October 29, 2016 Diana Crisan Looks

How to Use Liquid & Powder Highlighter

To show our devotion to dewy, glowing skin, we’re breaking down the basics of both liquid and powder highlighters, so you never have to question their roles in your life again.

Powder vs Liquid Highlighter


Whether you’re using powder or liquid highlighter, the amount of glow you’re looking to achieve depends on the intensity of the pigment. Powder formulas are buildable, so you can apply a sheer finish for a hint of shimmer, or a lot if you want to channel your inner ice queen—which we always do, even as adults.


For that lit-from-within glow, liquid highlighters can be mixed in with your foundation before application—but if subtlety is not in your makeup DNA, use an ultra-pigmented, lightweight formula like the L’Oréal Paris Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator for a strobing effect that can be seen from space! Warn your friends to not look directly at your highlighter without shades.


Powder vs Liquid Highlighter

How to Use Powder Highlighter

When using a powder-based illuminator, apply with either a fan brush, tapered brush or diffusing brush for precision. A fan brush is perfect for applying a natural dusting along the cheekbones, while a tapered brush is ideal for intensifying pigment, since the compact bristles allow for a more controlled application.


After applying foundation and concealer, dust highlighter along the highpoints of your cheekbones, brow bone, down the bridge of your nose and Cupid’s bow.

GET THE LOOK: Urban Decay Afterglow, L’Oréal Paris Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator, NYX Professional Makeup Illuminator


Powder vs Liquid Highlighter

How to Use Liquid Highlighter 

When using a liquid formula, you can either apply with your fingers or a damp blending sponge. As the last step in your makeup routine, apply a dime-sized amount of liquid highlighter on the back of your hand and dip your sponge into the mix—dab (or pat if using fingers) across the same areas mentioned above.


Be sure to blend in completely or you run the risk of walking around with streaky highlighter. Not cute. For *LIT* cheekbones, layer a clear gloss over your highlighter (liquid or powder) and gently dab it on with your fingers.


And we have more tricks up our sleeves—you can find five of our highlighter hacks here.


GET THE LOOK: Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer, NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator, YSL Touche Éclat Strobing Light




How do you dew?! Share your favorite highlighter with us in the comments below!



    About the Author: Diana creates on-trend beauty content for Makeup.com readers. She stays up-to-date on the latest beauty news and product launches and tests every makeup item that comes through the door. As an employee of L’Oréal, Diana writes stories about beauty products across the entire brand portfolio.