Is there such a thing as too much highlighter? From subtle to blinding, dewy to metallic, and liquid to powder, there is a highlighter for every mood and occasion. In today’s post, I’m sharing my ultimate glowing highlighter ranking.
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Ultimate Glowing Highlighter Ranking Methodology
When I originally posted my ultimate glowing highlighter ranking in 2019, I had fewer highlighters than I do now. As a result, I’ve readjusted my ranking to group by formula rather than by singular highlighters. Also, I’ve broken out loose highlighters from my pressed or baked powder highlighters.
The Milk Makeup Super Nova Holographic Highlighter Stick* was included in a 2018 Holiday Gift Set. Although the holographic effect is interesting, I am not someone who loves colorful highlighters. For that reason, I rarely reached for this highlighter and ultimately decluttered it. For more on Milk Makeup’s best selling products, check out my Milk Makeup brand review for details on more iconic Milk Makeup favorites.
3 | Milk Makeup Mini Highlighter Stick in Lit ($14.00, CF)
The Mini Highlighter in the shade Lit provides an ultra-glossy sheen to the face wherever it is applied. The dewy shine looks natural and effortless. However, this balmy highlighter must be applied over foundation or bare skin before it has been set with powder. Also, unless layering a powder highlighter over top, this product should not be set.
Swatches of my Creme & Liquid Highlighters
2 | ColourPop Lite Stix – Urth ($8.00, CF) – now discontinued
At the $8.00 price point, the ColourPop Lite Stix are a total steal for anyone looking for high-quality cream highlighters at an affordable price tag. Urth is an icy pink highlighter similar to that of Benefit’s High Beam Liquid Highlighter. Sadly, Urth was discontinued some time in 2019 or 2020.
1 | Benefit – High Beam Liquid Highlighter ($26.00)
Benefit’s High Beam Liquid Highlighter* is one of two highlighters I’ve finished completely and repurchased. (Benefit Watt’s Up Cream Highlighter is the other.) This pinky, pearl-like highlight provides a beautiful glow to the face, whether applied underneath or overtop my foundation. It is like a more subtle, liquid version of Ofra’s Pillow Talk.
A blinding array of affordable & luxury highlighters
Loose Highlighter Ranking
3 | Laura Mercier – Mini Translucent Loose Setting Powder Glow ($23.00)
2 | Artist Couture Diamond Glow Powder Mini – Illuminati ($14.10, CF)
When I first sat down to write my highlighter ranking, I only used my Illuminati Diamond Glow Highlighter a handful of times. In fact, I thought about decluttering this product. Instead, I put it into my 20 in 2020 Project Pan – and I’m so glad that I did.
I fully understand why so many people love the Artist Couture Diamond Glow Powders. Despite looking glittery, this loose highlighter looks like liquid glass on my skin. Similar to the next highlighter, this highlighter should be applied with a light hand and slowly built up.
1 | Juvia’s Place – the Nubian Highlighter in Nefertiti ($15.00, CF)
WOW. Just WOW. The Nubian Highlighter in Nefertiti is like liquid gold on the face. This is an incredibly gorgeous, high impact highlighter. However, be careful not to make a mess when applying. Also, instead of going in with a heavy hand, apply small amounts of product to slowly build pigmentation.
Powder Highlighter Ranking
20 | ColourPop x Disney Villains Super Shock Highlighter – Mistress of All Evil ($10.00, CF) – now discontinued
I regret buying much of the Disney Villains Collection. In particular, I regret buying the highlighters. At first, I enjoyed these Super Shock Highlighters and the packaging made me so happy. However, I rarely for the only shade I have left, Mistress of All Evil. This particular formula felt different from the traditional Super Shock formula.
19 | ColourPop x Disney Designer Midnight Masquerade Pressed Powder Highlighter ($10.00, CF) – now discontinued
When ColourPop released their new pressed powder highlighter formula in the Disney Designer Midnight Masquerade collection, everyone lost their minds. The highlighters appeared to be blinding and the compacts were so beautiful.
