With how busy most of us are each day—proven by the constant running around and the daily struggle to squeeze in everything on our to-do list—it's no wonder that we're running low on sleep. As a quick, go-to remedy, we might guzzle down copious cups of coffee to feel more awake.
In terms of looking more awake, well, that's a whole different story. Since coffee can't do the work for us, we settle for using creams and concealers that promise to de-puff our tired eyes and erase dark circles. Problem is, it can get expensive to use these products on the regular, forcing us to turn to other products that help us look more awake.
Enter highlighter, the illuminating powder we already use to add a glow in just the right places. Now, it serves an even bigger purpose of adding a much-needed pop of brightness to our eyes and face. If you're a beginner, here's exactly how to use it.
Popular highlighter makeup brands
Drugstore brand: Milk by NYX
Adding white eye liner into your water line is one of the fastest ways to brighten the look of your eyes, so it’s no wonder that this NYX jumbo eye pencil, in the color milk, is a best-seller. It's made with a blend of mineral oil and powder that results in a creamy formula that glides onto the eyes with ease.
You can also use this highlighter for eye shadow, acting like a primer, to keep eye shadow color intact all day (or night) long. This is a drugstore brand that can be bought for less than $10.
High-end brand: Fenty Beauty
"Shine bright like a diamond" with this Fenty Beauty highlighter that serves many purposes. For example, it can be used on the eyes, face, lips, and more. It has a jelly-like texture that is bouncy yet melts into the skin right away. It's formulated entirely without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates so you can feel good about what you're putting on your skin.
Fenty Beauty is a bit more on the expensive side, but its good reviews seem to make it worth it.
How to use highlighter to look more awake
- On the brow bone: Adding highlighter on the brow bone is a subtle way to add some shine and make your brows stand out.
Many of us do this already, but slapping some highlighter on the brow line doesn't count. There are some techniques that you should follow, according to makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan. She recommends "placing a small amount of highlighter at the end of the brow around the temple area." Doing so, she says, will "add dimension and give an overall glow to the skin."
You can even outline the shape of your eyebrow below and under and then smudge it out, as a way to provide an instant "eye lift."
- On the water line: Since the water line is sensitive, you want to be very careful when applying a white highlighter pencil or shadow (pencil is best, since it's more suited for use on the water line). Since the color white can look harsh, you might want to consider using a nude color highlighter instead. To use, simply apply a fine line like you would with any regular black eye pencil.
- In the corner of the eyes: This is one of the easiest ways to add a pop of color and brightness to your eyes. Simply take a highlighter (a white, shimmery color is best) and using a makeup brush, dab the product right into the corners of your eyes. Focus on really adding that color to the top and bottom. Voilà, instant brightness.
Next time you're looking a little too tired, skip the concealer and give highlighter a chance to brighten your eyes.
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.