How To Apply Highlighter And Bronzer

How To Apply Highlighter and Bronzer

Do you find yourself watching countless videos and Tik Tok tutorials about applying makeup, and always seeing highlighters and bronzer coming up? Are you unsure how to use them to flatter your face shape and make those features pop? Worry no more with our simple guide!

A few years ago, makeup was simply a means of brightening up the face and defining the features. Nowadays, make up has become an art form, with products being used strategically to sculpt and highlight parts of the face to give you a whole new look. 

One of the more popular products used by beauty influencers, celebrities and makeup artists alike are highlighters and bronzers. These products have become staples in everybody’s make up bags, but what exactly are they, and what are they for? Read on to find out! 

What is highlighter and what is it for?

Highlighters are essential if you want to illuminate and brighten up the face. A highlighter will do everything you would expect it to- it highlights certain features, depending on where you place it on the skin and face. 

In this sense, highlighters are light reflecting products that are available in liquid, powder and cream form, that work to enhance the complexion and give the skin a brighter, more illuminated and youthful appearance. 

The purpose of highlighter is to bring attention and draw it to where the light naturally hits the face, which is typically at the high points such as the nose and cheekbones. This can really brighten up the appearance and give you a soft glow that is oh so flattering. 

Highlighter can also be used to give a dewy glow, and make the cheekbones seem more prominent and defined to carve out the face and make it appear slimmer and more attractive to the eye. You can also utilize highlighter to give your skin a beautiful, sun kissed look that reflects light and adds a natural level of dimension to your makeup look.  

What is bronzer and what is it for?

Bronzer and highlighter are two terms that often come together, as these make-up products are often used in conjunction with one another to provide users with a sculpted and defined look. This is because bronzing is kind of the opposite of highlighting. 

A bronzer, as its name suggests will give the skin a deeper, more bronzed look. This can add some radiance and warmth to your face that can give your skin a tanned look, but can also be used to sculpt and carve out the features by adding depth and definition. 

Bronzers are available in powders, creams and liquids, and can provide you with either a matte, sheer or shimmery finish depending on your preference. Whilst a bronzer can be used all over the face to give a sweeping, deeper and more tanned finish, it can also be used in specific parts of the face to contour the shape and define certain features. For instance, you can use bronzer on the cheekbones to make them seem more defined, or on a larger forehead to shorten it a little.

How to apply highlighter and bronzer

How to apply highlighter

The best places to apply highlighter, as mentioned above, will be at the highest points of the face, as this can lift the face and make it seem more youthful and glowy. You will also want to apply your highlighter at any point where light would naturally reflect from the face. For instance, this could be the brow bone, the cheekbones, the cupid’s bow on your lips, the middle of your forehead or the very tip of your nose. 

The best way to apply highlighter is with your finger. You will first need to swirl your finger in the highlighter palette, or dab some liquid highlighter onto your finger, then simply dab and press the highlighter into the skin where you want to apply it. 

Then, blend it out with a buffing brush to make the highlight appear more natural. Alternatively, you can use a highlighter brush like the one below to give you that soft, sweeping look across the cheekbones and temples. 

Wet-n-Wild Fan Brush

Wet-n-Wild Fan Brush

Just keep in mind that your highlighting should be done towards the end of your makeup routine, and after you’ve applied your foundation, concealer, contour and bronzer. So, how do you apply bronzer?  

How to apply bronzer

Bronzer should be applied with a flat-top brush, and across the upper cheeks, the bridge of the nose, and along the high planes of the face for a sun kissed look. You can also add some bronzer to the jawline, and across the hairline to make the face appear more trim, slim and smaller.   Consider the brush below:

DUcare Flat Contour Brush

DUcare Flat Contour Brush

If you want to contour, then you can use your bronzer to sculpt out your cheekbones, and add some definition along the brow and the sides of the nose to make it look smaller or more defined. 

This is why we say that bronzer comes first, so that you can create the look you want with depth and a deep, warm tone, and then the highlighter finishes off the look and makes it pop! 

Our favorite highlighter and bronzers

Anastasia Beverly Hills Loose Highlighter: 

CoverGirl Hyper Glow Highlighter 

COVERGIRL TruBlend Super Stunner Hyper-Glow Highlighter, Pearl Crush, 0.12 Ounce (Pack of 1)
  • GLOWING - A highly pigmented and luminescent highlighter that gives you the perfect glow
  • RADIANT - Looks beautiful on all skin tones
  • EASY TO BLEND - Blends easily so you can get the perfect illumination
  • MANY SHADES - Choose from 3 different shades: Glided Glory, Pearl Crush, or Rose Quartz
  • CRUELTY-FREE - Rest easy knowing we never test our products on animals

Wet N Wild Liquid Highlighter 

Wet n Wild Megaglo Liquid Highlighter Makeup, Halographic, 0.5 Ounce 303A
  • Intensely pigmented liquid formula delivers a multi-dimensional shimmer effect
  • Formulated with high pearl pigments to customize your glow
  • Murumuru seed butter and Vitamin E helps provide smooth and even application
  • Intense is the name of the game with this buildable liquid highlighter that delivers a multi-shimmer glow thanks to its shimmering pearl pigments. The hydrating formula is infused with powerhouses like Murumuru Seed Butter, Grapeseed Oil, and Vitamin E to help smooth out the skin’s texture. You’ll look radiant–even after a sleepless night.

Benefit Watt’s Up Soft Focus Highlighter

Benefit Watt's Up Soft Focus Highlighter for Face, 0.33 Ounce
  • Features a cream-to-powder formula that glides on sleekly
  • Adds a delicate champagne glow to the complexion
  • Provides full, buildable coverage
  • English (Publication Language)

Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzing Powder 0.28 Ounces
  • Bronzer with brush
  • Contour and highlight
  • Face Slimming
  • .28 ounces
  • Year round tan

Rimmel Natural Bronzer

Rimmel Powder Natural Bronzer, Sun Bronze (34788724022)
  • It's a natural-look skin bronzer that gives your face a sun-kissed glow
  • The Sun Bronze shade complements fairer skin with neutral undertones for a perfect sunless tan
  • The waterproof formula is smooth to apply and lasts up to 10 hours
  • Comfortable and easy to apply
  • SPF 15 formula

NYX Professional Matte Bronzer

  • Matte Bronzer: Bronzer, but make it matte; Get a radiant glow without the glitter, with NYX Professional Makeup Matte Bronzer; This matte finished pressed powder bronzer is perfect for that tan glow all year long, in shades to accommodate all skin tones
  • Sun Kissed Glow: A matte finished bronzed glow is easier than ever; This is our best bronzer yet for a warm, sun kissed complexion; Bring definition to your facial features and use this bronzer as a matte contour on the hollow areas of the face
  • Face From Foundation To Finish: Complete your makeup look with our full line of face products to aid in color correction and coverage from concealer, blush, bronzer, foundations and contouring to palettes and powders
  • Cruelty Free Cosmetics: We believe animals belong in our arms, not in a lab; All of our makeup is certified and acknowledged by PETA as a cruelty free brand; We don't test any of our products on animals
  • Discover NYX Professional Makeup: Try all of our professional makeup products today from eyeshadow, eyeliner, and false lashes to liquid lipstick, lip gloss, primer, concealer, setting sprays and eyebrow makeup

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer


To summarize, highlighters and bronzers are make-up essentials if you want a soft glowy complexion with all of your best features defined. With our guide, you’ll know exactly how to use these face staples to your advantage, where to apply them and which products are best so that you can have that natural bronzed, sun kissed glow. 

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API