A summer tan and a summer glow might seem interchangeable, but if you want to shine with the best of them, you're going to want a good highlighter - even if you've managed to score that bronzed tan! The best way to stand out in a crowd photo or take a smoke show selfie is to have an amazing highlight to bring out and accent some of your most striking features. But with a million and one options on the market, it can be hard to know which highlighter will work best for you and your skill level. To make your summer shine game that much easier (and better), we weighed the pros and cons of 25 of the most popular highlighters. From sticks to liquid drops, these glow producing beauty products come in many forms, but they all have one goal: to put you in the spotlight. Whether you wear these barefaced, with no-makeup makeup, or a with a full look, we promise you'll be 100% more reflective.
So read on to snag some serious highlighters and up your glow game this summer. We have a formula and price point for everyone!
Haloscope is Glossier's one and only highlighter product. From a company that's all about the gloss, you'd better believe their highlighter is great! According to their description, this product features a dual-delivery formula: the outer halo of makeup is infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment, while the solid oil core is packed with vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish.
They recommend applying it in a half-moon shape from your cheekbones up and out to your temples.
They come in 3 colors; topaz, which is bronzey; Quartz, which is pinky and pearlescent; and Moonstone, for an opalescent sheen.
Rihanna's company Fenty Beauty is killing the game, and of course, our fav music-makeup mogul had to make an amazing highlighter. This one is for the whole body, meaning your cheekbones won't be the only thing poppin'. Fenty's oversized puff is limited edition, coming pre-loaded with sparkly goodness in a cute rose gold box. The superfine 3D shimmer is created to loosely dust all over your body. The one and only shade released is called Rose on Ice, a prismatic pink hue designed to light up all skin tones. The delicate vanilla coconut scent takes this luxe product to the next level.
An old standby, Maybelline is always a safe bet for your beauty needs. We love this set of their highlighters for their slightly more upscale feel when compared with other Maybelline goodies, and the reviews are all *glowing*.
One reviewer gushed, "this is the best Drugstore highlighter I've used! It's even better than some of my high-end highlighters."
Although the brand says to apply with fingers or a brush, we probably would stick to using a brush for any powder products. Available in two classic and two new colors, all are metallic and reflective, featuring pearly pigments in pinks and golds.
This bestselling highlighter may be one of the prettiest packaged highlighters we've seen. Made by Milk Makeup, the holographic highlighter is packed with meteorite powder for a prismatic shine on cheeks, lips, and eyes. Also featuring nourishing mango butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil, this highlighter stick will leave your skin moisturized and glowing. All Milk Makeup products are paraben-free, eco-conscious, and cruelty-free, and this product is all Vegan. With three stunning shiny shades, Prismatic Supernova, Mars, and the new Stardust, it's a good thing that this product is designed to layer and blend because it's so hard to choose just one!
Mac is known for high-grade, professional quality products. Their Skinfinish highlighter is super highly rated, with 4.8/5 stars on their site. This unique compact has a liquid-powder mixture, with a dry yet creamy formula.
The prismatic reflections included help to sculpt and highlight your face, leaving a perfect sheen and a luminous finish.
Plus, it lasts 10 hours! The skinfinish highlight is meant to be applied with a brush so that the powder can blend out properly. This product is non-acnegenic, dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, meaning you can rock this long-lasting product all day!
Becca is totally a makeup brand with a cult following, and their users must be on to something; Chrissy Teigen just released her first ever makeup collab with the beauty brand. Their Pressed Powder shimmering skin perfector has over 7,000 reviews on the Becca website and an impressive average of 5 stars. This best-selling item has a high-impact glow, is silky and seamless, and comes with a lovely creamy texture. One thing that makes this product really stand out is the 10 different shades available. They feature a "best color" finder on the website, where you choose a model who matches your skin tone and find out which of the shades will compliment you best!
Sometimes you want something that's simple and easy, and "simple and easy" are the middle names of this Flower by Drew Barrymore Chubby Highlight Stick. The Glisten Up stick made Allure's Best Beauty Product list in 2016, and we can see why.
The self-sharpening jumbo crayon design is crazy easy to use, and one of the best on-the-go designs we've seen.
Created to be used all over to brighten your complexion, this product can layer to achieve your desired level of glow. Available in pink, gold and bronze-based shades, any of these highlight sticks are ideal for leveling up your shine without stopping your day.
