Last updated: August 31, 2021

Our method

19Products analysed

22Hours spent

4Evaluated articles

62User reviews

These days, putting on makeup is part of our daily beauty routine. However, things have not always been this way. The history of makeup goes back thousands of years, and over time cosmetics have evolved into the modern products and applications that we know today.

Makeup has now become a form of art. It not only is a way for us to decorate our faces, but it can even transform our features and greatly change the way we look. When it comes to transformation, one of the key tools is highlighter, the undoubted star performer in this area. Read on to learn about the true power of this incredible product.


  • Highlighters are designed to bring light and shine to the face.
  • Unlike concealer, highlighter doesn’t conceal our features, but rather enhances them. In this way, it can be used to shape and transform the face.
  • There are different types of highlighters in various formats and delivering different types of finish.

The best highlighters: Our Picks

In this section, we’ve put together the best highlighters currently on the market. We’ve also listed the main characteristics of each in order to allow you to easily compare the pros and cons of each. This should help you to find the highlighter which is best suited to your needs.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about highlighter

It is critically important, before buying highlighter, that you know the key aspects of this product. Below are the most important things you need to know about highlighters so that you can be well-versed in this area. Additionally, we’ve provided answers to the most common questions about highlighter.

Highlighter adds the final touch to your look.
(Source: Drobot: 49340133/

What exactly is a highlighter?

You’ve probably heard of highlighter as a trendy type of makeup recently. But do you really know what highlighter is? As its name suggests, highlighter is a beauty product designed to add light or highlight certain parts of the face. These products contain particles that reflect light and so illuminate the skin.

It is usually applied to the face to enhance certain areas and highlight specific features, such as the cheekbones, nose and chin. It can, however, also be used on other parts of the body.

You can use highlighter in combination with other types of makeup and complements the final look very well.

What is highlighter used for?

Highlighter gives light and brightness to the parts of the face which need it the most. This highlights our features for a stunning end result. You could even say that highlighter is beauty’s magic wand, providing a flash of shine that our skin needs with a simple touch.

Highlighter can even create optical illusions which shape our features and make them look quite different. You can use it to change the angle or size of your nose, cheekbones or chin, for example. This creates a look which is sophisticated but also fresh and natural. It is the ideal finishing touch to any look.

For powder highlighters, it's recommended to use a brush.
(Source: Johnson: 34323453/

When should I use highlighter?

There are no strict guidelines on when you should use highlighter. One of the key strengths of highlighter is that it is extremely versatile. You can use it pretty much any way you want. This could be as a compliment to your daily makeup – a few touches of highlighter will give your face light and vitality, as well as defining its shape and adding to the overall appearance.

On the other hand, you could also use it for an evening look. Highlighter can be used in a natural way, or alternatively to create something more striking. You could use highlighter to create a dynamic look for an evening event or a special celebration.

Remember you can always use highlighter whenever you want to improve your look.

What is highlighter made of?

Ok, so we now know that highlighters bring brightness and light to your face. But how do they do it? Highlighter’s secret comes down to its composition. Its ingredients include mineral micro-particles and other components which reflect light. This gives the skin an extra flash of brightness where the highlighter is applied.

Not only this, but highlighter also has extra ingredients that stimulate the skin in order to encourage light and brightness. For example, they can have components which activate blood microcirculation, the process which gives skin its tone. They may also include exfoliating or de-pigmenting ingredients, which softens skin and gives it more radiance.

Highlighters bring brightness, light and vitality to the face.
(Source: Gekman: 43468969/

What is the difference between highlighter and concealer?

One common source of confusion is the difference between highlighter and concealer. Both products are similar, in that they are used to improve certain details and to complement other makeup products. However, there are key differences, as they are used to lend completely different effects.

The main difference between the two types of makeup is what they are primarily used for. On one hand, concealer is used to cover up imperfections such as pimples, blotching or dark circles. It aims to conceal this so they can no longer be seen. In contrast, highlighter essentially does the opposite: it draws attention to and enhances certain facial features, making them stand out.

There are certain key zones to apply highlighter and get the perfect look.
(Source: Prykhodko: 83667967/

Whether you choose to use one or the other will depend on the results you want to obtain. For some purposes, the two may complement each other, such as when contouring the eyes. Use concealer to cover shadows around the eyes and signs of fatigue, and then apply highlighter for greater volume and depth.

What types of highlighters are there?

There are a wide variety of highlighters on the market to suit all purposes and tastes. They can be generally classified according to texture, as well as their finish. Each type of highlighter is geared to an individual skin type for certain results.

In terms of texture, you will find powder, liquid and cream highlighters. When it comes to finish, there are some which give more, or less, brightness or shimmer. In this way, we can distinguish between highlighters which contain glitter particles, those with a pearly lustre, and matte highlighters. Below you’ll find a summary of the key information about each.

Types of highlighters Features Recommendations
Texture Powder Compact powders that give brightness and shine

Very easy to use and apply

Can be applied on top of foundation, or without foundation

Can combine with other highlighters

Particularly recommended for oily skin
Liquid Highly versatile

Light texture, easy to apply


Can be used under, on top of, or mixed with foundation

Ideal for dry skin types
Creams Dense creamy texture

Usually applied on top of foundation

Various forms

All skin types
Finish Glittery Intense, striking effect

Shimmering brightness

Great for evening events and special occasions
Pearly shine Natural glowl

Elegant, subtle results

Variable intensity

Suitable for daily wear or special occaisons
No shimmer Matte finish

Useful for defining features and adding dimension

Suitable for daily wear

Where should I apply highlighter?

