The best highlighter makeup products you can buy


The best highlighter overall

The best highlighter overall
Why you'll love it: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector is the first word in highlighter, known for its intense glow and impressive shade range.

The first highlighter I ever fell in love with was Champagne Pop, a best-selling illuminator that BECCA Cosmetics developed in conjunction with YouTube star Jaclyn Hill. Though I now prefer dewier cream highlighters on a daily basis, it remains a staple in my collection.

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector is by far one of the most popular highlighter formulas on the market — the pressed powder formula alone has more than 4,000 Sephora reviews and a 4.6-star rating — and I consider it responsible for my personal highlighter awakening.

These highlighters manage to be intense without looking too wild for the office or a casual setting. I use a fan brush and a very light hand to apply the powdered version to my cheekbones for bold highlight, but they’re super buildable if you want to go “full glam” with your look.

There are 12 Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed shades available to accommodate most skin tones, from icy Pearl to deep Chocolate Geode. Some of the colors also come in liquid and cream formulations, so you’re sure to find one that matches your highlighter personality.

I’m partial to the powders because they are super smooth and versatile. I even wear them as eyeshadow sometimes. One downside to note: BECCA pressed powders are super delicate, so store them somewhere safe and pick a more durable formula for travel.

Pros: Intense and buildable highlight, shade range incorporates a variety of skin tones, comes in multiple formulas

Cons: Powder is really delicate and breakable

Buy the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed at Sephora for $38

The best stick highlighter

The best stick highlighter
Why you'll love it: With just one quick swipe, Glossier Haloscope gives you a dewy, natural highlight — if “natural” means “glowing like a you dipped your face in icing,” that is.

I’m a creamy stick highlighter devotteé, especially for daytime, and Glossier Haloscope is one of my favorites. It’s considered a “dew effect” highlighter (read: glossy and natural, not overly sparkly) with a nourishing formula containing coconut, castor seed, and sweet almond oil and real gemstones that give it pizazz.

It comes in three versatile shades — bronzey Topaz, pearly Quartz, and opalescent Moonstone. I use all three in different ways, treating Quartz and Moonstone as traditional highlighters and Topaz as a bronzer for a sun-kissed look. Sometimes I even pop them on my eyelid. The effect: kind of sweaty, but in a hot way.

Haloscope is pretty sheer, so each color adapts to multiple skin tones. Moonstone, for example, looks almost white in the tube, but blends out to a clear gloss with subtle opalescent sparkles.

I adore these for everyday use, and I’m not alone — Glossier won a Glamour Beauty Award in 2016 and has been recommended by countless other publications, including The Strategist.

“When it comes to daytime makeup, this product is one of my go-tos and certainly one of my most-used ‘natural’ highlighters,” writes Rio Viera-Newton.

Pros: Dewy, natural highlight; convenient stick packaging, great for travel, three versatile shades

Cons: Avoid if you are sensitive to oils

Buy Haloscope at Glossier for $22

The best natural highlighter palette

The best natural highlighter palette
Why you'll love it: The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is not a highlighter palette in the traditional sense, but that’s exactly what makes it so special.

If you’re not a fan of a really intense, strobing highlight, here’s something different. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette contains six powders that give you a glow visible from the moon, but without the sparkle you find with many highlighters. This is a true “lit from within” vibe.

I’ve tried these powders in a variety of different ways, but I love Dim Light, which blurs imperfections and gives skin luminosity, under my eyes and in the t-zone, Incandescent Light on the cheekbones as a subtle highlight, and Radiant Light under the cheeks for natural bronze glow.

This is roughly how the brand recommends applying the powders, but you really can mix it up to find what’s best for your face and skin tone — there’s even an entire Reddit thread dedicated to discussing how to use it.

Many of the more than 1,000 reviews on Sephora (the palette has a 4.3 rating) also point out how incredible this palette makes their skin look in photos, so it could be a fabulous option if you have a big event, like a wedding, coming up.

The biggest note of praise I can bestow on these powders? They considerably lessen the trauma of accidentally opening your phone to the front-facing camera.

Pros: Gives a gorgeous and natural glow, works for a lot of skin tones, minimal sparkle

Cons: There’s a bit of a learning curve and the price tag is high

Buy the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette at Nordstrom for $80 Buy the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette at Sephora for $62 (out of stock)

The best intense highlighter

The best intense highlighter
Why you'll love it: Sometimes, you want to go all-out. For those “life is a fashion editorial” moments, reach for the Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter.

The beauty of highlight, and makeup in general, is you can be someone different every time you wear it. Sometimes I’m in the mood for that fresh, no-makeup makeup vibe. Other days, I just want to douse myself in glitter and fun colors and pretend on I’m on the cover of Vogue.

Those days are all about the Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter. Fenty Beauty was founded by Rihanna, and if anyone can make beaming highlight seem infinitely wearable, it’s Rihanna. The color range includes everything from a gold shade called Trophy Wife to a pearlescent Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal, so there really is something for everyone. As long as you’re the type of “everyone” who loves blinding highlighter.

I tested Lightning Dust/Fire Crystal and the peachy pink Girl Next Door/Chic Phreak duos, and was surprised how versatile they were on my fair skin Both sets feature an intense highlight and a more subtle one. Together, they pack a seriously shimmery punch.

