15 Best Highlighters For The Face For A Glow Like Never Before!

Written by Rafath Shaik
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You can’t have glowing skin all the time (unless you’re blessed with godly genes), which is why faking it is the next best option. Highlighting skin is perfect for when you want to look a little more youthful and dewy without having to go on juice cleanses or investing in expensive treatments. For a subtle glow or an impactful one, highlighters lend a helping hand. So, the next time you’re looking to add a little shimmer to your already gorgeous face, give this list of the 15 best highlighters for the face a read.

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Maybelline New York Master Chrome By Face Studio Metallic Highlighter- Molten Rose Gold
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Wet N Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder- Golden Flower Crown
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Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter - Pearl
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e.l.f Baked Highlighter - Apricot Glow
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L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Nude Highlighter Palette - Sun Kissed
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Milani Stellar Lights Highlighter Palette - Holographic Beams
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Covergirl TruBlend Super Stunner Face Highlighter - Pearl Crush
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Aesthetica Starlite Highlighter - Venus (Pearlescent White)
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RMS Beauty Luminizer Highlighter - Living
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Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! Soft Focus Cream Highlighter
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What Does A Highlighter Do For Your Face?

Highlighters are perfect for enhancing the high points of your face, as that is where the light falls naturally. They are packed with shimmer to reflect light and provide a sheen that gives you a sculpted look. Highlighters are applied on the cheekbones, along the bridge of the nose, on the cupid’s bow, and on the brow bones, as these points accentuate the whole face. A highlighter enhances the results of the already existing base makeup and this is why you must always blend it well.

Get Your Glow On With The 15 Best Highlighters For The Face In 2021

1. Maybelline New York Master Chrome By Face Studio Metallic Highlighter- Molten Rose Gold

Maybelline’s drugstore face highlighter comes in a dreamy rose gold shade to add just the perfect amount of sheen to your look. The pearl pigments offer a reflective finish and the Wet Technology gives the pigments a rich hue. After you’re done with foundation, use this face shimmer highlighter for an intense glow that can brighten any room you walk into. Not only does the formula glide smoothly, it’s also lightweight and does a fab job of enhancing your best features.

Pros

  • Offers a metallic finish
  • Richly pigmented
  • Suitable for all skin tones
  • Contains reflective pigments for a sheen-chrome effect
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May not have a long staying power

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2. Wet N Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder- Golden Flower Crown

Wet N Wild’s cheap face highlighter is infused with ultra-reflective and micro-fine pearl pigments to lend your skin a blinding glow. You will also find nylon in this baked powder formula, which is why the highlighting powder glides on buttery-smooth and silica present in the formula offers unparalleled shine. The light-catching and multi-dimensional effect this drugstore face highlighter offers is an additional benefit to its seamless blendability and buildable formula. The highlighter also contains vitamin E, murumuru seed butter, argan oil, and shea butter for radiance from within.

Pros

  • Infused with pearl pigments
  • Contains nylon for a velvety texture
  • Superior blendability
  • Buildable formula
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Some may find less pigmented than expected

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3. Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter – Pearl

If you’ve got dry skin, you probably think twice before reaching out for a powder highlighter as it can flake off quickly. But Physicians Formula brings to you a cream highlighter for the face enriched with murumuru, cupuacu, and tucuma butters from the Amazon. Not only are these ingredients laden with nutrition for your skin, they also lend the highlighter a lush, creamy texture. Sweep this face highlighter makeup onto your cheekbones for a shimmery effect that doesn’t fail. You’ll also find natural silica and mica in the formulation. With anti-aging peptides for younger-looking skin, and the lush butters for a deep-conditioning treatment, your skin will be left feeling as soft as butter.

Pros

  • Cream-to-powder finish
  • Cruelty-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Dermatologically-tested
  • Contains anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients

Cons

  • Some may find slightly greasy

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4. e.l.f Baked Highlighter – Apricot Glow

e.l.f’s award-winning golden face highlighter is an absolute winner in our books! If you’re looking to make a statement with a glow as vibrant as the city at night, you can apply the Baked Highlighter wet with a drop of water or liquid primer. But for an understated sheen with sheer pigmentation, use it dry and you won’t be disappointed. With skin-loving ingredients such as vitamin E along with hydrating oils like jojoba, rosehip, sunflower, grape and apricot, say hello to the softest skin of your life!

