Playing with highlighters can feel like you're playing a game of risk: One wrong choice or swipe, and you could be left with a streak of blinding glitter that rivals a Studio 54 after-party. But trust me when I say you don't need to spend a ton of money to find a subtle formula that flatters your skin tone; you just need some Reddit reviews and a little bit of faith.
And to save you the hassle of scrolling through hundreds of posts and pictures, I read through them all (really) and rounded up the five most-popular drugstore highlighters real people all over the internet swear by. Check them out, below, and get swirling.
“I really love the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter,” writes one reviewer. “It’s not overly intense, but perfect for [wearing] every day to work. Builds up decently enough too.” Another Redditor agrees: “I have really oily skin, [and] I use it all the time. Just gives a beautiful natural sheen for such a good price!”
“Without a doubt, Maybelline Master Chrome [is my favorite]. It was so good, my jaw dropped open when I first tried it,” wrote one Redditor, while another added, “The shade Molten Gold is sooo pigmented and not glittery at all.”
And, just in case you’re still not sold, listen to this reviewer, who sums up the highlighter’s pros perfectly: “It can be worn sheer and glowy, or built up to be very metallic. It's not glittery at all. Buildable, long-lasting, and inexpensive.”
Warm apricot to rose (light-to-medium skin)
“No chunky glitter, and can be used super intensely or subtly!” notes one Redditor. As for how to apply it? “I'll use the top two shades for a highlight,” writes another reviewer, “and then when I'm feeling super glow-y, I'll top off my bronzer with the bottom shades.”
Pearl (very fair skin), peach (light-to-medium skin), gold (medium-to-dark skin)
“I have Moonlight Pearls, and I think it performs really well. You have to kind of scrape off the top layer first, though, to get it to work,” explains one reviewer, while another chimes in in agreement: “They’re so gorgeous and cheap to boot. Just make sure to remove the top layer and you can really build it up to whatever opacity or ‘blindingness’ you want.”
[Editor’s note: Sometimes, baked powders are pressed so hard during manufacturing that their top layer needs to be gently scratched up a bit with your (clean) nail if you want more pigment.]
Pale pink and baby blue (fair and light skin), lavender (light-to-medium skin), rose (medium and dark skin), orange (deep skin)
“It blinds people with just one sweep, and it has the prettiest shimmer that shifts into a holographic-like color,” one Redditor effuses. Another reviewer adds, “I use them as highlighters on my cheek and eyelids! The containers stay closed nicely, so it's good to pop into my pack for mid-day touchups.”