Sometimes I'll use a basic dodge and burn in photoshop over my subjects face to contour her features. I'm no makeup expert, but I learned the places where certain features should be accentuated through highlight, one of which is the cheekbone.

In real life I've noticed that the highlight girls use on their cheekbone can actually be very finely glittery (some more than others). What can I use in photoshop to mimic this look instead of a basic dodge which just lightens the area?

What I'm doing now does the job just fine and looks natural, I just thought it could be done even better and even more realistically. Here's an example of a photo I have subtly contoured. enter image description here

  • Do you have an example screenshot? And: what have you tried, and why didn't it meet your standards? Thanks!
    – Vincent
    Jun 9, 2017 at 18:09
  • @Vincent great question, I was talking to a girl about what makeup goes where to help me in PS and she said "highlighter on the cheekbone, that's the glittery part". And I thought "well I'm not really making it glittery... how would I do that?"
    – Ryan
    Jun 9, 2017 at 18:22
  • Do you have any example of what the glitter should look like? Have you tried using the noise filter to add grain?
    – AndrewH
    Jun 9, 2017 at 18:49
  • @AndrewH just did a quick google search. I think this exaggerated example does a good job at exemplifying the effect providr.com/highlighter-full-makeup-routine-2
    – Ryan
    Jun 9, 2017 at 18:57
  • @Ryan have you blurred or removed texture from her face already? It is best not to blur for retouching; if you must do any kind of blurring it should be to the tones/colours and not the skin texture [frequency separation]. For the shimmery look you're trying to achieve, it helps to keep skin texture for glossy highlights
    – johnp
    Jun 9, 2017 at 20:58

3 Answers 3


You can alter the shading by adding a layer with blending mode Hard Light. Very slowly with a soft and low opacity brush spray black and white. The needed opacity is only few percent. Be sure that you have an unprocessed version visible or you easily lose the focus. That way you can create very plausible bumps and remove others. I used it to take back some of your edits.

enter image description here

You probably knew this. so no new here. But after enoughly flattening your work I could add that glitter. Its simply a grainy pattern in hard light mode. In addition there's light and shadow for general shaping.

Here's one applied to your image:

enter image description here

NOTES: 1) the star pattern has been warped for the pespective. Without it the stars seem to fly in the air.

2) The layer mask is used to fade the stars in the shadow

Here's another. Only light is added. The light is grainy to compensate the smooth skin. Grainy light was originally flat grey, added noise, embossed and adjusted the levels. The layer mask was at first black, sprayed into it white with a smooth brush.

enter image description here


The result of your edit looks a bit too plasticky - like a mannequin. You really want to retain the skin texture for realism.

There are ways to do a blur to smooth out the skin, but then replace the skin texture using a masked out high pass filter of the original set to overlay mode.

Here's an example of a retouch using a blurred layer which has been masked. The result is rather plastic-like. You may have to click on these examples to see them in closer detail.

Screenshot of retouch

Enabling the visibility on the High Pass layer I made (which also has the same layer mask) - set to overlay mode, brings back the skin texture to the retouched image. If you still think it could do with more texture, simply duplicate the high pass layer.

Screenshot of retouch with skin texture applied

Once you have an edit like this, you could then create a new layer from the composite image (CTRL+Alt+Shift+E), and then do your dodging/burning on that.

Here's a before and after using the above techniques, plus some extra dodging of the highlights. I also added a duplicated High Pass layer. These kind of edits are best kept subtle because subtle = more realistic. Not that she needed much work anyway! If you zoom in you'll see the glittery effect on her skin.

Side by side comparison of before and after


Dodge tool, Surface Blur, Soft Light mode on top of the original.. reduce opacity to your liking.

  • You may need to mask non-face areas
  • Sometimes other blend modes may work better, such as Lighter Color

Very quick and dirty.....

enter image description here

It's really about popping the hot spots and smoothing surfaces.

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