Editors handpick every product that we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

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

Time to glow up.

highlighter
Per-Anders PetterssonGetty Images

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?

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
1
The Insta-Famous
Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Powder
Courtesy
Becca amazon.com
$36.55

This little powder highlighter has the magical ability to look good on literally all skin tones—yes, even deep skin—without looking chalky, ashy, or sparkly, thanks to its mix of both warm apricot and cool peach undertones. Lightly sweep it over your cheekbones and eyelids with a fan brush for a diffused finish.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
2
Most Blendable
Haloscope
Glossier glossier.com
$22.00

What you can't see in this vertical image is the stick's inner and outer core, both of which bring something different to the table. The outer layer is spiked with fine crystal particles, for an iridescent, non-chunky effect. Inside? A core of coconut, castor, and sweet almond oils for the most nourishing, blendable dry-down you ever did feel.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
3
The Best Duo
Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter
Fenty Beauty sephora.com
$48.00

Why yes, I do wish Rihanna would someday release music again. Until then, I will satisfy my Bad Gal cravings with this innovative highlighter duo, which comes in nine wild shades from sparky gold to sea-green. One side is for sheen, one is for shimmer, worn together or apart are both very good ideas.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
4
Best Coverage
Endless Glow Highlighter
bareMinerals ulta.com
$29.00

There's just something about bareMinerals products that really do work to even the tone and texture of the skin, even if you're just dabbing on a touch of highlighter. (NB: If your skin is less than smooth because of past or present breakouts, and you've considered highlight on the Do Not Fly list, this unassuming pan  could change your tune.)

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
5
The Drugstore Fave
MegaGlo Highlighting Powder
Wet n Wild ulta.com
$5.99

If the last time you wore Wet ‘N Wild was in junior high, you’ve got about a decade of making up to do, because this iridescent powder has become a cult favorite among the beauty community for its legit shade range (light pink for fair skin, champagne for light-to-medium skin, apricot for medium-to-dark skin, and copper for dark-to-deep skin tones) and for the super-natural, super-subtle glimmer it leaves behind.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
6
The Gel Option
Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter
Marc Jacobs Beauty sephora.com
$23.00

This coconut-infused gel highlighter will up your skin's hydration factor, resulting in a dewy sheen that works on every skin tone. Mix it with your foundation or primer or use on its own, but note—a little goes a long way (as noted by reviewers). Translation: It's worth the money because it'll last you forever.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
7
The Natural Choice
Living Luminizer
RMS Beauty sephora.com
$38.00

Okay, we’re aware that recommending a pearly-white highlighter for anyone other than the ultra-pale seems like a cruel joke, but that’s why this little highlighter has received so much praise over the last year: It truly looks good on all skin tones. The balm-like formula is super sheer with just a hint of iridescence (so, you know, basically the definition of a dewy) and a faint, blueish undertone, which gives skin the illusion of a naturally bright glow.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
8
The Industry Go-To
The Multiple
NARS ulta.com
$39.00

When backstage beauty was a thing, this handy little stick was on every artist's workstation. That's because it glides readily, imparts just the right amount of color, and sticks around on cheeks and lips alike.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
9
The Worth-It Choice
Lit Up Highlight Stick
Westman Atelier sephora.com
$48.00

With it's satisfying weight and melt-into-your skin finish, this last-step, relatively pricey option is worth every single penny. My pal with the best complexion around swears by bare skin plus this, always and forever.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
10
Best Double Duty
Skin Fetish Highlighter & Balm Duo
Pat McGrath Labs sephora.com
$64.00

First you swirl on the clear end of this stick, which infuses your skin with a softening blend of aloe and argan oils, plus hyaluronic acid. Then you flip that switch, and add your color—the golden is particularly lovely—for an intense, but not artificial-seeming glow.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
11
Best Metallic
FaceStudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter
Maybelline ulta.com
$9.99

If you're really after that highly reflective, mirror-like flash, this affordable option—which comes in four shades, although we are partial to this rose gold—is your best bet. Go for just one swirl with a fluffy brush for a hint of shine, or work in layers for more pop.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
12
Best Feel-Good Compact
Luminizing Glow Powder
Honest Beauty target.com
$17.99

If you're most comfortable with the ease of a baked compact, this is one of the best. Available in two versatile shades—I highly recommend investing in both—the finely milled powder is ideal for an all-over glow, not just cheekbones (like some less diffuse formulations are).

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
13
Best Bronzer Alternative
SkinLights Prismatic Highlighter
Revlon ulta.com
$11.99

Calling all bronzer devotees, here's a product that could simplify your routine. Rather than layering on two products—a tinted bronzer and a luminous highlighter—invest in just one. Each shade in the range provides a touch of sunny color and sheen for a healthy, glamour-girl beat.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
14
Most Buildable
Illuminating Cream Highlighter
Beautycounter beautycounter.com
$27.20

If your idea of a good highlighter is one you can easily fall back on for minimal makeup days, but one that will jump in and be the star for big moments, look no further. 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
15
The OG Fave
High Beam Liquid Highlighter
Benefit Cosmetics ulta.com
$18.00

This sweet little bottle delivers one thing and one thing only: A sheer, moony film that can go on bare skin or foundation, and catches the lens of any camera. Triple points for the satisfying nail polish-esque applicator bottle.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below