Makeup trends come and go, but glowing skin is always in! Did you know that getting dewy glowing skin is one of the most sought-after makeup tutorials? That’s where highlighters come in!
Highlighters have come a long way in recent years. And now you can find so many amazing and affordable illuminators even at the drugstores! Far from the overly sparkly or glitter-laden options, today’s best drugstore highlighters get your skin glowing with a lit-from-within finish.
What’s more, there are highlighter options in just about every texture from powders and creams to sticks – all in an array of shades ranging from pale champagne pinks and icy silvers to rose golds and bronze. Here’s a quick guide on how to choose the best highlighter for your skin tone plus some highlighter hacks!
As a general rule, if your skin is oily and you wear a powder foundation then it’s best to stick to a powder highlighter which also helps absorb excess oil. On the other hand, if your skin is on the dry side and you wear liquid foundation, opt for a creamy liquid highlighter too. Since the highlighter is layered on top of your makeup, you want the two to be compatible. If they aren’t, the two formulas will be harder to blend.
Now, without further ado — let’s talk about the best drugstore highlighters that give skin a fresh, radiant finish rather than flaring sparkles! Let’s dew it!
1. Wet ‘n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder ($4.99)
This silky smooth, highly-pigmented powder gives skin a lit-from-within glow without looking frosty. Not only is the formula super easy to blend but also excels in staying power! From a shimmery champagne to a coppery rose, this best-selling highlighter comes in a wide variety of shades for all skin tones. For under $5, this one is such a STEAL!
These illuminating drops from L’Oréal Paris are easily buildable and seemingly impossible to overdo. You can mix a couple drops into your moisturizer or foundation for an all-over glow or just dab it on the top of cheekbones, tip of nose and cupid’s bow. It makes skin look luminous, not shiny or sparkly. L’Oreal Lumi Drops also won the 2018 Allure Best of Beauty Award for best liquid highlighter.
If you are a fan of cream highlighters like me, this one from Physicians Formula is a must-have! It looks like a typical powder highlighter, but has more of a cream-to-powder mousse type formula that’s best applied with fingers. Its satiny texture just melts into skin, adding a radiant glow that glimmers from every angle.
Another winner from Wet n’ Wild, this airy mousse-like highlighter blends effortlessly and gives skin a gorgeous glow without being sparkly or glittery. And it lasts throughout the day without creasing or fading. From a pearly rose to sun-kissed bronze, it comes in 6 softly shimmering shades from subtle to statement-making.
Intense is the name of the game with this one-and-done powder illuminator! True to its name, it adds a warm metallic sheen that can be sheered out or intensified depending on how you apply it. It has a silky-smooth texture that isn’t the least bit dry or chalky. It was one of Allure’s 2018 Best of Beauty Award winner for the best powder highlighter!
This liquid luminizer makes skin gleam, minus the glitter! The silky, fluid formula blends seamlessly into skin and sets to a beautiful powdery finish. Available in 3 shades – champagne, pink (my favorite!) and bronze – it’s super pigmented and stays put all day!
Available in 5 glowing shades, this duo chromatic highlighter delivers a stunning shade-shifting radiance that lasts all day long. The pressed powder formula isn’t too soft, nor too stiff which makes it easy to control and build coverage. You can use a light dusting for an ethereal glow or really pack it on for a luminous look!
This “luxe for less” highlighting palette illuminates skin with refined radiance! The soft-focus, silky powders have a super smooth texture – no chunky sparkles or glitter. And they are packed with pigment, so just a little dab is all you need for a natural looking glow.
9. NYX Away We Glow Liquid Highlighter ($3.50)
This light-reflecting luminizer comes in 9 creamy shades ranging from a soft peach and silver to rose gold and champagne bronze. It blends smoothly and sets to a soft, glowy (but not greasy or glittery) finish that stays put. From subtle to intense, the formula is totally buildable! Just dab and blend to add luminosity to any look.
10. Maybelline Master Strobing Stick ($7.54)
This creamy stick delivers a high-shine highlight with just one swipe! It glides on smoothly over foundation without messing it up, and also wears beautifully on bare skin with a silky, powder-like feel. The portable stick is perfect to toss in your purse or pocket for instant glow on the go!
11. ColourPop Super Shock Highlighter ($8)
If you want luminosity that lasts morning to night, this highlighter delivers at a bargain price! With a buttery soft and bouncy texture, the cream-to-powder formula blends out beautifully for a glowing, radiant finish.And a little goes a long way! What’s more, it comes in more than 20 different shades that complement every skin tone from very fair to very deep.
12. Milani Soft Focus Glow Complexion Enhancer ($10.99)
Whether worn alone or mixed with foundation for all-over radiance, this creamy complexion enhancer makes skin look naturally dewy and healthy. Infused with hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, soft-focus pigments and rose water, the light lotion blends right into your skin making you look like the glow comes from within!
This swivel-up stick highlighter is super easy to apply…just swipe and blend for a soft, natural glow! Whether applied over makeup or used alone, the velvety formula doesn’t emphasize pores or skin texture. This handy stick is also perfect for quick touch-ups on the go.
14. Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder ($11.50)
Infused with light-reflecting pearls, this incredibly pigmented powder highlighter comes in 7 warmer-toned shades with a slightly metallic finish. You can sheer it out for a softer, lit-from-within glow or build up for a mega-watt shine!
15. NYX Away We Glow Liquid Booster ($17)
This glow-booster can take your highlighting game to the next level. The pigmentation is top notch and gives you a major glow with just a drop! It’s perfect for a full-on strobing look but the formula is versatile enough to be mixed in with your foundation for a healthy glowing finish. Compared to the L’Oreal Lumi Glow Drops, this one is on steroids!
NYX Away We Glow Liquid Booster is a great dupe for the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops and work just as good for a fraction of the cost!
16. NYX Born to Glow Highlighter Singles ($10)
These hot little singles are just what you need to glow the distance! Packed with luminescent pearls, the Born to Glow Highlighters make it easy to spotlight your features with a super intense glow. Available in three illuminating shades.
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