The Right Highlighter for Your Skin Condition

Because it makes all the difference between spotlighting flaws and boosting radiance.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

For sensitive skin

Sidestep flare-ups and reactions with lightweight formulas that are free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, alcohol and petrolatum – ingredients that set off sensitive skin. Try: Tom Ford Illuminating Highlight Pen, $84. 

For dry, flaky skin

Opt for cream or liquid highlighters, as powder plays up peeling skin and fine lines. Apply where there’s less dryness – the cheekbones, down the centre of the nose, at the inner corner of eyes. Yeo strongly recommends moisturising well first and using skincare or a primer with a pearly sheen to create an even glow. Try: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand in Spotlight, $62. It’s universally flattering without obvious glitter, giving a naturally lit effect. 

For blemished skin

Avoid megawatt highlighting bombs – they’ll only play up bumpy skin. Choose one that’s lightly pearlescent and non-comedogenic. A liquid formula that can be mixed with foundation for all-over radiance helps too. Try: Dior Backstage Face & Body Glow, $63. Lightweight and non-greasy, this diffuses light to blur minor imperfections. 

For fine lines

Hydrating formulas like cream or liquid with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and collagen are best. Use sparingly on areas with highly visible lines. Try: IT Cosmetics Hello Light Anti-Aging Luminizing Creme Stick, $42. Developed with plastic surgeons, this won’t cake along lines and make them more obvious. 

For oily skin

Say yes to powder highlighters with fine shimmer, not glittery or metallic. Makeup artist Larry Yeo’s advice is to steer clear of the T-zone and apply only on the sides of the face. Try: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12Hour Highlighter, $48. A sheer powder flecked with fine, pearly particles, it promises to last 12 hours without fading or caking.