Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carry out our tests ourselves and test products as they are intended to be used in reality. In our tests of highlighters, we asked someone who works professionally with makeup to use the products, both in their work and on their own face. An additional two people of different ages, with varying skin types and under various conditions, have also tested them. In this test we have focused on examining the following:
Use: What’s the consistency like? How easy or difficult is it to apply the highlighter? And how economical is it?
Result: What’s the colour like? What kind of lustre and finish does it provide? And which type of skin does it best suit? How durable are the results?
Format: How is the packaging designed, and how easy is it to use? Does it have extra functions, for example a mirror?
In addition to this, we have also taken into account how much the product contains, whether the formula has any ingredients that care for your skin, and how many colours are available in the range, compared to its price. We have then designated the test winner.
Soft pressed powder highlighter that’s easy to use and gives a fantastic finish.
The Balm’s products always come in great packaging, and Mary-Lou Manizer is no exception. The container is nice and heavy with an attractive retro inspired print on the lid that instantly makes you think there’ll be a good product on the inside. And you won’t be disappointed.
This highlighter consists of pressed powder that gives a kiss of golden shimmer on your face without being glittery. A highlighter is at its very best when the shimmery particles are finely ground and you don't end up looking like you were on your way to a junior school disco. Of course if you actually are on your way to a junior school disco, you can always supplement it with a proper glitter product, but with Mary-Lou Manizer you never feel the need to add much else.
The powder is pressed but still soft to use. And not so soft that it crumbles when you put your brush and it. The product gives a beautiful glow to your face and the compact contains a mirror, which makes touch ups much easier. The only problem with The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer is that it’s so good you tend to want to apply more, and sometimes there is a very fine line between a nice glow and overdoing the shine. But if you can resist the temptation, this is a real winner!
Liquid highlighter packed in an easy to grip tube. This product has a creamy, easily worked consistency that can give you both a feathery glow and a more compact shimmer. You can apply it both under and over your make-up and it works on all kinds of base. Once it’s dried it stays put. One tip is to mix it with your foundation if you’d like a more subtle shimmer. Our tester used this highlighter as primer under their foundation, both on its own and mixed with a normal face cream to give an all-over lustre. It’s available in several different shades and you can choose the one that matches your skin colour best to produce as natural a result as possible. The mother of pearl shimmery shade “Sunbeam” is actually the only one that suits light skin – the other shades have a darker base colour which means they can look unnatural if they don’t match your skin tone. The “Pure Gold” shade is just too golden to look natural. In terms of price, Nyx products are really good, and this is the cheapest product in the test – 18 ml for less than ten quid!
1 nyx born to glow liquid illuminator "li 02 - gleam" joy's cosmetics
NYX Professional Makeup Facial make-up Highlighter Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator 02 Gleam
NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator, Liquid Shimmer Makeup, Highlighter, Foundation Base, Vegan Formula, Shade: Gleam
An incredibly economical highlighter in pen form
NARS The Multiple is a highlighter pen that, while it costs a fair bit, is simultaneously so economical that it lasts for absolutely ages.
This is a highlighter that’s available in a number of different shades. The best well-known, and the one we tested, is Orgasm. Orgasm doesn’t just give the skin lustre, but also a touch of colour – a light redness that makes you look as fresh as a wild rose. But you have to be quite sparse with how you apply it, as the pen is relatively high in pigment. It also contains a certain amount of glitter.
Even if this highlighter comes in pen form, the product lands on the skin like a creamy powder. The Multiple it is easy to work with – you simply apply it direct to the skin. After that, the easiest thing is to work the product in using your fingers, as this quickly gets rid of any edges.
The packaging is attractive and stylish, but gets a bit dirty after a while. Although of course that depends on how you store the pen. But one thing to remember is that The Multiple is so incredibly economical that the pan will perhaps last for longer than the contents stay fresh. If it starts to crack or smell weird, it’s time to say goodbye.
The rather contradictory name of this product refers to the fact that it’s intended to give a natural and realistic result – which is exactly what it delivers. Perricone was originally a skincare brand with inspiration from dermatology. Now the brand is producing make-up, they're still true to their aesthetic and the bottle is designed a little like an old-fashioned medicine bottle. But in the load is a modern applicator that helps you to get just the right amount of this thin cream. The highlighter is available in a single colour – a pale pink and champagne shade – which suits everyone except for those with the darkest of skins. The effect is very minimal. It gives more a feeling of healthy skin than a clear shimmer. The highlight also contains vitamins C, which has skin improving properties – including brightening and evening the skin. However, the quantity is so small that it won’t make much a big difference to your skin. But it’s nice to have all the same.
