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When foundation or any other sort of coverage isn’t thrown into the mix, there are few makeup products I feel comfortable wearing on my bare skin. Liquid highlighter is one of them. Of course, this is a product that can go completely left if you’re wearing way too much or applying a formula that looks too greasy. However, when applied correctly and blended to perfection, it can make your skin looks like it’s Facetuned, but better (and more natural).
Like most liquid products, including foundation, you have a couple different options when it comes to application. The easiest, in my opinion, is with clean hands. Simply dot the area where you want coverage and then swipe outward and down with your fingers. Should you prefer a makeup sponge, saturate it with water and squeeze before blending in the formula with a soft bouncing motion. If you’re someone who would rather use brushes, just be sure that they’re made of quality materials, as cheaply made bristles can cause the product to spread unevenly over your face.
Whether you’re wearing coverage (foundation, CC cream, BB cream) or not, highlighter should never be used all over the face. Instead, apply it to the places hit directly by sunlight; the cheekbones, brow bone, and bridge of the nose. And since everyone’s style is different, keep scrolling for some of the best liquid highlighters out now, from subtle shine to over-the-top sparkle.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Glow Face Highlighter
Available in four lustrous shades, from peach to bronze, for blending with other coverage products.
$25 at Sephora
bareMinerals BarePro Glow Highlighter
This illuminator delivers a slew of benefits, including green lentil extract to help smooth the skin’s texture.
$29 at Ulta
Dermablend Glow Creator Multi-Use Highlighter
An oil-free formula that only requires a few drops to make a high-shine impact.
$33 at Ulta
Flesh Ripe Flesh Glisten Drops
A gel-like water made with a high concentration of mica pearls for a glow that you can build, depending on your mood.
$28 at Ulta
Huda Beauty N.Y.M.P.H. All Over Body Highlighter
Huda’s latest drop is available in three different shades and safe to use on the face and body.
$49 at Huda Beauty
J Cat Beauty Aura Glow Liquid Highlighter
This range of six illuminators has something for every skin tone and can even be mixed together for an ultra-custom glow.
$8.99 at Ulta
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Juice Boost
This lightweight coconut- and moringa-infused illuminator comes in two shades for a subtle brightening of your complexion.
$25 at Ulta
L’Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Gold Illuminator
This drugstore favorite can be applied all over the face or to key areas, depending on how much of a highlight you want.
$11.99 at Ulta
NARS Orgasm Liquid Highlighter
We’re so glad the iconic blush is now available in liquid form so we can apply literally anywhere on the face. (My favorite is the eyelids.)
$30 at Ulta
NYX Born to Glow! Liquid Illuminator
Another multi-use glow-getter that can be used on the face and body.
$7.50 at Ulta
Sephora Golden Hour Liquid Highlighter
Lightweight and silky for a subtle glow on naked skin and buildable on top of other makeup too.
$14 at Sephora
tarte tartiest pro glow liquid highlighter
An oil-free, gel cream in three different shades for a non-greasy finish.
$29 at Sephora
Wander Beauty Catch the Light Highlighter and Glowtion
The best part of this illuminator is the dual applicator, which includes both liquid and stick, so you always have options.
$34 at Sephora
Becca Liquid Shimmering Skin Perfector
From a soft pearl for fairer skin to an ethereal gold for darker skin, this light-reflecting highlighter is one of the most versatile on the market.
$41 at Sephora
Giorgio Armani A-Line Liquid Highlighter
For that no-makeup makeup vibe, this buildable, powder-free formula is easy to apply and stays put all day.
$38 at Sephora
Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face Illuminator
This gloss will give you skin that looks and feels hydrated, thanks to the addition of marula oil and passion fruit oil in the lightweight formula.
$32 at Sephora