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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 that includes how to pick the best highlighter for you and your skin tone. For example, the best highlighter for pale skin will be different than the best highlighter for dark skin. Additionally, you’ll also want to consider your skin type when determining the right highlighter makeup to use. Just like blush and bronzer, highlighters come in different shimmering shades that will look different depending on the wearer. Not quite sure where to begin? Here, we’re sharing the ultimate guide to illuminating face makeup, including naming our best drugstore highlighters for every skin tone and type.
First up, we’re walking you through our best highlighters for your individual skin tone. From porcelain pale to gorgeous dark skin tones, we’ve got the intel on the perfect highlighter for every skin tone.
For those that are as pale as an be, finding a highlighter 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 in color.
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. Beyond 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.
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 a 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 of 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. Besides being perfectly suited to dark skin tones, both illuminators enhance the look of yellow, peachy, pink, and blue tones in skin with neutral undertones.
Additionally, you’ll also want to consider your skin type and skin care concerns when choosing the best highlighter for you. For instance, someone with oily skin might choose a powder-based highlighter, while someone with dry skin would fare better with a more dewy, even moisturizing, option. Here’s what you need to know about picking the best highlighter for your skin type.
Oily skin types don’t need to shy away from highlighter—when it comes to your visage, there’s good shine, and then there’s bad shine. And if you pick the right illuminator, it’ll be good shine all the way! To do that, stick with powder formulas that won’t slip and slide on your oily complexion.
How to use highlighter on your skin type: Just remember, a little goes a long way. Sweep on too much product, and yes, you might end up looking extra oily! Dust your illuminator onto your cheekbones and avoid your T-zone, where you likely tend to get shiny all on your own.
Highlighter pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Glow Nude Highlighter Palette, L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Shimmerista Highlighting Powder, or any of the aforementioned L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Powder Glow Illuminators.
Dry skin can sometimes look dull—but a liquid highlighter can help create the appearance of glowing skin. You can also use a liquid highlight to get in on the dewy skin trend! Yes, please.
How to use highlighter on your skin type: If your complexion is dry, apply your liquid highlight after your foundation and don’t set with powder. Instead, dab the illuminator on with a makeup blender, then spritz with a setting spray to lock things in.
Highlighter pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Glow Amour Glow Boosting Drops, L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer, or any of the aforementioned L’Oréal Paris True Match™ Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminators.
We’ve officially covered all the best radiant powders and liquids for your skin tone and type, but there’s always more to know about getting luminous skin. For more tips and tricks on using highlighter, check out our article, 8 Highlighter Hacks to Help Make Your Skin Look Glow-y.
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