Glow-Up: All you need to know about highlighters

Aisha Baker-Parnell of Baked The Blog | Source: @BakedTheBlog Instagram

An effortlessly radiant summertime glow is an enviable trait by any standard. One you can easily attain with the swift swipe of beauty’s not-so-hidden gem, “Highlighter” (no sun needed). A glow creates a dewy, youthful, healthy and ultimately luminous finish for the skin.

Highlighters are the gleaming saviours behind the continuous and evident, “glow-up” and “frosted doughnut” phenomena occurring amongst make-up artists and makeup lovers in the beauty community.

Highlighting is no longer restricted to the tired pages of uninspired textbooks, but now graces and illuminates the faces of many women and men who seek to add an extra spark to their makeup creations.

The purpose of highlighting lies in its name. It provides the user with a means to a highlighted or otherwise, illuminated and glowing complexion.


Jaclyn Hill | Source: @JaclynHill Instagram


A highlighter is primarily intended for use on the high-points of the face. Most suitably, atop the cheekbones, tip of the nose, both above and below the arches of the eyebrows and the Cupid’s bow.

It may also be used at the tip of the chin. In essence, the highlighter is placed where the light would naturally hit and illuminate the face, creating a brighter, glowing complexion.

Highlighters are vast and many. They take the form of loose and pressed powders, such as the MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Powder, crèmes and liquid formulas, such as the Benefit Watt’s Up highlighter stick and actual sparkles or pieces of glitter, such as MAC’s Glitter (how fun?), all of which are suited for application to the skin. One can even use a shimmery eye shadow as a sneaky alternative.

As with foundation and blush, highlighters occur in different shades. Each uniquely suited for a particular skin tone.

Deeper, darker complexions are best complimented with warm-toned, gold, bronzy and rose-gold highlighters. Fairer, complexions are best complemented with sheer, cool-toned, light gold highlighters.

However, as adorned beauty YouTuber Jaclyn Hill always says, “There are no rules when it comes to makeup,” so take your time to find the perfect shade of highlight that you love and wear it with confidence, regardless of convention.

Highlighters also occur in different textures and sheens. The #GlowGasmPalette by proudly South African online makeup store, Swiitch Beauty demonstrates this.


Cynthia Gwebu | Source: A Beauty and Lifestyle Journal


Consisting of 5 “buttery smooth,” highlighting powders and 1 cream highlight, it provides a softer alternative to other pressed and loose powder highlighters that leave a frostier sheen on the skin.

Crème and liquid highlighters are intrinsically smoother than their powder counterparts. All of which set with a gleaming finish.

Powder highlighters are best applied with light, fluffy and precise makeup brushes, such as the Swiitch Beauty Japanese Blush Brush.

A gentle, semi-circular sweeping motion is all you need to put into practise to apply your highlight.

Liquid or crème highlighters can be smoothed onto the skin with your fingers or a makeup sponge.

To create an intense highlight, lightly dampen your brush with a makeup fixing spray to ensure higher pigment pick-up and application.

Your glow-up is truly only a few sweeps away.

WATCH: Easy, go-to tutorial by Mihlali Ndamase:

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  AUTHOR
Lezelle Frank

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