Liquid Vs. Powder Highlight: Which Is Best For Your Skin Type?

Liquid and powder highlight both leave your skin glowing, but depending on your skin type, one may work better for you than the other. To find which formula will look the best with your makeup, you'll need to know what kind of skin you have. Cerave explains that each type is categorized by how oily a person's complexion is. Your skin type can also change as you age because it's based on more than genetics. Hormones, stress, humidity, and aging also affects how oily or dry your face is.


Normal skin will feel balanced, you still need to care for it, but it won't feel extra greasy or dry. Oily skin produces lots of sebum, so it'll look and feel very slick. This type is also more likely to have acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and enlarged pores. Then there's dry skin that doesn't produce enough oil to hydrate the face. It'll look rough and flaky, with fine lines. If you're struggling to decide whether your face is oily or dry, you likely have combination skin. It'll look greasy on your T-zone and tight on your cheeks. Once you know your skin type, you can decide between liquid and powder highlight.

Liquid for dry skin

Liquid highlighter is made of concentrated pigment and oil that usually comes in a bottle with a dropper. Since it's so potent, you only need a few drops for your face to glow. It can be used on all skin types, but its formula makes it better suited for a dry complexion. Since this skin type lacks sebum, this kind of highlighter will add what's missing, making dull skin look instantly rejuvenated. Plus, a liquid formula can be mixed into other makeup products like foundation and blush to bring more shimmer to the entire face.


If you were going to use a liquid highlighter on oily skin, your already greasy face would only look shinier as the product moves throughout the day. This is because the product can't absorb any excess sebum from your skin since it's already made with lots of oil. You may still want to use this formula because it's easier to blend and build up layers without accidentally applying too much. If this is the case, you can set the highlight with some powder.

Powder for oily skin

Powder highlighter is even more concentrated than liquid. Just one swipe of the pressed pigment can leave your face covered in sparkles because it's easy to add too much to your brush accidentally. However, once you get the hang of how much to use, you'll see how necessary this formula is for some skin types. If your complexion is oily, powder highlight is just what you need. It won't slip around or add to the greasiness of your face because it can absorb the excess sebum.


Using this type of highlighter is also your best option if your makeup routine is already comprised of powder products. It'll be easier to blend if your foundation and blush are made of similar formulas that work well with an oily skin type. Pressed powder highlighter isn't ideal for a dry complexion because it will sink into any fine lines, making them more noticeable.

How to apply highlight

Once you have the perfect highlighter formula for your skin type, you need to know how to apply it. Using it correctly will define your features and brighten your makeup look, so your complexion has a healthy glow. Highlighter is the opposite of contour, so pinpoint the high areas of your face. However, you should avoid your T-zone because applying it there will make you appear shiny or sweaty instead of glowing.


The main place to put highlighter is on the tops of your cheeks. Then you can apply it on your brow bone, cupid's bow, the bridge and tip of your nose, or inner eyes. When you're wearing an off-the-shoulder or low-cut top, you can even place some on your collar bones. If you're using a powder highlighter, a fan makeup brush will work better for application; meanwhile, liquid blends out better with your fingers or a beauty blender.