DIY Rainbow Highlighter – Pride Makeup

Learn how to make your own DIY rainbow highlighter inspired by the original Prism Rainbow Highlighter by Bitter Lace Beauty that went viral years ago. It’s surprisingly easy to make your own custom highlighters and cover yourself in rainbows!

rainbow makeup on the cheek of AB Crafty founder, Daniela with a homemade rainbow highlighter next to her
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Happy Pride month! Because it’s the first weekend in June, of course that means this week’s craft project be a rainbow craft. And not just any rainbow craft, but a wearable one in the form of rainbow makeup! The best part about this DIY rainbow highlighter is doesn’t just need to be used as a highlighter.

Fun fact, face makeup (eyeshadows, blushes, highlighters, etc) are typically able to be used anywhere on your body. Therefore you can get all sorts of rainbow makeup looks! You can even use each individual color from the DIY highlighter to draw on rainbows or create gorgeous rainbow eyeshadow.

So whether you’re looking to express your inner rainbow unicorn or simply get some new Pride makeup looks, get your rainbow makeup on!

Table of Contents

Note: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may earn a commission.

multiple photos including holding a finished rainbow highlighter, a makeup brush with rainbow makeup on it, and daniela, ab crafty founder with rainbow makeup on her cheekbone with red hair

Materials for DIY Rainbow Highlighter

Video Instructions

Instructions to Make a Rainbow Highlighter

If you’re not using a new makeup tin, you’ll want to prepare one. I used an eyeshadow palette that I never really used.

Remove the eyeshadow using a knife. If you want to use the colors in your highlighter, try not to mix them as you remove them.

using a knife to remove purple shimmer eyeshadow from an eyeshadow tin

Empty each color into a mixing palette.

(I ended up only using the purples and pinks and tossed the white ones in the end. But when I prepared the palette I kept all the colors).

using a knife to scrape purple eyeshadow out of an eyeshadow palette

Clean the tin using rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. Once it’s clean set it aside for later.

cleaning an eyeshadow tin with a paper towel

Next you want to prepare all of the colors. I used these shimmer eyeshadow palettes that were already partially broken, but between the three of them it had all of the rainbow colors.

You can use eyeshadow palettes or even blushes or other highlighters that you have. The key is to use powdered makeup that is highly pigmented.

holding three profusion eyeshadow palettes with multiple colors of shimmer eyeshadow

Scoop out the color from each of the palettes. In total you want red/pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Since I wasn’t going to use these eyeshadows anymore I ended up combining all of the similar colors into one.

scraping green eyeshadow out of a profusion eyeshadow palette into a mixing palette

By combining colors you can also customize them more to how you like them. For example there wasn’t an orange that I really liked so I added some red to make it more defined.

scraping orange eyeshadow into a mixing palette

Once you have your eyeshadows scooped out, start at one side of the rainbow (either red/pink or purple) as you want to make sure you work in rainbow order.

Use the knife to smash the makeup into a powder. What you’re doing is breaking it back down into a powder so you can rebuild it into a pressed powder.

By the way, this process is also how you can fix any pressed powder makeup!

using a knife to smash pink eyeshadows in a mixing tray

After the makeup is all smashed, add in a few drops of rubbing alcohol.

adding rubbing alcohol to pink eyeshadow in a mixing tray

Mix it up until it forms a paste. Continue to add more rubbing alcohol until it’s easy to work with, but not a runny mess. Think toothpaste consistency.

mixing pink eyeshadow and rubbing alcohol to form a paste

Then spread it into one side of the clean makeup tin.

spreading a wet mixture of pink eyeshadow and rubbing alcohol into a clean eyeshadow tin

Use the knife to shape the edge. You can choose to either have the colors perfectly straight or mix it up for a fun look. I went with slightly wavy.

Tip: Be sure to leave room for all the colors. Since you’re using 6 colors in total, you only want to fill in 1/6th of the palette with the first color.

pushing pink eyeshadow paste with a knife to make it even in an eyeshadow pot

After you’re done with pink/red, move onto orange. Just as before, mash up the makeup and add in rubbing alcohol until it forms a paste.

mixing orange eyeshadow with rubbing alcohol in a mixing tray with other rainbow eyeshadow colors around it

Then again, spread it into the palette. Make sure you press it against the pink so there isn’t a gap in between them.

using a knife to put orange shimmer eyeshadow paste next to pink

Continue mixing up each color and adding them to the palette. Next is yellow.

putting yellow shimmer eyeshadow paste into a tin next to orange

Then green.

adding green shimmer eyeshadow in a row next to yellow in an eyeshadow tin

Then blue.

using a finger to smooth out blue eyeshadow paste

And then purple.

This should also be a lesson in planning. As you can see I didn’t take my own advice and only had a little bit of room left for the purple.

filling in the rest of the eyeshadow tin with purple shimmer eyeshadow

To give it a smooth finish on top, you can use a paper towel to carefully press across the palette. 

