Cream blush and liquid highlighter are fabulous alternatives to traditional powder blush and highlighter-- they make the skin appear to glow from within (instead of obviously looking like makeup) and can be super long-lasting. However, applied incorrectly, cream blush and liquid highlighter can make you look like a shiny clown with gigantic pores. We don't want that. Follow along and in this quick tutorial I'll show you how to apply these two products!
Step 1: Choose Your Liquid Highlighter
First, choose the correct highlighter for your skin tone. Pink-toned products (such as Benefit's Moon Beam) are best for pale skintones. Golds (Benefit's Sun Beam or Watt's Up) work on nearly every skin tone. Red or oranges or bronzes (Illamasqua's Gleam in Supernatural) work best on dark skintones. YSL's Touche Eclat ("Radiant Touch") highlighter comes has a wide shade range that will work for any skintone.
Liquid products have a sheerer finish, while cream products are heavier and have a more noticeable payoff.
Be sure that the "pearl" in your chosen highlighter isn't too chunky or frosty. The goal is to look like you have naturally radiant skin, not to look like a disco ball, or Britney Spears circa 1999. There should be a slight variation in color as well-- one color can make your skin look more flat. Look for it by applying on the back of your hand and shifting the planes of your hand back and forth in the light. It should appear to change slightly or you should be able to see the variations.
Okay! Now that you have the awesome cream or liquid highlighter of your choice, let's apply! Highlighter goes on after primer and foundation and before concealer and powder. We want it to blend in with your foundation and look like part of your skin.
Step 2: Apply Your Liquid Highlighter
You can emulsify the product on the back of your hand first (warms it up and preps it to go on your skin; also more sanitary by keeping the product and bacteria on your face away), then dip a foundation brush in the product-- even better if you use the same brush that you just applied your foundation with! The residual foundation on your brush will only help to blend the highlighter in further.
Apply highlighter in a "C" shape from above the arch of your brow sweeping down to the tops of your cheekbones. Don't draw it in too close towards your nose, as this is the area where pores are largest and highlighter only emphasizes them. I also like to apply on the upper bridge of my nose (just not too close to the tip) , above the Cupid's bow of my lips, and on your forehead between and slightly above your brows. Use small, short, feathery strokes (or your fingers) to blend the product in.
Thicker cream products can be emulsified on the back of your hand and then applied with a mini stippling brush. If you have a stick product (like Benefit's Watt's Up) that you ONLY use on yourself, you can go ahead and roll it straight on your face and then blend using your fingers or your foundation brush.
Step 3: Cream Blush
Choosing a cream blush product is much easier than choosing a highlighter. You should already be familiar with choosing blush colors for yourself from years of buying powder blush, so follow those same rules when purchasing a cream blush, and remember that the cream formulation will allow for a sheerer application so feel free to be daring! Some of my favorites are Stila's Convertible Colors, which are versatile because they can be used on lips as well; Tarte's cream blushes, which are unbelievably pigmented and smooth; and Josie Maran's gel blushes, which are super hydrating and glossy.
Cream (or gel or liquid) blush is applied after primer, foundation, and highlighter, and before powder. The easiest way to apply is just with your fingertips! Swipe them across your product and massage into cheeks. Emulsifying the product on the back of your hand and then applying with a mini stippling brush is another excellent way to get a sheer and buildable application of color. Or, you can even use a regular ol' fluffy blush brush; just be sure to use a small amount of product so you don't end up with cheeks so flushed you look like you've got a fever.
Remember, you're going to be setting your blush with powder, so feel free to go a little heavy on the application! I like to concentrate my application on the apples of the cheeks and blend it back towards the temples.
Once you've applied and blended your blush to perfection, set your makeup with translucent powder. You can amp up your blush by layering some powder blush on top.