Top 5 Highlighters
I say it often and I say it with pride: I am a complete whore when it comes to highlighters. While I have a few that can be sheered out to a more "natural" glow, I generally prefer over-the-top, super-glowy, semi-gaudy products; it's one of the reasons why Shiseido's much-loved "subtle" highlighters have never appealed to me. That being said, I don't necessarily love shimmery, glitterbomb products--in fact, I try to avoid them--and just about all of these are so blendable (when applied correctly) that they appear "seamless" on the skin. Also, a word of warning: I own many powder highlighters, but generally prefer cream products because my cheeks tend to be dry.
If you asked me which of my highlighters was the most unique, I'd immediately point to Moonshine. It appears white in the pan in most lights and essentially has a clear base, but the frost is...kinda hard to describe. The best word I've found for it is "opalescent," since it turns pink and blue when the light hits it. I use it on the incredibly rare days when I'm not wearing blush, or when I really want my cheeks to be the point of interest. There's no way to make this highlighter "natural" thanks to its coloration, but that's what I love about it.
Moonshine is on the tops of my cheekbones..
The MAC Cream Color Bases are, in my opinion, some of the best products they make, but I'm a sucker for anything that's multi-purpose, so my opinion may not be valid. Pearl is my go-to cream highlighter for my "no makeup makeup" looks or when I'm trying to do an evening look in a hurry: foundation, mascara, brow pencil while I'm still in the house, then I throw my concealer, lipstick, and Pearl CCB in to my bag and apply the latter to the tops of my cheeks and underneath my brows while I'm in the car. I don't find that Pearl is at all "yellow" when applied, but it's not as sheer as, say, Luna (which is my drag daughter's favorite) or as golden as Hush (which I also adore).
Pearl is on my cheeks and under the arch of my brow.
Mary Lou (as she is popularly called) is probably the highlighter I most often recommend on Specktra and MakeupAlley. This is because it's incredibly versatile: it's the sort of color that will work for most skintones, and it can be sheered out for a subtle candlelit glow or applied more liberally for a more extreme highlight. I tend to prefer the latter, but really, you can sheer this out quite easily; just use a fan or stippling brush, like you would with any super-pigmented product. Mary Lou may look quite scary in the pan due to her dark gold, almost greenish hue--I know that I almost shrieked when I first opened up my compact because it looked so much like a bronzer to me--but trust me, she's a winner. If I want an intense, see-it-from-miles-away sort of highlight, this is the one I go for.
Mary Lou is on my cheeks. Sorry about the flipped image...Blogger is acting funny.
Lately I've been getting a lot of questions about Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight, specifically in relation to Mary Lou. "Which do you prefer," people ask me at least once a day, "Mary Lou or Candlelight?" I think the reason I'm being asked this is because Wayne Goss (GossMakeupArtist on YouTube) recently did a video review in which he compared the two and said they were basically identical. While I am nowhere near as experienced as Wayne, the highlighter whore in me as to disagree. Whereas theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer is super-pigmented (and therefore easy to overdo) and quite yellowy-gold, Candlelight has a more champagne-y color to it and is basically impossible to overdo. I don't know how they do it, but no matter how much of this product I apply, it never looks powdery or glittery, just soft and dewy. I tend to reach for it when I'm doing a more "sophisticated" look--not necessarily natural, but not my usual uber-brights, either. I will note that this product may be a bit too light for darker skintones, as I've heard some complaints from NC/NW45+ folks.
Candlelight is on my cheeks.
I'm probably getting the side-eye right now, but I honestly love Benefit High Beam. A few small dots are all I need to have an incredible glow that really catches the light. There's very faint, microfine shimmer in this product, but it somehow never looks glittery to me...then again, my eyesight is crap, so don't put too much stock in that. I've had my current $10 travel-sized tube (which, if you can still find it, is much nicer than the full-size tube with the icky nail polish sort of applicator) for over a year now and it's STILL going strong. It's so attractive to me that, when I scour Makeup411.com for inspiration, I almost always end up with a look that uses High Beam. I don't know what it is, but nothing looks quite like High Beam on me, and it's got that intense, almost elfin glow I prefer. If you want something cheaper and more subtle, consider the Boots No 7 High Lights.
High Beam is on the tops of my cheekbones and under the arch of my brow.
And now: SWATCHES!