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Highlighting and strobing took the beauty world by storm. So quickly, in fact, that there’s a strong possibility you’re still catching up on all there is to know about highlighters—and picking the right one for you and your skin tone. Hold on a second: if you don’t know your skin tone, we need to back up! Learn how to identify your skin tone (and undertone), here. Once you’ve tackled that important portion of this task, it’s time to find best highlighter hue for you. Just like blushes and bronzers, highlighters come in different shimmering shades that will look different depending on the wearer. Below, find the best highlighters for every skin tone.
For those that are as pale as porcelain, finding an illuminating makeup highlighter powder or liquid that works with your complexion can be a challenge. Shades that suit your less-fair skinned friends just aren’t meant to be when you have a lighter skin tone. If you pick a highlighter that’s too dark, warm, or red-based, the product won’t serve its purpose. Rather than brightening and illuminating, your highlight will end up looking totally fake and even muddy. To actually achieve the appearance of luminosity, look for highlighters that are pearlescent, almost white, icy-silver, or champagne-toned.
How to use highlighter on your skin tone: A little shimmer can make a major statement, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of a makeup look. To complete your look, use a soft pink blush to warm up your cheeks, adding a natural-looking touch of color that is often missing from fairer complexions.
Highlighter picks: Try the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Ice or the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator in Ice. In addition to working on fair skin tones, both illuminators enhance the look of pink or blue tones in skin with cool undertones.
When you’re stuck in the middle, picking the wrong makeup highlighter can leave you with skin that looks less fresh and more frosty. To avoid the icy look, medium and olive skin tones will find highlighters that have peach and gold undertones to be the most flattering. Think golden goddess instead of ice queen.
How to use highlighter on your skin tone: Don’t stop there. Take your golden look to the next level by spreading the gilded glitter to other parts of your face. Add a wash of gold eye shadow to your lids and give a metallic lipstick a chance. (Here’s how to wear metallic makeup all over your face.)
Highlighter picks: Try the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Golden or the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator in Golden. In addition to working on medium and olive skin tones, both illuminators enhance the look of peachy or yellow tones in skin with warm undertones.
Picking an illuminating makeup highlighter that’s majorly different from your skin tone can make for a dramatic glow, but using a highlighter that’s too light and opalescent can also make dark skin tones look gray—not exactly what you’re going for. Your highlighter should liven up the appearance of your complexion, not leave you looking like a zombie. Stick with shades that pack a serious punch when it comes to pigment, in rich rose gold and bronze colors.
How to use highlighter on your skin tone: You know the drill—your makeup isn’t finished just yet. After you’ve gotten your glow on, finish off your look with a bronzer. The bronzer will add extra dimension and warmth to your cheeks—win, win!
Highlighter picks: Try the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Rose or the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator in Rose. In addition to working on dark skin tones, both illuminators enhance the look of yellow, peachy, pink and blue tones in skin with neutral undertones.
Now that you know how to pick the best highlighter for your skin tone, it’s time to start taking a few more notes. Here, learn how to apply powder and liquid highlighters for a gorgeous, glowing look.
If you use a powder… apply with a brush and sweep onto your face. Place the highlighter on key points of your face to open your eyes, define your face, and create symmetry. Try wearing the powder alone or overtop of foundation.
If you use a liquid… apply the highlight to skin with your fingertips or a makeup blending sponge. Place the product on your cheekbones, brow bones, the bridge of your nose, and your cupid’s bow before blending out. Try wearing the highlighter under, over or mixed with foundation.
For more tips and tricks on using highlighter, check out our article, 8 Highlighter Hacks to Help Make Your Skin Look Glow-y.