HAC Makeup Products Tips & Tricks

Tip Tuesday: Highlighting Concealer & Highlighting Illuminator

This might be common knowledge but I’ve been asked what the difference is fairly often lately so I thought I’d clear it up:)

I can see why these two things so often can get confused.
They are both highlighter, but (aside from highlighting of course) they serve different purposes.
Highlighting Illuminator is essentially a lighter colored shimmer or pearly product, they come in powder, cream and liquid versions.
They highlight by lightening up the skin and giving it a sheen which makes the light hit it. These are perfect for the highpoint of the cheek bone, the bow of the lip & the high point of the brow bone.
Highlighting concealers are a concealer that’s lighter than your skin tone. They are often yellow based and sometimes have a hint of a sheen to them as well but it’s much more subtle. These are perfect for brightening up your under eyes, down the bridge of the nose and on your chin.
I usually use them both in conjunction, but here I demonstrated the effect separately:

(and this is why I love using highlighting concealer under my eyes instead of just the shimmer!)


I also thought I’d round op some of my favorites of both for you incase you’re on the prowl:)

The best of the best for every budget!


1. Becca Shimmering Skin Protector: For those of you who are oily and would rather be illuminating with powder to help cut the grease, this one is BY FAR my favorite powder for the job. It’s such a gorgeous color and the shimmer is very fine, so you won’t look like a disco ball.
2. E.L.F in Lilac Petal.: For gals on a budget, this one is really pretty and for the price of a banana. It’s a total steal!
3. Becca Shimmering Skin Protector Liquid: This one is much more pricey but SO gorgeous. It’s smooth and the shimmer is very soft. Plus it comes in a few colors, which is really helpful for different skin tones.
4. Maskcara: I was SUPER picky when I formulated this because I wanted it to reflect light like a pearl rather than a diamond. Giving s dewey brightness, instead of a glittery one.
5.  IT Cosmetics: 2 great things about this baby is that 1 – it’s anti-aging & 2- it’s super hydrating. Making it a perfect choice for aging skin.


6. Marc Jacobs in Stand Corrected: This is another GREAT choice for aging skin. The formula will not get caught in fine lines and wrinkles and the color is gorgeous.
7. Maskcara IID Foundation: Cover imperfections and get that brightness in the perfect shade plus it comes with the contour as well! (Medium is out but Light & Dark are still available!:)
8. Dream Lumi Touche: A LONG time favorite of mine! Is a great choice that won’t break the bank!
9. Mary Kay in Yellow: My sister Rachel turned me on to this and I LOVE it. For those of you who are dying for the medium to be back in stock, this is a great alternative!

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  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Can you just come live with me and do my makeup every morning?! I’ll cook you delicious foods! (that last part might not be true)

    • Reply
      June 17, 2014 at 10:28 am

      That’s the best idea I’ve ever heard!!!!

  • Reply
    Miss Viola Swamp (@imaqt209421)
    June 17, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Thanks for these tips!

    • Reply
      June 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

      You’re so welcome! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Emerald Earrings
    June 17, 2014 at 6:06 am

    Love this!! I still adore the Dream Lumi 🙂
    Okay, so I’m about 1/3 through What Alice Forgot. Oh my! So hard to have to do normal people things like go to work and cook and exercise. lol. All I want to do is read that book!

    • Reply
      June 17, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Oh my gosh! I know the feeling!!!! I was sneaking it in everytime I had time and mostly when I didn’t! Haha

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ Sweet & Simple Life Blog
    June 17, 2014 at 6:11 am

    There is a huge difference in a “highlighting” concealer…thanks for the tips!

    • Reply
      June 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

      You bet 🙂

  • Reply
    Ashley M-K
    June 17, 2014 at 6:24 am

    I am so glad you cleared this up. I could never figure out why my illuminator never looked quite right on my nose and chin but looked great on my eyes and the bow of my lip. Mystery solved!

    • Reply
      June 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Yes! that might be a bit too shimmery for sure!!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 6:37 am

    I’ve tried highlighting w/ a concealer (both the NYX HD concealer and the Dream Lumi) and I feel like it looks cakey. Like it just kind of settles in the pores rather than looking smooth. What am I doing wrong here?

    • Reply
      June 17, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Same thing happens to me. It messes up my foundation and cakes when I try to use a concealer to highlight.

  • Reply
    Jill Coleman
    June 17, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I bought dream lumi because of you. I buy most of my products based on your recommendations and I couldn’t be happier with the results! Thanks for being awesome 🙂

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 6:52 am

    I just got my Maskcara illuminator in the mail – I’ve only used an illuminator once before and it wound up looking super sweet and pink in a bad way. The Maskcara one is sooo much better – I love it! It is very subtle, but then again, you want that at your 9-5 job :). I would totally recommend it to anyone.

  • Reply
    Emily Lowery
    June 17, 2014 at 7:11 am

    I have never really used a highlighter before – illuminator or concealer – may have to look into it now. Great review xo
    EmsAlice // Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  • Reply
    Grace K
    June 17, 2014 at 7:49 am

    This is a very helpful blog post! I have a random question…what color nail polish do you have on in the picture haha

    • Reply
      June 19, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      I was going to ask the same thing! Haha!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 8:35 am

    What nail polish is that Cara?!

