Whether you are mixing a liquid luminizer in with your foundation or strategically applying a glow-inducing powder onto the highest points of your cheekbones, it’s safe to say that face highlighter has made its mark in the beauty industry. Now, there’s a new trend that’s shifting the focus of this makeup routine staple up north to the eyes. Meet the eyelighter trend, a technique coined for its ability to transform you into a bright-eyed beauty by way of using shimmery makeup products and clever placement. TL;DR: It’s out with the dull, tired-looking eyes and in with a wider, brighter, and seriously pretty look.
To get more specific, the eyelighter trend brightens the eyes with “snowy” or pearlized, iridescent pigments. “The look first began with a focus on the inner corner of the eyes and has evolved into sweeps of illuminating color across the eyelid in addition,” says Terri Bryant, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Guide Beauty. “When light bounces off these iridescent pigments, it illuminates and lifts the eyes, creating a brilliant, rainbow-like play of color (think: the multi-dimensional effect you get with soap bubbles as the color softly shifts depending on what angle the light hits it at).”
One of the biggest selling points when it comes to eyelighter? It’s virtually foolproof and looks good on absolutely everyone — no matter your eye shape or size. Unlike challenging or time-consuming eyeshadow looks that involve sharp lines and blending (read: cut creases or multi-step contouring with deep, bold pigments), Bryant notes that eyelighter is a time-saver and an easily achievable look to create across all artistry skill levels.
If you’re one to rely on a heavy dose of concealer to mask a bad night’s sleep, Stila’s global beauty director Charlie Riddle says this trend will be a life-saver for brightening up tired eyes. “Just like highlighting the face, eyelighter involves pulling forward any shadows and drawing in light,” he tells TZR. “By strategically placing shadow or pigment in certain areas, the eye appear larger and more awake.” Eyelighter can also help give the illusion of wider eyes for those with hooded or small-set eyes by bringing more light to the area.
How To Achieve The Eyelighter Trend
First things first: shade choice. Brittany Lo, professional makeup artist and founder of Beia, says to look for makeup products that have a shimmery iridescent finish for an overall ethereal look. “We’re also seeing lots of icy cool tones being mixed with pastel shades for somewhat of a fairy vibe,” she says of the current trend. Though icy shades work best for this, you can also use duochrome shadows for a more intense result or even a brightening concealer that has a pearlescent finish for a more subtle eyelight.
Next up, product choice. If using a pressed eyeshadow, look for a smooth formula that has fine, iridescent pigments. If you’re experiencing fallout or the color begins to sheer out and fade, Bryant says to first pat the shadow onto the eyelids with a shader brush that has denser, shorter bristles and then proceed with blending out the color with a blending brush. Using a loose pigment? Depending on how finely-milled the product is, Bryant says you can use a synthetic brush or your fingers when applying. Using an eyelid primer can also help to keep the shadow in place. Shimmery jumbo eye pencils and cream eyeshadows can also work — just apply a light layer to avoid creasing and use your fingertips (versus a brush) to help melt the product into the skin and create a seamless finish.
Finally — product placement. Lo says that if you’re going for a more subtle look, concentrate the product onto the inner corners of the eyes, on top of the brow bone, and on the lower lash line. You can up the intensity by adding a light wash of color from the lash line blended up to brow bone in addition to the inner corner and lower lash line.
If you’re worried about the product settling into wrinkles on the lid or around the eye, Bryant says that with the right pigment, the eyelighter look can still work for eyelids that have more texture. “It requires gentler application and sheer washes of color that sit softly on the lid,” she says. “It’s a great way to brighten and lift a lid without getting heavy handed.”
So, if you’re in the market to fake a brighter, more awake eye with something a little more fun than just a swipe of concealer, consider eyelighter your new makeup secret weapon.
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For a glittery iridescence, Stila’s cult-favorite liquid eyeshadow fits the bill. This one’s dual-sided with both a matte and shimmery end, perfect for oily eyelids that need a solid base with a matte shade before popping on the shine.
Aptly named, it only takes a second to reap the bright-eyed effects of this creamy, crease-proof eyeshadow. Use your fingers to swipe it onto your eyelids and brow bone for a delicate eyelight.
Tired eyes don’t stand a chance thanks to this dual-ended pick from Iconic London, which comes with a pigmented cream crayon on one end and an ultra-hydrating glaze gloss that shines as it hits the light.
For a glitter paste without the mess, reach for this full-coverage pressed option from Smith & Cult. It features glitters of various sizes to give tired eyes a brighter, multi-dimensional effect.
Is it a gel or a powder? Shiseido is blurring the lines with this silky-smooth formula that blends the rich color payoff and staying power of a powder with the blendability of a cream.
High-impact pearls fuse with ultra-fine glitter for a whipped liquid eyeshadow that delivers all pigment and no fallout. Plus, the doe foot applicator makes applying it to your lower lash line effortless.
Soft and creamy but never creasy, this retractable eyeliner pencil has a luminous pearl finish to brighten the eyes. Pop it on the inner corner for subtle eyelight days.