The One Highlighting Mistake Pro Makeup Artists Wish You Would Stop Making

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Ever since that one powerful word—“strobing”—popped up on everyone’s Instagram last June, highlighting has been synonymous with summertime. By now, you’ve bought your highlighters for the season, and you’re ready to go. But without proper direction, you could end up looking like a shimmery, shiny mess. Here are the eight highlighting mistakes top makeup artists want you to avoid.

You pile it on. “Less is more. Highlighting certain areas shouldn’t look heavy—it should be the complete opposite. Most people make the mistake of putting too much shimmery powder on, and it looks frosty, instead of a subtle sheen. It should reflect light and look fresh, not dull.” —Kira Nasrat, who works with Bebe Rexha and Olivia Culpo

You’re using too much product. “A lot of highlighters come in solid stick form, which seems like [an invitation to apply it] directly to your face. Use a synthetic foundation brush instead. The result will be clean and effective, and you’ll save a ton of product.” —Edward Cruz, who works with Priyanka Chopra and Selita Ebanks

You’re putting it all over your face. “This will not only make you glow too much; it will also make you look oily. Shiny all over isn’t good. Make sure you’re applying it only to the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and right above the lips on the Cupid’s bow.” —Daniel Chinchilla, who works with Ariana Grande and Keke Palmer

You’re using the wrong shade. “If you’re medium- or dark-skinned, make sure you use highlighters that range from peachy golden shades to bronzy tones so the highlighter blends in, as opposed to clashing with your skin tone. People with pale skin should go with more translucent, ivory tones.” —Niki M’nray, who works with Rihanna and Jessica Hart

You’re using cream highlighters wrong. “People tend to shy away from cream highlighters because they have a hard time using them. I always say apply it with your fingers. Warm it up between your fingers and then press gently into the areas you want to highlight. I love using the RMS Living Luminizer for this.” —Nasrat

You’re putting a liquid-based highlighter over powder foundation. “Applying a liquid-based highlighter on top of your powder foundation will move the foundation during application, causing it to look uneven. Use a powder-based highlighter instead.” —Kristine Cruz, a makeup artist at the Antonio Prieto Salon in New York City who works with Mary-Louise Parker

You’re too impatient. “When you’re mixing liquid highlighter and liquid foundation, apply both of them to the right areas of the face, wait for them to dry, and then set with a powder foundation.” —Cruz

You’re not thinking about what kind of light you’ll be in. “You can go more extreme with the highlighter in softer, dimmer lights, but in sunlight it’s best to keep it subtle.” —Beau Nelson, who works with Katy Perry and Christina Hendricks

PHOTO: VICTOR VIRGILE/GAMMA-RAPHO VIA GETTY IMAGES

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