While most of us look to the gram for beauty inspo, we tend to forget one little detail: Instagram makeup and makeup in real life are two very different things. While Instagram makeup is bolder, brighter, heavily layered (for final photo effect), everyday makeup tends to be more subdued and more wearable. 

This couldn’t be more true for a regular on the gram and our new beloved bestie, the highlighter.

In photos, you’ll see highlighter that’s overt, shimmery and high-impact. While it’s certainly very eye-catching, in real life, your highlighter should be soft and natural. You should really notice that glow when you tilt your head and the light hits those illuminating particles – but not too much.

So we asked Chantecaille Global Makeup Artist Fernando Cadavid and makeup artist to the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Christy Turlington, Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian for his pro tips for getting that coveted natural-looking radiance.


Step 1: Skin prep


Before applying makeup on your face, you want to prep the skin by spritzing some rosewater toner. Follow up with a rose oil and moisturiser to create that hydrated and dewy base. You don’t have to use too much because you don’t want your makeup to slip and slide throughout the day.

For your eye area, apply a brightening and depuffing eye cream around your entire eye area including your eyelids. To smooth out your fine lines, Fernando recommends, “patting some peptides rich eye cream onto your laugh lines to relax the muscles.”


Step 2: Conceal


Cover up any discolouration and dark circles around the under eye area and eyelids with a concealer that is in the same shade as your foundation. Make sure to use it sparingly because too much correcting can cause your makeup to look ashy.


Step 3: Eyeshadow


To create perfect eyes, pop a light lilac eyeshadow on your entire lid, focusing the colour on the outer corner and blend, blend, blend.


Step 4: Tightline


Tightlining basically means you’re getting your pencil eyeliner as close to the roots of your lashes as possible and you’re filling the gaps between the lashes.

It sneakily makes your lashes seem thicker and fuller at the roots while adding subtle definition to the eyes. Fernando is using a purple eyeliner instead of a black one because the latter can look too harsh especially for daytime. Smudge it out with an eyeliner brush.


Step 5: Blend and smoke out the eyeliner


Go back in with the same lilac eyeshadow and smoke out the eyeliner with a dome shaped brush. Follow up by lining the outer third of your eye with a black eyeliner. If you have oily lids and eyeliner tends to smudge on you, set the eyeliner with an eyeshadow of the same colour with an angled brush. You can even use a bronzer in place of an eyeshadow.


Step 6: Foundation


Blend out the foundation with your fingers to soften and really melt the foundation into the skin to ensure there are no streaks or line.


Step 7: Highlight


Put your best face forward by mixing a liquid highlighter with foundation so you can get more skin-like finish. With a brush, apply your highlighter foundation mixture on the higher planes of your face, on top of the cheekbones and on the nose bridge.


Step 8: Contour


Aside from glossy skin, another hero of this particular look is the contour. When done right, a little bit of bronzing powder can help to enhance your features and balance out your highlight. Placement is everything: Concentrate your bronzer on the sides of your face then diffuse the formula slightly towards the corner of your mouth but “don’t go too close or it’ll close up the face,” says Fernando. 


Step 9: Blush


Apply blush on the apples of your cheeks and sweep the colour upwards towards your cheekbones. Your blush should rest on top of your contour.


Step 10: Eyebrows


Create little hair-like strokes with an eyebrow pencil. To mimic your natural eyebrow hairs, you don’t want to start from the very beginning of the brows instead try follow the natural hairs and hairline.


Step 11: Curl your lashes


Curl your lashes by rolling your mascara wand to get every single lash. You can always pre-curl stubborn lashes with an eyelash curler prior to applying your mascara.


Step 12: Lips


Nothing can make or break your look more than your lips and for the perfect pout, we’re going for a gradient lip. With a coral lip liner, apply it only to the centre of your lips and blend with a doe foot applicator.


Trace the perimeter of your lips with a pink lip gloss.

And you’re done! Here’s the completed look!