A VIOLET GREY makeup artist breaks down the art of highlighting.
Written By Jess Basser Sanders
The beauty world, of late, is all abuzz about “strobing,” a technique that draws on light-reflecting creams, luminizers, and powders to create the ultimate in youthful complexions. In short, it’s a trendy new word for highlighting—a process that, while not new, has been eclipsed by contouring in recent years. But now, as VIOLET GREY’s in-house makeup expert Kira Nasrat explains, highlighting has reclaimed the proverbial spotlight. “It’s all about reflecting light to the face,” she says, “and it provides a much softer, more natural” alternative to contouring, which uses makeup two shades darker than the natural skin tone to “sculpt” and lift the visage.
Below, Nasrat, the hand behind some of Margot Robbie and Jamie Chung’s best beauty looks, advises on the best highlighting products and techniques to perfect the dewy look du jour.
Get a glow going before anything else. Apply the rose-scented cream and allow the formula to seep in, tissuing off any excess. The mask “brightens and plumps for a really nice radiant look that smooths out the appearance of lines as well,” Nasrat says.
Using a hydrating face oil will give skin that lit-from-within look, even before makeup. Nasrat recommends working the product into the skin by massaging it in. “It really preps the skin, and leaves a fresh glowy finish.” Neroli oil’s calming properties will only enhance the serene effect.
Nasrat uses this illuminated primer as an allover base to boost her celebrity clients’ natural radiance. After applying, she covers up any imperfections with concealer (she likes RMS Beauty’s “Un” Cover-Up), powders the T-zone matte, and then tops with any of her go-to highlighters to further enhance the complexion.
“It’s super sheer and creamy,” Nasrat enthuses about this luminizer. “It’s easy to blend and is great for all complexion types and tones, and is so gorgeous on bare skin,” she adds. “I love using it because it really mimics a natural dewy, glow without looking shiny.” Use a finger to tap onto cheekbones, brow bones, and anywhere else that catches the light.
A versatile highlighter that won’t budge as the day wears on, Armani’s Fluid Sheer is one of Nasrat’s staples. She blends a small amount of product on the back of her hand before using her finger to dab it onto the face until the color diffuses. In addition to applying it on the cheekbones, down the nose, and above the cupid’s bow, Nasrat likes to “bring it up to the brow bone and make a little crescent moon around the eye. It’s also really nice to add just a little tap in the center of your eyelids, either over shadow or on the bare lids, to make them pop for a wet look on the eye.”
Although it’s billed as a primer, Nasrat says this product is also ideal for finishing. When layered over makeup, it adds the perfect subtle shimmer. “Take just a little drop of it,” she says, “and dab it on top of your makeup to seal it in and give it a dewy look.”
When a romantic glow starts to melt into an unflattering shine, powder is the answer. Nasrat recommends this Kevyn Aucoin version, but cautions that less is more. “If you put on too much powder, you’ll see the product but not the luminosity,” she notes. Apply with a brush to the same areas as you would a cream highlighter, using a clean brush to blend away any excess.
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