How to Get Glowy, Illuminated Makeup in 5 Simple Steps

glowing makeup

Getting the glowy, lit-from-within look is certainly the skin and makeup trend du jour. But for a natural look, there's more to it than just packing on the highlighter. There's a balance at play between liquid, cream, and powder formulas, and hundreds of application methods to navigate. That's why we've tapped celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes to separate fact from fiction and deliver the ultimate glowing makeup tutorial. Watch her step-by-step guide, ahead.

Step One: Light Things Up With an Illuminating Primer

Hughes starts by pulling her hair back to ensure a clear, flyaway-free canvas for makeup application. Then, she moves into her first product application: "I'm going to make my skin glow first with the Face Glow Illuminator from Revlon SkinLights," she begins. "This is the shade 300. I'm not going to be gentle with this, I'm going to go for it. I'm going to put it on with a foundation brush and start with the high points of my face. It helps you get that shine; you want the highlighter to look like it's coming from within."

revlon skin lights
Revlon SkinLights Face Glow Illuminator $12
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Step Two: Foundation Application

While it might seem counterintuitive to apply foundation over the glowy canvas you just created in step one, Hughes assures us that this is the key to the natural, lit-from-within look. "I'm going to use Makeup For Ever Reboot Foundation," she says. "It's a bit more full-coverage than your tinted moisturizers, it's definitely going to give you a bit more coverage. But I'm only going to use it in the T-zone, because I want all of this that I've placed [along my cheekbones] to stay." The key to this step is to treat the foundation more like concealer, dabbing and blending formula only where you'd like to mattify and decrease shine from the illuminating primer, rather than coating your entire face in foundation.

makeup forever reboot foundation
Makeup For Ever Reboot Foundation $39
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Before moving on to step four, Hughes swears by this trick to prevent creasing: Rub your hands and fingertips together to warm them, then lightly tap wherever product tends to crease.

Step Three: Conceal Any Under-Eye Circles With Creaseless Concealer

This step (like all steps, since it's about what *you* want) is optional. But if you have a naturally shadowy under-eye area, then applying some concealer can help not only brighten that area, but create the appearance over an overall glowier complexion. Hughes recommends using this creaseless formula by Makeup For Ever, but sparingly. Opt for a concealer color that's just a shade lighter than your foundation.

makeup for ever
Makeup For Ever Ultra HD Concealer $28
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Step Four: Blush and Bronze

Since we've only applied liquid and cream products so far, Hughes recommends quickly tapping some setting powder onto the hollows of your cheeks (or anywhere you intend to place blush or bronzer). This will prevent your blush or bronzer from sticking to your cream and liquid products, creating uneven concentrations of color. Then start pigment application: "I'm going to use the Hourglass Ambient Light Ghost Edit with a Surratt brush," Hughes begins. "I'm going to mix my brush into all four of these colors, and I'm just going to smile a little bit and then just start wisping this upward on the cheek in a sweeping motion, but also bring it down [towards the jaw] a bit, so I get an aura." Hughes tops complexion color off with Revlon SkinLights Prismatic Bronzer ($12). If you apply a bit too much blush or bronzer, you can use the brush you used for your foundation or concealer to tone things down a bit (don't pick up any more product, just use what's already left over on the brush, per Hughes).

hourglass palette
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Ghost $80
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Step Five: Pop On Some Powder Highlight

"I'm going to use this almost to pinpoint a beam of light," Hughes begins. "So I'm going to use this as my pinpoint highlighter, placing it very strategically on certain parts of the face." Areas to focus on include the peaks of your cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the Cupid's bow, the inner corners of your eyes, and even the ears if your hair doesn't cover them. Hughes recommends using the Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette in Universal ($45).

Katie Jane Hughes highlight
 Byrdie

Post-highlight, you can also further saturate your blush or bronzer by applying a bit more product. Just be sure to stick to powder formulas, since it isn't best practice to switch back and forth between creams and liquids to powders (this makes your makeup more likely to pill, crease, and build unevenly). Finish things off with a little lip balm and you're good to glow.

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