I Did A Full Face Using Only Highlighter To Experience The Glowy Realness

by Summer Arlexis

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm a self-proclaimed lipstick hoarding, highlight obsessed, glitter connoisseur. Naturally, the mere thought of trying a full face using only highlighter got me insanely hype.

I'm all for getting creative with cosmetics, even though the beauty sphere has been known to get a little out of hand with bizarre challenges. There's the good — like the full face using liquid lipstick challenge that I aced IMO; The bad — wearing a full face of glitter didn't work out for me; And there's the downright ugly— the cringeworthy 100 coats of nail polish challenge that should have never happened. But the highlighter challenge was going to be SO worth it.

From the iridescent, to the gilded, to the whimsical, highlighters are just too magical not to love. On any given day, you can catch me layering on more than one— yes, I'm that serious about my glow. Naturally, I couldn't wait to take a stab at dusting on all-over shimmer. When I broke out some of the best glow-getters in my stash, here's how it went down.

The Setup

It was in this moment that I realized my glow to cheek ratio was way off. In other words, I had more highlighters than I could handle, and the sad part was I didn't even break out every single one I owned. My key players for the challenge were going to be a couple of liquid illuminators, the newer Anastasia Glow Kits, and a few drugstore highlighters that could compete with the best. Scroll on with your shades on standby, and prepare to be blinded!

1. Eyes

Butterfly Beach Highlighter, $6, Colorpop; Revolution Vivid Shimmer Brick, $7, Ulta

My brows were clearly done sans highlighter, but in my defense, every other guru I watched used their go-to product for that step. To officially start the challenge, I used Colourpop's "Butterfly Beach" Super Shock Highlighter as a transition shade for my eye look. Following up with the fourth shade in Makeup Revolution's Rose Gold Shimmer Brick, I deepened the crease.

Master Chrome "Molten Gold" Highlighter, $7, Amazon

I defined the outer "V" of my eyes with the fifth, deep bronze shade within the brick. Finally, I topped off my lids with Maybelline's Master Chrome "Molten Gold" Highlighter. The end result was a subtle, bronze eye look that I probably could have amplified by using a primer or concealer as a base underneath to make my "shadow" pop.

2. Foundation

NYX Born to Glow Pure Gold Liquid Illuminator, $7, Ulta; Nars Super Orgasm Illuminator, $30, Sephora

I knew liquid highlighter would be the way to go for foundation so I mixed up a base on the back of my hand using NYX Born to Glow Pure Gold Liquid Illuminator and Nars Super Orgasm Illuminator to create my skin tone. Surprisingly, that was a spot on combo for my facade. It was then that I fell deeper in love with all things glow as I painted every crevice.

3. Concealing/Highlighting

Master Chrome "Molten Gold" Highlighter, $7, Amazon

I normally use a full coverage concealer like Tarte's Shape Tape to conceal and highlight the points of light on my face. To replace my Shape Tape, I used Maybelline's Master Chrome once again, which proved to be a good candidate for the job. Using a mini Real Techniques blending sponge, I tapped it under my eyes, down the bridge of my nose, my chin, forehead, and right below the hallows of my cheeks.

4. Baking

Urban Decay "Sin" Afterglow 8-hour Powder, $26, Sephora

If my facade wasn't already blinding enough, using Urban Decay's "Sin" Afterglow 8-Hour Powder ensured I was glowing to the moon and back. This was by far the most intense baking session I had ever endured, and I mean that in the best way. I used a dry sponge to tap it in excess over the areas I had previously highlighted with the Master Chrome, and I felt like one hot glow mama.

5. Contouring

Revolution Shimmer brick, $7, Ulta

While my highlight baked, I dug into the darkest shade of the Makeup Revolution Shimmer Brick to contour the hallows of my cheeks, jawline, temples, and nose. Once I was fully bronzed to perfection, I dusted away the excess UD Sin.

6. Setting

Urban Decay "Lit" Highlighter, $32, Sephora

To set the rest of my face, I buffed on Urban Decay's "Lit" Naked Illuminated Shimmering Powder Highlighter. It balanced the intense glow left from baking the high points of my face with the rest of my makeup. By now, I was truly stunned by how well highlighter mimicked my normal face makeup.

7. Blush

Aurora Glow Kit, $40, Sephora; Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit, $40, Temptalia

I used a blend of "Spectra", the lilac shade with magenta reflect, from the Aurora Glow Kit and "Daydream", a soft orange highlighter, from the limited edition Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit to create a peachy-pink blush. It was awfully subtle considering the rest of my face was so heavily saturated in glow, but in person it was obvious that my cheeks had a peachy flush.

8. Shimmer Highlight

Dare I actually put on highlighter where it's technically supposed to go after already loading up my face with it— indeed I did! I used the icy shade within the Makeup Revolution Shimmer Brick to top off my cheekbones, cupid's bow, and the bridge of my nose. I also added it to my brow bones and the inner corners of my eyes to make my gaze pop.

9. Lips

Lime Crime "Cheap Thrill" Diamond Crusher, $18, Amazon

Again, in my defense, I saw so many beauty gurus use regular lippies to accent their pouts for this challenge. I seemingly did the same, but decided to use the "Cheap Thrill" Lime Crime Diamond Crusher to keep with the spirit of all things blinding and blingy.

Ardell Glamour Lashes 113 Black, $5, Ulta

When it comes to a full face, I'm never without lashes, either. So, I added one of my favorite pairs of dramatic lashes, Ardell's 113 falsies, to give my eye look diva flair.

10. Setting Spray

Mario Badescu Rose Water Facial Spray, $14, Amazon; NYX "Vegas Baby" Pigment, $6, Ulta

To set the look, I used Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray that I had previously mixed with NYX "Vegas, Baby!" Pigment to mist my oh so gilded makeup.

Final Result

In the words of pretty much every beauty influencer ever, I was shook! There really wasn't much of a difference between my regular makeup and my full face of highlighter, other than the fact that I was now literally glowing from every angle. I was awestruck and loving every single bit of highlighter I had packed onto my face.

I wouldn't be too quick to praise this makeup challenge, though. Never did I ever think there would be such a thing as too much highlighter, until it settled into every crevice of my facade. My skin texture looked horrid, brought to light (no pun intended) by the endless layers of glow. I don't have enlarged pores and I was lucky to not have a single blemish that day, but somehow a face full of highlighter made my texture look so uneven and icky.

Still, I'd consider going highlighter crazy again. I seriously can't get enough of these shimmering gems, which explains why I was packing enough glow to take on this challenge in the first place. I'm just as highlighter obsessed as ever, and I seriously doubt anything could change that.