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How to Find the Most Flattering Highlighter for Your Skin Tone

Are you using the right one?
How to Find the Most Flattering Highlighter for Your Skin Tone
IMAGE Gab Gutierrez
Are you using the right one?

Despite our license to play around with any highlighter under the sun, we can't deny that some colors just look extra flattering on certain skin tones. Some shades and complexions actually go so well together that the right application makes product look almost invisible. In short, the glow you want isn't necesarilly the glow your skin needs—especially if you're pegging a no-makeup look.

But before we touch on color, let's review on proper application. "Overdoing the highlighter would create an illusion of more oil on your face instead of a sheen," says makeup artist Ara Fernando. Our humid weather already gives our skin its own glow anyway! Therefore, if it's a subtle glow you need, highlight only where your skin should be glowing. "Concentrate the highlighter on the parts of the face that won't appear oily like the cheekbones, bridge of the nose (not on the tip), and chin," she adds.

In the case that you do require a blinding highlight, like when you're taking selfies with flash, Rick Calderon has a trick that'll make your luminizers work harder. With a setting spray, spritz your brush before dipping into a pressed highlight. This achieves an almost wet finish over the skin that looks super photogenic.

When finding your skin's glow twin, you also have to take its undertones into consideration. Skin with warm undertones lean more yellow, golden, with a hint of green. Cool undertones appear pinkish or red for deeper skin. Still confused? Check the veins on your wrist. Green veins mean you have warm skin, while blue ones indicate a cool undertone. If you have both, then you're neutral, and you can get away with any shade for the cool and warm skin. Lucky you!

Ready to get glowing? Find your highlight match below!


Fair to Warm

According to Ara, champagne or light golden shades look the best over fair skin with warm tones. Provided that they are smooth and not glittery, these should blend seamlessly into the skin.

Fair to Cool

On the other hand, Rick recommends luminizers that lean more silver or white for cool-toned skin for a flattering, icy glow. 

IMAGE Sephora, Dior

Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Metal Moon, P1950,; Dior Diorblush Colour and Light, P2850, SM Makati


Medium to Warm

Over warm medium skin, both makeup artists recommend a golden highlighter to create a gorgeous sunkissed effect.


Medium to Cool

If your tan runs more cool, Rick suggests a muted pink pearl (like a highlighting blush) for a barely-there sheen.

IMAGE Smashbox, MAC

Smashbox Spotlight Palette in Pearl, P1800, Beauty Bar; MAC Mineralized Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle, SM Makati


Deep to Warm

To give deep skin definition, Ara uses highlighters that lean more bronze and deep golden. She says that these colors complement equally golden undertones on most deeper skin tones.

Deep to Cool

In contrast, peachy highlights are her priority after gold for cool-toned skin. Because while stark gold could also work on cool-toned skin, it might look too yellow when applied too heavily. 


IMAGE Laura Mercier, Make Up For Ever

Laura Mercier J'adore Soleil Highlighter Crayon in Sunrise; Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion Luminizer in Golden, P2350, SM Megamall