Do The Dew!

While nobody wants an extra step in their morning routine, highlighter is not the place to cut corners, say the pros.

By Didi Gluck


Why you need highlighter in your life

Have you ever been told that you’re dull? If you're over 30, your complexion probably is (don’t worry, your sparkling wit, wisdom and life experience make up for it in spades). Up until that age, our skin cells naturally shed quickly allowing new ones to push to the surface giving us a radiant, supple complexion. But as we get older, our cellular turnover rate slows down, making us, in the words of Kelli J. Bartlett, makeup artist and artistic director of GlamSquad, “not light-bouncing.” And that’s where highlighter comes in. “By highlighting, we’re giving the skin a reflective quality again," she says. Translation: No more geriatric pallor.

The right highlighter for your skin

If you have a teenager who has learned to highlight on YouTube, the thought of adding sheen to your skin may strike fear in your heart. “More mature women tend to shy away from highlighting because the formulas are too powdery, because they don’t want to look holographic, or because they think it’s more suitable for a Coachella audience than the boardroom,” says Bartlett. But she insists that highlighting is actually way more important for mature skin than it is for younger skin.

The secret to making highlighter not just wearable, but flattering is to choose the right formula and apply it correctly. Since time is always of the essence, Bartlett likes highlighters that come in stick form, or which are at least creamy in feel (such as GlamSquad Enlightened Highlighter or Jouer Luminizing Liquid Highlighter). Not only do they spread easily, but they don’t sit on top of skin the way powders can. She suggests applying with fingers and allowing the heat from your skin to “melt the product in.” 

“I personally avoid large glitter or sparkle particles and opt for a finely milled pearl powder or a subtle liquid highlighter, which look more natural and skin-like,” says Christina Zilber, CEO and creator of Jouer cosmetics who is over 50. “I apply highlighter along the highest point of my cheekbones—avoiding my under-eye area and any wrinkles—the inner corner of my eyes to brighten, and the very tip of my nose,” Zilber adds. 


Where does blush fit into the equation?

“Blush belongs on the apple area,” Bartlett says. To find it, give yourself a big old grin in the mirror. The apple is the fleshy part. The highlighter will go above that (where we used to wear blush in the 80s, go figure). “It’s kind of like a neopolitan ice cream when it all starts to melt together; and you end up with one, luminous, dewy cheek,” Bartlett says. Drool.

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