Highlighters That Are Secretly Already In Your Makeup Collection

Sable Yong


If we can glean any beauty tips from this Millennium, it’s that shimmery frosted makeup is in and always will be, in some form. That said, while we can’t say much for the dated look of frosted raisin lipstick or icy blue shadow spread up to the brows, shimmer has been refined to now the one thing that so many of us can’t get enough of—highlighters. As much as no one wants to look oily or greasy, looking dewy is generally optimal for a fresh “oh, this old thing?” look. One of the simplest ways to inject some dew into your skin-look (which is just as important as your eye-look or lip-look) is to swipe a highlighter here or there, generally all the places of your face that protrude forward—cheek bones, brow bone, down the nose, and cupid’s bow. Highlighter is also the lazy way to contour if you can’t quite get the shadow part down. While there are SO many of them out there, many of which do, in fact, rule, you probably have a highlighter in your makeup arsenal as it is. Here’s a few things you can use to do the dew.

MORE: 8 Highlighters To Make You Glow

Vaseline. Also most petroleum-based balms like Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream or Lucas’ Papaw Ointment. These wonder-balms are super hydrating to begin with, so you’re probably already using them for lip balm, moisturizing cuticles, or other scaly bits. Rub the tiniest bit on your cheekbones, under brow bones, and even dot in the inner corners of your eyes for a literal dewy glow. The trick is that less is truly more with this method, lest you wish to look covered in slime.

Lip Gloss. Kind of like the above, the benefit of lipgloss is that you can also impart a tint of color (dewy blush, anyone?) or shimmer with the same light-reflecting gleam.

Eye Shadow. Powder or creme, you can find a whole range of shades with your desired level of shimmer. Backstage at Mara Hoffman, Maybelline’s Color Tattoo cream shadows were used to give the models a sunny, gleaming look as if they had been sweating just slightly (ever so gracefully, as models do) in the desert.

Face Oils. Those moisturizing oil treatments you apply at night, so as not to look like a glossy-faced monster? Those are perfect highlighters since they can reflect light. If you want to use them as such and targeted placement is key. The good thing about oil is that while it might be slightly drippy to apply, it absorbs into your skin so it’s one of the more natural-looking glows.

Pat On Some Extra Moisturizer. This is one of those real “in a pinch” kind of things, but when you have a face moisturizer that you love, you CAN reapply it throughout the day, especially if you’re taking a flight where pressurized cabin air can suck the moisture from your skin. If you want to use it to highlight, just pat on strategic areas and your skin will suddenly appear so much more hydrated. A gel-based moisturizer is a good bet if you aren’t sure where to start. Your thicker “winter” moisturizers are also a great pick for this purpose.

Concealers. Specifically, ones with brightening properties more so than zit-hiding capabilities. Think light and luminous, not cakey and skin-colored. These concealers are generally used to brighten up your eye area, but you can use it all over your face. YSL’s Touche Eclat pen is a good example of this.

MORE: Experts Tell You How To Use Highlighter