Most of my makeup life, I’ve been obsessed with being matte. I am a black woman with combination oily skin, and I grew up in a humid climate. To be oil free with an all-over matte complexion has been pretty much a lifelong goal. But now the makeup world has gone mad for highlighting, and the trend is beckoning me. I love glow and luminosity and I wanna be down! But I don’t want to overdo and have that C3PO look. I needed solid advice or product picks for a beautiful highlight for WOC, and I found that and more at highlighter class at Sephora!

I recently attended a Mini Makeover class on highlighting, taught by Sephora PRO Jeffrey English. The set-up was super cute, we got hands-on instructions from in-store experts, and the gift bags were to DIE for. And in between all of that, I learned a few tips on achieving “Spring’s totally lit trend,” as they’re calling it. Come with me into this magical world, let me tell you what products you need to get your glow ALL the way on!



These next-generation highlighters are about to glow you away ? #LinkInBio

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Skincare First!

First things first, a beautiful highlight starts with skincare. Products that got raves oohs and aahs during the presentation include the Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel (which is apparently super easy to use) and Drunk Elephant TLC babyfacial – I’ve been sleeping on this brand and apparently they’re amazing! Plus I love the name. Both of these products got raves for improving the texture of skin.

Moisturize Your Situation

If you’re trying to create a smooth glass like finish to your face, you need to hydrate before application. Jeffrey broke it down like this – think of your skin as a sponge. Now think of a dry sponge, you can  really see the holes. When you moisturize the sponge, the holes disappear. Moisturizing your face can help to reduce those pores and minimize some texture issues.

Glowy Skin = Young Skin

Jeffrey shook up the room with a question and answer: “Who walks around dry and matte all day? Old people.” Well jeez, Jeffrey. But he is right – older skin tends to be dry and matte because it doesn’t absorb and retain moisture as well as young skin. This is why glowing, dewy and moisturized skin speaks to youth. A little sheen makes your skin look really healthy, and this is why nobody thinks about J.Lo’s age when we see photos of her, we just think “wow she looks amazing!” Because amazing skin and that forever glow. That’s the secret!

Moisturizer, Moisturizer, Foundation

In terms of makeup application, a layer of foundation is like a layer of skin. So use a glowing moisturizer underneath foundation for a light glow. You can do your usual moisturizer first, then glowing moisturizer and THEN light foundation — apply foundation with a brush where you need it.  That gives a basic dewy shine.

In terms of applying your highlighter, if you’re going with creams and powders on top, you get a much more intense look. But let your cream dry first before applying powder.

Product Picks, Only at Sephora!

During this class we learned a LOT about the hot new highlighting products at Sephora. What I didn’t know was that Sephora works with brands I LOVE to create special only-at-Sephora products that hit on the hottest trends.


So I had no idea that Sephora commissioned a highlight from Becca, it’s called Prismatic Amethyst and it’s an adventurous lavender duo-chrome — gorgeous! At Sephora you can also find the Cover FX illuminating setting spray. Traditionally it’s been about matte setting sprays but Jeffrey English and the Sephora team believe that illuminating setting sprays are about to explode. I had to ask about this because illuminating setting spray sounds like the opposite of what I’m used to or need. Jeffrey agreed that for oily skin this may not be a good idea unless you use on the edge on your face. For us oily people, he recommends a regular setting spray that will set makeup but won’t add more shine. And then add setting powder where you would normally contour. Boom!

Here’s another product pick must-have Sephora Pro made a special prosumer product – the SEPHORA COLLECTION Sephora PRO Dimensional Highlighting Palette, which is basically everything you need in one glossy kit. It comes in Warm or Cool (I’m Warm, obvs) and it includes three buildable, lightweight cream highlighters and two “high-shine glaze top coats” which I will figure out how to master. But apparently this may be useful in Chicago because apparently gloss finish can help keep away windburn. According to Jeffrey, gloss finish gives a beautiful hydrated finish and makes you look extra dewy and youthful because it’s about showcasing the skin and showcasing the texture of skin.

