We love highlighters! The right one can make you look like a naturally glowing goddess. While some of the best highlighters can cost an arm and a leg, we reviewed some of our favorite affordable options. These shimmery powders and liquids will help you easily ~strobe~ like the pros.
NYX Duo Chromatic Illuminating Powder ($8)
I picked this up in Snow Rose at my new NYX store and it’s one of my new faves. It comes in five colors to suit all skin tones, but Snow Rose is a translucent universal that can work for anyone. I tend to go for liquid highlighters because I’ve found a lot of powders to be difficult to blend. But this one goes on like silk and blends flawlessly, even when my skin is a little oily. This transfers just the right amount of product to my highlighting brush which makes application a breeze.
When applying, make sure you start light and build the product on gradually to avoid looking like a sparkly unicorn. I also recommend using a setting spray after to keep the product in place all day or night. My #1 tip would be to be super careful with this highlighter if you’re traveling with it. The lightweight formula is pretty delicate- mine cracked when it was jostled around in my bag for a day.
Maybelline New York Master Strobing Stick ($8)
When it comes to highlighting, the Strobing Stick is easy and quick to use! It leaves you with a natural light shimmer. This stick gives me that perfect shine that makes people think I actually know what I’m doing when it comes to highlighting (I don’t).
To use, just swipe the stick across your cheekbones- the creamy texture glides on easily and requires little blending. I usually pat my fingers along the highlighter to blend and bring out the sparkle. I absolutely LOVE this stick because it provides natural-looking shine with barely any effort. Maybelline recommends the “Iridescent” shade for lighter skin tones and “Nude Glow” for medium to deep skin tones but I bought both because I can’t get enough!
NYX Wonder Stick ($12)
If you’re a highlighting and contouring newbie, this is the product for you. I can never seem to get my contour to look right. So when I saw something called the “Wonder Stick,” I knew it was what my life was missing. I wasn’t sure which shade to buy so I bought “universal” and it seems to be working well.
This product is extremely easy to use- it goes on smoothly and is easy to blend. The product is pretty thin though, so make sure you use the right blending tool (like a beauty blender) so you don’t wipe it off. The highlighter end does highlight, but it’s not shimmery, so you may want to top it off with a shimmery powder if that’s the look you’re going for. Also, make sure to set this with a translucent powder so it stays put all day. Otherwise, it may fade or smudge if you’re active.
E.l.f. Baked Highlighter ($3)
At WWFL, we are proud e.l.f. Junkies. We’re always impressed with how well their products perform at such teeny price tags. This highlighter from e.l.f.’s “baked” line is no exception. Like the other “baked” products, this highlighter is a more densified pressed powder. This means it’s less likely to break in your bag… and it’s less likely to make a sparkly mess all over the place when you use it.
If you’re used to a traditional powder highlighter, this formula will take some getting used to. I suggest using a denser brush to really pick up the product. I’ve also found that I get awesome results using a damp beauty blender- just rub the blender sponge into the highlighter and lightly pat the product onto your skin. It’ll give you an awesome glowy, airbrushed look.
I use the universal “Moonlight Pearls” shade, but this also comes in a pinker and darker shade for any and all highlighting needs. I’d recommend this highlighter as a purse essential, since it’s non-messy and never fails to give my face a glowy pick-me up.
Face Shop Highlighter Beam ($8)
This highlighter is a perfect dupe of Benefit High Beam ($35). Like Benefit’s, this liquid highlighter comes as a light pink tint in a nail-polish-like bottle. Along with similar packaging, Face Shop’s Beam leaves a luminous, dewy finish that blends naturally into the skin.
After applying foundation, dot the highlighter on your skin with the nail-polish-like brush. Then lightly pat down with your fingers to blend. Important to remember: A little goes a LONG way with this product, so a few dots of the brush will do the trick. I love that this product isn’t runny like some liquid highlighters, so it blends easily and dries quickly.
This liquid provides the perfect amount of shine and gives off a natural, lightly shimmery look. If you’re looking for a super-fast application, a stick highlighter might be the way to go. But if you want that natural dewy finish, you can’t go wrong with The Beam!