Is There Such a Thing as a Good Matte Highlighter?

Anonymous bemoans the lack of matte face products and wondered if I knew of any good ones.

Finding good matte products is a huge problem, and my guess as to why is that it’s much harder to hide flaws in pigmentation/application if there’s no shimmer to distract from it or blur it out.

  • Blush: Try Milani Minerals Blush (great pigmentation/staying powder, though a not-so-great selection of shades {mostly your basic natural colors}) or Tarte Cheekstains (I know that many of them say “shimmering” in their descriptions, but they moreso look dewy than shimmery, and many don’t actually have shimmer at all {who gets hired to describe these things?}).  MUFE makes some great matte blushes, but for a steep price, and I find that they apply very slightly chalky, but if you want a great range of shades, this is your place to go.
  • Bronzer: My two favorites by far are Smashbox Bronze Lights and MUFE Matte Bronze. Both absorb oil, keeping your face naturally matte, never oxidize, look great on a large range of skintones, can be applied sheerly with ease, and have absolutely not a speck of shimmer. These two are some of my favorite products period in my kit, and I use them on nearly everyone.
  • Highlighters: Finding a matte highlighter is tricky, as highlighters are meant to make light reflect off the high points of your face to bring them out. For a subtle highlight, try COTY Finishing Powder in a shade lighter than your skintone or a product like MAC Sculpting Powder. However, my favorite and most oft-used method for contouring without shimmer is to use a foundation one to two shades lighter on the areas that you would normally highlight. Just make sure to blend well and not extend too far beyond the cheekbones, forehead, chin, etc. (this method is much easier if you use a cream foundation).


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  1. #1 by tiffany on March 25, 2012 - 13:29

    I use MAC eyeshadow in Gesso which is a very matte WHITE.. it’s almost like chalk, and it takes some layering with a big concealer brush to build it up enough. I use it as a hilighter on my nose, chin and under eyes and it works AMAZING… I hate shimmer hilighters for me because i feel like it makes my pores and imperfections actually stand out. plus i have really tricky under eyes. a lot of puffiness due to genetic fat pockets. I just put Gesso under the puff in the shallow dip and then above my cheekbones. It looks amazing in pictures and gives my face an airbrushed look.

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