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Contains hydrating oils and vitamin E
  • Can be applied wet or dry
  • Paraben-free
  • Made without sulfates, phthalates, triclosan, and other chemicals

Cons

  • Some may find the texture to be thick

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5. L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Nude Highlighter Palette – Sun Kissed

With the L’Oreal Paris face highlighter palette, your sparkle will know no bounds. For the ultimate multi-dimensional glow, the 4-powder palette contains rich pigments that will grace your face and bring it back to life. Easy to layer and mix-and-match, you can use a single shade for a natural look or combine two or more to give the glow a little more depth. A shade each for blush and bronzer allows you to use this palette on-the-go for a quick touch-up, too! Sun Kissed is ideal for when you want to look like you were embraced by the sun itself as it imparts a warm glow to your face.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin tones
  • Contains 4 highlighting powders
  • Contains a bronzer and blush shade
  • Can be layered
  • Shades can be combined for a multi-dimensional look

Cons

  • May contain sulfate

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6. Milani Stellar Lights Highlighter Palette – Holographic Beams

For an iridescent shimmer anywhere, anytime, pick Milani’s top-rated face highlighter. This trio of micro-milled powders are not just buildabe for a customized glow, they also offer seamless blending for a flawless-looking finish. Wear each powder on its own or blend two or more shades together as your heart desires. Sweep some of this subtle face highlighter over our cheeks before your next date night for a soft, luminous glow.

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Travel-sized palette
  • Buildable powders
  • Offer seamless blending
  • Rich pigments

Cons

  • Might fade quickly

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7. Covergirl TruBlend Super Stunner Face Highlighter – Pearl Crush

Dust your cheeks with Covergirl’s luminescent and multi-tonal full-face highlighter. No matter what your skin tone, this formula goes on easily and blends like a dream for a showstopping (or might we say, glowstopping!) radiance.This top-rated highlighter is ultra-pigmented with a great color payoff and we’re sure it’s going to leave everyone speechless. And incase you were wondering, the highlighter is cruelty-free too!

Pros

  • Suits all skin tones
  • Offers easy blendability
  • Glides on easily
  • Good color payoff
  • Rich pigmentation

Cons

  • Contains parabens

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8. Aesthetica Starlite Highlighter – Venus (Pearlescent White)

Aesthetica’s Starlite Highlighter exclusively brings the soft glow of the stars in the night sky to your cheeks! This natural highlighter for face packs a punch with a lightweight formula that is highly illuminating and can be built for a multi-dimensional look. Wear it out to brunch or for a clubbing night and the metallic shimmer will light up everyone’s world. Creamy with a long-lasting finish, the shades in this all-natural face highlighter are made to complement all skin tones.

Pros

  • Creamy texture
  • Buildable formula
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Wears from night to day

Cons

  • You may need to use a lot of product

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9. RMS Beauty Luminizer Highlighter – Living

For an unfailing shimmer, look no further than RMS Beauty’s white face highlighter as it melts into your skin for a light-reflecting glow. And to truly give a radiance that shines from within, you’ll find vitamin E with castor seed and coconut oils for a natural, dewy glow and soft, supple skin. Brush some of this powdered shimmer on your shoulders and collarbones for a nighttime event for the ultimate statement-making glow!

Pros

  • Contains vitamin E and hydrating oils
  • Lightweight
  • Recyclable packaging
  • Cruelty-free
  • Free of soy and GMOs

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

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10. Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! Soft Focus Cream Highlighter

This Benefit face highlighter is ideal for a soft-focus glow and you can use it on its own or with makeup. With high blendability, this highlighter is easy to use for midday retouching and will last you a long while. A double-edged sword, the highlighter stick has a sponge applicator on the base to give you a truly muted glow that looks natural. For a subtle champagne sheen and a cream-to-powder finish, dab some of this highlighter all over face and you’re good to glow!

