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On most occasions, if I have to choose between wearing liquid or powder highlighter, I’m going with the latter. Come on; nothing beats the convenience of being able to mix a dollop of liquid formula with my BB cream and apply all over the face. On the other hand, pulling out the brushes and risking a chalky, streaky finish is not my idea of a good time. And if it’s not applied correctly, I risk covering up that freshly-moisturized, dewy glow that takes a pretty stringent routine to achieve in the first place.
All of that aside, I still won’t completely dismiss the necessity of at least one powder product this time of year. If I had to choose one, it would definitely be highlighter so I can brighten my complexion and also ward off excess oil. While liquid foundation and other heavier forms of coverage are the equivalents of a warm blanket during the winter, powder illuminators are what help keep makeup from melting into the collar of your carefully-curated outfit. In other words, without the security of a powder product, your makeup can be a major buzzkill.
So whether you want to brighten all over the face or add just a little pizazz to your cheekbones, here are the lightweight powder highlighters that won’t dismiss the dewy or leave you feeling cakey.
bareMinerals Endless Glow Highlighter
If you have sensitive skin and need something that’s been dermatologist-approved, this mineral-based powder is a winner. Available in four shades, including holographic and a peachy pink, it delivers luminosity that just so happens to be glitter-free.
$29 at Ulta
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter
The Skin Perfector range is one of the brand’s best-selling products and for good reason. Its plethora of shades, including the top favorite “Champagne Pop,” have a smooth, buttery texture that settles into the skin without getting cakey.
$39 at Sephora
Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter
The names alone (‘Mo Hunny, Chic Phreak, and Trophy Wife, to name a few) are enough motivation to try any of these cream-to-powder formulas. Whether you want two-fers or single compacts, the longwear highlighter delivers a super fine shimmer that doesn’t go overboard, but still turns heads.
$36 at Sephora
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
When you want an effortless glow without, well, a lot of effort, this illuminator is the perfect on-the-go solution. Simply use a brush to apply all-over for softer-looking skin and an even complexion.
$48 at Sephora
Kaja Mochi Glow Bouncy Highlighter
This Sephora-exclusive goes on like a cream and dries down into a powder that delivers a healthy-looking, natural touch of color to the cheeks and/or entire face.
$9.50 at Sephora
L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator
Whether you want a rose or bronze finish, this all-over, lightweight brightener promises to illuminate any and every skin tone and undertone combo.
$11.99 at Ulta
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish
With a low amount of pearlized pigments, this setting powder is a subtle, but stunning way to give your makeup a satin-like finish with just enough shimmer.
$35 at Ulta
Stila Heaven’s Hue Highlighter
From opalescent pink to classic bronze, this powder, available in four beautiful shades, feels like a second skin that blends seamlessly with other makeup.
$32 at Sephora
Cover FX The Perfect Light Highlighting Powder
When you want a non-glittery glow, this blendable, creamy powder promises to highlight a dull complexion, leaving it with a smooth, buttery finish.
$34 at Sephora
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