While I could get away with the less pigmented shades for daytime, I liked these best with full glam evening looks because they have a fair amount of glitter..

Even though Fenty Beauty only launched a few months ago, these highlights already have more than 2,000 Sephora reviews and a 9.7 rating. Shoppers are especially impressed with the shade selection, which features gorgeous options for dark skin tones as well as lighter ones.

Pros: Bold and intense highlight, colors that work for many skin tones

Cons: Best for fans of intense shimmer because there is visible glitter

Buy the Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter at Sephora for $34

The best cream pot highlighter

The best cream pot highlighter
Why you'll love it: Not a fan of color? Decorté Dip in Glow Cream Highlighter looks white in the pot but deposits a clear sheen when blended onto the skin.

I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to makeup, but the Decorté Dip In Glow Cream Highlighter took me by surprise. It comes in a tiny pot with a luxurious metallic screw-on lid. The product looks pearl white in the packaging, but it transfers onto the skin completely clear.

It almost gave me the same effect of patting lip balm onto my cheekbones (this is something I also do), minus the stickiness. In short, you will beam if you wear this, but in that natural “I just came from midday yoga and didn’t bother showering after but still look amazing” kind of way.

If you’re intrigued by Glossier Haloscope in “Moonstone” but fear the blue shift it gives you in certain lighting, try Decorté Dip In Glow. I think it’s a great option for mature skin or anyone who loves a very subtle highlight because it blends seamlessly and doesn’t emphasize texture or fine lines.

Decorté is a newer brand in the States so there aren’t a ton of reviews online, but Kate Moss is a fan, as is my mom, who called this stuff “magic” when I let her try it on a recent visit. And everyone should listen to my mom.

Pros: Translucent highlighter that doesn’t deposit color, natural glow, not sticky

Cons: Pricey

Buy the Decorté Dip In Glow at Saks Fifth Avenue for $34

Check out our other makeup buying guides

Check out our other makeup buying guides
The best blush you can buy for any skin tone

Blush can add some color to your cheeks no matter your skin tone. These are the best blushes we've tried.

The right blush can help bring an entire makeup look together, wake up your face on tired mornings, or reinstate some life on your cheeks after you've blotted out your natural color with foundation.

Here are the best blushes you can buy:

The best makeup setting powder you can buy

A good makeup setting powder must cut down on shine without caking, look natural but last for hours, mattify but enhance luminosity, and remain undetectable on most skin tones.

The right formula will lock your makeup into place and cut down on shine without mattifying you within an inch of your life or making you look cakey and overdone.

Hopefully this list of my five favorites will help you cut through the noise and find the one that's right for you.

Here are the best makeup setting powders you can buy:

The best concealer you can buy for any skin tone

Finding your ideal concealer shade is tricky, so we tested a bunch to find the best concealer you can buy.

The best formulas can make you look airbrushed with very little product required. I put a bunch of highly rated concealers to the test over several weeks. This list features my top five favorites.

Here are the best concealers you can buy:

The best long-lasting lipsticks you can buy

One of the major grievances I have with lipstick is that you apply it only to find your lips are bare the next time you look in the mirror. The solution is to amp up your beauty arsenal with a long-lasting lipstick that will stay put all day or night long.

In this guide, you'll find everything from cult favorites to drugstore steals. For luscious lips that last all day, read on in the slides below to discover our top picks. Muah!

Here are the best long-lasting lipsticks you can buy:

The best natural makeup you can buy

When it comes to natural makeup, it's hard to know which brands you can actually trust. Many products claim to be natural but contain potentially harmful synthetic ingredients.

For a high-performance makeup range that's formulated from natural, organic, and non-toxic ingredients, Jane Iredale is our top pick. You might also like RMS Beauty, Mineral Fusion, Ilia Beauty, and Burt's Bees.

The best mascara you can buy

If there's one thing many women never leave home without, it's mascara. It makes your eyes pop and brightens up your face in an instant. We tested dozens of mascaras to find the best, and Chanel Le Volume Mascara is our top choice because it delivers long, lush lashes that last all day.

The best foundation you can buy

Picking the right foundation makeup for your skin type and skin tone can be a real hassle, but once you find the best one for you, you've got it made. We've done the research to find some of the highest-rated foundations you can buy, and the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation is a real winner.

You should also consider the L'Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation, the Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup, the Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Foundation, and the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint.

The best lipsticks you can buy

After your eyes, your lips are probably the most expressive part of your face, and they stay busy all day long - emoting, eating, talking, kissing - so it's no surprise that most women like to attract a bit of attention to their lips with lipstick. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better creamy, satiny lipstick than L'Oréal Colour Riche Lipcolour.

You should also consider the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, the Revlon Kiss Balm, the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, and the Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers.

The best bronzers you can buy

A bronzed glow can make you look healthier and feel more confident, but we all know how damaging sunbathing can be. Faking it with a bronzer is a much safer option. For the ultimate sun-kissed glow in an instant, Becca's Sunlit Bronzers are our top pick.

You might also like the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Powder, the Milani Baked Bronzer, the W3LL People Bio Bronzer, or the Tom Ford Bronzing Gel.