Brighten Up: Tutorial on Makeup Highlighting

Map of makeup highlightingHighlighting and contouring is a mainstay in celebrity and red carpet makeup techniques. The reason being, a highlighted face looks as if it has perfect lighting on it, no matter the angle. It allows you to define your bone structure while minimizing flaws and it gives you a simply glowing complexion. Most women who’ve heard of highlighting, but have to try it, think it’s out of their skill league. Not so, it’s actually simpler than it appears. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll use it for special events and be able to do it quickly for your everyday makeup routine too! Here’s a tutorial with step-by-step instructions on the basic highlighting techniques.

Blush Up: Start by blushing up your cheeks with your standard blush brush. Don’t forget to smile as you apply, to make sure you get the apples covered. A subtle pink is a good way to go for most skin types. If you’re used to using a deeper, redder, blush you may want to switch it out for highlighting.

The Bronze: This is sort of the meat and potatoes of your contouring efforts. The color bronzer you choose is very important. If it’s too tan, orange or has sparkles in it, you’re going to be looking at something totally unnatural instead of something totally right on. Pick a bronzer that has a cool undertone. By “cool” I mean to say it lacks that orange-y terracotta color so many bronzers have. It might sound complicated, but once you get to the store and start looking at your choices, you’ll see what I mean. Think “cool” as opposed to “reddish-orange.” Use an angled medium sized brush to apply the bronzer lightly to just underneath your cheekbones. You’re essentially creating a shadow that will naturally highlight the contours of your cheeks. Next, apply bronzer to the outer edges of your face, near your jawline, hairline, etc. Remember, start with a light touch and add more later if you think it’s necessary.

Drawing lesson: Bronzing comes in two parts. The second of which involves defining your nose. Take a small eye shadow brush and dip it in the bronzer, tap off any excess. Now draw a thin line down on each side of your nose. Start at the bottom edge of your eyebrow and draw a straight line to the tip of your nose. Take the same brush and apply bronzer underneath the bottom of your lip, this will make it more prominent. Take a bigger eye shadow brush and use it to blend the lines on your nose, without erasing them. Finally, use an eyebrow pencil (preferably a light brown) to draw on the outside of your lips, as if you’re lining them with lip liner. Just a thin line as close to your lip line as possible, without going on your lips. Use the sponge at the bottom of the pencil or any other makeup sponge to blend that line.

Conceal: Use a concealer on a stiff, thick blending brush to apply highlights to your face. It’s all about the placement here. Think of the top of your cheek as an invisible triangle, apply the concealer from the bottom side of your nose to the upper area under your bottom lashes and outward to the edge of your cheek. Repeat on the other side. Now do the same with the area of skin underneath your nose and above your top lip. Do it at the bottom of your chin. Finally, use the same technique to add some concealer to the center of your forehead, blending in circles as you apply.

Thin Cream Line: Take your lip brush and dip it in the concealer. Draw a thin line down the middle of your nose. Use your finger to blend the line.

Illuminate: If you want to add a finishing touch, some highlighting illuminator on your cheekbones is just the thing.

Voila! You are highlighted!