Illuminating Beauty: Using Highlighter Pencils

These magic wands perfect your makeup look

Do you remember the "two-faced" Seinfeld episode where Jerry's date seems to undergo dramatic metamorphoses depending on where he sees her? In the back booth of a restaurant, she's stunning; sitting next to him in a cab, she's not. Jerry freaks out, and it's funny. Of course, she's not actually transforming; it's all perception... and lighting. Highlighter pencils allow you to reflect light, and applied strategically, these illuminating wonders, like sunshine on a stick, allow you to catch, therefore focus that light where it's most flattering. However, there are a few things you should consider, such as application, placement, texture, and even environment, so as to highlight with finesse, not frightfulness! Here's a guide:


Basic Application

  • Sharpen your pencil in order to get a precise line. (There are special pencil sharpeners sized for each highlighter pencil.)
  • To bring attention to your eyes, draw the line directly onto the skin as you would eyeliner, in tentative sketchy lines for a soft look or use a heavier hand or layering for a more intense look.
  • If you'd prefer a smudged effect, blend lightly with a "smudger" sponge brush or your finger. That's the beauty of these highlighter sticks; they can be used as either liner or shadow.


Placement Guidelines

  • Wide-Set Eyes: Highlight looks wonderful when placed at the center of the creases of the eyes and then smudged. This way, when you blink, a glint of highlight is revealed '- like sunshine radiating!
  • Close-Set Eyes: Highlight the eyelid by drawing a line along the upper lash line, using the outer sphere of the iris as a benchmark. Skip the first third of the eye, then blend outward, as this will create the illusion of wider-set eyes.
  • Raised or Puffy Lids: Instead of highlighting the lids, which could make them appear more raised, do the area just under the arch of the eyebrow. This will add a pretty sense of balance.
  • Small Lids: Place highlighter across the entire lid. This way you'll catch light from every direction, making small lids appear fuller.
  • Flat Lids: Eyes that have no visible crease look awesome with highlighter placed at the inner third of the eye. Blended in an upward motion, moving toward the brow bone, this gives an illusion of dimension.
  • Dark Circles or Spots: Just sketch over the areas you want to hide and pat with your finger to blend. (The warmth of your finger actually helps diffuse the highlighter.) Lightly apply foundation over it.


Various Textures

  • Glitter: Highlighters that contain glitter are the most outrageous because the actual glitter pieces are visible, like tiny bits of irregularly strewn confetti, and as such, are perfect for late night parties, disco dancing and such. Glitter's reflectivity calls attention to itself in a wild, I-really-love-action kind of way. Add glitter highlight to the lids, the center of the lips, even a dash high on the cheekbones, then channel Cher in her disco heyday.
  • Shimmer: Think of highlighters with shimmer as glitter's less aggressive cousin; she dazzles, but not as furiously. The actual shimmer pieces are visible, but much tinier, like specs of sand. You still get a conspicuous sparkle, though.
  • Sheen: Highlighter with sheen is refined, glossy and uniform. You don't see pieces or bits of anything '- just a diffused luster. Sheen is extremely flattering for those of us over 30, as it diffuses fine lines while it reflects light.
  • Matte: Matte texture highlights without a shiny reflection, and makes dark areas appear brighter, much the same way concealer does. It's also excellent for covering under-eye circles, sunspots, spider veins, broken capillaries, even that retched stubble while you're waiting for your over-tweezed eyebrows to grow back!

    A Last Tip: Always Consider Where You'll Be

    Anticipate the light you'll be seen in. For example, if you're going late-night partying, shimmer or even glitter could be spectacular. If you're headed for the local coffee shop to work on your laptop, perchance to meet a neighborhood cutie, a highlighter with a bit of sheen might catch his eye!


    Recommended Highlighter Pencils

    Product Name: Hard Candy Glitter Eye Pencil in Trailer Trash
    Because of its micro-infused formula, this silver glitter pencil catches light like nobody's business.
    Price: $14.50

    Product Name: Benefit Gilded
    Like "24-karat gold in a stick," this highlighter pencil won an Allure editor's choice award.
    Price: $18

    Product Name: Urban Decay Pocket Rocket in Goddess
    An intense, smoky blue infused with silver, glittery sparkles in a soft, cream-to-powder formula. This is serious glitter!
    Price: $17

    Product Name: Pixi Eye Definer in No. 2
    Infused with iridescent, light-reflecting particles, this jumbo highlighter pencil shimmers unabashedly.
    Price: $20

    Product Name: Body and Soul Aqua Liner in Seduce This amazingly smooth textured sea-green gives pure sheen, features a sponge-tip applicator on its back end, and be used can be used wet or dry.
    Price: $20

    Product Name: Anastasia Eye Lights in Chiffon Shimmer
    This exquisite, iridescent peach adds a satiny sheen to eyes, cheeks and lips with just a swipe of the pencil.
    Price: $21

    Product Name: Shu Uemura
    This makeup artist's favorite is duel ended, with one side matte white and the other a pearly white sheen. Use together for a denser look, or use just the pearly side for a more refined glow.
    Price: $18

    Product Name: Benefit High Brow
    This soft pink matte translucent highlighter pencil was made expressly for the arch under the brow to catch light, giving an instant lift.
    Price: $18

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