If you’ve seen women looking impossibly dewy and perfect this summer, it’s not just because they happen to sweat in a more attractive way than the rest of us. The good highlighter and the right technique can help fool anybody into thinking you’re perspiring for fashion, and once things cool down for fall, it can help you retain your summer glow long after the beach is no longer an option.
So what is highlighting (or strobing, as it is sometimes called to make it sound like a trend)? Essentially, you highlight areas of the face where light would naturally hit, like your brow bone, cheekbones, forehead, chin and the bridge of your nose, with a shimmery or reflective product–that can be a powder, gel, liquid, semi-solid or basically anything else you can think of. It can be used by itself for a natural look or over your makeup to add a little extra shine. Colors of highlighter vary; some or very sheer, while others lay down color like a bronzer or blush.
After trying a couple of these below and consulting with the rest of the PB team on their favorites, I’ve assembled some suggestions for highlighters and illuminators (which are a little less intense). Check out all my suggestions below.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator
$42 via Marc Jacobs Beauty
This may be your best bet if you’re new to the genre and thinking of adding more shine to your look. It’s easy to use and its creamy texture makes it easy to blend.
Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter
$30 via Sephora
When conturing started to really gain traction in the beauty realm, I started using this Benefit highlighter. It does exactly what it says: it’ll add shine and dry down to a powder finish.
Wander Beauty Catch the Light Highlighter
$25 via Net-a-Porter
This product comes in a variety of shades, but I think this ivory color will be the most impactful.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat – Radiant Touch
$42 via Sephora
This product is a classic, especially for those who want an under-eye pick-me-up. I have naturally dark circles, so I’m always on the lookout for a product that helps brighten that area, and this does wonders!
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
$45 via Sephora
This product comes in six different shades, but this powder has a pink undertone that will soften the skin and diffuse light so your glow looks healthy and natural.
Perricone MD No Highlighter Highlighter
$35 via Net-a-Porter
I haven’t tried this one yet, but I know Amanda swears by Perricone MD products. I personally love for my makeup to have a dewy finish, and I’m really eager to try a highlighter in a liquid form; I think this one may be a winner. (In fact, I may go buy it after work!).
Lancôme Glow Subtil Silky Creme Highlighter
$30 via Sephora
This is another silky cream highlighter that blends easily and delivers a natural-looking summer glow that works without makeup.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Highlighter
$28 via Sephora
I have yet to try this one, but I use several Tarte products and one of the reasons I love the brand is because they work well with my sensitive skin. If your skin is also sensitive, I highly recommend the brand.
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight
$22 via Sephora
If you like your makeup to look very natural, then Clinique is the brand you are looking for. This product is easy to use and little goes a long way. Just blend well and you’re good to go!
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Illuminating Moisturizer
$34 via Sephora
This is a two-for-one beauty buy you don’t want to pass up. This moisturizer-infused highlighter will offer you and extra dose of hydration, as well as a subtle glow.
BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector
$41 via Sephora
This Becca Skin Perfector is not only natural-looking when applied, but you can use it all over your body. Add to your collarbones, shoulders and legs for an added sun-kissed look.
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer
$38 via Net-a-Porter
This organic living luminizer is a huge cult favorite, and it adds the perfect finishing touch to your makeup routine. A little goes a long way with this cream-based product, and if you’re like me and tend to have a heavy hand, you can dab the extra on your body for an added glow.