Makeup experts tell us that highlighter is essential for certain parts of the face. There are specific facial features that, when enhanced and highlighted, make the face look more elegant and sophisticated. For example, they recommend that you apply highlighter under the eyes or in the “nasolabial fold” (the two lines that run from either side of the nose to the corners of the mouth).

These areas can create unflattering shadows that are corrected with a little highlighter. On the other hand, highlighter is most commonly applied along the cheekbones, and on or below the eyebrows. These are the parts of the face which are very flattering when lit up by a flash of light. Finally, we can highlight the area around the lips to make them stand out.

L`ORÉAL ParisLeading makeup brand
"With highlighter, your cheekbones appear lighter, your nose narrower and your lips more bulky."

How should I apply highlighter?

Generally, highlighter is applied after putting on foundation. This is because it does not offer much coverage. After all, it is designed to complement other makeup by reflecting light. Experts also warn to avoid too much highlighter in the T-Zone, as this tends to be oily already.

The best way to apply highlighter depends on the form you are using. For example, highlighter powder is best put on with a brush or similar. If it is a cream, gently tap on with your fingertips. Liquid highlighters, on the other hand, can be applied with a sponge or a brush, with mixed with foundation or on their own.

There are different highlighters for different skin types and results.
(Source: Yakobchuk: 48653466/

Can using highlighter have adverse effects?

As seen above, highlighter acts as an accessory to improve certain parts of our makeup. It is applied to very well-defined areas, in small quantities and usually on top of your foundation. Therefore, if you use it in this way, you should not experience any adverse effects.

However, as with all cosmetics, there is always a risk of allergic or hypersensitive reactions. Like other types of makeup, highlighters can contain components which may be harmful to people with allergies or skin conditions. They may also cause irritation in cases of eye contact. Therefore they should be used with a sensible level of care.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of highlighters?

In short, highlighters have become an indispensable part of any makeup kit. They bring brightness to the face, highlight certain features, and generally improve our appearance. Following is a table of comparison which shows the main advantages and disadvantages of using highlighter.

  • Gives the face light and shine
  • Draw attention to and enhance features
  • Offsets signs of fatigue
  • Versatile and easy to apply
  • Potential allergic or hypersensitive reactions

Shopping Criteria

When buying highlighter, it’s important to assess certain factors. Below we have listed the most important aspects to consider before buying this product. This will help you to make the best decision and choose the highlighter which is right for you.


We’ve already seen how there are various types of highlighter which come in different forms. This is an important aspect to keep in mind when buying highlighter. The format you choose will depend on a few things, for example, your skin type or what results you are looking for.

Powder highlighters are the most commercially available. They are easy to apply and give intense results. They are most recommended for oily skin types: if you have dry skin and are after a more natural result, you’ll be better off with a liquid highlighter. Take this into account and it will help you make the best decision.


Highlighter is known for its versatility as a beauty product. You could use it to manipulate your features and create a dramatic look or to do the exact opposite. From the start, ask yourself what final look you are trying to achieve.

As an example, glittery highlighters provide dazzling sparkle and shine. If you want a more neutral and sophisticated look, you should consider those without shimmer or with low shimmer. There are many options, so whatever finish you’re after, you’ll be sure to find a suitable highlighter.


Before settling on one highlighter or another, you should first ask yourself what you want it for. This will dictate which product is most suitable and is closely related to both the form and the finish of highlighter you should choose. For example, you might want a highlighter that you can wear on a daily basis for a fresher look.

In this case, it is better to choose a highlighter with a pearly or matte finish. In terms of format, liquids or creams will be more suitable as they are more subtle. On the other hand, if you are looking for something to wear to evening parties or big events where you want to stand out, this is a different matter entirely. Powder and shimmer highlighters should be your weapon of choice in those situations.

Skin type

Everyone’s skin is unique and has its own individual characteristics. These traits will determine your skin’s needs and the products you should put on them. That is to say, you wouldn’t use the same beauty product on oily skin as you would for very dry skin. Highlighters are no exception to this rule and are customised to different skin types.

This means that if you have oily skin you will get a better result with powder highlighters. When it comes to dry skin, liquid highlighters are better, as they have something of a moisturising effect.

Cream highlighters are highly versatile, and so can be used with all skin types.


The composition is an essential aspect to consider when buying any beauty product. It is important because certain ingredients in cosmetics may cause adverse reactions. Some people suffer from allergies or skin conditions which can be aggravated by specific ingredients.

Therefore, before buying a highlighter, it is important to spend a few minutes reviewing its composition. Make sure it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. If in doubt consult with a medical professional to be sure to avoid adverse effects or reactions.


You can now see why highlighters are so on trend currently. Highlighters bring brightness, light and vitality to our face. Not only that, but they also allow us to create true optical illusions to promote certain features. With a simple touch of highlighter, we can enhance key areas with impressive results.

If that wasn’t enough, highlighters are the "off-roaders" of cosmetics, since they adapt to all skin types and situations. Whether you have oily or dry skin or are looking for a certain result, there will be the highlighter for you. You can also choose between the form that best suits your needs. It’s win-win!

And you, are you ready to give yourself a touch of magic with the perfect highlighter? If you liked our article about highlighters, please share it with your social networks or leave us a comment.

 (Source of featured image: Yakobchuk: 100117417/