Is It Really Possible To Use Too Much Highlighter?

Believe it or not, it's relatively easy to mess up your highlighter application. From choosing the wrong shade to using the wrong tools to apply it, there are plenty of pitfalls associated with it. It's kind of hard to believe that highlighter could be applied incorrectly, considering it's a common makeup product. But it's chiefly because highlighter is such an outwardly easy, and ubiquitous, product that it's so easy to make mistakes when using it. 


Before creating your next show-stopping makeup look, you'll want to ensure you are doing it in a way that will last and look amazing. Highlighter helps add an extra flair to any look. In fact, over the years, highlighter has become an essential part of most beauty routines. Rachael Divers, an award-winning makeup artist and resident MUA at Face The Future, discussed its relevance in an interview with My Imperfect Life

"We've seen the glazed donut trend all over TikTok with glow-enhancing makeup," she shared. "In 2023 I think we'll see that reach higher up the face, with placement being focused on the temple and orbital bone versus the cheeks." While this trend is up-and-coming, it does beg the question of how much highlighter is too much. We all want a glowy look from within, but it's vital to know when to stop before you get an undesired glare. 


Can you actually use too much highlighter?

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much highlighter. As L'Oréal Paris warns, if you overdo it, instead of providing a sleek glow from within, too much highlighter will make you appear shinier and even sweaty. While an intense highlight is always appreciated and on-trend, too much glow could have an adverse effect on the rest of your carefully-applied look too. To avoid using too much highlighter, apply the product only in small amounts and then layer as needed. 


Amy Starr, Elle Australia's beauty and lifestyle director clarified: "Somewhere along the line, strobing became about how great highlighting could look in a photo, which is very different to great highlighting in real life. In 2D, flecks of glitter help to create the illusion of dimension, but in the street, all that glitter can just be blinding, and you're not fooling anyone that it might be your skin and inner health that is beaming out all that light." 

Even if at first you think you're all set, take some time to double-check how your highlighter might look in person, under harsher natural or indoor lighting, as this can be significantly different than in photographs. 

How to properly apply highlighter

Thankfully, applying highlighter correctly is simple once you get the hang of it. Masterclass recommends focusing your attention on the high points of your face. From the tip of your nose to the brow bones, a good highlighter will provide shine in the correct areas and will also help add some extra light to your face. The best way to find the perfect areas to apply highlighter is by playing around with it. 


Try to apply some highlighter in various spots on your face until you find the best places where the light catches the glittery particles. Juvia's Place suggests using your fingers to apply a highlighter over any other beauty tool. This recommendation is based on the fact that applying your highlighter with your fingers gives you more control while allowing you to blend the product more smoothly into your skin. 

Certain beauty tools, on the other hand, run the added risk of a streaky finish. Applying a highlighter with your fingers will blend in the product and let you build it up to your liking. As always, though, keep in mind that less is more.