While complexion enhancers may not be an everyday necessity for westerners (who typically have relatively moreÂ prominent bone structures and don’t need as much contouring as we do), they certainly are essential in Japanese makeup. Every Japanese brand has at least a few luminizers (or highlighters) in their lineup. If you are afraid of using luminizers, you really shouldn’t be; after all, they will only give you a nice, natural glow if used correctly.
First of all, some people may confuse luminizers with glitter. While some luminizers tend to be overly shimmery, most of them in the Asian lineup or even some western brands are not glittery. They all leave the skin with a pearl finish, and the trick is to use it in the right spots and not all over the face (which will make you look greasy rather than radiant).
Basically, there is little to highlighting – all you need is a pearl-finish luminizer and apply along the bridge of your nose, bow above top lip, chin, and under the eyes (as seen on the Aube Couture Designing Highlight to brighten the often-dark undereye area). This is the basics of highlighting – giving a nice soft glow to your facial contours and is especially flattering on Asians since our bone structures aren’t as prominent as our Caucasian counterparts.
I used Photoshop (albeit poorly) to show where the luminizer was applied on Karine. You can use products like High Beam by Benefit Cosmetics or Stila’s Liquid Luminizer (I use #3) if you prefer a light fluid texture and if you don’t wear powder or foundation – these are great on bare skin. If you need coverage, you can use a highlighting powder such as Aube Couture’s Designing Highlight or Laneige’s Makeup Brighter.
Besides using a highlighter, I usually use a liquid/cream blush such as Stila’s One Step Primer Color in Bronze Babe (great for summer!) or MUFE’s Microfinish Blush on my cheeks too. The results are very natural and radiant. Most of all, very seamless if you apply correctly (for beginners, start with the smallest amount and build your way up).
As for the full facial contouring (with a dark shade asÂ sculpting powder in addition to highlighting), personally I don’t really recommend it for everyday use. First of all, it’s tricky and takes practice, and unless you are really experienced doing it, you could risk looking heavily made up. The picture of Karine from VoCE magazine has full facial contouring on – and it’s done perfectly – the trick is to use the right product with the right shades. The darker sculpting shade shouldn’t be too dark – even a shade or two darker than your normal foundation shade or skin tone is enough to create a contouring effect. A light-shade bronzer (stick with a neutral shade, not orange-toned bronzer) in powder form and a large flat facial brush will do the trick. Just be light-handed – like salt, it’s easy to overdo but hard to come off!
If you want that extra glow without the extra pigment, you can always mix a liquid luminizer (e.g. High Beam by Benefit) with your cream/gel blush and apply on the apples of your cheeks. It’s so natural and yet radiant!
Extra Makeup Tips:
- Always do yourÂ makeup in natural lighting.
- If you are doing full facial contouring (highlighting + dark sculpting powder), have your digital camera nearby and snap some pictures of your face before stepping out. Sometimes you will be surprised how dark the contouring looks! And pictures don’t lie – they will show you the seams where your makeup needs to be blended better.