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From wet-looking glossy cheekbones to “blinding” glitter-infused strobing, there’s definitely a time and a place for over-the-top highlighter, but on a day-to-day basis (and well, for daytime) many of may prefer a more natural-looking glow that doesn’t leave your cheekbones looking as though they’ve been in a quarrel with a mad disco ball. Indeed, for those of us who generally opt for a more natural-looking highlighted face that channels that elusive (and surprisingly hard to achieve) lit-from-within look, opting for a radiant cream highlighting formula is usually the best bet if you’re not looking to do the whole strobing thing.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with a full-blown and glitter-heavy highlight, but for the minimalist days when you’re simply looking to fake a little bit of golden-hour sheen, these cheekbone-bedazzling pigments are, well, a little bit much. Powder highlighters tend to be packaged with more shimmer and reflect, whereas cream formulas allow you to build up to the level of your desire and blend easily so you can sheer out the formula if you accidentally go overboard—this is a little bit harder to do with powder formulas.
Whether you’re into the subtle, almost-wet look, or are just in the market for something to help you feign a shimmer-free healthy glow, these cream-based highlighters will give your high points a natural-looking dash of radiance.
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1. Rituel de Fille Rare Light Crème Luminizer
This silky cream highlighter compact glides onto the skin seamlessly, allowing you to build and blend out the formula to your liking. The iridescent formula gives the high points of your face a subtle sheen without relying on chunky glitter to do the trick.
2. Milani Contour & Highlight Cream & Liquid Duo
Packaged in a convenient and super portable stick design, this cream highlight formula also features a liquid option to amplify the impact if you should choose to do. The lightweight and breathable formula feels comfortable and weightless on the skin and looks uber natural.
3. e.l.f. Jelly Highlighter Luminous Glow
While technically a gelly texture as opposed to a true cream formula, this ultra natural-looking product gives you the ultimate glow, allowing you to build it up from sheer to more intense in just a few layers.