collar bones for a sexy, glowing look.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images