This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through affiliate links help support this website.

The Pale Girl’s Guide to Highlighting

The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting

Happy Makeup Wars Monday! Today I’m bringing you the Pale Girl’s Guide to Highlighting. From the moment I learned about highlighting, I loved it. Contouring, I can take it or leave it, but not highlighting. I want to glow!

The Pale Girl’s Guide to Highlighting

When you’re ultra pale, it can be hard to find the right highlighter. Most are too dark or don’t really bring out my features. And matte highlighters do me no favors. What I’ve found for me is that with pale skin, I need to seek out white based, ethereal, or iridescent highlighter shades. Highlighters with these properties really accentuate my features.

This post contains a mix of press samples and purchased by me.

The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting

The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting

Dose of Colors Pearl Dust
Dose of Colors Highlighter in Pearl Dust
Dose of Colors Pearl Dust
Dose of Colors Highlighter in Pearl Dust

The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting featuring Dose of Colors Pearl Dust

Dose of Colors Highlighter in Pearl Dust
This is an ethereal white highlighter with a hint of iridescent pink. Above, I used Pearl Dust on the cheek and for an eye highlight at the inner corner. It’s absolutely stunning. See my review. Choose this if you want an iridescent shimmery pink highlight.

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana
NARS Illuminator in Copacabana
NARS Illuminator in Copacabana
NARS Illuminator in Copacabana

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana
This is described as a glistening pearl. It’s like a liquid version of Dose of Colors Pearl Dust. It’s very pretty and this  bottle will last you forever because a little goes a very long way. This can also be mixed into liquid foundations or primer to add extra glow. See more highlighter swatches. Choose this if you want a cool pink luminescent glow.

NARS Dual Intensity Blush in Craving
NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving
NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving
NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving

Makeup Geek MannyMua Palette Look

NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving
This is a white base with pink iridescence. The other side is a peachy bronze blush. Above, I’m wearing both the highlighter and blush. This is very subtle for my taste but I do think this is a pretty duo. I bought this duo when I was shopping with my friend Jen from My Beauty Bunny. Choose this if you want a subtle pink sheen.

Notoriously Morbid Osteomancy
Notoriously Morbid Highlighter in Osteomancy
Notoriously Morbid Osteomancy
Notoriously Morbid Highlighter in Osteomancy

Notoriously Morbid Highlighter in Osteomancy
This is a silvery white highlight with a hint of blue iridescence. I love this one so much. (vegan) Choose this if you want a cool silvery blue sheen.

Makeup Geek Sugar Rush
Makeup Geek Duochrome pigment in Sugar Rush
Makeup Geek Duochrome Pigment in Sugar Rush
Makeup Geek Duochrome Pigment in Sugar Rush

Makeup Geek Duochrome Pigment in Sugar Rush
A translucent base with light teal blue iridescence. This is very smooth and gorgeous. See my review. Choose this if you want a shimmery cool teal highlight.

Sugarpill Lumi
Sugarpill Chromalust in Lumi
Sugarpill Chromalust in Lumi
Sugarpill Chromalust in Lumi

Sugarpill Chromalust in Lumi
White base with turquoise sheen and blue and green flashes. A little more sparkly than it looks here. (vegan) See more Sugarpill. Choose this if you want a super shimmery turquoise glow.

Too Faced Candlelight Glow Duo
Too Faced Highlighter in Candlelight Glow Duo
Too Faced Candlelight Glow Duo
Too Faced Highlighter in Candlelight Glow Duo

Too Faced Highlighter in Candlelight Glow Duo
This has a white with gold iridescence side and a golden pink side. I love this. See separate swatches here. Choose this if you want a gorgeous neutral glow.

Notoriously Morbid Power of the Fae
Notoriously Morbid Highlighter in Power of the Fae
Notoriously Morbid Power of the Fae
Notoriously Morbid Highlighter in Power of the Fae

Notoriously Morbid Highlighter in Power of the Fae
This is a creamy white with golden iridescence. This is gorgeous. (vegan) Choose this if you want a neutral / slightly warm ethereal glow.

