Highlighters, Illuminators, Bronzers, Brighteners, ConcealersWhat's the difference? What are they for? When is best to use each one? I've been getting a few questions recently on this very topic, so I thought I would do a quick post.
Highlighters bring attention to the spots you are highlighting, so make sure the highlighter blends well with your skin tone. The main areas that you should apply make up highlighter to include the cheekbones and temples, the eyes (basically draw a C around the eybrow and eye), and the Cupid bow (the area on your upper lip). When applying to cheeks, blend highlighter on the highest point of the cheekbones, up towards the temple. For eyes, blend highlighter underneath the eyebrow on the brow bone and into the inner crease. And when applying to the Cupid bow, just put on a light dab and add a touch underneath the bottom lip as well. You can apply highlighter with a foundation brush, a cosmetic sponge or if the highlighter comes in a stick form, then simply draw in the indicated areas with the stick. It works well when applied after foundation, but before blush. Proper contouring can make you look 10 lbs lighter. Just sayin'.
Bronzers are good for contouring, adding definition to your face, or giving you that sun-kissed glow. You should never use one more than two shades darker than your skin tone. For a sun-kissed glow, apply it in places the sun would naturally hit: cheeks, lightly on nose and forehead. It's best to apply in a circular motion, to ensure proper blending. You should apply light coats, and layer if you need it darker. this helps prevent uneven streaking. To use it for contouring, brush on the "bronze" to the hollow of the cheeks for definition and dust around the face line to create a healthy glow. Then use blush on the apple of the cheeks to create a subtle healthy glow. Some bronzers are matte or shimmery, matte is best for contouring, and shimmery is best for achieving a bronzed look. If you use foundation, this should be applied after.
Illuminators add that extra hint of shine and shimmer. Illuminators are very sheer, and provide an extra glow that the other products can't. Cream forms work best. They can be used to contour, by applying to the hollows of cheeks, or brow lines. You can also apply to the bridge of your nose to slim your face. It looks great with just a tinted moisturizer. It also looks great when used to complement your foundation. Apply after you use your foundation. Add by following the high cheekbone up to eyelevel. Blend until you’ve achieved your desired shimmer. Seriously, blend, blend, blend. This should just disappear.
Brighteners:When you hear the term brightener, you are either hearing about an eye brightener, a facial cleanser, or a moisturizer. For purposed of this post, we are talking about eye brightener. Eye brighteners are good for highlighting the eyes. Eye brighteners are generally a translucent liquid, this should be applied after your foundation, but prior to doing your eye makeup. Start with the inner corner and work your way by sweeping across the lid and then, beneath the lashes. I cannot recommend a brightener pencil, as I think this is too strong for the sensitive eye area. Brighteners should be used over concealer and foundation.
A concealer or color corrector is a type of cosmetic that is used to mask dark circles, age spots, large pores, and other small blemishes visible on the skin. A concealer can come in stick, liquid, or pencil form. I do not recommend using the pencil type around the eye area, as the skin is more sensitive. You should use no more than two shades lighter than your skin tone, as again, this should blend. Liquid concealers are best applied with a brush or sponge, and also it is good to use them to blend stick concealers. They can be applied before or after foundation, it's really a personal preference.