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Blonde with a Chanse
    June 17, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Really though, I would love for you to do my makeup everyday! You are amazing, and I have learned so much from you. I am still waiting for the medium to come back in stock because I really want to buy some 🙂

  • Reply
    Beth and Beauty
    June 17, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Thank you so much for this clarification, I think it is very easy to get confused on how to use these products correctly

  • Reply
    Kelley Warner
    June 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

    This is so helpful! Any update on when the medium HAC pack will be available?

  • Reply
    Sara P
    June 17, 2014 at 10:58 am

    There’s no link for the IT Cosmetics product!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I too want to know the color of your nail polish 🙂

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Is it possible to have your products shipped to Europe? Of course I will take care of all the shipping costs!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Hi Cara! How do you suggest using these in conjunction with one another? Would you apply the concealer first to cover dark circles under the eyes and then use an illuminator? Or what would you suggest? Thanks!

  • Reply
    Miss Viola Swamp (@imaqt209421)
    June 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I like your blog 🙂 It reminds me i need to work out more!

  • Reply
    Miss Viola Swamp (@imaqt209421)
    June 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Whoops! That was for flexandshout

  • Reply
    kay kerns
    June 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Useful information thanks!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Such a great post! I’m also a beauty blogger and I actually just learned the difference recently (embarrassing…) but highlighting is amazing. I also put a post up on it, check it out if you have some time: http://behindthemirrorbeauty.com/2014/06/02/foolproof-concealer/

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for the great tips!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up! I do have a question for you regarding oil-based products, name Josie Maran, for oily skin. I hear the “oil combats oil” phrase from some ladies at sephora but I was wondering your take? I have oily skin, obviously, and im tying to find a natural-looking foundation that doesn’t require touch-ups during th day. Thank you!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I just wanted to second the Mary Kay concealer in yellow. I’m a consultant but bought your products (feeling sooo guilty since i only wear MK stuff) but ran out and am waiting on the medium to get back in stock. The concealer is very similar in color, but is a lot more coverage. When I want lighter coverage I mix the concealer with moisturizer. I’ll still order yours again, but for now the MK is good stuff.

  • Reply
    June 17, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Do you have any suggestions for oil free highlighting concealer? For us acne prone gals

  • Reply
    Kylie Storm Crichton
    June 17, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Oh my gosh, this post helped me so much! I finally get it! 🙂 Thanks Cara. Love your nailpolish btw!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    What would you consider the Prep + Prime highlighter pens from MAC? They’re not really shimmery, but they’re not skintoned, either. I use mine both as a corrector and a highlighter.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    This is totally off topic but I love that nailpolish colour! Can you share?! Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Great post! Do you have any recs for powder concealer? I have oily skin (especially around the eye area), and I find that most cream concealers don’t stay put even with setting powder. Thanks!

  • Reply
    ashley breshears
    June 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I am a beauty consultant with Mary Kay and I think you would also love the under eye highlighting pen as well! It is AMAZING! It does the job for both concealer and illuminates.

  • Reply
    ashley breshears
    June 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    you can find those products here http://www.marykay.com/ashleybreshears and support mary kay and not people reselling from amazon 🙂

  • Reply
    June 18, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    This is kind of off topic, but that nail color is so pretty! Please share 🙂

  • Reply
    Awardwinning Beauty Bloggerin schwärmt hiervon… | Kosmetik Köln
    June 22, 2014 at 12:49 am

    […] Den original Beitrag von MasCara findet man hier! […]

  • Reply
    June 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this post!! I just recently purchased NYX’s illuminator and I love it but wondered what the different uses for the illuminator and my mary kay concealer were!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I understand the explanation of the difference between the two, but looking at the picture I see no difference between the two sides of your face!! Did I miss something?

  • Reply
    Andi Sutton
    June 24, 2014 at 8:12 am

    If anybody is looking for a Mary Kay consultant to hook them up with that great concealer, you just found her! http://www.marykay.com/asutton403 Personalized service, and 100% satisfaction guarantee. I’d love to hear from you!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I also want to know the name of the nail polish you have on in that picture…so pretty!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ammie England
    July 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Cara, do you find that the Marc Jacobs Stand Corrected works universally or should I get a different color? I’m fair skinned with blonde hair. The Sephora website makes it appear as if it is all the same product but it seems to me like there are two that highlight & illuminate and the other colors are concealers.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I so much want to try all of these products, but it is so costly to do so.

    I do have the Maybelline New York Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Ivory and I love the ivory shade and how it brightens my eye area. That said, though, it also does. not. last. At all. And it does not cover my very purple under eye are that well. It also creases. Boohoohoo. 🙁

    I’m still in search of that miracle product that can handle all of these issues.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2015 at 8:18 am

    What shade do you recommend for dream lume touche? I clicked the link and there are so many to choose from. I am light/medium with a yellowish warm skin undertone. Thanks!

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