5 Common Mistakes You're Making With Highlighter

Highlighter is the trendiest makeup product that you should be using rn. The goal is to have beautiful, glowing skin, whether you’re fresh-faced or going totally glam. However, since it’s a comparatively new item added to our beauty repertoire, people are still really screwing this up. It’s like when eyebrows became trendy and we all filled them in so hard they looked like they were drawn in with Sharpie. It took practice to get used to feathering them out and figuring out the pencil/gel/powder debacle. You’ll get used to highlighter eventually, but just in case you don’t, lemme help you out. Here are 5 highlighter mistakes you’re probably making, and how to fix it before anybody notices.

1. Putting It In The Wrong Spots

The point of highlighter is to highlight where the sun would naturally hit your face. Yes, that includes even the fun colors. This means you should highlight your cheekbones (above where you put your blush), your brow bone, nose, and chin. If you want to make yourself look more awake and your lips look bigger, dab some highlighter in the inner corners of your eyes and above the center of your lips. You can also use it on your collarbones or breasts to emphasize them. Do not just sweep it mindlessly everywhere. It’s not 2002 and you’re not using sparkly Victoria’s Secret lotion. Do not put it on a zit. You’re highlighting certain things to look dewy and more contoured. There’s a reason for it.

2. Not Priming

Now that we know highlighter only belongs in select places, if you’re going to wear it, you need to make sure it does not budge. That means your priming and setting game needs to be on point. A primer provides the perfect base for your skin, melts imperfections so the texture is even, and keeps your makeup from smudging or getting oily. I like SHASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation Primer, but you live your life how you see fit.

Image result for smashbox photo finish foundation primer

SMASHBOX Photo Finish Foundation Primer

Now, setting spray sets your makeup. Duh. We’ve talked about how obsessed I am with Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist, so if you are still reading my articles and haven’t tried it yet IDK what you’re doing with your life. You should be using primer and setting spray if you want your makeup to last more than like, 2 hours. You don’t want your careful highlighting to end up smudged all over your entire face.

3. Using Too Much

If the point is to look pretty and dewy and like your cheekbones could cut glass and you’re not hungover, then putting highlighter all over your face is not going to do that. It’s going to make you look greasy, oily, and sweaty. Don’t do it. Much like with blush or bronzer, use this sh*t in moderation and only just enough.

4. Not Matching Colors

Maybe this just bothers me, but if you’re going to go all out and do a colored highlighter, please match it to your color family (or complement it). I love colored highlighter, but do it right. Does anyone else care about this? Probs not. But it’ll make your whole effect look more put together if you try. For example, if you’re wearing a bluish-red lipstick (like a cool tone), use the blue highlighter. If you’re doing a warm brown eyeshadow, use gold highlighter. Do you see? You’re matching, like you would clothes or jewelry.

Rhonda Hey Arnold

5. Using Too Many Products

Unless you’re a makeup artist and you know how to put on no less than 56 products and still somehow make it look like you’re wearing zero makeup, be careful with piling on too much product on your face. The more stuff you add, the more likely it is to cake, crease, or crack (again, use primer first always—it will help). But if you’re going to wear heavy foundation, heavy blush, a f*ckton of bronzer, maybe like, go easy on the highlighter? You know, pick a lane. I don’t really like heavy makeup anyway, so I recommend getting a light and blendable highlighter, like the Winky Lux Strobing Balm Cream Highlighter that will melt into your skin instead of piling on top of everything else. The point is to look naturally glowy, not like the scary clown from IT.

Winky Lux Strobing Balm Highlighter

Winky Lux Strobing Balm Cream Highlighter

Images: Giphy (4); Sephora; Winky Lux

Holly Hammond
Holly Hammond
Holly is an ex-sorority girl with the personality of Elle Woods meets Wednesday Addams. She is an artist, writer, animator, and part-time magician. Her parents are v proud but also like to ask her when she's going to get a real job. Buy art from her so she can pay for her bulldog's dermatologist.