The Golden Rules of Highlighting |UK Wedding Blog


You’d have to have been living in a hole for the last year or so to not know that highlighting is huge. Strobing, non touring, whatever you want to call it, glow is where it’s at, and it doesn’t look like its going anywhere either. As with any makeup trend, it’s not always easy to successfully execute – but who doesn’t want to look healthy and airbrushed? I promise it’s easy to do when you know how! Here’s my tips on getting the Instaglow.Glow But Don’t Shine

Generally, unless a client wants a particularly heavily highlighted look (which I usually don’t advise especially for day time or for wedding makeup – if it’s hot and the sun is bright it will make you look too shiny), I would keep the blush and bronzer reasonably matte if I was highlighting. You do not need a shimmery face, shimmery cheeks and a shimmery highlight-  in daylight it will look far too made up. The same as with eye makeup, you choose some matte and some shimmer to offset against one another and balance the look out. If you are oily skinned, choose matte formulas for foundation and primer, and then highlight only where you never naturally shine – the tops of the cheekbones, the cupids bow, the brow bone. and NOT the centre of the face or the forehead. This gives a more wearable glow. Great makeup is all about balance.

Choose Your Formula

When buying a highlighter you’ve got several types of formulas to choose from – cream, powder, gel, and liquid. On dry and/or mature skin I nearly always use a gel – By Terry Cellularose Blush Glace is so beautiful and subtle, and has a cooling water texture which just melts into the skin. I use this a lot for bridal work too, as it’s so subtle, and gives a real lit from within glow! If I’m going to use a powder for this skin type I wet my brush, to turn it into a creamy texture to ensure no large glitter or shimmer particles are sitting on the skin.

For oily skin types, finely milled powders with small shimmer particles look best – try Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (or this Glow On The Go set with both a cream and powder from Cult Beauty for just £20!) You may also like to consider a matte highlight – which will just involve using a lighter coloured powder or concealer to add panels of light to the face, such as a powder contour kit. Benefit have launched a matte highlighting cream too – I haven’t tried Dandelion Shy Beam yet but need to!

For evenings out or times where you won’t be in bright sunlight or broad daylight you can afford to go for a heavier highlight – a lot of what you see on Instagram will be lit with artificial lighting which gives you that really strong glow effect. I love Phee’s amazing Original Glow Powder, as well as Illamasqua Beyond Powder, and theBalm Mary Louminizer for evening glam.

Illamasqua Beyond Powder in OMG (used wet)

Choose Your Brush

Fan brushes are your friend – they have a light touch as they are loose and fluffy, which allow you to build up your highlighter in little layers, so you have control over how much you apply. They also have a thin edge, which means you can dust on a thin “strip” of product to specific areas, avoiding big blocky stripes. If you are a fan of products such as High Beam by Benefit (cream type formulas) I would tap this on with your fingers and lightly blend the edges to diffuse with a small buffing or detail brush. For gel products I usually use a narrow blusher brush. Don’t forget, if you ever feel anything looks too strong you can always gently buff it down to soften with a buffing brush.

Choose For Your Skintone

For fair skin try champagne, pale gold, or pastel toned highlighter – historically a lot of fairer highlight was silver or white toned, but it’s not especially flattering and can look pretty dated. For medium skin tones, try rose gold, champagne and light bronze, and for deeper and darker skintones, try coppers, bronzes and gold. The darker your skin, the more depth and strength of colour you will need to stop it looking ashy and frosty. Likewise the lighter your skin, the paler you’ll need to keep highlight to ensure you don’t add shadow as well as sheen. If you aren’t sure what you like best, Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Palettes and Sleek Palettes have different tones and colours, so you can find your fave!

Highlight anywhere you want to show off!

Highlighting works as an optical illusion – lightening will bring areas of the face forward – ie. make them look more prominent. Any shimmery or sparkly makeup will unfortunately show up texture, so avoid areas where your pores are enlarged or prominent, or you have any acne, or acne scarring. Generally the areas I’d usually highlight would be largely unlikely to have texture and I’ll keep away from the centre of the face where pores are more prominent.

If you try any of these techniques or products let me know, or if you’ve a highlighter I need to try!

Emily x

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