Difference Between Bronzer and Highlighter

Highlighter and bronzer, both are important products of the beauty industry. The use of both items has increased exponentially since 2010.


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Earlier, many brands did not put out this much variation in these items as it has been put now. Both the products come in hand for enhancing features of a person to their preference.

Bronzer vs Highlighter

The difference between bronzer and highlighter is that bronzer is used for adding definition to that face, and sometimes even for contouring where highlighter is used for enhancing the high points of the face. Bronzer is kind of used to creating shadows in makeup, and highlighter for glowing effect  by reflecting light to give definition and depth to the face.

Bronzer vs Highlighter

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Highlighter is a makeup product used for highlighting the high points of the face.

The highlighter comes in various forms, and mostly all of them have glitter or micro-glitter particles to reflect light to give definition and depth to the face. Majority of the glitter highlighters can be very blinding.

Bronzer is a cosmetic product used for adding warmth to the face, especially after applying foundation. Bronzers also come in various forms like stick form, liquid bronzer, powder bronzer.

Bronzer can give bring the whole makeup look together and also make it look like a tan without an actual tan.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHighlighterBronzer
Year of first manufacture The Mac strobe cream pinklite was the first highlighter to be launched for commercial purposes in the year 2000.About 30 years ago, the first bronzer “Terracotta Bronzer” was invented by Guerlain in the year 1991.
Application of the product.Highlighter is generally applied in the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, cupid’s bow, chin, and also in the temples.Bronzer is applied in the hollows of the cheek, the forehead, and around the perimeter of the face.
Finish of the productHighlighters always come in shiny or glittery finish by reflecting light from micro-glitters.Bronzers come in a matte finish and also come in a shimmery finish.
FunctionThe work of the highlighter is to provide a dewy and luminescent glow.Bronzers are used to add warmth to the face.
UndertoneHighlighter can come in a bunch of different colors like white, pink, golden, copper, champagne.Bronzers only come in warm shades of brown.

What is Highlighter?

Highlight become so popular around in 2015. Earlier than that, it was solely used by makeup artists but common people did not have access to it that much. But due to the influence of social media MUA’s, Highlighters got used widely.

The trend of using a lot of highlighters in the cheekbones, cheeks, bridge of the nose, chin, and temples came into the beauty industry.

Due to its increasing demands, companies started formulating Highlighter in stick form, cream form, powder, and also in liquid form. 

 Highlighter is used to beautify one’s bone structure and make it sharper. Although, it can be used as an eyeshadow, and also can be used as a blush, bronzer.

Highlighter is applied on the bridge of the nose, to make the nose look sharper and pointier. Applying highlighter on the tip of the nose gives the nose, a round and cuter look.

Highlighter is applied in the center of the forehead to accentuate the forehead. It can be applied to the inner corner of the eyes, to make the eyes look more open. Applying highlighter on the cupid’s bow gives the illusion of a fuller look.


What is Bronzer?

Bronzer is a cosmetic product used to achieve a beautiful sun-kissed look. After applying foundation or concealer the face can look white-washed or not match the neck. This is the situation where bronzer comes in hand.

The bronzer is a warm-toned brown colored powder, and the shade of the bronzer differs from skin tone. People sometimes also use the bronzer for contouring too, but there are significant differences between bronzing and contouring.

Bronzers do appear with a matte finish, and also in a shiny finish. The shiny finished bronzers add more definition to the face, but the matte bronzers can be used to do very natural and undetectable makeup.

The perfect place for applying the bronzer are the places that get tanned the most due to the sun. Bronzers should be typically applied in the hollows of the cheek, the forehead near the hairline.

It is best to apply the bronzer in the shape of three. Bronzer can be used in the body too to look like a tan.


Main Differences Between Highlighter And Bronzer

  1. Highlights are used for giving the skin a Dewy, glowing, radiant, luminescent look, and bronzers are used for adding warmth to the face.
  2. Highlighter have micro-glitter particles in them which reflects light to enhance the areas applied in, and in the case of bronzers, it typically creates shadow.
  3. Highlighters should be used in areas that bring out the best features of the face, and bronzers should be used in an area where it doesn’t typically point out the feature.
  4. Some highlighters can be very blingy and blinding, but bronzers should not be that loud.
  5. Highlighters come in a bunch of colors for undertones. For example, the highlighter can have a pink undertone, or white undertone, and golden undertone, and depending on the undertone of the skin it should be used. But for bronzers, it comes with only warm brown undertones.
  6. Bronzer should be applied before applying highlighter.
Difference Between Bronzer and Highlighter
  1. https://libproject.hkbu.edu.hk/trsimage/hp/12021733.pdf
  2. https://ishe.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/HE_2020_35_1_16-26.pdf
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