Called "the ultimate in luminosity," L'Orieal's True Match Lumi is the brand's first liquid highlight product designed to be used to both put individual features in the spotlight and to spread out for all-over illumination. This magic product can wear alone or mix in with your foundation and can be applied with your fingers or a brush. This TrueMatch product is meant to blend with and flatter your skin. The three color options are matched to different tones and temperatures in the skin. Rose Illuminator enhances yellow, peach, pink or blue tones in neutral skin tones. Ice Illuminator enhances pink or blue tones in cool skin tones, and Golden flatters peach and yellow tones in warm skin tones.
Nars's liquid illuminators are a multifunctional highlighter designed to give skin a refreshed glow. Called a "Holy grail product," fans rave that "it leaves skin with a warm, healthy glow."
Nars's beauty experts recommend mixing it with your moisturizer for a natural all-over radiance.
The collection of light-reflecting liquids glide on "to refresh and enhance the complexion with shimmering incandescence." With a lightweight texture and a sheer finish, this highlighter is perfect for every day. Available in 5 different classic Nars colors, this is one product we definitely want to stock up on.
Make's Face Gloss has been praised by NYLON, The Zoe Report, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, and Rookie magazines. This product is what it says: gloss for your face. Picture lip gloss, but actually good for your skin. Part moisturizer, part highlighter, Face Gloss is clear and sheer and ready to make a statement. The vitamin-rich, colorless formula balances and maintains moisture while enhancing and refreshing skin. Not only is this product not tested on animals, Vegan, paraben-free, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic, but they actually donate 10% of sales to the We See Beauty Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women-led, worker-owned businesses.
The soft-focus highlighter Watts Up! by Benefit is a cult-favorite product. Plus, it comes with puns; Benefit says it turns on “watt” ya got. The creamy stick applicator goes on pretty thick and opaque, so the built-in beauty blender definitely will come in handy!
This product is great for someone who doesn't want to have to layer their highlight to get a serious wow-effect.
Once you've blended out the smooth, creamy product, you'll be left with a soft but focused highlight that lets your features pop. Plus, the pretty purple case is modeled after fancy lipstick tubes and travels anywhere. Win, win, win.
Perricone MD is a beauty brand founded in Science and proven in real life. We love how the matte glass container lets you know just how much of this product you have left, and the thoughtful lipgloss style applicator is better suited for this liquid highlighter than Perricone's regular dropper style. Formulated with vitamin C ester to help brighten the skin and diffuse imperfections caused by sun damage, this product also includes light-reflecting pigments that allow for a subtle, luminous complexion. Called "no highlight highlighter," this product is perfect if you prefer an under-the-radar radiance rather than a blinding glow.
Slim enough to fit in with your pen collection, RMS's brightening brush is the secret way to take your highlight to the next level. The retractable brush is specifically designed to reach all of the special, intimate spots on your face that can be difficult to reach with your fingertips alone.
Particularly if you have long nails, it can be difficult to get your highlight into your inner eye corners, which is why this duo is so genius.
The second half of the set, the Living Luminizer is RMS's best selling beauty item. Ultra sheer, this product enhances your skin's natural youthfulness without being sticky, greasy or glittery. What a perfect pair!
With a pretty steep price tag of $56 USD, Kjaer Weis's highlighter palettes are packaged pretty extravagantly. The mirrored swiveling compact case has Kjaer's stunning signature shape and engraving. According to one particularly glowing review, "A swipe across cheekbones, brow bones, even collarbones, and you will look sexy and nymph-like. Really, you will." The four shades are pretty versatile, working both as highlighters, blushes, and bronzers depending on your skin tone. If you're in the market for a new highlighter and want to go luxe, this certified organic cruelty-free product is for you!
In a seriously creamy formula, this compact highlighter is bouncy to the touch. Stila's Heaven's Hue Highlighters come in eight shades, each housed in a dreamy golden flip top branded with Stila's logo.
What's unique about this gorgeous product is the barely-there feel, as the extremely light formula melts into the skin, losing all texture but leaving behind a shimmery veil.
The ultra-fine light diffusing particles are designed to make skin look lit from within, in a soft, luminous, natural-looking glow. Colors include Incandescence, Brilliance, Magnificence, Opulence, Luminescence, Transcendence, Bronze, and the extremely popular Kitten.
This ultra-fine setting powder from Hourglass Cosmetics is formulated with light-reflecting particles to blur imperfections. The formula is infused with diamond powder for the most refined light refraction without any flashback according to Hourglass, which gives you the most subtle illumination possible. It's designed to simply look like your real skin, but with natural happy-and-healthy radiance. This product also blurs the appearance of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. An added bonus is the golden sifter attachment, which dispenses the perfect amount of de-clumped powder.