Let it dry overnight so that the alcohol evaporates. Then you’re left with a gorgeous rainbow highlighter!

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holding a finished diy rainbow highlighter that's in the shape of a square

How to Apply Rainbow Highlighter

The key to using rainbow highlighter is to get all of the colors onto a brush at once. Therefore it’s recommended to use a thick straight makeup brush. Or you can do what I do and use a big fluffy brush and simply squeeze it so it forms a line.

Then drag the brush from one side of the rainbow palette to the other in one stroke. Make sure you wipe in the same direction of the colors. Otherwise you’ll mix up all the colors.

wiping a big fluffy makeup brush across a diy rainbow highler

When you do it correctly your brush should look like this – a beautiful powdery rainbow!

holding a big fluffy makeup brush with rainbow makeup across the brush

Then wipe the brush across where you want the rainbow, again in one motion.

You can keep the colors subtle or repeat the process for more pigmented color.

wiping rainbow makeup across the forearm with a makeup brush

For the classic rainbow highlighter look, swipe the brush across your cheekbone.

Why use regular blush when your cheeks can quite literally be all the colors of the rainbow! Rainbow blush all the way!

diy rainbow highlighter applied to the cheek of AB Crafty founder, Daniela

Other Ways to Use a Rainbow Highlighter

Using One Color at a Time: You don’t only have to use your highlighter as a rainbow all the time. Each color can be used on its own. Simply use a smaller brush and use one color at a time.

Making one Color More Pigmented: Use a small brush to add more color to one particular area if that color is not as pigmented as the others. This is what I’m doing in the photo below.

Make Smaller Rainbows: If your palette is bigger than you want the rainbow to be you can paint on each color one at a time. This a great way to make a gorgeous rainbow eyeshadow look. Mini rainbow makeup everywhere!

wrist with rainbow makeup on it while dipping a makeup brush into a diy rainbow highlighter

More Rainbow Crafts to Try

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multiple photos including holding a finished rainbow highlighter, a makeup brush with rainbow makeup on it, and daniela, ab crafty founder with rainbow makeup on her cheekbone with red hair

DIY Rainbow Highlighter

Learn how to make your own DIY rainbow highlighter inspired by the original Prism Rainbow Highlighter by Bitter Lace Beauty that went viral years ago. It's surprisingly easy to make your own custom highlighters that can be used to cover yourself in rainbow makeup.
Yield 1 Rainbow Highlighter
Project Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins

Materials
  

  • Eyeshadows in rainbow colors For a true highlighter, make sure to use shimmer eyeshadows
  • Makeup tin
  • Rubbing Alcohol

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Paper Towel
  • Mixing Palette

Instructions
 

Prepare the Makeup Tin

  • Remove the eyeshadow using a knife. If you want to use the colors in your highlighter, try not to mix them as you remove them.
    using a knife to remove purple shimmer eyeshadow from an eyeshadow tin
  • Empty each color into a mixing palette.
    using a knife to scrape purple eyeshadow out of an eyeshadow palette
  • Clean the tin using rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. Once it's clean set it aside for later.
    cleaning an eyeshadow tin with a paper towel

Create the Rainbow Highlighter

  • Scoop out the color from each of the palettes. In total you want red/pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
    scraping green eyeshadow out of a profusion eyeshadow palette into a mixing palette
  • Use the knife to smash the makeup into a powder, one color at a time starting with pink.
    using a knife to smash pink eyeshadows in a mixing tray
  • After the makeup is all smashed, add in a few drops of rubbing alcohol.
    adding rubbing alcohol to pink eyeshadow in a mixing tray
  • Mix it up until it forms a paste. Continue to add more rubbing alcohol until it's easy to work with, but not a runny mess. Think toothpaste consistency.
    mixing pink eyeshadow and rubbing alcohol to form a paste
  • Spread it into one side of the clean makeup tin.
    spreading a wet mixture of pink eyeshadow and rubbing alcohol into a clean eyeshadow tin
  • Use the knife to shape the edge. You can choose to either have the colors perfectly straight or mix it up for a fun look
    pushing pink eyeshadow paste with a knife to make it even in an eyeshadow pot
  • After you're done with pink/red, move onto orange. Just as before, mash up the makeup and add in rubbing alcohol until it forms a paste.
    mixing orange eyeshadow with rubbing alcohol in a mixing tray with other rainbow eyeshadow colors around it
  • Then again, spread it into the palette. Make sure you press it against the pink so there isn't a gap in between them.
    using a knife to put orange shimmer eyeshadow paste next to pink
  • Continue mixing up each color and adding them to the palette. Next is yellow, then green, then blue, then purple.
    putting yellow shimmer eyeshadow paste into a tin next to orange
  • Let it dry overnight so that the alcohol evaporates. Then you're left with a gorgeous rainbow highlighter!
    holding a finished diy rainbow highlighter that's in the shape of a square

Video

Keyword Eyeshadow, Highlighter, Makeup, Pride, Pride Makeup, Pride Month, Rainbow, Rainbow Makeup

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