The Ultimate Holiday Highlighting How-To

Lists are a big part of my life. They seem to be the best way to keep my sanity, but somehow become more abundant around the holidays. Not only to-do lists, but also gift giving (and receiving) lists, party guest lists, food shopping lists for dinner parties, holiday card lists—the “list” goes on.

To keep things simple, I have created yet another list—The Dos and Don’ts of Highlighting. I’m sure we agree that it’s easy to get carried away with highlighters especially around the holiday season. “I need to stand out somehow, right?” Right! But let’s make sure we’re standing out in the best “light” possible.

So let’s get to it! Post this list on your mirror or snap a pic and make it your wallpaper until you know it by heart.


Choose the right formula. Not all highlighters are created equal. If you have textured skin, a liquid highlighter is best. Those with oily skin should use powders. For deep skin, a sheer cream will compliment any undertone, while light skin generally requires a more opaque formula.

Step out of your comfort zone. Try something new. Maybe that means applying more than usual, or choosing a holographic shade. Keep the edges blended and you can pull off anything. Yes, YOU!

Find the best placement for your face shape. Hold a light (I usually use my phone) at the top of your forehead, pointing down to the floor. Highlighter should be applied to every area that the light hits.

Wardrobe your highlighters. Yes, you can have more than one. We wear different clothes for different occasions, but we often neglect to change our makeup accordingly. Bonus: Having more than one product will give you the option of layering to create multiple shades and finishes.


Cover your whole face with highlighter. The purpose of highlighting is to accentuate areas of the face. If we cover every inch, then nothing is accentuated, defeating the purpose.

Use the same applicator for every formula. Always use synthetic brushes, beauty blenders, or your fingers for creams and liquids. A fan brush, contour brush, or small blush brush will work for powders. As always, don’t forget to keep brushes clean to prevent buildup of bacteria.

Apply setting powder after highlighter. Unless the goal is to tone down the highlighter, use setting powder first and the highlighter at the end of your makeup routine.

Only apply on the face. Have you heard of ear highlighting? It may sounds extraterrestrial, but a soft sheen along the center edges of the ear will bring balance to the highlighting you’ve done on your face. Also, don’t forget about the collar bone, cleavage, and legs.

Let There Be Light!

Beauty Director Janene Mascarella loves these two luminizers:

IT Cosmetics Hello Light Anti-Aging Luminizing Crème Stick $24,

CHANTECAILLE Les Paillettes $79,


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