Topic of the Week Tuesday: Highlighter Application; The Plastic Strip Highlighter Look Rebellion

In doing makeup looks highlighter products can be one of the most beautiful additions to makeup looks (and personally my most favorite of cosmetic products (and addicted too as well….lol), but lately, I’ve noticed a lot of highlight looks that in my opinion seem to be getting a little out of control.  I understand women, like me, who love highlighter and are obsessed with it in the “you can see my highlighter from space” look, but some I feel have what looks like a plastic strip of highlighter on their face on the top of the cheekbones (instead of a highlighted healthy glow) which does draw attention to them but it does not blend in with the rest of the makeup on the rest of the face.  It actually looks kind of drawn on the face without all the edges blended in that creates a harsh out of balance with the rest of the face look that stands out above all the other makeup worn which in my opinion, is a really unbalanced look.  Makeup is supposed to achieve some sort of balance and dimension by highlighting the high points of the face in conjunction with the rest of the makeup on the face.  I know that the amount of highlighter can change depending on what look you want, the creative expression you want to show within the look, or for the festivity you do the makeup for (whether it be a day or night look) where it calls for more, but wearing it that way or too much of it can actually pull down the rest of the makeup on your face and ruin the hard work you did applying the rest of the makeup. Once again, I know that it can also be a form of creative expression but I think it’s gotten out of hand. I much more love a makeup look that shows the natural beauty of the face that people see first not the makeup (or at least how well it is applied and beautifully blended which of course makeup artists notice more than others would).

There are a couple of beauty hacks that beauty highlighter obsessed makeup mavens have been using by combining products together to create that beyond “glazed donut” highlighter look.  The hack technique consists of using any kind of oil or serum of your favorite choice and putting it on the highest point of your cheekbones (underneath where you would usually put your favorite powder or cream highlighter, etc…) to give it that wet beam look that amps up the shiny glow even more beyond so you get the even MORE intense “you can see my highlighter from space” kind of strip of highlight (like the “beaming to the Gods” or highlight so intense you could see it in space look), or just exactly who is the most dedicated and makeup-obsessed, or who loves makeup the most like a competition but wow, it’s not very natural looking and kind of outer world creepy with some that have it really overdone their it. It has been trending everywhere but is starting to calm down a bit along with the fading harsh contour look.

Trending after this was the “strobing” trend where you use highlighter only to contour and accentuate the high points of the face, and more recently the contour and highlight method made famous by the Kardashians (which is phasing into a much better look I think without the harsh “strip” of dark contour just below the cheekbone under the blush for a much more balanced look without the harsh look of neither the highlighter nor the dark contour to a much more balanced makeup look that I love!)!

Really, highlighter is supposed to be applied with the correct application tools (again sometimes the fingers can be a great tool which uses the warmth of your fingers to apply and melt into the skin which gives a very blended soft look) or a beauty blender to “melt” in the makeup depending on the formula you use especially around the edges to blend the lines which makes for a more natural soft and blended look on the face to accentuate the cheekbones.  Highlighters come in many forms and formulas (some eyeshadows can actually be used as a highlight too) nowadays which helps the highlighter obsessed but also challenges us on how to apply them! So, here are just a few basic tips on makeup application that are good to stick by for the makeup lovers that don’t like the extreme plastic-looking highlighter strip on the face look.

Highlighter should be applied (remember “light brings out” and “dark recedes”) to the high points of the face which are the tops of the cheekbones just between the blush and below the eye (which can be rounded in a circle “c” connected above to the brow bone to really make the cheekbones pronounced).  It should be applied to the brow bone, the Cupid’s bow, the bridge of the nose and tip, the chin, and sometimes the forehead just above the eyebrows (or some can be applied in the middle of the forehead with the proportions of the face in consideration of course).  For powder, I think a fan brush works best or a small blending brush like the Morphe M501, the Bobbi Brown “Eye Blender” Brush, or the Sigma F35 “Tapered Highlighter” Brush.  For cream or liquid highlighters (I will have a review on the new what people have been calling “poop” highlighter which is actually in whipped form from a new cosmetic company on the blog soon and I’ll get back to you on it with a review and how to apply that formula) again the same finger as your tool technique can apply to blend but is best used with a face brush like the Morphe G2 (or other Morphe face brushes), the Sigma F64 Soft Blend Concealer Brush (fluffy, compact and a smaller face brush), the Morphe G6, Beauty Blender (micro or blush too), Sponge or a paddle face brush like the Japonesque Foundation “Paddle Brush”, the Bobbi Brown “Foundation Professional Brush” (so soft, bendable, and fluffy) that fits the area small enough for the high point of the cheekbone or other areas of your face to highlight.

For applying with a fan brush (which is light and airy so it helps you not put down too much product and don’t forget to tap out the excess for less fallout) or other fitting brush grab some product from your powder highlighter and apply light pressure flicking the brush back and forth lightly to your cheekbone until you have the desired look and make sure it’s BLENDED (unless it’s for a geometric or abstract type art look)  For liquid formulas the mentioned above Morphe G6, the Sigma F64 “Soft Blend Concealer brush, or the paddle brush or fave brush of your choice appropriate and after applying liquid drops of highlighter on the area of the face desired (or using your finger) apply, spread, and blend the area out until the amount and look is desired and amount of highlighter is balanced with the rest of the face.  For cream and liquid, the same brushes can be used as well as your fingertips to apply and blend as well.  If you want a higher impact highlight you can use your highlighter brush in tiny quick motions to really buff out the highlight

This way, with these techniques, no matter what product or formula of highlighter you use as well as the amount of highlighter and what look you choose or are going for while using the freedom of personal creativity,  you’re assured using the basics as a foundation that will at least give you the ability to achieve a great glowy look while keeping the current trend of the “plastic strip” highlighter look in check.

Photo:  glowbychloegibbons

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I am a professional freelance makeup artist, student, and beauty blogger about all things beauty related.

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