Whether you’re into contouring, strobing or just really like having high looking cheekbones without the label, you probably love highlighters.
If you don’t love them, why not!? Highlighters are a great way to take the edge off a very matte foundation, draw attention to your best features and give a nice glow without the Edward Cullen look. Unless you’re into that.
I’ve compiled a list of highlighters from every brand I’ve used to give you a comprehensive guide on buying the right one for you.
MAC mineralize skinfinish in soft and gentle.
Good old soft and gentle is good for most fair skinned girls and most darker skin girls too. It has a beautiful golden peach tone and adds a lot of shine for cheekbones that can cut through steel without building up for half an hour. If you’re especially fair, I would use the lightscapade highlighter instead, but most people will be fine with this product.
I love cream products, but often find myself disappointed with their staying power, their blendability or the amount of pigment in them. I have had no issues with the MAC cream bases at all, which is kind of rare (and kind of amazing) for a range of cream products. Great amount of pigment, easy to blend, easy to build- just pat it on with your fingertips- and with a gorgeous liquid metal colour with tones of pink and gold. It’s the stylist little sister of NARS Laguna who got a bit of a tan. It also suits almost anyone because it’s not too light or dark and it gives off a beautiful wet look if you build it. My only warning is not to use on the T-zone if you’re oily or combination.
Urban Decay NAKED flushed palette.
Ok. So technically this isn’t just a highlighter, but it has a highlight in it so bear with me.
I was gifted this palette by a friend before the Naked palettes were available in Australia and I was so, so excited. I find the entire palette has a good colour payoff and you don’t need to build any of the shades up to notice them. The powders blend easily and suit most tones, but I’m quite fair and olive and I found the pink tone a little overwhelming as it was a half a shade darker than my skin when I tried it. Unfortunately, it met an unfortunate demise when it met my tiled bathroom floor, so I can’t try it again to see what it looks like. It was amazing to use on shoots, though. Bonus points for convenience, but like all of the urban decay NAKED palettes, it’s very dusty and brittle and it chips (or breaks) easily so take care.
I’m working with this product a lot at the moment and it is the most user friendly highlight on the market at the moment. Shiny and pearlescent without being metallic looking, naturally radiant for fair to medium skin (don’t worry, darker skinned beauties, the next item on the list will be your best friend). This baked powder will last until only the cockroaches and whatever Donald trump is using to hide his lack of hair remain, you only need a small amount. Being a baked powder, it’s very soft and blend able but definitely not dusty or messy to use. It has a white gold tone to it that looks like you’re being illuminated by angelic light. There is good reason this is a cult product but, unfortunately, it can often be hard to track down in Australia so you may need to be patient.
Part of the Summer in Ibiza collection for the 2015 summer (or Australian winter). This is a champagne or rose gold coloured powder that has more of a gleam than its Highlight 01 counterpart. It adds a slight bronze glow without looking dirty or dark on fairer skin and it looks absolutely gorgeous on dark skin. This is the highlight that suits everyone, plus it has beautiful packaging and it stays in that gorgeous rippled shape even after you’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. Sadly, this is a limited edition product so you’ll need to catch the next shipments to reach Australia before they’re gone for good. Thankfully, this product will last you years and years because you need so little to get a good result.
Illasmaqua gleam in Aurora.
This is probably one of the easiest cream products to blend. The downside is that, unfortunately, you need to really build it up in order to get a good highlight. It works beautifully with a dewy foundation, but looks strange with any mattes because it is so luminous. I would liken the consistency to lip balm or body butter, it feels hydrating but it needs a lot of coaxing to work well on full coverage foundations without accidentally removing part of your base. That being said, it looks gorgeous on the skin when it is applied correctly and Illamasqua always endeavour to be cruelty free with their products, which makes them a worthy brand to support.
Bobbi Brown shimmer brick in beige.
Technically, Bobbi brown don’t do highlighters as they don’t encourage contouring the face until you resemble a Kardashian. However, this product is what all the Bobbi artists are using to add definition to cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, etc.
This colour is my favourite of the range as it suits most skin tones as a highlighter, but the Rose or Nectar variations may work better for you, so be sure to check it out. The colour payoff is very subtle like your skin has been airbrushed or like you’ve just got very, very good selfie lighting happening on your face at all times. It’s a good natural glow for someone who doesn’t want to committ to a more obvious glow and it’s a godsend for people who are a little more oil prone and don’t want to resemble a disco ball.
The ultimate contour palette.
The thing with Napoleon Perdis products is that they’re extremely hit and miss. They have some absolutely beautiful products, then a few that just leave me scratching my head and wondering why they decided to make something so sub par and price it at the higher end of the spectrum. This is not one of those products. Yes, it’s a contouring palette, but it is an absolute delight to use. Nicely pigmented, blend able, build able and with colours that suit the average Australian makeup consumer. Definitely worth a try if you want a lovely all in one.
NARS multiple in Laguna.
NARS have their cult colours in various formats, but I find their multiple sticks the most versatile and user friendly. NARS highlighters are kind of like Joan Crawford’s character in Mommie Dearest; they look appealing on the outside, but they’re actually cold, harsh and don’t love you in the way you only hoped, yet they’re still highly coveted.
The orgasm multiple is too pink and dark for a variety of people, yet Laguna is such an icy shade of silvery white that you’d be hard pressed to wear it without resembling an android. I love using them because, as I mentioned, they’re easy to use and clients love the brand, but I keep using them and instantly wishing I hadn’t because that bitter disappointment I feel when I realise I need to apply something over the top to get the perfect colour just isn’t worth it.