That Glow, Though: 7 Highlighting Tips for Darker Skin Tones

February 15th, 2018 at 2:06pm

While searching for makeup that compliments my skin tone (and skin type), I’ve found many highlighters on the market look completely different on my face. This discovery lead me to try out countless  shine-inducing products to find the perfect glow. Through trial and error, I’ve realized that there are  tricks I can use to achieve different effects. If you too are in need of some highlighter advice, look no further. From subtle dew to all-over shine, I’ve rounded up seven tips to try if you’re in need of a dark-skin-friendly way to get your glow on.

Balance Out a Smokey Eye With a Subtle Highlighter Combination

When your makeup look includes drama on the eyes, keep the shine subtle throughout the rest of the face. A gradient highlighter gives you the option of blending multiple shades to achieve the perfect glowy combination. A foolproof recipe for barely-there luminosity is mixing the darkest highlighter in the palette with the second darkest. After that, swirl your brush into both hues and apply the mixture to the cheekbones and bridge of your nose. The end result will be noticeable but won’t distract from your dramatic eye look.

Get this look: Becca Pressed Highlighter Gradient Glow ($38)

PHOTO: @andrea.her

Use Transparent Formulas All Over to Keep Your Bare-Face Days Simple

On days when you’re letting your skin breathe, adding just a touch of moisture and luminosity is key for a natural glow. Try a face gloss applied to just the perimeter of the face paired with a luminous cream highlighter on the high points of your face. Your own skin will still shine through, but this combination will enhance your features and stay visible long after your daily moisturizer has absorbed. Apply the whole look with your hands so your body heat melts the products into the skin flawlessly.

Get this look: Milk Makeup Face Gloss ($20); Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Skin Stick in Sinamon ($25)

PHOTO: @mayanfleming

Complement Your Red Lip With a Bronze or Golden Hue

Your favorite matte lipstick is the perfect way to balance out the sheen on your cheekbones. To enhance a warm color, start by applying a bronze or gold powder highlighter to all high points of the face. Pay special attention to the Cupid’s bow, which will highlight your natural lip shape. Then, apply your lipstick and clean everything up with lip liner to create a crisp contrast against the shine on the rest of the face.

Get this look: Elf Longwear Baked Highlighter in Apricot Glow ($4)

PHOTO: @aichadiakii

Use a Shimmering Mineral Highlighter to Make Your Entire Facial Structure Pop

To make the high points of your face really stand out, use a highlighter that has a powder formula. Luckily, you only need one product for this look. Using a light dusting motion, sweep some product over your cheekbones, brow bones, and Cupid’s bow. Continue layering each area until you reach your desired shine. For extra dimension, tap a tiny amount of white highlighter to the parts of your face that are most defined.

Get this look: MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Gold Deposit ($35)

PHOTO: @jenneeeeeee_

Use Untraditional Colors on the Cheekbones to Play Up Your Skin Tone

Does your skin have cool undertones? Go for Instagram’s latest lavender or rainbow glow. For this particular look, start with a dewy foundation followed by a dusting of the colored highlighter onto the cheekbones and brow bones only. Then, apply your favorite untinted highlighter to other prominent points of the face. If you want a natural look, stick to white and ivory highlighters instead of  gold.

Get this look: Maybelline Master Holographic Prismatic Highlighter in 050 ($8)

PHOTO: @iamthehag

Apply Illuminator to the Cheekbones Only to Stay Matte, Not Flat

For those on the oilier side who don’t leave home without blotting powder, there is a highlighter out there for you. When choosing a product, keep an eye out for keywords like “matte” or baked” in the description—those will give you a glow without the slick effect. To achieve a look that will work for your skin type, apply highlighter very lightly to your cheekbones only. Doing this will give your face dimension while enhancing your natural features.  

Get this look: Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Seduction ($45)


Highlight Under the Eyes to Boost Your Golden-Hour Glow

The best selfies are ones with that “warm summer day” kind of shine. If you want to look sun-kissed on any day,, a finely-milled powder highlighter is exactly what you need. Choose one that’s smooth and rich in the color you want, and then apply it lightly to the under eye area, chin, and Cupid’s bow. Lightly patting the highlighter directly under the eyes (rather than on the cheekbones) brings more attention to the upper-half of your face. Dab the excess product onto the center of your eyelid as a finishing touch.

Get this look: Sephora Collection Golden Hour Luminizing Powder in High Noon ($16)

What highlighter is your absolute favorite right now? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured photo by @mayanfleming.