Highlighter is possibly my favourite makeup product. But, it’s also the one which can go very, very wrong. Depending on formula and application, highlighter can make your skin look incredibly healthy and moisturised or very texturised, caked in makeup, and/or dry. Luckily, I’ve managed to find a range of highlighters, both powder and cream, which I love…
‘SPOTLIGHT’ BEAUTY LIGHT WAND by Charlotte Tilbury
With a fairly thick cream texture, the Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wands are very, very glowy and a little goes a long way. My favourite mode of application is to get a brush, coat the bristles in the product, dab off the excess, and apply to the face in tapping motions. I prefer this method as opposed to applying the product straight from the component’s applicator, as it prevents unwanted exacerbation of texture. The colour Spotlight is my go-to and is a gorgeous icy champagne that isn’t too dark for fair skin. It’s hands down my go-to cream highlighter.
‘INCANDESCENT’ AMBIENT STROBE LIGHTING POWDER by Hourglass
On the other end of the scale, the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders are the most natural highlighters in my list. With a finely milled powder formula, the Ambient Strobe Powders should be applied with a fluffy highlighting brush, such as the 137S by MAC. From here, the product can glide across the cheekbones, being layered until the desired intensity has been achieved. The result is a beautifully gentle yet effective glow that sculpts the face. My favourite shade is Incandescent Strobe, which pairs amazingly with Patrick Ta’s She’s Seductive Velvet Blush.
‘CAPRI’ HIGHLIGHTING POWDER by NARS
The NARS Highlighting Powders are a fail-safe product and a staple in a lot of people’s makeup collection. With a range of six colours, these non-glittery powders are more glowy than Hourglass’s Ambient Strobe Lighting Powders, but they still remain in the ‘natural’ realm of the highlighting sphere. My favourite shade is Capri, an icy nude pink, and is more often than not the highlighter I use on work mornings.
MOOD LIGHT LUMINOUS POWDER by Jaclyn Cosmetics
As a new brand, Jaclyn Cosmetics’ Mood Light Luminous Powders will not have the same kudos that the other products I’m mentioning here. But it should do. As the an extremely finely milled loose powder, the formula can either be used as a setting powder (using a large, fluffy base brush) or layered up to be a very gentle but stunning highlighter (using a smaller, dense brush, such as a fluffy eyeshadow brush). While I love all the highlighters in this list, the Mood Light Luminous Powders give my skin the most natural yet radiant glow out of them all. And it does so without exacerbating texture, disturbing my foundation, or looking thick on the skin. I couldn’t love it – or recommend it – more.
HOLLYWOOD FLAWLESS FILTER by Charlotte Tilbury
The other cream highlighter I love is an icon – the Hollywood Flawless Filter, yet again by Charlotte Tilbury. While this can be used all over the face underneath makeup as a primer, my favourite way to use it is on top of makeup as a highlighter. Just like the Beauty Light Wand, a little goes a long way with the Hollywood Flawless Filter formula, with the smallest amount sufficing. When it comes to application, I tap a couple of dots onto my cheekbones straight from the doe-foot applicator and use a brush to blend it out.
The Hollywood Flawless Filter has more of a lotion consistency than the Beauty Light Wand, as is therefore more dewy on the skin. If you’re particularly conscious of retaining as much coverage from your foundation and concealer as possible, you may prefer the Beauty Light Wand formula better – the Hollywood Flawless Filter does have a tendency to lift coverage every so slightly.
I NEED A NUDE GLOW HIGHLIGHTER by Natasha Denona
If you have fair skin, flattering bronzy highlighters are extremely difficult to come by. Natasha Denona’s I Need a Nude Highlighter has a slight golden shimmer and looks really beautiful as a glowy bronzer topper during the summer months. Personally, I wouldn’t wear this highlighter as a highlighter on its own, just because the base is slightly too dark for me to do so. However, as a topper, I really love it. If I wanted to add a lighter highlighter on top, I’d use Albatross by NARS.