The 9 Best Highlighters for Dark Skin Tones

The top products have shimmer, glow, and work with your undertones.

model wearing highlighter and a black veil
(Image credit: Per-Anders Pettersson)

Shimmery formulas and glow-giving highlighters are a dime a dozen, but finding the right one for you? That can be a bit of a challenge. If you’re on the hunt for the best highlighter for dark skin tones, makeup artist Danessa Myricks says you’ll want to keep two criteria top of mind: your skin’s undertones and the product’s color payoff. 

"Highlighters can look incredibly beautiful when they play off the natural undertones of the skin," she says. "There are two guides that can be used to dial in your perfect highlighter shade: the undertone of the pigments in the highlighter and the depth of its color intensity." 

If you have a cooler undertone, which equates to hints of pink, red, or blue, Myricks suggests reaching for highlighters that are icy white, silver, pink, violet, cool bronze, or champagne-toned. Warmer undertones (think: yellow, gold, or peach) pair well with gold, peach, warm copper, and chocolate-toned shimmers. If you have a neutral undertone, Myricks says you can easily sway either way. 

Once you have a general idea of the hue you want to go for, the next step is deciding how bold you want to be. "Choosing a depth in tone that mimics within a few shades of the natural skin tone will create a more effortless, glowing lift. The rule of thumb is the lighter the highlighter is in comparison to your skin tone, the more dramatic the highlighting effect will be," Myricks explains.

Now that you have expert-approved tips for maximizing your glow, it’s time to pick a product. From liquid formulas great for dry skin to powders that pack a powerful punch, we’ve rounded up the best highlighters for dark skin tones. 

Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.

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