Pros

  • Can be applied on its own or atop makeup
  • Comes with a sponge applicator
  • Ideal for on-the-go retouching
  • Cream-to-powder finish
  • Natural-looking glow
  • Easy blendability

Cons

  • Might not be ideal for mature skin

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11. NARS Highlighting Powder – Albatross

NARS brings to you, what is arguably, the best highlighter for the face with its ultra-silky powder that instantly melts into your skin for a dewy glimmer. With its Seamless Glow Technology, a combo of sheer powders and pearls combines to deliver lustre that feels like second skin. The micro-spherical powder is velvety, can be layered, and blends effortlessly to give you that next-level glow. Use sparingly for a delicate shimmer or strobe for maximum impact as NARS’ highlighter looks good on all skin tones.

Pros

  • Satin finish
  • Blends seamlessly
  • Lightweight
  • Can be layered
  • Buildable powder
  • Suits all skin tones

Cons

  • Some people may find it to be too sparkly

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12. NYX Professional Makeup Strobe Of Genius Holographic Stick – Electric Invasion

For the glistening finish your skin’s always craved, NYX’s face highlighter stick has got you covered (in sparkle!). With ultra-fine holographic pearls, the creamy highlighter stick glides along your skin effortlessly, to illuminate it for runway-worthy glow. If you’re a beginner to highlighters, this is the perfect starting point as the stick makes for easy application and can be built upon for a customized shimmery effect.

Pros

  • Ideal for beginners
  • Buildable formula
  • Creamy formula
  • Glides on easily
  • Non-sticky
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Might not have a long staying power

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13. FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter- Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby

FENTY BEAUTY’s statement-making makeup brings about jaw-dropping reactions and the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter duo is a testament to that. One of the top face highlighters, Mean Money is a soft champagne, and Hu$tla Baby a peachy champagne, both of which are universally flattering shades. Keep it simple with a low-lying shimmer for day time and supercharge the glow for wild, carefree nights with a blend of two shades. The longwear formula keeps your skin brightly lit even after lights-off and the superfine shimmer gives it a smooth texture.

Pros

  • Cream-powder formula
  • Easy blending
  • 2 longwear shades
  • Suits all skin tones
  • Smooth texture
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

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14. BECCA Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter – Pearl

Melting as easily as ice cream under the sun, this highlighter gives you enough radiance for a winning first impression. Luminous pearl pigments combine with liquid for a shimmer that reveals itself from every angle. For light skin tones, choosing Pearl will give you a soft luminescence that goes on smoothly. The creamy texture can be built upon and blends beautifully. Highlight your prominent features for a healthy glow that stays put for long.

Pros

  • Creamy texture
  • Buildable formula
  • Easy blendability
  • Gives a natural, dewy look
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • May not suit all skin tones

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15. ELLESY Know You Better Highlighter – #04 Rainbow Glow

Create a natural or full-glam look with ELLESY’s highlighter as it gives you a multi-dimensional look. This versatile highlighter suits all skin tones and shades, and is ideal for that instant boost of radiance. Imparting a soft glow to your skin, the highlighter illuminates your best features while making your skin look supple. With no harsh chemicals, the elegant packaging makes a perfect gift to the women in your life – or even for yourself!

Pros

  • Suitable all skin tones and shades
  • Makes skin look supple
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Paraben-free
  • BHA-free

Cons

  • May not offer a long staying power

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Now that we have looked at the best highlighters, let’s look at what types are available in the market.

Types Of Highlighters For Your Face

  • Powder highlighters

Powder highlighters deliver a finish that is sheer and shimmery and they are also easy to build upon. They offer a relatively long staying power and go on smoothly, owing to finely milled minerals and pearls. For a soft, natural look, you can dust them over your foundation, but make sure to blend properly, so that it doesn’t look obvious. Powder highlighters are mostly suitable for oily skin types as they absorb excess oil without drying the skin out.

  • Liquid highlighters

Liquid highlighters can be handled by both beginners and experts, as they offer richer pigments compared to powder highlighters. A dab of this product can be used to enhance your features or you can use it to add an overall glow. With a lotion-like consistency, it might be difficult to know when to stop with liquid highlighters. Less is always more and you can easily mix it in with foundation for an understated and natural glow. Liquid highlighters look good on both dry and oily skin types.

  • Cream or stick highlighters

For the easiest application, cream or stick highlighters can help highlight your high points by just sketching on the face. They are travel-friendly as they are small enough to fit in a bag and ideal for on-the-go touch-ups. Cream highlighters in a stick form have a creamy texture that lasts long and gives a dewy finish. They work well for all types of skin.

