Should You Use Highlighter, Bronzer, or Blush Today?

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At this year’s Met Gala, Kim Kardashian’s makeup featured perfectly contoured bronzer that made her look like a goddess. But Zendaya used a shimmery pink-blue highlighter to turn herself into a literal Disney princess.

Which look is better for you, and how the heck do you apply bronzer, blush, or highlighter?

Blush, Bronzer, and Highlighter–What’s the Difference?

Blush has been around pretty much since people first started using cosmetics. It gives the appearance of a natural flush to your cheeks, making you look more youthful and softening your face. Luckily, we’re way past the days when you had to pinch your cheeks to get that sweet, pink glow.

Bronzer is not a substitute for blush! It has a warmer, more golden tone meant to mimic a sun-kissed glow without needing to tan. You can also use bronzer to subtly contour your cheekbones. One mistake many people make is choosing a bronzer that’s too dark for your natural skin tone. Sadly, too-dark bronzer just makes you look like you haven’t washed your face in a while.

Highlighter should be used sparingly on the areas you want to feature. Usually, that means sweeping it across the crest of your cheekbones and nowhere else. Applying highlighter to your forehead or chin is gonna make you look weirdly plastic and ruin the effect of your other makeup.

In essence, blush adds color, bronzer adds shadows, and highlighter adds, well, highlights.

Learn Work With Your Face Shape and Skin Tone

None of these beauty products will fundamentally change your skin tone or the shape of your face. Leave that biz to foundation and serious contouring products. Instead, blush, bronzer, and highlighter all work together to enhance what’s already there.

If you have warmer undertones, go with shades of peach and gold. If you have cooler undertones, stick with pinks and subtle blues. And if you have dark skin, don’t be afraid to try berry and plum tones in your blush.

Also, if you’re naturally very pale, it might be a good idea to skip the bronzer entirely. The same principle goes for people with very dark skin, who may have trouble finding a highlighter that doesn’t look too pale and chalky.

A 5-Minute Face Using Blush, Bronzer, and Highlighter

Okay, you’ve chosen your products and applied a neutral foundation. Let’s do this thing!

Use a large, fluffy brush to pick up a little bit of bronzer. Sweep it just under the apples of your cheeks and at your temples for some contouring.

Now, use a smaller brush to grab your blush. Remember, use a light hand for all your makeup application and tap off excess product. This isn’t the 80s, so we put our blush on our cheekbones instead of under them.

Finally, it’s time to highlight. You can use the blush brush–just clean it first. Highlight the highest point of your cheekbones and then see if you’re satisfied with the look. If you want more contouring, you can sweep more highlighter just under your eyebrows, along the bridge of your nose, and a little dab right above your top lip.