7 top-to-toe highlighter hacks makeup artists use for glowing, gorgeous skin
A glow pro reveals her secrets
By Delaney Loane
Advertising Feature by Becca Cosmetics / July 20 2020
Applying highlighter is undoubtedly one of life’s great joys. But as fun as it is (and damn, is it fun), it’s actually equally as functional – especially if you know how to use it to its full potential.
Get your head around a few good highlighting hacks and you’ll have the ability to lengthen the look of limbs, take skin from dull to dewy, rediscover bone structure you haven’t seen in years, and hell, even transport your senses to a tropical vacation.
To learn the tips, tricks and techniques the glow pros swear by, we chatted to makeup artist Emma Chen (aka the queen of glistening skin and owner of enviable Instagram feed @emmachenartistry – you know, the one you screenshot before every makeup application session?).
Glow ahead, Emma, we’re ready for our illumination education to begin.
#1 Go for fluffy brushes over fingers on the face
Sure, it’s fun to swatch shimmery shades on your fingers first, but Chen still recommends reaching into your brush kit when working on your cheek highlight. “For the face, I love to use a fluffy brush,” she shares. “Starting at the apples of the cheeks, swirl lightly in circles, and then sweep up along the tops of the cheekbones,” she advises. Our favourite formula for the face? (And the body TBH, but more on that in a minute…) BECCA’s Ignite Liquified Light Highlighter – it features multi-dimensional micro pearls suspended in a crystal-gel, vitamin E-enriched formula to leave the skin positively gleaming, offering hydration and highlight in one hit.
#2 Don’t let luminosity stop at your chin
You know how you’re supposed to take your skin care down to your chest to ensure everything looks even? The same goes for glow – after all, your cheekbone highlight is bound to look a whole lot more natural if it perfectly matches your glistening gold décolletage. “I love a collarbone and top of the shoulder highlight,” says Chen, confirming that there’s no need to ditch your highlighters when the temperature drops: “Any time of year, that body pop has you feeling warm and radiant!”
#3 ‘Back-highlight’ before base for a natural glow
Prefer a more natural finish? Chen has a handy hack she swears by for lit-from-within luminosity. “I love back-highlighting my foundation by applying highlighter to freshly moisturised skin before my foundation. This gives the base an ultra-natural, glowy look that’s fresh and luminous without looking overly highlighted,” she explains. Magic.
#4 Leave brushes out of the body equation
Yep, different areas require different application techniques, and according to Chen, our limbs happen to like a human touch. “I love to apply on my body using my hands, starting at the centre of the legs [and] the outside of my arms and massaging outwards, and smoothing across my décolletage,” she says. The warmth of your fingers will also help the product to spread and blend evenly, ideal when you’re working with a bigger surface area. Our beloved BECCA Ignite formula won’t stray from skin or stain your clothes, either – it’s totally transfer and water resistant – in other words, that top-to-toe glow isn’t going anywhere.
#5 Enjoy the entire experience
You’re about to look like you just returned from a sun-drenched getaway, so why not feel the same way? “Close your eyes and breathe in as you apply,” Chen recommends, noting that the application process can help you to boost your mood and your glow levels simultaneously. “The uplifting scent transports you to a tropical island and it instantly lights you up on the inside and out,” she adds.
#6 Layer to enhance longevity even more
Chen’s tip for extending the duration of your glow? Double down on dew, layering two different formulas to lock luminosity in for even longer. “Anyone who’s ever applied BECCA’s Ignite Liquified Light Highlighter will know it needs no help lasting longer - this baby is long wear and water resistant, and lasts all day (and night) long. In fact, it has been known to take me from my morning coffee to evening cocktails on the weekend; but if you do feel you need extra staying power, I would recommend layering BECCA’s pressed highlighter over Ignite to get a mega-watt finish and a glow that lasts all day, even on oily and combination skin types,” she explains.
#7 Select your shade via your undertone
With an array of gorgeously glowy highlighting hues to choose from, it can be tricky to narrow in on just one colour, but Chen has a trick for finding your true shade soul mate. “I love that you can play with your highlighter shades and have fun with it, but if you’re looking for a natural [colour] or your most-flattering shade, I would look to your undertone,” she explains. “A good read for this is whether you like to wear silver (cool) or gold (warm) jewellery - go for yellow or rose gold based highlighters for warm skin tones and neutral or blue-based [ones] for cool.” She has some shade recommendations, too. “If in doubt, BECCA’s Champagne Pop, Moonstone or Rose Gold (try Creativity or Gratitude in Ignite) for gold lovers and Opal or Pearl (try Passion or Acceptance in Ignite) for silver [fans] are my never-fail shades!”