Highlighters are magic. In just a few brushes or swipes, the product can instantly fake a healthy fresh-faced complexion. Along with injecting your with a luminous glow, its light-reflective properties can also mask dark circles and spots from late nights. When applied correctly, it’s the equivalent of standing in perfect, selfie-worthy lighting wherever you go. “The easiest way to apply highlighter for natural, dewy look is to put it on the high points of your face with a flat brush,” says celebrity makeup artist Allan Avendaño who works with stars like Chrissy Teigen and Zendaya. “This will allow you to target exactly where you want the product to go. Follow up by blending it out for a seamless finish, and you’re good to go.”
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No two highlighters are exactly alike, which makes figuring out which shade will best flatter your skin tone tough, not to mention the wrong formula can appear too shimmery or frosty on some complexions. Once you do find the perfect match, expect to look and feel truly enlightened. To make the selection process easier, we turned to Avendaño to find out what the best highlighter shades are for every skin tone. Read on to find the best one for you and get glowing.
1. Very Fair
For the fairest of skin tones, stick with a pearl-colored highlighter such as Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl that will add just the right amount of opalescence to alabaster complexions. “If you’re very fair and put on a highlighter that’s too champagne or too pink, it will show up as such on this skin tone,” Avendaño says.
Becca | $41
2. Fair To Medium
Fair to medium skin tones are lucky because there’s a wide range of flattering shades to choose from. For a truly radiant complexion, Avendaño suggests applying a champagne or pale gold shade like Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Crème Highlighter in Buff Lights that will enhance your skin’s natural warmth without shifting the focus onto your complexion's yellow undertones.
Lancome | $30
A gilded highlighter with a peach undertone such as NARS The Multiple in South Beach will illuminate olive complexions. This shade comes in as Avendaño’s top pick for this skin tone because it will create a flattering balance with its yellow tones.
Nars | $39
4. Dark With Warm Undertones
This neutral bronze shade is just right for illuminating deep complexions warm undertones without creating a gray cast over the face. “Stick to a legitimate bronze and nothing golden,” says Avendaño. “Bronze shades that aren’t neutral can start looking a little ashy and made this complexion look dull and gray.”
Giorgio Armani | $62
5. Dark With Cool Undertones
A colorless product like Ilia Illuminator in Polka Dots & Moonbeams will simply shine on deep complexions with cool undertones. For seamless application, Avendaño says to buff the highlighter onto the highpoints of the face, and to make sure you moisturize so that the product blends into the skin for a natural, all-over dewy finish.
Ilia | $34