Best Makeup Highlighters

Best Liquid and Powder Face Makeup Highlighters

Author: Grazia

Get radiant with the best MAKEUP highlighters on the market.


Everyone wants a healthy glow and a highlighter is a great way to achieve it. There’s a huge range of highlighters in shops, from matte to sparkly, liquid to powder, but which should you invest in - and how should you apply it? It doesn’t take much to take your look from subtle to over-the-top, but with the right tools and techniques you can make highlighters work for you.

We've spoken to Bobbi Brown PRO Artist Amy Conway to find her top tips on how to apply highlighters for the best results…

Where should you apply highlighter?

‘The golden rule for application is to apply highlighter on the highest points of the face, so the cheekbones, brow bone, and down the bridge of the nose’, explains Amy Conway, ‘basically, wherever the light would naturally hit your face.’

What formulas should you go for?

‘It depends on your skin type, but as a general rule – normal to oily skins should opt for powder highlighters that are long-wearing, whilst those with dry skin should go for something creamy that will give you a glass-like finish.’

The Best Liquid Highlighters

A liquid highlighter will give you a natural dewy glow, and you can apply with just your fingertips - no need for special tools with this product. Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Flawless Filter, will work wonders for tired skin. It’s super creamy and glides on effortlessly, reflecting light for a natural glow. Apply as a primer underneath your foundation; mix it with your foundation for even more glow; or for maximum luminosity, blend it on to your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and along your cupid’s bow. For a more golden glow, choose Marc Jacobs Coconut Dew Highlighter. Five coconut actives and provitamin B5 mean this creamy gel hydrates and refreshes while giving you a golden glow.

The Best Cream Highlighters

A cream highlighter will give you a more subtle look, and is easy to blend, so you can go as bold as you want. For a sheer glow, try Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate. A bit pricier than the highlighters above, but this acts like a gloss; apply it on top of your foundation. Stay dewy by steering clear of powders. For a really lightweight option, try the editor’s favourite - RMS Living Luminizer Highlighter. So easy to blend you can even apply it on top of powder products, this one never feels greasy and is a great pick-me-up. Try a tiny pot of Beauty Pie Triple Beauty Liquid Luminizer. This highlighter truly shines bright and can be easily built up for extra glow. Multi-purpose products are great, and cream highlighter can double-up as an eyeshadow too.

The Best Powder Highlighters

Powder highlighters suit oily and dry skin, and can be used with cream or liquid to amplify your glow. Try Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, and its ultra-fine pearl particles. Any imperfections will disappear when this powder diffuses the light. If you want a bit of sparkle, try Bobbi Brown Highlighter Powder. 'To get a really dewy glow use a small fluffy brush and spritz it with setting spray before applying your chosen highlighter,' suggests Amy. Givenchy's Mystic Glow Powder, can be used wet as well as dry for a super high-impact shine.

The Best Pen/Stick Highlighters

If you’re not sure about applying highlighter, then a pen or stick highlighter is the one for you. Simply draw your highlighter on precisely and blend with a brush. Nars The Multiple in Copacabana, can be used anywhere - swipe it on, and blend in. The cream-to-powder formula will give you a sheer and natural shimmer all over.

Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen, is great for on-the-go, and is colour-correcting too.

The Best Highlighter Palettes

Best for tight budgets, a palette will give you a perfect glow in more than one shade. For seven beautiful shades, try Fenty’s Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter Palette. Layer up the two shades of Subzero with Scandal'ice for lilac-blue sparkle. Mac's Hyper Real Glow Palette, is a best-seller, with three pink hues in one palette. You won’t need blush or eyeshadow separates when you’ve got these triplets of highlighter.


Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Flawless Filter - Best Makeup Highlighters

Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood Flawless Filter
£30

It’s super creamy and glides on effortlessly. Apply as a primer; mix it with your foundation; or blend it on to your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and along your cupid’s bow.


Marc Jacobs Coconut Dew Highlighter - Best Makeup Highlighters

Marc Jacobs Coconut Dew Highlighter
£32

Five coconut actives and provitamin B5 to hydrate and refresh; it smells good, too.


Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate - Best Makeup Highlighters

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate
£60

This highlighter will give you a sheer glow; it acts like a gloss - apply on top of your foundation.


RMS Living Luminizer Highlighter - Best Makeup Highlighters

RMS Living Luminizer Highlighter
£36

A lightweight favourite, easy to blend, even on top of powder. Never feels greasy and is a great pick-me-up.


Beauty Pie Triple Beauty Liquid Luminizer - Best Makeup Highlighters

Beauty Pie Triple Beauty Liquid Luminizer
£20

This highlighter truly shines bright and can be easily built up for extra glow.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder - Best Makeup Highlighters

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
£42

Ultra-fine pearl particles mean imperfections will vanish when this powder diffuses the light.


Bobbi Brown Highlighter Powder - Best Makeup Highlighters

Bobbi Brown Highlighter Powder
£32.40

A cult favourite; use a small fluffy brush and spritz it with setting spray before applying.


Givenchy's Mystic Glow Powder - Best Makeup Highlighters

Givenchy's Mystic Glow Powder
£34.50

Use this wet as well as dry for a super high-impact shine.


Nars The Multiple in Copacabana - Best Makeup Highlighters

Nars The Multiple in Copacabana
£26

Use it anywhere - swipe it on, and blend in. The cream-to-powder formula will give you a sheer and natural shimmer all over.


Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen - Best Makeup Highlighters

Chanel Eclat Lumiere Highlighter Face Pen
£28

Perfect for travelling, this highlighter will not only give you a glow, but is colour-correcting too.


Fenty’s Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter  - Best Makeup Highlighters

Fenty’s Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighter Palette
£42

Multi-task with a palette of beautiful colours - a great option for tight budgets or if you simply want to experiment with layers of colour.


Mac's Hyper Real Glow Palette - Best Makeup Highlighters

Mac's Hyper Real Glow Palette
£35

A natural best-seller, you won’t need blush or eyeshadow separates when you’ve got these creamy triplets of highlighter.

WTB?