The Best Highlighters For A Grown-Up Glow

From gleaming powders to glossy liquids, these next-gen formulas are the key to luminous skin


by Phoebe Lee |
Updated on

Highlighters are big - but also quite tricky - business. We are spoilt for choice: cream, powder or liquid? Sure, options are good, but understandably also a tad overwhelming. There's also the question of application too: there is a fine line between a subtle, healthy sheen and full-frontal sparkle.

‘The golden rule for application is to apply highlighter on the highest points of the face, so the cheekbones, brow bone, and down the bridge of the nose’, explains Amy Conway, Global Pro Artist at Bobbi Brown. ‘Basically, wherever the light would naturally hit your face.’ The formula, she says, is all personal choice, but identifying your skin type can help. 'As a general rule, normal to oily skins should opt for powder highlighters that are long-wearing, whilst those with dry skin should go for something creamy that will give you a glass-like finish.’

Her final tip? 'Always think of highlighter as your finishing touch. Apply at the end of your makeup routine to lift the entire look,' suggests Conway. 'To get a really dewy glow use a small fluffy brush and spritz it with setting spray before applying your chosen highlighter.'

Sage advice. You can shop the Grazia approved edit of highlighters below.

Shop: The Best Highlighters For A Grown-Up Glow, 2022


SHOP: The Best Highlighters, 2022

Chanel Baume Essentiel in Transparent, £331 of 7

Chanel Baume Essentiel in Transparent, £33

This balmy, transparent highlighting stick lends a seriously dewy, post-yoga glow. This is a glow that is believable, too: there are no chunks of glitter or sparkle at all here. The cream texture melts into skin for a subtle, buildable sheen that can be applied on top of cheekbones as well as the collarbones.

RMS Living Luminizer Highlighter, £362 of 7

RMS Living Luminizer Highlighter, £36

There is much to love about this pot of creamy goodness from RMS. Incredibly lightweight, this silky gleam blends with real ease into skin, and doesn't feel sticky or greasy on touch. The rich emollients in here mean that it can be layered over powder, too, without disturbing it.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, £423 of 7

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, £42

Hourglass know a thing or two about powders. With ultra-fine pearl particles, this powder diffuses light for a glow that looks pretty imperceptible. While some powders risk appearing heavy or clunky on skin, this powder highlighter melts into your base and feels velvety to the touch. There are various shades available, too.

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish, Soft and Gentle, £274 of 7

MAC Mineralize Skin Finish, Soft and Gentle, £27

Plenty of powder highlighters feel unsophisticated; chunky, unrefined and full of thick glitter particles. Such is not the case for MAC's offering. Their Mineralize highlighters supply more of an intense glow than most cream highlighters here, yet still retains a texture that is featherlight and easy to blend. Soft and Gentle is a particular highlight - a warmer toned, peachy bronze.

Saie Super Glowy Gel, £225 of 7

Saie Super Glowy Gel, £22

Consider this one of Cult Beauty's best highlighter finds. This gel-cream leaves skin with a seriously juicy, seriously sophisticated glow. It's subtle enough to be used all over the face before foundation (to allow radiance to peek through), or loaded up on top of cheekbones for a fresh, skin-like sheen.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, £306 of 7

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, £30

Is it a foundation? Is it a primer? Is it a highlighter? However you categorise it, know that it's a godsend for lacklustre skin. This tinted cream is packed full of nourishing oils that imbue skin with a serious gleam. It has just a touch of coverage, so yes, you can use it as a foundation, but we like it on the high points of the face for a glow that looks seriously skin-like.

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand, £297 of 7

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand, £29

The second Charlotte Tilbury product to make this edit, for she is the queen of glow. This creamy highlighter is dabbed on with the cushiony pad, which allows for ultra-precise application. The glow is so ethereal, and buffs into the skin naturally.

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