Highlighter has become our new favourite make-up product – move over mascara. It’s the perfect way to fake a faux-glow, taking our skin from dull to Insta-worthy levels of radiance in an instant. But with thousands of highlighters on the market, it can be totally overwhelming to know where to start.
So in the interests of upping our glow, we’ve tried and tested 15 cult highlighters to find the best one. From Huda Beauty to Fenty Beauty and Charlotte Tilbury to MAC, which highlighter was crowned our winner? It was a hard job, but someone had to do it.
15. Maybelline Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter, £7.99
Coming in at under £8, this Maybelline liquid highlighter is a great option for those who want an intense metallic strobing highlight. Mix with foundation for an all-over glow or apply to the high points on your face for instant cheekbones. The only downside to this is that it did disturb the foundation underneath when applied on top, but for a budget friendly option, it’s pretty good.
14. Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter, £3
Used by the likes of Khloe Kardashian, aka queen of the glow, this £3 highlighter is a great budget option. It had quite good colour pay off and did give us glowy cheekbones, although there wasn’t a huge shade range. But for £3, we can’t really complain.
13. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, £40
This powder has been designed to mimic the effect of super-flattering lighting, creating a soft focus finish; basically like an Instagram filter IRL. It’s extremely subtle as a highlighter so you could use it all over the face for a seamless healthy glow. We loved the flattering finish of the powder, but if you’re after more of an intense highlight this one’s probably not for you.
12. Too Faced Love Lights Prismatic Highlighter, £25
We’re in love with the adorable packing of this highlighter, Too Faced is renowned for it’s playful packaging and products. The actual product gave us radiant skin, it wasn’t as blinding as we initially thought it might be, but after first application it did give a natural-looking glow. The rose gold shade would work well on darker skin tones, while the other more silvery colour would look great on lighter skin.
11. Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder, £35.50
This highlighter is perfect for buildable radiance rather than a full-on glow. It gave our skin look subtly luminescent, we used it all over the face as it’s quite subtle, however you could use a brush with setting spray to create a more intense glow.
10. Glossier Haloscope, £18
You can be hard pressed to find a highlighter which delivers on the dewy finish but without the glitter; luckily, Glossier deliver on just that. The Haloscope highlighter gave our skin a natural and hydrated dewy sheen. It’s infused with actual crystals as well as coconut and castor oil to hydrate skin and deliver the signature glow. It only comes in three shades but each one is perfectly suited to either pale, medium or dark skin tones.
9. Nars Illuminator, £23
For the perfect just-got-back-from-holiday glow, wear this Nars liquid highlighter alone dabbed along cheekbones, brow bones, collar bones – basically everywhere. Or mix with foundation for all-over radiance. It’s easy to apply and blend, but be warned a little goes a long way!
8. Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand, £29
Make-up mogul Charlotte Tilbury’s latest highlighter launch is, as the name suggest, a magic wand. It’s universally flattering rose gold hue is a shortcut to instant cheekbones; plus the cushion applicator helps to blur out imperfections giving a soft-focus finish. Don’t be fooled by the sheer consistency, it delivered a high shine, glitter-free natural radiance.
7. NYX Born to Glow Palette, £22
You can’t really go wrong with six highlighters for the price of one. Jam packed with pearlescent pigments to reflect light, this NYX palette has six gorgeous shades of highlighter to mix and match. Each creamy powder blended seamlessly into the skin and gave us an intense glowy effect; and for just £22 you can’t really go wrong.
6. Topshop Glow Pot, £10.50
Apparently this little pot is so popular that Topshop sell enough to reach the height of the Shard – 4 times over! Wowza. Don’t be deceived by the tiny pot because this highlighter is seriously glowy, the creamy formula blended easily and delivered a natural yet glowy highlight, making us look lit from within. Next time you’re in Topshop you should definitely pick up a pot of this along with your Jamie jeans.
5. MAC Mineralize Skinfinish, £25.50
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish is a cult product for a reason. It gave us perfectly highlighted skin without looking OTT, it’s not too glittery and gives that covetable lit-from-within look. There’s a huge shade range to choose from but our personal favourite is Soft and Gentle which is a beautiful champagne colour.
4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit, £41
The Anastasia Beverly Hills highlighter palettes have quickly gained cult-status, and we can see why. The palette contains four incredible shades of highlighter which can be worn alone or layered, plus they can double as eyeshadows. The powders are intensely pigmented and give an amazing highlight, the palette gave our skin a post-holiday glow (sadly, without the holiday)
3. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector, £32
BECCA’s legendary highlighter has already confirmed it’s status as one of the best highlighters around. It’s ultra fine, creamy texture is almost weightless, helps to blur imperfections as well as literally reflecting light – it gave us seriously enviable cheekbones without the glitter. The highlighter comes in 11 shades (as well as a liquid formula) but our favourite is the ultra-flattering Champagne Pop.
2. Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo, £26
Two killer highlighter shades in one? Yes please. The weightless, smooth, longwearing cream-powder hybrid of this highlighter is one of the best we’ve ever tried. It had great colour pay off and gave us impressively glowy skin without being overly shimmery or glittery; plus it blended seamlessly into the skin giving a super natural finish. And did we mention that it’s made by Rihanna? Nuff said.
1. Huda Beauty 3D Highlighting Palette, £40
If you’ve ever lusted after uber-blogger Huda Kattan’s blindingly glowy skin, you’re in luck. Huda’s Golden Sands highlighter palette is a winner in our books, four beautiful shades to give you instant supermodel cheekbones. The formula was easy to blend and gave us an Instagram-worthy blinding highlight, we tried using each shade separately and swirled together – both ways gave us the best highlight we’ve ever had. The palette is on the pricier side, but at £40 each shade works out at £10 each – we definitely think it’s worth it. If you’re addicted to highlighter, this one’s for you.