How to Apply Highlighter for That Perfect Wedding Glow

Courtesy of Lane Dittoe

So much goes into looking your best for your walk down the aisle—from pre-wedding workouts and beauty treatments to hair and makeup trials. On your big day, it’s all about bringing out your natural beauty. One way to do this? Highlighter! As the name would suggest, these illuminators enhance your best features.

These wonderful multi-taskers give that you that lit-from-within glow, making you look more awake and, of course, making your peepers, pout, and cheekbones pop. Here, green makeup artist Lou Dartford offers a few techniques for applying highlighter like a pro (plus a few expert-approved formulas). After creating a flawless canvas with your concealer and foundation, it’s time to get strategic with the highlighter.


Sweep highlighter diagonally along your cheekbones to create definition. Dartford cautions against bringing it too far towards your nose, as this can make you look shiny in photos. “Don’t go too near the eyes either as this can emphasize fine lines and circles.”

Eyelids and Inner Corners of Eyes

Between the excitement of your rehearsal dinner and impending nuptials, you still need to get a full eight hours of sleep the night before your big day. Looking to brighten and open eyes? Apply highlighter to the center of your lids and the inner corners of your eyes. “Just a touch is all you need here.”

Brow Bone

Sweep illuminator under your brow bone to gives brows definition and bring out your eyes. “Steer clear of anything too shimmery. Otherwise, your brow bone will get more attention than your eyes,” says Dartford.

Bridge of the Nose

“A dusting down the center of your nose can help contour your nose and add dimension to your face,” says Dartford. An extra bit of advice: avoid this area if you are prone to shine here.

Cupid’s Bow

Whether you’re going for a bold red or soft neutral, you’ll want your lips to look totally kissable on your wedding day. Use a concealer brush to highlight your Cupid’s bow. Finish your look with the lip hue of your choosing.

Formulas and Product Picks

When choosing a highlighter, beware of anything too sparkly. “While this may look great to the naked eye, in photos it can create flashback or make you look shiny instead of glowy,” Dartford says. Big glitter particles are also harder to blend, can clump on the skin, get caught in pores or make skin look uneven.

If you’re opting for a powder formula, use a soft and fluffy brush to apply it to your cheekbones so you don’t get a hard line. Be sure to blend really well. “Highlighter should look like a natural glow with no end and no beginning,” Dartford says. For areas like the cupid's bow and inner eyes, Dartford recommends a smaller brush for precise application. Also, don’t forget to blend well. “Alima Pure Loose Highlighter is lovely for adding highlights. If you prefer a pressed powder look at Lily Lolo Illuminator,” Dartford says.

“When using creamy formulas, I like to use my fingers for areas like the cheekbones,” Dartford says. For the inner corners of your eyes, use a small brush so you can control how much product you’re putting on. “I love RMS Living Luminizer as it hydrates and gives skin a really healthy natural glow.” Oilier skin types can also use a creamy highlighter. “I’m a big fan of W3LL PEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick, which has a lovely satin texture.”

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