Nam Vo’s Guide To Highlighters


Let’s get this out of the way first: Nam Vo is the highlight queen. Talking to ITG earlier this year, she explained her technique. In addition to drawing on a layer (or two or three) of highlighter above her cheeks, she said: “I highlight the bridge of my nose, the corner of my eye, and then a little bit on the bow of my lip.” But for Nam, a good highlight relies on more than good product—you’ll need to work on your base first. Nam likes working on a “wet” face, so save your matte foundation for another day and make sure you’ve got plenty of moisturizer to spare. Then it’s time to get to the highlighters. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start—turns out that Nam's Top Shelf has recommendations to spare. There’s a highlighter for everyone, and every mood—here are all the best ones, from Nam herself:

Baby’s First Highlighter

Highlighters can be intimidating! Especially if you’re new to them. If you’re just starting out (or a “highlighter virgin,” as Nam puts it), get yourself Glossier’s Haloscope. It’s what Nam is wearing, in the shade Quartz, in the photo above (she’s also wearing three other highlighters on top of that, but we’ll get to those in a minute). You’ll like it because it’s buildable and impossible to overdo.

The Level 2 Highlighter

“[If] you want to go a little more bling-bling, I would do a Becca Champagne Pop,” says Nam. The shimmery powder is medium impact—not as subtle as Haloscope, but not as pigmented as others. And while the golden but not too warm Champagne Pop is a safe bet for most, Nam is actually wearing the Becca highlighter in Prosecco Pop above, which leans more bronze.

The Mega Highlighters

The big ones! You only need to brush on a little for a whole lot of impact. When Nam talked to ITG, she was torn between Fenty and Kylie. Go the Fenty route if you’re somewhat adventurous (Trophy Wife is not for the sheepish). And Kylie has a good assortment of highlighter shades to choose from, from cool tones to rose gold shades.

The Highlighter For Shimmer Haters

“If you don’t want any shimmer at all, you might do a Gucci Westman or Nudestix Illumi-naughty, where it just looks like moisture, and it’s wet,” Nam explains. Of the two here, one is a powder (and $75), and the other is a cream. Pick your poison!

The Highlighter To Use If You’re Taking A Photo

The great thing about Dew Drops is that they blend really well, making them less highlighter-like, and more beautiful skin-like. Subtle, but illuminating. Nam has talked these drops up for years. “If I’m shooting an editorial, or I want to be super glowy, I’ll use that as a primer,” quoth Nam, adding, “You can use it as a primer, you can use it as a highlighter—it’s the gift that keeps giving.”

The Highlighter You Can Customize

The final highlighter Nam layered on her cheeks in the photo above? Dior’s Backstage Glow Palette. You can mix all four colors together, like Nam did, or you can cherry pick a shade or two, depending on your mood. Happy highlighting!

Photo via ITG.