Urban Decay Luminous
Urban Decay Naked Illuminizer in Luminous
Urban Decay Naked Illuminizer in Luminous
Urban Decay Naked Illuminizer in Luminous

Urban Decay Naked Illuminizer in Luminous
This is shimmery champagne iridescent shimmer. The shimmer in this makes it workable on my skintone. (vegan) See my review. Choose this if you want a very shimmery warm highlight.

NARS Hot Sand
NARS Illuminator in Hot Sand
NARS Illuminator in Hot Sand
NARS Illuminator in Hot Sand

NARS Illuminator in Hot Sand
This is a shimmering warm highlight. It’s really too dark for me these days but still very pretty. See my review. Choose this if you’re N10 or darker and you want a shimmery warm highlight.

Cover FX Moonlight
Cover FX Illuminator in Moonlight
Cover FX Illuminator in Moonlight
Cover FX Illuminator in Moonlight

Cover FX Illuminator in Moonlight
This is a peachy shimmer. This is pretty subtle and I think it’s too dark for me these days. (vegan) See my review. Choose this if you’re around N10 or darker, and want a subtle warm highlight.

Becca Illuminator in Pearl
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl
This is an iridescent white. I’ve tried the liquid formula, which was too subtle for me. As you may or may not be able to tell from the swatch on my hand Pearl (and it’s sister liquid highlighters Champagne Gold and Opal) is extremely subtle, especially when compared to other highlighters on the back of my hand. Choose this if you want a subtle highlight.

The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting the Best Highlighters for Pale Skin
L to R – Moonlight – Hot Sand – Luminous – Power of the Fae – Candlelight Glow Duo – Lumi – Sugar Rush – Osteomancy – Craving – Copacabana – Pearl Dust
Highlighting Brushes
Highlighting Brushes

Real Techniques Sculpting Kit
I love my Real Techniques brushes for highlighting. I bought the Limited Edition Sculpting kit. I use the Setting brush to apply highlighter to my cheekbones, forehead and chin. I use the Fan brussh to blend my highlighter and blush.

bdellium 716 Smoky Eyeliner
I like to use this brush (or a brush shaped like this) to apply highlight to my cupid’s bow, under my eyebrows, or at the inner corner of my eye. Then I take my Goss 6 brush to blend the edges.

For all of the tutorial photos below I used Notoriously Morbid Osteomancy as my highlighter.

Highlight the Collarbone
Highlight the Collarbone
Highlight the Eyes
Highlight the Eyes
Highlight the Cupid's Bow
Highlight the Cupid’s Bow
Highlight the Forehead, Chin and bridge of the nose
Highlight the Forehead, Chin and bridge of the nose
C Shape Cheek Highlight
C Shape Cheek Highlight
Silly Highlight Face
Silly Highlight Face for you

The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting Before and After

The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting The Pale Girl's Guide to Highlighting

What I’m Wearing

  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Fair Neutral
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Corrector in Mint
  • Too Faced Born This Way  Foundation in Snow
  • Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster
  • NARS Blush in Impassioned
  • Notoriously Morbid Highlighter in Osteomancy
  • NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder
  • Glossier Boy Brow in Black
  • Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipsticks mixed together in I’m Royalty, Queen Supreme & Prom Night

When I’m highlighting, I always go for a C shape on the top of my cheekbones, around my outer upper brow. I also always highlight under the outer eyebrow and at the inner corner of the eye. If I want to go all out, I’ll also highlight the cupid’s bow above my mouth, down the center of my nose, the top of my chin, and the center of my forehead. You can also highlight on your collarbone for extra gorgeousness.

As you can tell from the photos, highlighting really makes a difference! If I’m in a hurry, I just do my eyes and cheekbones. Right now, my favorite highlighters are Pearl Dust, Copacabana, and Osteomancy. You can even layer Pearl Dust on top of Copacabana for extra gorgeousness.

Share your skintone & favorite highlighter below!

