Used properly, highlighting is a thing of wonder: it draws attention to your favorite features, makes your skin look brighter, dewier, and even younger, and tricks people into thinking you may, in fact, actually be lit from within. Used improperly, or with the wrong formula for you, and things can go very awry very fast. The best highlighters walk the tightrope line between “acceptable” and “so shiny you can see your own reflection”—the delicate balance lies therein.
There are so many highlighters on the market that it can be a bit overwhelming to delve into the wide world without accruing some knowledge before hand. Here’s where we come in! Avoid highlighter-induced disaster entirely by opting for one of these tried and true formulas. Whether it’s liquid or powder or after, whether you want full-on sparkle or a subtle suggestion of luminosity, we’re here to help.
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Best Liquid Highlighter
Apply the icy, pink-tinted cult fave Benefit Cosmetics High Beam onto the highest points of your face, like your cheekbones, chin, and the bridge of your nose, and blend it out for an angelic glow. It isn't all that much of a stretch to say you'll look like you just fell from heaven.
Best Under Eye Highlighter
There's a reason Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat is an inimitable classic: Layered over regular under eye concealer, the light-reflective luminosity makes dark circles virtually disappear. Plus, it comes in twelve shades to complement any skin tone.
Best Highlighter for a Dewy Finish
MAKE Face Gloss, a one-of-a-kind clear glaze for your face, creates a glow that's more fresh and dewy than shimmery, like the most flattering perspiration of your life. Bonus: you can mix in powder eyeshadow to create a sheer color gloss for lids.
Best Highlighter for Medium Skin
The gilded shimmer in NARS Highlighting Blush in Albatross is perfect for medium and olive skin tones—this shade brings out the natural golden undertones in the skin.
Best Highlighter for Dark Skin
Each and every richly pigmented Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick works wonderfully for dark skin, thanks to a range of bright-to-bronzy shades that really complement deeper complexions.
Best Highlighter Duo
With two shades of highlighting powder, Stila All Over Shimmer Duo enables you to create looks with more depth and dimension, all with one palette.