However, the formula didn’t wow me in the way that I hoped. The Sleeping Beauty Inspired Shade, Coronation, had difficulty building. In contrast, Horse & Carriage looked too icy on my skin.
18 | Dose of Colors x iLuvSarahii Highlighter – Bathe ($28.00, CF)
It KILLS me that I’m ranking my Dose of Colors x iLuvSarahii Highlighter so low in my collection. Although this highlighter is creamy and ultra wet looking, the shade is just slightly too deep for me.
Sadly, neither of my two Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters are favorite formulas in my collection. While the highlighters themselves are quite beautiful, the shades I own (Hu$tla Baby and Sand Castle) are too deep for me. In order to make these work, I need to apply with another highlighter. See where my beloved Fenty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth bronzer landed in my bronzer ranking.
My Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Gel Highlighter is so beautiful to look at; however, I rarely reach for this highlighter. Color-wise, it is a little too deep for me. Also, the highlighter completely separated from the compact before I even brought it home with me. Had I paid full price for this, I’d be disappointed.
From a performance standpoint, this highlighter is fine.
15 | MAC Cosmetics – Selena La Reina Extra Dimension Skin Finish ($37.00)
First, the MAC x Selena La Reina Extra Dimension Skin Finish is one of the most beautiful highlighters I’ve ever seen. The rose imprint is stunning and the outer packaging is a beautiful nod to Selena’s iconic bedazzled bustier.
Formula-wise, this highlighter is fine, but I wan’t wowed by the performance given the price. That being said, the highlighter’s intricate design could impact the product’s performance.
The Lawless Beauty Lucid Skin Highlighter was underwhelming. Although there are days when I want a less aggressive glow, this highlight borderlines on being too subtle. However, I love the brand’s stance on clean ingredients.
The Diorskin Nude Luminizer Shimmer Glow Powder* was a bit of a let down. Overall, I don’t feel like this highlighter does much for the skin. It isn’t subtle enough to provide a wet or dewy finish, but isn’t high impact enough to provide an impactful glow. At $48.00, I expected more.
The above being said, the packaging is beautiful. Also, similar to my Melt Cosmetics Digital Dust Highlighters, this Diorskin Glow Powder could improve as I work past the top layer of product and get beyond the design imprint.
The Glow-y Gossamer Duo* is another beautiful, high impact highlight. However, compared to others on this list, this highlighter can emphasize texture. Also, sometimes the sheen looks almost too metallic.
Finger Swatches of my powder highlighters
11 | Essence Pure Nude Highlighter ($4.99, CF)
The Essence Pure Nude Highlighter truly is as good as everyone says it is. How can this baked highlighter be SO blinding? Also, despite looking icy, this highlighter works on a wide variety of skin tones.
I wasn’t expecting to be so wowed by my Makeup Geek Highlighter in Nightlight. I was actually worried that this highlighter would be too deep for me. However, this light gold highlighter provides a beautiful luminosity to the cheeks. However, I cannot tell if this highlighter is being discontinued.
9 | Stila Cosmetics – Heaven’s Hue Highlighter ($35.00, CF)
The Stila Cosmetics Heaven’s High Highlighters seem to be a divisive formula in the beauty community. However, I love my Kitten Heaven’s Highlighter. Of the highlighters included in this roundup, Kitten is the most natural and least blinding. But I like it for those reasons. In fact, this is my go-to highlighter for diffusing highlighter that are too deep, add texture, or that I’ve applied too heavy handed.
Sadly, it looks as though this particular formula is being discontinued.
8 | Melt Cosmetics Digital Dust Highlighters ($39.00, CF)
In all honesty, when I first tried the Melt Cosmetics Digital Dust Highlighters I was underwhelmed. The highlighters seemed powdery and lack luster. However, the Digital Dust Formula is one that improves as the top layers of product are worn away.
