Highlighting 101 + Best Highlighters for Fair Skin

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How to apply highlighter plus the best highlighters for fair skin. Click through for my favorite picks for affordable highlighters (and high end highlighters too!) If you like makeup at all, you know the past year or two has been the era of the GLOW! No matter what your skill level is, a little glow is really lovely for adding that extra oomph to your look. The look can vary from subtle to over the top, whatever your preference is! Now that it’s such a trend, there are TONS of options out there – various brands, formulas, colors, no matter what you like, there’s something out there for you.

After tons of trial and error (and giving away lots of highlighters that didn’t work for me), I’ve narrowed it down to four amazing highlighters that I think are really fool proof for people with fair skin like me. But first….let’s go through some highlighter FAQs!

What’s the best way to apply a highlighter?

It depends on the formula! If it’s a cream or liquid I like to use my fingers to pat and blend product in. Make sure to blend out the edges so it’s not too harsh. With a powder, use a light and fluffy brush so you can blend carefully. If you’re new to highlight, a large fluffy eyeshadow brush (clean of course!) works really well and will help you get your application down.

Where do I apply highlighter?

There are a few options – the most common place is on the top of the cheekbones. I ALWAYS apply here. I usually apply it to my cupid’s bow as well (this is where your top lip puckers out right underneath your nose), in the inner corner of the eyes and just below the brow bone. You can also apply it to the middle of your chin and right between your brows but this can go wrong very easily so if you’re a newbie, I’d avoid those spots.

How do I know a highlighter is too dark for me?

Apply the highlight to your cheek bones, now look straight forward in the mirror. (Make sure you have good lighting on you for this!) If you can see any kind of darkness underneath the highlight, it’s too dark. You should be glowy and bright with no dark line of demarcation underneath!

Can I use more than one type of highlighter at once?

YEP! If you want a really intense glow, start with a cream or liquid formula, let it dry and then apply a powder over it. This is not for the faint at heart, so practice first!

When do I apply a highlighter?

If it’s a cream formula, after your foundation but before setting powder. If it’s a powder, it needs to be after your setting powder (but before setting spray).

How to apply highlighter plus the best highlighters for fair skin. Click through for my favorite picks for affordable highlighters (and high end highlighters too!)

Best highlighters for fair skin

Obviously these are just my picks, but if you have fair skin, this is a great place to start. I think these would work best with cool or neutral undertones. The Pixi highlighter I mention below should work for all undertones.

NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator – This is one of the first highlighters I ever tried, and I still love it. It’s nice for that “lit from within” glow and it’s really easy to blend with your fingers. I like to layer this one with powder on top of it, like I mentioned above. There’s also another shade if you have more of a medium skin tone! Click here to shop the NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Moonchild Glow Kit – Ohhh this palette…swoon. I was worried some of these shades would be too dark for me, but surprisingly they’re not! This palette is great if you want something a little more unique, but the formula is exceptional. The highlighters aren’t very neutral, each one of them has a bit of a color to them but they’re so beautiful on the skin. These have me feeling like a unicorn and I LOVE it. Click here to shop the Moonchild Glow Kit.

Colourpop Super Shock Cheek in Monster – Another one of those “unique” colors, this one is like the NYX Illuminator on steroids. The formula is a cream, but if you’ve never used their cheek or eye products, just know it’s unique. In the pan, it’s almost bouncy! I usually apply with my fingers and then blend out with a Beauty Blender. The color on this is light pink but since it’s a duochrome highlight it gives an opal effect on the skin. So beautiful and (according to reviews online) it looks amazing on all skin tones. Click here to shop Colourpop Monster.

Pixi Glow-y Powder in London Lustre – This is my new ride or die highlighter (pictured below). It has a subtle gold undertone and I think would work with a LOT of different skin tones. They also have one that’s a tad darker as well. GET this highlighter – it’s so easy to blend, shiny without being glittery…it’s great. I reach for it almost every time I wear makeup and I think this is the perfect formula for beginners. The price is on the higher end for drugstore, but a little goes a long way and it’s a huge pan. Click here to shop the Pixi Glow-y Powder in London Lustre.

How to apply highlighter plus the best highlighters for fair skin. Click through for my favorite picks for affordable highlighters (and high end highlighters too!)

Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight – My favorite travel highlighter, this one requires no tools and blends super easily. It’s also a little pink so it will work really well for fair skin. It’s also a really creamy formula that dries quickly so it’s easy to layer over powder. It’s VERY intense at first, much more than I originally expected, but once you blend it out it’s much more subtle. For a cruelty free option, NYX has a similar formula but I haven’t tried it on my face yet so I can’t speak to it’s staying power. It swatched well, though! It’s the NYX Dose of Dew Face Gloss. Click here to shop the Clinique Highlight or here for the NYX Dose of Dew Face Gloss.

I swatched these on my arm and had a hard time getting them to pick up on camera, so I decided to do a video instead! Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what highlighter will work best for you, they’re in the following order from left to right: ColourPop, Clinique, NYX, Pixi, and then the rest are from the Anastasia palette!

How to apply highlighter plus the best highlighters for fair skin. Click through for my favorite picks for affordable highlighters (and high end highlighters too!)

I know there are SO many amazing products out there, so what are your favorite highlighters?! Definitely let me know in the comments if I’m missing a big one that you’re obsessed with 🙂

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How to apply highlighter plus the best highlighters for fair skin. Click through for my favorite picks for affordable highlighters (and high end highlighters too!)

4 thoughts on “Highlighting 101 + Best Highlighters for Fair Skin

  1. Girl YES! What a great post. I went to Miami in Feb and feel like I’m STILL milking my tan with the use of a good highlighter. I’ve yet to find one to beat Becca Cosmetics Champagne Pop (a friend got it for me for my birthday and promised it was the best highlighter that looks good on everyone.) I was also super excited to try out the Too Faced Love Lights Prismatic Highlighter (the compact can’t be beat!) and most recently like, this week, I’ve tried out a few Wet n Wild ones (via YouTube beauty dupes. Are you into dupes?? Is there a post I’ve missed?!). Both Boozy Brunch and Precious Petals are great (cheap!) Wet n Wild options! You can see I had no opinions about this topic haha

    1. So I love Champagne Pop buuuuut not for myself. I can say that it most certainly does not look good on people as pale as me – I have to go for like white/pink highlighters or else it looks like I have bronzer below my eyes lol. That being said, it’s an amazing shade for basically anyone darker than me! So beautiful. I’ve been dying to try Wet n Wild highlighters but literally every time I try to buy one they’re sold out!!!! I don’t really do a lot of dupe posts, per se, mostly just because I’m too cheap to buy the real product most of the time haha. But I do LOVE affordable makeup for sure!

    1. Yippee, Katie, I’m so happy to hear that! Definitely let me know what you think, it’s so beautiful and I cannot stop reaching for it. Can’t. Stop. Won’t. Stop.

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