Highlight, Illuminate, Glow—Whatever You Call It, Do It

Updated 09/22/19
Laura Mercier pallates and highlighters spread out on a table
Byrdie / CLIQUE Studios

When she’s not working with big names like Emily Blunt and Mandy Moore, celebrity makeup artist Jenn Streicher is part of the Laura Mercier Makeup Artist Collective, and she’s agreed to share her expertise with us via our new Ask an Artist series. Need help selecting the best foundation for your skin type? Want to master a three-minute eye makeup look? Come back every month for a unique beauty lesson from a pro.

Let’s be honest: We’ve all spent a good portion of our makeup-wearing years looking for ways to fake that lit-from-within glow. Through trial and error, we’ve achieved the good, the bad, and the, well, really bad. “Everyone has seen that person who just looks sweaty instead of glowy,” says celebrity makeup artist Jenn Streicher. “I think that’s why some people are scared to use illuminating products.”

Which is a real shame, because when applied correctly, highlighter has the power to instantly sculpt cheekbones, brighten skin, and open up the eyes—it’s the secret to nailing a filter-like finish, no app or photoshopping necessary. So what’s the key to mastering application? Using a well-lit mirror.

Okay, that’s not all—we asked Streicher to share everything we need to know, from her go-to product (it’s Laura Mercier’s Face Illuminator, $44) to where and how to apply highlighter. (Side note: Sephora just launched a limited edition L’Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection ($58), which includes four Face Illuminators, two best-selling shades, and two new ones.)

Woman with short haircut wearing a full face of makeup and highlighter
Byrdie / CLIQUE Studios

Instead of using eye shadow on your lids, opt for highlighter. Using an eye shadow brush, sweep the product across your entire eyelid, or add a bit right to the center. She's using the shade Addiction. “When you close your eyes, it’ll give off a subtle little pop,” says Streicher. Not just that, but it’ll also create the illusion of bigger eyes

Woman with short hair looking at the camera with a highlighter brush near her cheek
Byrdie / CLIQUE Studios

The most popular place to highlight is your cheekbones, but sometimes Streicher likes going for the apples of the cheeks instead. “I love doing a highlighter underneath a blush to give a subtle glow,” she says. But like most products, it’s easy to go overboard, she cautions: “It’s hard to remove highlighter once it’s on, so start light and build it up as needed.” For easiest application, use a fan brush.

Woman with short hair with makeup artist applying highlighter to her cupid's bow
Byrdie / CLIQUE Studios

Lip liner is the obvious product to turn to when you want to create the illusion of fuller lips. But next time your pout needs something more, skip the liner and try adding a tiny amount of highlighter to the top of your Cupid’s bow. Be sure to use a small, flat brush and a light touch—when the light catches it, your lips will appear larger.

Woman with short hair with makeup artist applying highlighter to her collarbone
Byrdie / CLIQUE Studios

Similar to the way you’d highlight your cheekbones, using the same fan-style brush—or even a fluffier bronzer brush—sweep some powder onto the highest points of your collarbone to make them pop. The subtle, shimmery gleam will enhance your bone structure and give you the ultimate lit-from-within glow.

Can't decide which one to get? You don't have to! Opt for the limited edition L’Amour Exotique Face Illuminator Collection ($58) from Sephora instead. The palette includes four shades, two best-sellers and two new ones that'd be perfect to add to your makeup bag.   

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Indiscretion
Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Indiscretion $45
Shop
Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Devotion
Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Devotion $45
Shop
Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Seduction
Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Seduction $45
Shop
Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Addiction
Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Addiction $45
Shop
Laura Mercier All Over Eye Colour Brush
Laura Mercier All Over Eye Colour Brush $32
Shop
Laura Mercier Fan Powder Brush
Laura Mercier Fan Powder Brush $32
Shop
Laura Mercier Flat Eyeliner Brush $28
Shop

Related Stories