Sephora Perfection Mist nude glow is a spray-on mist that completes a look to perfection. Jeffrey demonstrated the use and I noticed its not like what I’d typically do with a spray-on product (i.e blast myself in the face with it). He explained that application is all about the way you spray: “What we are seeing  a lot is highlighted on the side of the face. Think of the parentheses of the face. Spray and let Perfection Mist fall naturally on the planes of the face. If you tilt your head back, the more glow you’re gonna get.” This is true of all spray-on products – the more you tilt your head back, the more product you’re delivering to your face.

If you’re looking for a lightweight moisturizer to give you glow from underneath your foundation, Brighter Days highlighting moisturizer from Tarte is offering athleisure inspired beauty, a light reflecting moisturizer that helps to blur and diminish imperfections.

Brush Life

Jeffrey recommends we use a domed synthetic brush to apply holographic highlighters. A fluffy brush like SEPHORA COLLECTION Pro Fan Brush #65 is preferred for subtle highlight application, it helps to blur imperfections and enhance skin. The pro highlight brush lays product on even smoother, and you can use a brow brush to brush off some of the layers if you have too much texture showing up on the skin.

Here are the product picks for individual highlighter looks so you can go forth and get your glow on!

Shimmer Glow


Make Up For Ever Star Lit liquid is gorgeous on cheeks and eyes! It’s a lightweight, sheer, water-based pearlescent formula that gives great, buildable highlight application that’s never heavy or sticky. Can’t wait to play with it.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is all high tech and soft focus, like an Instagram filter in palette form.

Lancôme Click & Glow Illuminating Skin Highlighter is a beautiful little tool for highlighting on the go, ideal for travel.

Laura Mercier Lightstruck Palette offers a lovely range of products for a subtle, shimmery glow.

Holographic Glow

Kat Von D Beauty’s Alchemist Holographic Palette is all about catching the light. Her products are so gorgeous!

Milk Makeup Holographic stick is apparently “loaded with meteorite powder and twilight pearls” and creates a “hyper-lavender prismatic finish” – my inner Rainbow Brite is very intrigued.

Cover FX makes Custom Enhancer Drops in Halo for a truly outrageous holographic glow you can blend with foundation or moisturizer.

Nudestix makes a super easy highlighter for newbies, their Nudies All Over Face Color Glow in Illumi-Naughty will give you that luminosity wherever you want it.

Dewy Glow

That Sephora Pro palette in warm that I mentioned is the top pick for achieving this look.

Ciate London’s Dewy Stix are super easy and quick for dew on the go.

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fluid Sheer in Color 2 is a super popular multitasking illuminator that promises effortless radiance. Sounds like a must-try!


Thanks for the hands-on experience, Sephora – I learned a lot! Now to try this all at home.

Bellas, what are your favorite highlighting products? Top tips? Share with me!


Atira says:
March 21, 2017, 11:41 am
This post is dreamy!! I'm just like you where I'm an oily gal who loves being matte but I can't avoid a bit of glow. I've been trying to find the perfect balance between velvety skin with a killer highlight.
pets says:
March 21, 2017, 4:04 pm
As an older black woman I am very happy to get these tips.
pilarromero says:
March 25, 2017, 2:49 am
My sister likes doing makeup. She carries darker complexion, this blog will be really helpful for her. As she is not a professional, hence always face the problem with foundation blending on her skin, so we are looking for the makeup applicator which can properly blend the foundation on the skin. Recently she read about silicone sponge makeup applicator from that is helpful for proper blending the foundation and also reusable. According to you, are these blending tools are useful? Please share your view so that we can decide to buy sili sponge.
Tiffany says:
April 25, 2017, 3:03 pm
Lol. I thought I was the only one that thought everyone looked like C3PO!! Thanks for the great article.
Kreations Wellness says:
September 21, 2018, 4:10 am
You have shared nice article. It is very enjoyable and entertained us so much. I really thankful to your post.
Kreations Wellness says:
September 21, 2018, 4:11 am
Nice Article. Its really helpful. Keep Sheering .....
Emma says:
May 7, 2020, 4:49 am
Very useful information. Sephora has such a wide range of products that it's like a dream. Here you will find a variety of cosmetics, including, but not limited to, skin care, fragrances, makeup, and more, for both men and women. This is really a one-stop shop for all your beauty needs. And the coolest thing is that now you can use the discount, I think it will be useful for you.