In order of preference, I own the shades Stargazer,* Morning Star,* and Illuminacion. To be candid, Illuminacion is only listed last due to the pink color shift. However, design-wise, that highlighter would be my top choice.
7 | Persona Cosmetics Cali Glow Highlighters ($24.00, CF)
Would this be a ranking post without a Persona Product mentioned? I own two shades within the Cali Glow Highlighter range – Zuma and Laguna. Both highlighters feel super creamy and buttery. Additionally, these highlighters are great for creating a sun kissed, diffused glow or a blinding shine.
Of the shades that I own, I prefer Zuma to Laguna. Zuma is a stunning champagne, while Laguna’s ivory tone is almost too icy for my skin tone. As a result, Laguna looks less natural and can sometimes emphasize texture.
New to Persona Cosmetics? Please consider using my referral link for 15% off your first purchase. If you make a purchase I will receive 5% cashback for the sale, but please know that I’ve been purchasing from Persona long before I had a code. I would never recommend products I didn’t truly love.
6 | Jouer Cosmetics Molten Glow All Over Face and Body Highlighter ($28.00, CF) – now discontinued
Jour’s Molten Glow Highlighter is one of the prettiest highlighters that I’ve ever used. Similar to other formulas mentioned on this lineup, the Molten Glow Highlighter provides a wet, golden glow wherever applied. I wish this limited edition highlighter was a permanent Jouer product.
Overall, I am a huge fan of ColourPop’s Super Shock formula. In fact, I own more than 50 Super Shock Highlighters. In addition to those eyeshadows, I own two Super Shock Highlighters – Lunch Money and Smoke N’ Whistles (now discontinued). I love the beautiful glossy, wet sheen that these highlighters give to the cheeks. The finish is almost glass-like and doesn’t emphasize texture.
4 | Ofra Highlighters ($15.00-$29.00, CF)
Ofra makes some of the most hyped highlighter formulas available today. The brand’s liquid to baked formula provides beauty lovers with a blinding highlight that lasts all day or night long.
Not only are the NABLA Skin Glazing Highlighters beautiful to look at, but they provide wearers with the ultimate wet, dewy glow. Similar to other formulas on this list, the Skin Glazes can be built up to achieve a blinding glow.
Milk Makeup’s Flex Highlighter in Lit* is a beautiful, champagne highlighter that adds a wet-looking luminous glow to the skin. Moreover, with layering this highlighter can be built up to a blinding glow. For individuals with deeper complexions, this formula is a more inclusive alternative to the highlighter listed in my top spot.
Did Benefit really release the highlighter of 2019? Cookie* is a stunning, golden pearl highlighter that looks ultra high shine and wet on the skin. This can be built up to look blinding or worn for a subtle glow. 10/10 would recommend. See where my Benefit cheek palette ranks in my face palette ranking.
However, I would be remiss if I did not voice my issue with Benefit releasing a single highlighter with no shade extensions for deeper skin tones. In this day and age, this lack of inclusion is unacceptable.
Final Thoughts on My Ultimate Glowing Highlighter Ranking
Adjusting my ultimate glowing highlighter ranking made me acutely aware that I own way too many highlighter for one person. Moreover, I am clearly obsessed with champagne shades.
Formula-wise, I prefer highlighters that provide a glass-like, wet, or balmy finish as opposed to highlighters that are glittery or overly metallic. Also, colorful highlighters are not my favorite. Additionally, I prefer highlighters with buildable pigmentation. Essentially, those types of formulas give me greater versatility. Finally, as an oily skinned gal with large pores and texture, I never want to wear highlighters that emphasize my skin’s texture.
Enjoy my ultimate glowing highlighter ranking? Check out my blush ranking.
Do you own any of he products featured in my ultimate glowing highlighter ranking? Do you prefer a dewy or wet looking highlighter or do you reach for glittery metallic formulas? Please let me know in the comments below.