Eye shadow with brush on white background
Image: Shutterstock/Warongdech

Looking for a way to add a bit of multipurpose functionality to your makeup? One makeup hack is to use your eye shadow to highlight your face. You may be picturing a colorful makeup disaster, but using eye shadow as a highlighter is an easy process if you know how to use it properly. Read on to learn how to highlight your face using eye shadow.

Find the right product and shade

Any eye shadow that has a light, radiant tone that complements your skin will work as a highlighter. That means you’ll be looking at shades like your peach, coral, white, bronze or beige tones. The more shimmery the better. Depending on what you have on hand and your skin tone, this could take some experimenting to see what looks best on your skin.

If you want to be more official about the way you highlight your face, the typical rules for highlighting with certain shades based on your skin tone are:

  • Dark skin: Teracotta hues
  • Olive skin: Golden hues
  • Light to medium skin: Pink champagne tones
  • Fair skin: Champagne tones

If you have some of these shades as an eye shadow, you’re in luck. Otherwise, if you’re thinking of doing this from scratch, you might want to consider looking for an eye shadow palette that contains these hues so you get more bang for your buck.

Also, this works wonderfully with cream-based eye shadows, as you can just use your finger to apply. Otherwise, using a larger makeup brush to apply the eye shadow to the rest of your face is a solid option.

How to apply eye shadow to highlight your face

Now, there are all sorts of complicated rules about where to highlight your face based on your face type. For instance, to elongate the face, round faces will want to focus on drawing an inverted triangle under each eye that goes to the bottom of the nose. Find out how to highlight for you specific face type here.

But the whole idea of using makeup in a multifunctional capacity is to make your life easier. So with the spirit of simplicity in mind, there are some easier general rules to follow. If you want a subtle highlighting effect that works on any face type, apply a light amount of “highlighter” (AKA eye shadow) to your upper cheekbones, in a vertical line down the bridge of your nose and a little bit on the cupid’s bow (where your lips meet in the middle at the top). Use your finger or makeup brush to blend well.