What Is Thermal Highlighter? The Rainbow Trend Isn't Just For Your Hair Anymore

One of the fun things about our beauty drawers is that there are constantly new techniques and trends filtering in and out that keep the makeup morning routine fresh and interesting. The newest trend on the block, thermal highlighter, is a brightening technique that looks incredible in photos and on Instagram, of course.

At this point you might be scratching your head and asking, but what is thermal highlighter? It's not exactly self explanatory. To sum it up, it's taking the rainbow trend off of your hair and onto your face. Forget rainbow eyebrows or rainbow freckles — you can amp it up even more. POPSUGAR explained, "This unique look is meant to mimic the electric hues of a thermal body scan, which pinpoints the varying temperatures of different areas."

So, how do you pull it off? It seems to be more of a playful, just-for-fun look rather than a "let's go out to dinner" style. According to Seventeen, "Thermal highlighting is ~hotter~ than anything you've seen before. Inspired by the neon colors of a thermal image of the face, these makeup looks are otherworldly cool." Otherworldly is the perfect word for it — it looks like something that would be perfect for an alien queen in a sci-fi movie.

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But then again, if you like the bright, luminous glow of the trend, you can always dial back the intensity of the colors and still pull it off for day-time outings. Lifestyle site A Plus offered, "You can dial up the intensity by layering different pigments, or try a soft finish. This way you can create a very cool look, or use warmer colors for a hot finish, or even go all out by combining the entire ROYGBIV spectrum into one look."

Or if you're a bold one with your makeup looks, you can also wear it outside in full intensity without attracting sidelong glances. It just depends to where you wear this thermal highlighter trend. A Plus suggested, "Thermal highlighter might not be something we can get away with at work, but it can be fun to try out at festivals, parties, and even to celebrate Pride month this June." It may be loud, but it still has a place to be showed off! And if nothing else, this trend proves that you can look at your makeup drawer and get super creative with how you express yourself.

Even if that self-expression is limited to the fun hour you spend playing in front of your bathroom mirror.

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