Very soft and easy to use highlighter with plenty of glow
At first glance, this looks like a real budget product. The compact is plasticky and has a boring design. Fortunately, the contents make up for the dull packaging. If you’re looking to give your face plenty of glow, Ofra Cosmetics Highlighter is definitely a product to try. The powder is pressed in the compact, but at the same time it’s so soft that you don’t need to struggle to pick up the product with your make-up brush. If anything, you have to be careful, because it’s easy to get far too much highlighter on your brush if you’re a bit heavy-handed with the powder.
This softness is actually both the big strength and the major weakness of Ofra Cosmetics Highlighter. Because while it makes it easy to apply and get an even result, the powder is very fragile. And this fragility combined with the fact that the compact is plastic and can’t resist impacts means that the powder tends to smash into hundreds of tiny pieces if you drop it in the sink or – God forbid – on the floor. There’s no way of saving this highlighter if it’s smashed, and having to throw away an otherwise really good highlighter because the packaging isn’t up to the job is upsetting both to your heart and your wallet.
Ofra have several different colours in their highlighter, so there’s a shade for everyone. With a gentle touch, Ofra Cosmetics Highlighter offers a glow that hard to beat, so it’s a real shame that the packaging isn’t the same quality.
Highlighter that gives a light and natural glow.
Benefits High Beam was on the market many years before the concept of strobing appeared on social media. High Beam is a liquid highlighter that comes in a nail varnish-like bottle with a brush in the lid. This is a light pink product that gives a light and natural glow and works just as well on the cheekbones as under your eye bone. And if you want a more discreet lustre instead, you can apply it under foundation.
Despite the fact that High Beam is a classic, it leaves something to be desired. The product dries out very quickly, which is particularly obvious at the opening of the bottle, where the dried product collects and leaves clumps on the brush every time you use it. If you use the bottle every day, this probably won’t be a problem, but if you use a highlighter a bit more sporadically you’ll have to spend a few minutes picking off dry residues each time you use it.
The design of the bottle with a brush and the lid may be practical, but it isn’t optimal if you're the kind of person who worries about bacterial growth, as the brush is intended to be used directly on your face. Of course you can resolve this by washing it, but in real life washing your make-up tools probably isn’t top of your priority list during the morning rush.
Benefit High Beam is still a good product that gives a nice glow while it’s also very easy to use. But the question is whether you’ll have used up all the product before it completely dries out in the bottle.
Highlighter is a light-reflecting product available in different forms – liquid, cream, pen, pressed or loose powder. What they all do is give your skin a shimmery, fresh lustre and emphasise the area you've applied the highlighter to – for instance your cheekbones or eyelids. The shimmer should feel light and feathery in your skin, not cakey or sticky. So you should watch out for a highlighter that provides too much coverage, because it can easily look unnatural and heavy. Nor should the highlighted glitter too much – it should just glisten slightly when the light hits it. Apply to unmade-up skin or as the last step in your base make-up, after foundation, bronzer and blusher. If you have light skin, a feathery pearl coloured or faintly golden champagne colour is a perfect choice. Darker skin suits almost all colours – even a deeper bronze.
Your fingers are an excellent tool when you’re applying highlighter, but if you want to work with brushes, we recommend a medium size that gives good control – for example a small blusher brush or a large eye shadow brush. A fluffy brush gives a more natural finish and a denser brush gives more coverage. Make sure you blend it so that there are no unnatural, sharp edges.
Contouring, strobing, draping – just now the internet is full of different words describing new techniques for using highlighter and contour to sculpt your face. But if you’re looking for a natural result, it needn’t be complicated. A touch of highlighter on your cheekbones and eyelids is all you need to give a nice glow to your face. If you’d like a bit more lustre, you can blend the highlighter on your cheekbones and up towards your temples. You can also apply it down the bridge of your nose to define the shape of your nose and above your Cupid’s bow to give yourself extra-pouty lips. A spot of highlighter in the inner corner of your eye gives brighter eyes in an instant, and extra lustre right under your eyebrow gives your entire eye a lift. Some highlighters also work well on dark circles, because they contain light reflecting pigments. But remember that they need to be a touch lighter than your skin colour, because otherwise you just look even tireder. And remember too that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Skin care products, primer and foundation often add shimmer, but don’t use only this type of product if you don’t want to look like a glittery disco ball. Sticking to one product that adds lustre to your make-up is the best approach.