15 Highlighters So Good You'll Wonder How You Lived Without Them

Time to glow up.

(Image credit: Getty Images, Per-Anders Pettersson)

The best highlighters are the ones you don’t even know are there—creams, gels, and sticks that leave your skin looking naturally dewy and luminescent, rather than slippery and glittery. A few swipes of a well-placed highlighter can change your mood and your bone structure (or at least what other people think is your bone structure). Makeup artists think of highlighters as flashbulbs for your face. The light-catching particles direct the eye of the observer to the highest points of your visage, making your face look more sculpted, structured, and toned.

What type of highlighter should I get?

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There's a lot of variety and choice when it comes to the pursuit of the perfect shimmer. Baked, compact highlighters deliver a sheer, all-over glow atop an already completed face. Gel formulas add more intense finishes, and balms and sticks are easy-to-apply, blendable, and easy to build up for more intense looks. And you must also consider color: Translucent versions may be the most versatile, but golds, roses, and champagne tones are equally luxe. Without further adieu: Our tested-and-approved highlighters, guaranteed to give you that ever-elusive, super-soft highlight, no games involved.

Hannah Morrill

Hannah Morrill is a writer and editor based in Portland, Maine. She’s an avid reader, an indifferent face-washer and a sunscreen/retinol evangelist.