Here’s why highlighters and illuminators should be your go-to winter beauty products

Photography by Peter Stigter

See our top highlighter and illuminator picks »

I’ve been thinking about Jennifer Lopez‘s face a lot lately. I realize this is a weird thing to admit, but it’s true. Last week, I saw the below photo of J.Lo at a Golden Globes after party, and I can’t get it out of my head. More specifically, I can’t stop thinking about her (makeup artist’s) expert use of highlighting techniques. First, it’s important to understand the difference between the two products; illuminator adds a subtle hint of shine and shimmer all over your face, so the best way to apply is to mix a drop or two in with your daily moisturizer or foundation. Highlighter’s more intense and light-reflecting, so it’s used to bring forward the features you want to accentuate.

Lopez is obviously wearing a ton of makeup in this photo, including some grade-A, Kardashian-level contouring, but the reason she still looks fresh, awake and glowing, is because of the highlighter applied everywhere light naturally hits her face—cheekbones, down the bridge of her nose, brow bone, chin and cupid’s bow.

A photo posted by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on

Illuminating makeup was all over the Spring 2015 runways, giving models an ethereal, iridescent look. Seen at the likes of Haider Ackermann, Giambattista Valli, Issey Miyake and Prabal Gurung, a heavy hand is no longer a faux pas when it comes to creating shine.

While a nice shimmer is great all year round, it’s especially important to brighten up your look in the winter, when you don’t have the help of the sun and glistening forehead sweat. Take a look at our favourite highlighters and illuminators below, and choose the look you want to create, from pearly whites to golden glows.

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