The glow trend isn’t going anywhere and I’ve compiled a list of the 10 best highlighters that I’ve tried, tested and approved. With all of the options available at the moment, it can sometimes be hard to find the needle in the haystack, so to speak. I’ve found that one of the most important things to consider, other than skin tone, when choosing a highlighter is skin type. My skin ranges from dry and dehydrated in the winter, to normal to oily in the warm weather, so I’ve got a pretty well rounded education when it comes to finding products for every skin type. Powder highlighters tend to accentuate fine lines and imperfections, especially on dry skin. Drier and mature skin types would be better suited to cream or liquid highlight formulas. My oily skinned ladies are likely better off with a powder formula (or even a cream, depending on how oily you get throughout the day).
Let’s start with our cream formulas. Benefit’s Watt’s Up comes in a convenient stick, which makes it super easy to precisely apply the product and blends so easily with your fingers or a damp beauty blender. The sample is shown here, but the full sized product has a little sponge on the other end for blending. The champagne shade is universally flattering and works well on many skin tones.
The Filter Feature Luminizing Face Balm by Peek Beauty is the most natural of the group. Like all of the Peek Beauty products, it comes in the cutest little tin – perfect for tossing into your makeup bag. This cream formula gives the most subtle, realistic glow. If you’re looking for just a touch of light, this is the perfect formula! I’ve also recommended this to younger clients who are just starting to get into makeup. Filter Feature is light and fresh – perfect for school.
Next up is MAC Cosmetic’s Cream Color Base (shown here in Shell). I’ve been using this product since I worked at MAC, over ten years ago, and it’s still one of my favorites. The creamy formula delivers the most beautiful dewy glow. I’ve found that it’s best applied with your fingers to the high points of your face and even your collarbones and shoulders. A bonus for the Cream Color Base – it can also be used as a base for your eyeshadow or a topper to add some shine to your lids.
I’ve been seriously obsessed with everything Glossier lately, and their Haloscope highlighter is no exception. Glossier offers this highlight in three shades – Moonstone, Quartz (shown here) and Topaz. Haloscope comes in stick form with a core of vitamin-rich moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated. The glossy formula is so pretty and easy to apply. The texture is similar to MAC’s Cream Color Base, but has a bit more of a pearlescent look. I love using Haloscope when I’m trying to achieve a natural, dewy look.
As far as liquid highlighters go, I couldn’t compile this list without talking about the Custom Enhancer Drops from Cover FX (shown here in Halo & Moonstone). This liquid illuminator comes in a 0.5 oz dropper and can be used alone or mixed with other products (such as foundation or moisturizer) to add a glow to any product. If you’re looking for a serious highlight, this is the perfect product! When applied directly to the face, it delivers that metallic, “seen from the heavens” type of glow. They’re so easy to blend and look beautiful layered on top of other products. I purchased the shade Halo on a whim, but didn’t think it would be wearable for everyday. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, when applied sparingly, this holographic shade is stunning! A little goes a long way with the Custom Enhancer Drops, so a bottle will last you forever (or until it expires).
I’ve found a new favorite in Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter (not pictured). This gel formula is so beautiful! The golden-peach hue is flattering on most skin tones and can be used alone or mixed with foundation for an all over glow. The mild coconut scent is heavenly! Marc Jacobs Dew Drops blend beautifully, but the product dries quickly – you have to work fast, but once this product sets, it won’t budge!
Last summer, I was introduced to the Eyelighting Creme for Eyes & Face from Estee Lauder. This formula comes in a click pen with a sponge tip and is great for on-the-go. The results are subtle and luminous, with a rose gold tint. Not only do I use this to highlight my face, but it’s safe to use on the eyes and is beautiful as an eyeshadow to add light to the eye. This product is so lightweight and blends easily with your fingers.
I couldn’t talk about glow without bringing up the Shimmering Skin Perfector by Becca Cosmetics (shown here in Opal). This powder formula has the prettiest reflective gleam and is so finely milled that it just melts into your skin. The Shimmering Skin Perfector comes in eight shades, each one more beautiful than the next. As creamy and buttery as this powder is, it still emphasizes fine lines and pores during the winter when my skin is super dry. It’s definitely a favorite for normal or oily skin types though.
If you’re on a budget and looking for a killer glow, look no further than ColourPop’s Super Shock Highlighter (shown here in Lunch Money). If you’ve ever tried any of their Super Shock Shadow’s, you’re familiar with the bouncy texture of ColourPop’s highlighters. If a cream and powder formula had a baby, it would be ColourPop’s Super Shock range. Lunch Money is a light gold shade that’s super reflective and buildable. These apply best with your fingers and come in a huge range of shades for every skin tone. At $8 a pop (no pun intended), these are a steal!
And last, but certainly not least, is the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder (pictured in the shade Incandescent). This powder falls on the more natural end, as it falls into the category of a strobing powder, rather than a typical highlighting powder. The micro-fine particles in the Ambient Strobe Powder deliver a soft focus finish and a lit-from-within glow that’s not metallic or glittery. It’s more of a soft sheen, but can be applied with a damp beauty blender to intensify the effect.
So, there you have it! Those are my top 10 best highlighters for the perfect glow, regardless of your skin type. Didn’t see your favorite on the list? If you have any recommendations for me, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your favorites, as I’m always looking for recommendations for new products to try.