Best highlighter to achieve that subtle glow or high-beam highlight

Whether you want to shine bright like a diamond or glow like a goddess, these are the highlighters for you.

Highlighting is the product and makeup trend that we don't see going out of fashion anytime soon. It rose to stardom in 2016 - thanks to the strobing trend - and has become a fundamental step in many makeup routines ever since.

If you’re new to highlighting, it’s the art of applying light, shimmery product to the high points of your face, giving you a healthy radiant glow, as well as a sculpted look.

But with so many products on the market it can be difficult to choose the best for you. Some highlighters can be glittery, chunky or powdery. Luckily, Finder is here to highlight (pun intended) our pick of the best highlighters on the market. We’ve tried and tested them ourselves and investigated customer reviews on a multitude of beauty sites too. Now that we've done the hard work, all that's left for you to do is to shop to your heart’s content and get that glow.

Where to buy: Sephora

The Fenty Beauty Killawatt Highlighter received an incredibly positive reception when it first launched. Not only does it come with two different shades but the formula is unlike any other. The left highlighter is a subtle daytime glow and the right is a blinding night-time highlight.

The formula is a cream-powder that leaves a gorgeous sheen and definitely isn’t powdery looking.

There is also a mini travel size option for those who want to try it before committing to the full size.

  • Favourite shade: Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby
  • Vegan? No
  • Cruelty free? Yes

Where to buy: eBay

Most highlighters can embellish skin texture and blemishes but the Hourglass Ambient Lighting highlighter works to blur your imperfections, pores and wrinkles, making it unlike any other highlighter on the market.

This unique formula uses photoluminescent technology that works to transform the complexion, mimicking the appearance of your skin in natural light. This allows the highlighter to give your skin a natural and flawless finish, and it's suitable for all skin types.

  • Store rating: - 4.7 Stars
  • Price: $67
  • Favourite shade: Champagne Pearl
  • Vegan? Yes
  • Cruelty free? Yes

Where to buy: Adore Beauty

This product really is the ultimate liquid highlighter. With four shades to choose from, it's so versatile that you really get bang for your buck.

You can apply it to your face but also to your body/décolletage and you can mix it with your foundation too.

The highlighter itself has a silky feel and is incredibly blendable. Plus, you only need a small amount because a little really goes a long way.

The liquid formula also sets itself so you don’t even need to worry about placing a powder highlighter on top.

  • Store rating: 5 Stars
  • Price: $68
  • Favourite shade: Deep copper
  • Vegan? Yes
  • Cruelty free? Yes

Where to buy: Sephora

The Jaclyn Hill x Becca highlighter collaboration is one of the key products that really helped kick-start the highlighter trend. The Becca Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed is an award-winning highlighter known for its incredible shades and pigment that doesn’t sacrifice formula.

The powder has a buttery texture that just melts into your skin. The product works for so many people because its powder is ultra-fine and multi-toned with luminescent pearls that adjust to your skin’s undertone.

If that isn’t enough to have you sold, the product is incredibly buildable and you can opt for a subtle glow or layer it for a blinding radiance.

  • Store rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Price: $64
  • Favourite shade: Champagne Pop
  • Vegan? Yes
  • Cruelty free? No

Where to buy: MECCA

Want an affordable highlighter option without spending a lot? Look no further than the Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened Lit From Within Illuminating Balm. Not a powder or a liquid highlighter, this product has more of a balm consistency, which makes it unique compared to other products on the market. It’s not overly sparkly but gives the skin a fresh, radiant and hydrated look.

The formula of this highlighter contains ingredients that are great for your skin like Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil and Castor Seed Oil. The formula creates a beautiful blendable product that leaves a radiant finish. However, due to the balm-like consistency, your highlighter will stay in place and won’t budge all day long.

  • Store rating: 4.7 Stars
  • Price: $32
  • Vegan? Yes
  • Cruelty free? Yes

Where to buy: Adore Beauty

Another holy grail product in many makeup bags is the M.A.C. Cosmetics Strobe Cream. This product, in my opinion, is slightly under-appreciated as all M.A.C. products are generally expected to be good.

However, the strobe cream isn’t your everyday highlighter. It’s like a moisturiser and a highlighter mixed in one and trust me when I say it goes on like a dream. As someone with dry skin, this product is perfect to kill two birds with one stone. Not only will your skin feel hydrated but it will look it too with a youthful radiant glow.

It’s incredibly lightweight and can be used on your face or body too. Your skin will love the green tea antioxidants and potent botanicals, and it’s not a product that will be harsh on your face.

  • Store rating: 4.4 Stars
  • Price: $56
  • Favourite shade: Peachlite
  • Vegan? No
  • Cruelty free? No

Where to buy: Sephora

This palette is for you if you’re after a unique selection of highlighter shades. The original Summer Solstice palette has four gorgeous shades to choose from, including Saint Tropez (a golden yellow), Malibu (a warm orange), Copacabana (a peachy coral) and Mykonos (a vibrant purple).

While the shades may seem a little crazy, they look perfect by themselves or paired together.

It is on the pricier end of the scale, though the fans of this palette are quite large so you will get a lot of product for the price point.

  • Store rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Price: $80
  • Vegan? No
  • Cruelty free? Yes

Where to buy: Princess Polly

For those who enjoy an intense glow, this is the product for you. Applying this liquid highlighter with your fingers or beauty sponge will allow you to achieve an absolutely blinding highlight. The formula of this highlighter is incredibly pigmented, meaning a little goes a long way but you can apply as much as you like.

This product is only a recent launch but has become a fan favourite.

It works for both face and body and with eight versatile shades, there is something for every skin tone.

  • Store rating: 5 Stars
  • Price: $35
  • Vegan? Yes
  • Cruelty free? Yes

Where to buy: Priceline

For a fabulous drugstore/budget highlighter, you can’t go past the Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter. It’s an affordable option if you don't want to spend a lot. Plus, with this product, the price point for the quality is what makes it so amazing.

The highlighter is incredibly versatile and works whether you want a subtle highlight or a blinding glow.

  • Store rating: 4.5 Stars
  • Price: $19.95
  • Vegan? No
  • Cruelty free? No

----

Real girl favourites

"This is hands down a favourite of mine. I can’t do my makeup without dusting a little of this product on my cheeks, nose and even my collarbones and shoulders. It’s such a buildable product that it’s versatile for both day and night." - Alex

"My go-to highlighter – it's a soft and gentle glow look. I don't like full glam makeup so this highlighter is perfect for me. Easy to apply and sets quite natural." - Jess

"This highlighter just has so much shine! It's my go-to when I want a blinding highlight and it's super affordable making it my holy grail product." - Monisha


How to apply highlighter

There are three main ways you can choose to apply highlighter to your face: you can use a highlighting brush, makeup sponge or your fingers. We suggest different application methods for different products.

Use a highlighting brush to apply powder highlighter and a beauty sponge to apply liquid highlighter, and using your fingers on cream highlighters will get the most pigmented look.

Where do you apply highlighter?

Applying highlighter does come down to how much or how little you'd like to wear.

Commonly, highlighter is worn on the highpoints of your cheekbones, temples, on the tip of your nose, cupids bow and on your brow bone.


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