Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Bronzer and Highlighter

Beauty care products have been around for like forever, but their evolution in makeup has been fascinating. Use of makeup can be traced back to the ancient times. In fact, both women and men of all classes use to wear makeup. The history of cosmetics spans thousands of years and it is fascinating how the cosmetics industry has evolved over time. Makeup is an art of looking good and young that relies on light and shadow. Bronzer and Highlighter are two of the most common cosmetic products that create these. These products enhance natural definition in the face. But both the products have different purposes.


Bronzer is an excellent replacement for blush that adds warmth and dimension to your face. It is a popular makeup product that makes your skin look sunkissed and gives a natural glow to your face, like a natural tanning effect. Women use bronzers to add some radiance and shine to their skin but without actually going out in the sun. Bronzers are typically warm toned and are available in liquid, gel, cream and powder formulations. They are applied on the perimeter of the face including cheeks, nose, jawline, and forehead edges. It looks great when applied on the areas where the sun would naturally hit on the face. For a more natural look, you can apply bronzer using an angled bronzer brush. A little bronzer goes a long way for a sun-tanned look.


Highlighter is yet another makeup product that is mainly used to make your facial features stand out. Highlighter, as the name suggests, reflects light and is often used for contouring, and is applied to the face or other parts of the body to enhance skin tone and get a better dimension. Highlighters tend to be pretty straightforward; they come in liquid, cream or powder forms, and can be typically applied to your cheekbones and around the corner of your eyes to create a crescent shape that frames your eyes. They are basically applied to the high points of your face where the light naturally hits. It draws attention to your cheekbones and enhances their form while creating a shimmering luminosity.

Difference between Bronzer and Highlighter


– Both bronzers and highlighters are mostly used cosmetic products but serve completely different purposes. Bronzer adds warmth and dimension to your face, whereas highlighter brightens it.  Bronzers make your skin look sunkissed and give a natural glow to your face, like a natural tanning effect. Highlighters add glow to the skin and make your facial features stand out, giving it a dewy look. Bronzers are great replacements for blush whereas highlighters can be a replacement for contours.


– Bronzers are typically one or two shades darker than your original skin tone, and are applied on the areas where the sun would typically hit, like the top of your forehead, the tops of your cheeks, the tip of your nose, and your chin. It adds color to the face, typically in bronze or tan shades. Highlighters are applied to the high points of the face such as the eyebrows, nose and cheekbones. Highlighters should not be used in areas of your face where there are fine lines and creases.

Bronzer vs. Highlighter: Comparison Chart


So, bronzers are used to warm up your skin, add a bit of color into your skin, and give you that sunkissed look like a natural tanning effect. It basically makes your skin look real. Highlighters are typically applied after a bronzer to give you that glowy look, making your face look nice and fresh. It is like a double-whammy product that brings extra light to your skin from within, accentuating your facial structure. When used in the right amount and in the right places, highlighters can do wonders to your skin, making it look younger.


Can I use bronzer as highlighter?

Both serve completely different purposes. Typically bronzer goes first, then blush, and then highlighter. Bronzers basically give a natural tanning effect to make your skin looks real whereas highlighter creates iridescent light to accentuate your facial structure.

Can you use highlighter without bronzer?

Yes. You can use a highlighter without wearing any makeup. Although they complement each other, highlighters can be worn separately to illuminate your face. You just have to prepare your skin before applying the highlighter.

What is the difference between highlighter, bronzer and blush?

Highlighter illuminates your face while making your facial features stand out; bronzer warms up your face and gives a naturally tanning effect; and blush gives the skin a naturally flushed look, making your complexion look healthier.

What is highlighter is used for?

The idea is to attract light, enhance skin tone, and accentuate your bone structure. It basically draws attention to the facial features, like cheekbones, forehead, chin, brow bones, and cupid’s bow. 

Which is the best highlighter?

Some of the most popular and preferred brands are Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez, Chanel Baume Essentiel, Swiss Beauty, L’Oreal Paris, and more. 

Where do you use face highlighter?

Highlighters are applied to the high points of the face such as the eyebrows, nose and cheekbones.

Where should you apply bronzer?

Bronzer is applied on the areas where the sun would typically hit, like the top of your forehead, the tops of your cheeks, the tip of your nose, and your chin.

Is bronzer the same as contour?

The main different between the two is that bronzer adds warmth to your face while contour is a neutral, cool-toned product used to add dimension to the face, like more chiseled cheekbones, stronger jawline, fuller lips, and more.

Is bronzer better than contour?

The purpose of bronzers is to add some radiance and shine to your skin, whereas contour mimics a shadowy effect and it’s usually matte and does not have a shine to them. Contour gives a sculpted effect like chiseled cheekbones or a narrow nose and more.

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References :

[0]McDermott, Aisling and Laura Kennedy. About Face – The Smart Woman’s Guide to Beauty: Your Essential Skincare and Make-Up Bible for the Changing Face of Beauty. Dublin, Ireland: Gill & Macmillan Ltd, 2015. Print

[1]Anderson, Heather. Make Your Own Pure Mineral Makeup: 79 Easy Hypoallergenic Recipes for Radiant Beauty. Massachusetts, United States: Storey Publishing, 2017. Print

[2]Beatty, Janna and Sharon White. Quintessential Style: Cultivate and Communicate Your Signature Look. Arizona, United States: Wheatmark, Inc., 2014. Print

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