More to Read

[inlinkz_linkup id=571529 mode=1]
Share

56 Comments

  • Just coming back to this post again! Love these tips and techniques and your beautiful luminescent look! I like a more luminous look, and don’t want to over do it so I get a little afraid of using them, but how and where to apply really helps-love the product suggestions too. I love the NARS Blush in Impassioned and and for the DI Blushes, I decided to get Craving instead of the set 🙂

  • Yes! I’m always looking for recommendations for highlighters. Thank you!!!

  • Your make up looks gorgeous! Thanks for all the tips. So many areas I didn’t know to highlight.

  • This is so helpful! I never thought to use contour or highlighting off my face. Love the swatches.

  • This is such a great list, it can definitely be tricky to find one that works for my fair skin

  • This is super helpful and I love the highlighters that you switched. Thanks for sharing!

  • I found this post so helpful! It’s so hard to find good makeup advice for pale skin.

    • For drugstore pricing, I recommend indie brands. I feel that they’re higher quality than drugstore (in my experience). I am trying to find the new LE Wet n’ Wild highlighter (but chasing down drugstore products is always frustrating for me), because it looks like it will be great and inexpensive. Notoriously Morbid Osteomancy is $4 for a mini, $8.50 for a full size and $1.50 for a sample. I just got the new Aromaleigh Ostara and it’s stunning ($7 for the mini jar which is still HUGE).

  • Amazing tips! I get so lazy with my brushes, but they make such a big difference when getting precise around the nose and eyes.

  • Wow, You Look Just Fabulous and That Skin Though, it’s Just Gorgeous! Thanks You for Posting This & for Walking Me Through the Steps b/c it is Kinda Frustrating When You Want a Healthy, Sun-kissed Glow but Your Skin is Ivory White! I Have Tried & Failed When I Attempted the Whole Highlighting & Contouring Process So Thanks to You I Think I Will Give it Another Shot! Also Thanks for Listing the Products You Used b/c I Can’t Tell You How Many Times I Put My Foundation or Powder on and They Will Look Fine When I Leave the House but Not One Hour Later I Have a Orange Tinted Face & a Sheet White Neck! Lol! Thank You for Helping a Girl Out! Hope You Enjoy the Rest of Your Day; I Don’t Know What Your Neck of the Woods is Like but it’s So Gloomy Here! Anyways, Take Care Courtney! – Love, Jana

  • I love how much work you put into this post. That photo with the writing is genius. Also: the new blog look is fresh and beautiful. Kisses, Sissi

  • oh gosh, Phyrra!!! This is a great how-to guide, but you also have several highlighters I’m really interested in like the makeup geek and dose of colors! I’m bookmarking this. I don’t know if Burberry is CF, but if it is, you’d love their new white highlighter

  • With my oily skin, I prefer subtle highlighting, but I do love the glow! I don’t know if I could pull off the ones with blue shimmer, but I do love the pink and gold tones.

  • I need that Nars duo. Now. From pictures of the pans, it looked too deep and intense but after seeing your swatches, I do believe that I can pull it off.

  • Okay this is super helpful… it’s so hard to know where to highlight when your skin is… well… basically one big highlight haha!! I really like the looks of the Dose of Color highlighter!

  • you look gorgeous! I love this. I know I have now said it in like 4 places but I took your poll/survey and I just said you should do a pale girl highlight/contour tutorial…. I love this. I totally will have to check out these products! I am pale but I have yellow and red uNdertones (which SUCKS)… I would love to see you do a contouring guide/tutorial plus with the highlighting on top of the contour! that has been what I have been trying to master and failing miserably at. ty for this 🙂

    • I will be doing Pale Girl’s Guide to Contouring guide, in the same manner I did this one. I will also include one with the highlighter on top of the contour 🙂

    • Albatross is another gorgeous one! I do have it in my stash and i should have included it. I do think it’s flattering too 🙂

  • Excellent post! Many of your reccos are the shades I go for too! I wore a liqui-gel highlighter on my nose the other day but didn’t rub it in enough, and when I looked at my photos I was so embarrassed that I had a stripe down my nose. Ugh, I’ll never make that mistake again.

  • Your post has blown me away. Not only did you pick gorgeous cosmetics but you help so much with your pictures of where everything should go. Fantastic.

Comments are closed.