Another amazing product from Milk makeup, Milk's Liquid Strobe is the portable highlight stick of your dreams. "Powered by Pearls," this rollerball dispenser glides along cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and fits easily into the inner corner of the eye.
The crushed pearl elixir-infused formula gives this product long-wear effect.
Made vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, oil-free and talc free, this product features hydrating coconut and avocado oil. One review said that the liquid can sometimes leave clumps of glitter, but she was looking for that ultra-sparkly glow anyway, and also praised the product for lasting all day. It comes in rose pink, gold, and lilac.
A popular item at Ulta beauty, J cat beauty's aura glow highlighters are a great liquid option. The tiny glass bottles feature an eyedropper cap to get just the right amount of product out, and the super liquidy formula spreads and blends easily. Infused with argan oil, this highlighter is seriously moisturizing and feels great on the skin. At $8.99 a bottle, this is one of the most affordable options we've found, but some beauty fans swear by it. With six iridescent shades, we can't help but want to buy them all. One of the pro tips included by the brand is to layer this liquid formula under a powder highlight, helping your glow to stay all day!
Tarte Cosmetic's Spellbound Glow Rainbow Highlighter is limited-edition and totally gorgeous. The multi-shade compact can blend while applied, featuring four pastel shades that can also work solo.
If you apply with a flat brush, the colors stay separated in a four-toned rainbow stripe, whereas if you apply with a round brush they blend together into one multi-toned prismatic strobe.
The pure pigments and Amazonian clays are long wearing and silky soft, designed to never dry or flake. The color is pretty opaque, leaving you with a bold, bright, look-at-me highlight without too much work on your part. Score.
Clinique is one of the OG chubby stick makers, starting with lip products but quickly realizing the versatility and ease of this medium. This duo of Clinique chubby sticks is for the face, ready to contour and shape your makeup however you like it. The darker shade stays matte without drying and is still creamy enough to blend with ease. The lighter shade is an oversized pencil highlighter, with light reflecting properties that give a soft, natural glow. We love how easily this product is for on-the-go, and would totally throw it in our carry-ons to keep our glow in check for our next flight.
Pretty much like straight up molten metal, Cover FX's Custom Enhancer Highlighting Drops are certainly not for the faint of heart. The liquid metallic drops do start relatively sheer but quickly build to a blinding glow.
These ultra-concentrated drops are meant to customize your ideal highlight.
Available in nine colors, the Custom Enhancing Drops include seven illuminating shades and two bronzers. Formulated with highly concentrated ultra-refined pearls, the metallic shades really do have a molten finish. This product is also vegan, clinically tested, and free of fragrance, gluten, mineral oil, and talc.
This pearlescent liquid highlighter by Benefit is called "Supermodel in a Bottle," and with good reason; this stuff works! The pretty pink color looks exactly like it does on the bottle when it gets on your skin, making it your selfie secret weapon. The downside is that it doesn't last super long, the highlight fades after a couple of hours. However, we love the cute glass nail-polish bottle packaging, and the small brush applicator is pretty good at defeating any glitter clumps. With an average rating of 4.55/5 stars on Benefit's website, this bright mix is a classic and a bestseller.
A liquid alternative to Rihanna's Fenty Fairy Dust oversized puff, Sol De Janeiro's Glow Oils are what you need if you're looking for a serious full-body highlight. Although the formula is non-greasy and non-sticky, these oils still give you a jolt of hydration.
These Brazilian dry-oils are designed to impart a natural glow like you'd have from sitting on the beach in Rio.
Named for two of the city's most famous beaches, Copacabana and Ipanema glow oils are limited edition. We love Ipanema's light golden shimmer, and Copacabana's darker bronze shade looks totally flattering for summer!
French luxury beauty authority Lancome's custom highlighting drops are what our Parisian summer dreams are made of. The lightweight, super pigmented formula is designed to blend well with foundation or build to form your preferred strobe. The brand's unique and innovative water-in-oil emulsion allows this product to blend beautifully without settling into fine lines or creases. Available in four flattering shades, this product is also safe to use as an eyeshadow, layered on for a monochrome makeup look.
Ofra's Rodeo Drive highlighter is the top google shopping result for highlighters, and with a super flattering shade like this, who can be surprised. Designed to highlight your favorite features without fading or smearing (an all-over glitter face is pretty tough to pull off), this is a top selling product.
The plush pearl pigment is created with Ofra's custom liquid-to-baked technology, giving this powder palette some serious wattage.
Although this shade would pretty much work on anyone, Ofra also sells a ton of colors and does a bunch of collabs with makeup artists to create their dream shades, meaning the options are more or less endless. Good luck choosing just one!