How to Use Bronzer and Highlighter for a Luminous Look

How to Use Bronzer and Highlighter for a Luminous Look


Khadija B.
November 3, 2021

Bronzer and highlighter have become two of the biggest beauty products to hit the scene in recent years, and if you don’t already have them in your makeup kit, you’re missing out.

Although effective, they take some skill to master, but with a little bit of practice, you’ll reap all of their rewards.

How do you use bronzer and highlighter together?

Bronzer and highlighter should both be applied after foundation and concealer, but the order in which you apply them doesn’t matter as much.

As long as they’re applied in correlation with each other and in the right areas, that’s what counts.

A highlighter can be used to reflect light and draw attention to the high points of your face while offering a soft, dewy glow, and your bronzer gives you a sun-kissed glow that makes skin appear healthy and golden.

When these two join forces it’s a spectacular thing, so learn the basics on how to use bronzer and highlighter together to see what’s possible when you do.

How to Choose a Bronzer

How to Choose a Bronzer

The key to finding the best bronzer is matching it to your skin and trying to closely mimic what it would look like if you had a natural, healthy tan.

The general rule here is to not go any further than two shades darker than your skin tone so that it blends easily and doesn’t stand out too much.

The color of the bronzer will need to match your skin tones and undertones, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different shades until you find the right fit.

If you’re trying to choose between two shades, go with the lighter one and build your way up, rather than having a bronzer that’s too intense.

You’ll also have to decide if you want a matte bronzer for adding depth, a shimmer bronzer that gives a subtle luminous glow, or a satin bronzer that falls somewhere in between.

The skin type you have will also lead you towards the best choice, so oily complexions will want a powder with dry skin needing something hydrating.

Finding the Best Highlighter

Finding the Best Highlighter

Highlighter needs to be selected just as carefully as a bronzer, as you’ll want it to complement your complexion.

Think about the undertones of your skin, and use that as a guide, with warm undertones being better suited to gold and bronze highlighters, and cool undertones working best with pearl, white, and silver options.

Just as you want to choose a bronzer that’s two shades darker, your highlighter should be around two shades lighter, so use this as a guide if you get stuck.

This shade will still give it the luminous effect but keep things looking natural, so you’re getting the best of both worlds.

Highlighters also come in different forms, including liquid and dry, with powders, serums, sticks, creams, and more available.

Each of them has pros and cons to consider when it comes to texture and finishes, ease of application, and skin type suitability, so you’ll have to weigh all of this up.

The Importance of Getting the Shade Right

The Importance of Getting the Shade Right

The most crucial element of flawless makeup is having the right shade to match your skin tone, and when it comes to highlighter and bronzer, you need to look for different things to achieve this:

  • Highlighter shades: For fair-skinned women, opt for a light pink or pearl highlighter, medium skin tones should go with pink and peach highlighters, and darker skin is complemented by rosy pink and gold colors.
  • Bronzer shades: Bronzers should match the undertones of your skin, whether it’s neutral, warm, or cool, but also match your skin color. Lighter and fair complexions will want light tan and peach bronzers, medium to olive skin can experiment with all shades, and darker skin tones will want caramels and browns.

If you’re still unsure about what shade to go with, choose a powder palette.

This gives you a range of different colors that complement each other so you can mix and match to create something spot-on, and both bronzers and highlights come in palettes to make matters easier.

How to Use Bronzer and Highlighter Together

How to Use Bronzer and Highlighter Together

Using bronzer and highlighter at the same time can be a gamechanger, and is the simplest way to elevate your look.

If you’re after a seriously sculpted look using bronzer and highlighter, these are the steps to follow:

  1. Apply your usual makeup base with primer, foundation, and concealer and give it time to set before moving on.
  2. Start with the bronzer and apply it to the hollows of your cheeks, across the hair line and underneath the jawline.
  3. Apply the highlighter with small circular motions starting on the cheekbone, and focusing on the higher planes of the face.
  4. Sweep more highlighter down the middle of your nose, dab some onto the cupid’s bow, above your eyebrow, and a small amount on the inner eyes.
  5. Use a setting or finishing spray when your makeup is complete to keep it looking fresh all day.

The Best Brushes for the Job

The Best Brushes for the Job

With the best bronzer and highlighter in hand, you’ll now need the tools to apply them.

Thankfully, bronzer brushes are straightforward and work best when they’re large, fluffy, and angled.

This gives you just enough control to target the right areas but with a soft and fluffy feel that will spread the product evenly without being too intense.

The tools for applying highlighter are a little more complex, and it’ll depend on the area you’re working on as to which brush will be best.

A smaller fan-shaped brush is good for the high planes of the face where you want to apply more, and a compact pencil brush should be used in the smaller areas like lips and nose.

Tips To Get the Most Out of Highlighters and Bronzers

Tips To Get the Most Out of Highlighters and Bronzers

If you want to know the secrets about applying highlighters and bronzers with perfection, ask a makeup artist, but if you can’t reach one, we can help.

Check out these tips for making the most of these beauty products for your face:

  • Sometimes highlighter and bronzer are enough without needing to add blush and contour, so consider skipping the other products for a finished look.
  • Follow a three pattern on your face with a bronzer if you get lost, with the top of the three being your forehead and the bottom underneath your jaw line.
  • Look in the mirror while standing in a brightly lit room and make note of the places where the light hits your face, and then focus on these when applying a highlighter.
  • Give yourself a few weeks of daily practice before leaving the house with highlighter and bronzer on, and don’t be afraid of experimenting with different shades and placement.
  • Mix your own perfectly matched bronzer and highlighter by using a palette, and change up your look each time you do.

Emphasizing Your Best Points

With a little bit of bronzer to give you a healthy glow and the luminous precision that highlighter offers, you’ll be looking and feeling more fabulous than ever.

These beauty products are essential in any makeup kit and the sooner you learn how to master them, the better, so start practicing today.

Related Questions

A carefully painted face with a highlighter and bronzer in just the right places can transform your look, and they’re two nifty products that can make a real difference.

If you’re still unsure about the role that highlighter plays in the world of makeup, read on for some FAQs about this cult beauty product.

Should Highlighter Go On Before Concealer?

In most cases, a highlighting product should go on after concealer and foundation, as you’ll want the base coverage done.

However, there are some types of highlighters that work best when applied underneath concealer, but these are the exception and not the rule.

Can You Apply Highlighter Without a Brush?

Can You Apply Highlighter Without a Brush?

Highlighter is best applied with either a fan brush or compact pencil brush as this allows for the best finish.

However, if you’re stuck without either and need to use your fingers, the ring finger and middle finger are the best at allowing you to get into the precise spots without doing too much.

How Long Does Highlighter Last?

A good highlighter should stay on as long as the rest of your makeup does, provided you’ve used a primer and setting spray.

With a luminous and pearlescent finish, you’ll find that highlighter remains visible even after a long day of wearing makeup and rarely requires a touch-up.


Khadija B.