Highlighters and illuminators always seem like a great idea, but they’re often very difficult to get right. Whether it’s creams, powders or sticks, they’re an effective way of getting  candle-lit skin, but only when used with the correct techniques. There’s a fine line between glowing radiance and looking like you’ve spent too much time playing with glitter-covered Christmas decorations.

Use them cautiously and only ever apply them to areas where the light would naturally hit the face- high on the cheekbones, the forehead, collar bone. If you’re using a glow powder, use a round, fluffy brush to apply in a soft, sweeping motion. When it comes to cream and stick formulations, it’s best to dab them on with your fingers, after your foundation and before your setting powder.

Go for a gold, bronze or peachy toned product for a subtle, all over glow. Pinks, pearls and violets are more obvious but look incredibly pretty as a highlight on the cheekbones and collar bones.

Highlighters and radiance-enhancers can make any patches of dehydrated skin look ten times worse, so be sure to exfoliate and moisturise well before application. These five have my seal of approval for the ultimate pretty glow.

benefit watts up illuminating highlighter

Benefit Watts Up!

This is a gorgeous cream-to-powder formulation that comes in a champagne shade that suits most skin tones across the spectrum, from very pale to dark. It can be dabbed on with fingers or blended with the soft sponge applicator.

bobbi brown brightening finishing powder

Bobbi Brown Brightening Finishing Powder

More and more of Bobbi’s products are infused with skin nourishing ingredients. This all-over glow enhancer contains mulberry and grape extracts to brighten and sodium hyaluronate to keep skin smooth. The sparkle is so finely milled and subtle that you’ll want to apply it everywhere.

Nars the Multiple Stick Puerta Vallarta Highlighter

NARS The Multiple Stick

If ever there was an iconic highlighting product, then this is it. It can be used on the eyes, face and body, blends beautifully and dries down to a shimmering powder finish.

Dolce Gabbana Illuminating GLow Powder

Dolce & Gabbana The Glow Illuminating Powder

If you prefer the natural look, this powder is a neutral shade of translucent beige and gives skin a “lit from within” quality without being too sparkly. Sweep upwards onto the higher plains of your face to add some dimension. Added bonus: it smells delightfully vintage.

MAC Strobe Cream Highlighter

MAC Strobe Cream

A classic in the beauty world, no self-respecting makeup artist would be seen dead without this light-enhancing cream in their kit. It’s loaded with hydrating ingredients, antioxidants and iridescent particles to instantly illuminate your complexion. This works beautifully, even without foundation.

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