I’ve always thought that highlighters—you know, those pearly lotions that make skin all glowy and gorgeous—sound good in theory, but are totally intimidating. Think about it: A swipe of white shimmer down the bridge of your nose and across your cheek bones could trick people into thinking you have supermodel bone structure. But it could also look like Game of Thrones warpaint. We asked a makeup genius for a lesson in how, where, and why to apply highlighter.

Inner eye corners: “Use a tiny, short-haired brush to apply highlighter from the inner corner of the upper lash line to where the lower lash line starts; it doesn’t have to be too precise. In photos, there is the prettiest catch of light there. It’s a small detail that makes a noticeable difference”

Cheekbones: “I use my middle finger to tap it on, starting on the cheekbone directly under the outer whites of the eyes and stopping right before the temples. This is about a three finger wide area, right above where you apply blush”

Nose: “Take one, straight sweep down the bridge of the nose with highlighter on your middle finger, stopping just over half way down, as to avoid accentuating the tip. Then use a clean brush to blend it out really well.”

Crest of lips: “The goal is to create the illusion that light has been caught in the heart of the upper lip because it’s so prominent and full. You only need to sweep the lightest amount over the middle third of the crest.”

Chin: “Gently tap a dot or two in the crease under your lower lip.”
Of course, you also need to find the perfect formula. But now I totally get the magic of highlighter.