How to Highlight Without a Highlighter

Seeing as we’re all probably full to the brim with mini eggs right now thanks to the Easter festivities and perhaps lacking a little in the glow department due to the fact that we’ve been replacing our five a day with chocolate eggs (is it just me or does chocolate taste better formed that way?), I thought today I’d let you in on a few methods to highlight without using a dedicated highlighter and instead calling into action a few products you already have laying around…

Eye, eye, eyeshadow? Sometimes the thing you’re looking for all along is right under (well, above) your nose. Eyeshadows with their fine texture, parred back shimmer and smooth application make for the perfect brighteners. Personal favourites of mine include the palest shade of the Clinique All About Shadow Nude Eye Shadow Palette, Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in 9 (a light hand comes recommended with this one) and Bourjois Colour Edition 24hr Eyeshadow in Or Desir.

The foundation fair-y. While I have more than a handful of foundations that are embarrassingly way too dark for me, I also have some colours on the complete other end of the spectrum, but this is where they can be put to good use. Any sheer-ish, light formulas that come up too pale to be applied to your whole face can just be blended where you’d usually apply your highlighter. Hey – if it’s good enough for Kim..

Forgo powder. A bit of an obvious move that we all probably employ anyway, so I’ll quickly sweep over it. Sweep – pah! Ok, moving on. Leave the powder out wherever you’d usually apply highlighter and leave your sweat glands to do their thing. Nice.

The multi-tasking goddess. I don’t even want to admit to how long I’ve had this tube of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream for, but it’s still going strong years later. I use this for a long list of tasks that if I read out now we’d be here forever, but one of its classiest moves is as a 100% shimmer-free skin illuminator. Slick on high points, lids, lips, whatever – and watch them glow.

Get your CC on.ย I forgot to add these to the photograph, but it appears that luxe brands have taken a highlighter-esque stance when it comes to jumping on the CC wagon. YSL’s new CC Creme Colour Corrector comes in a perky pink shade that could easily be patted solely on the cheekbones for all and Bobbi Brown’s new CC’s come fully equipped with SPF and a huge dose of radiance in three shades. Of course these are designed for whole face use, but who says they can’t be reserved exclusively for illuminating needs?

Of course if you’ve got a pot of the RMS Living Luminizer, Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder or the gone-but-not-forgotten Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Cream in Ice Gold, then swipe ’em on. But if you ever find yourself without? Well, now you have a few tricks up your sleeve.


  • Anna Blush

    I love swapping in an eye shadow as a highlight, it works so well and saves me a few pennies! As for foundation I’ve got a fairly light shade of Rimmels Wake Me Up which I find way too shimmery for all over wear but I love it as a subtle highlight x

  • Great tips here Anna!!

  • Ella

    The first shade in the urban decay basics palette (is it called venus?) works a treat – in fact the whole palette is a bit of a multitasker, you can use one of the shades as setting powder (foxy/walk of shame) and another (naked 2) on any shade of brows!

  • Mixing a highlight eyeshadow shade with foundation for a MAC Strobe kind of highlighter = BOMB. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I am a big fan of the lighter-foundation-as-highlighter trick. In fact a darker foundations does such a good job of contouring or even just providing a shadow under the cheekbones!

    7 days and 7 pouts|

  • great post on multi-usability and re-usability! Elizabeth’s 8 hr cream is a great all rounder and lasts forever.

  • Anne-Dorthe Andersen

    Such a nice post! I can’t believe I didn’t think about some of the stuff you wrote about ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Talisa Lauren Tossell
  • lisa robb

    Great blog and tips ๐Ÿ™‚
    L x

  • mabsoph

    Great tips! There are more ways than I thought..

  • Natalia

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    NATALIA //

  • I really need to try the bourjois cream eyeshadow, it looked so good on your in your 5 min makeup video ๐Ÿ™‚

    Kate xo //

  • I love highlighting with eyeshadow. I find it gives me so much more control. I can pick a vanilla colored one or a more subdued one for a less intense highlight.

  • I love using eyeshadow to highlight, and it is so good for travelling too, as you only have to take one thing with you! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD | The Little Deer Sunglasses and ยฃ20 Voucher Giveaway

  • I’ve never thought to use eyeshadows as highlighter, great post :p


  • Prettysnoopy

    Must dig out the Jemma Kidd glow again, I have it in my stash! Xx

  • I like this idea of lighter foundations. Gives me something to look forward to down the road when my skin is tan…popping some lighter foundation in areas sounds like a great idea!


  • Bethany Daly

    In summer I always use a lighter foundation to highlight! Especially for nights out,
    It’s so simple, check out my blog

  • What a perfect recipe for a glowy look! I’m very tempted by that YSL foundation ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny

    Really great post here! So good to look at products in different ways ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Chloe Brass

    I’ve been wanting to get a new highlighter for ages now so I’ll give these tips a try in the meantime ๐Ÿ™‚

  • sofika
  • Song

    Thanks for the tips!

  • Tarte Tanya

    8 hour cream for a highlight genius.
    Great tips!!

  • Great tips, this might make my travel makeup case lighter! <3

  • Daniella

    awesome tips!!



  • Lincy

    Great tips! I have started to use some of my eyeshadow in different ways, such as a highlight or even as a contour or fill-in color! It is a great tip for when you have run out of a favorite product or are broke and can’t buy more products.

  • Rachel

    Absolutely love this post idea–you’re seriously one of best bloggers out there!


  • This post is great! I definitely like how CC creams work as a highlighter. ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t tried any of the other things though. I can’t believe I haven’t tried using eyeshadow as a highlight, especially Kitten which is very similar to Mary-Lou Manizer from the Balm.


  • Bella

    Great post :). My favourite highlighter is Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone; after being put off by the name for years I got this two weeks ago and can’t stop glowing :p.

  • Oresiri teru

    Loved this post. I always use random things as a highlighter instead of an actual highlighter

  • Mimi

    I love those ideas ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Trudy Wang

    I love a good highlighter!

    XO, Trudy

  • Charlotte Elizabeth

    I’m always a bit wary of highlighters as it can look like I’ve stuck my head in a glitter pot, but will definitely be trying out some of these tips!

  • Lauren S

    arrgh such a life-saving post, i will be whacking out eye-shadow and my watts up to achieve ultimate highlighting !

    Lauren x

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