  • Strobing creams

For an inside-out glow, strobing creams can double as a primer before or after foundation. They are perfect for a natural, subtle glow, and are buildable. All skin types can use these, but they might make oily skin a little more oilier.

After we’ve acquainted ourselves with the types of highlighters out there, let’s talk about what to look for in one.

How To Pick The Right Highlighter

  • Skin type

It’s necessary to know your skin type, so you can pick the correct highlighter for it. Dry skin types must first moisturize and use a cream or liquid highlighter. Brownie points if they have hydrating ingredients. If you have oily skin, you can opt for powdered highlighters as they have a slight mattifying effect, but still provide the much-needed glow. Cream and stick highlighters can be used on both dry, combination, and oily skin types, but they might cause tugging on mature skin. If you have normal skin, you need not fret at all, as you can choose whatever you prefer.

  • Shade

Know your skin tone to be able to make the highlighter-choosing process easy. Pink and peach shades fare well on light skin and even some medium-toned skin types. If you have very pale skin, a lilac shade can help brighten your complexion. For medium tones, warm champagne, and golden can give a dewy, natural look. Duskier skin tones need a mix of pinks and goldens for the right balance to achieve a copper or bronze shade.

  • Occasion

For a daily, natural look, opt for highlighters that offer light coverage. Whenever you want to glam it up a notch, choose a highlighter that gives a vibrant effect. The key is to pick a highlighter with a buildable formula, so you can adjust the level of glow according to the purpose. Powder highlighters have great buildable formulas and easily sit atop base makeup for a dim or a sparkly highlight. If you want a subtle glow, mixing a few drops of liquid highlighter with foundation will yield radiant results.

How To Apply Highlighter For Face

No matter which brand’s highlighter you choose – drugstore or luxury, the key lies in using it correctly for a glow that’s not too invisible or too obvious. Let us show you how.

Step 1: Apply your base makeup first. Make sure you’ve seamlessly blended in your foundation and concealer because a highlighter accentuates the smooth base and vice versa.
Step 2: Using a blush or kabuki brush, highlight the areas of your face where light falls naturally. This is the high points of the face such as cheekbones, nose bridge, and brow bones.
Step 3: On your cheekbones, lightly sweep the brush, and go over in a C-shape. If you’re using a liquid or cream highlighter, dab a little highlighter along your cheekbones, and lightly blend this with a sponge or your fingers.
Step 4: Brush the powder along the bridge of your nose or dab some liquid down your nose, and gently blend it so it doesn’t look harsh.
Step 5: Sweep some highlighter on the skin below your eyebrows, and blend it, as this area attracts light.
Step 6: With an eyeshadow brush, dab some highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes to brighten them up a little.
Step 7: Using the eyeshadow brush or your finger, apply a dot of highlighter on your cupid’s bow, or in the middle of your upper lip. This helps your lipstick pop and gives your lips a sultry look.
Step 8: You can finish the look by applying some highlighter on your chin but make sure you blend it gently for a dewy finish.

To amp up on radiance, adding a highlighter in your beauty routine will be of great benefit. It can quickly turn your skin from dull and tired to that of glowing in a matter of just minutes. Equipped with the perfect highlighter sitting on your dresser, you are unbeatable, as the right glow will give you the confidence to take on any day. And as there are so many types and shades of highlighters available, you can pick 1 for each occasion or even according to your mood. Go basic for the office or turn up the glam a bit for the weekend cocktail party, and you’ll find a highlighter for your face no matter where you’re headed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a highlighter be used all over the face?

A highlighter is best used on high areas of the face such as your cheekbones, brow bones, and along the bridge of your nose as these features reflect light. They can also be used in the inner corners of the eyes to brighten them up. When used on the whole face, highlighters can make a person look metallic and tacky.

Should you apply highlighter before or after foundation?

For a vibrant glow, highlighters are usually applied after foundation, as the latter is a heavy formula and can hide the glow. But for a dimly lit highlight, you can mix your highlighter with foundation for a dewy finish.

Can highlighters be used as eyeshadow?

Peachy, pink, and neutral shade highlighters can double as eyeshadow. Even if they’re not richly pigmented, they can be used to create an eye look with more dimension.

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