The best highlighters for a perfect glitter-free glow that looks ethereal

Highlighters have become a mainstay in our make-up bags. But don't worry, glow doesn't have to mean glitter! If you don't want a face full of glitz, we've tracked down the best sparkle-free formulas to leave you with a subtle shimmer. And we've considered a range of skin tones - so you'll find the best highlighters for fair and darker skin.

There are thousands of highlighters to choose from, but we’ve narrowed them all down to these 5 best highlighters, to give your face a luminous glow all year round.

While you use darker shades of makeup to contour and make areas of the face appear less pronounced, highlighters do the reverse. They draw attention to certain areas of your face. Sweep them over the highest points of your cheeks and down the center of your nose, across your cupids bow and brow bones to create that sculpted makeup silhouette that’s very now.

Remember you’re not looking to create a bronzed post holiday glow (that’s bronzing, not highlighting). To get it right, steer clear of warm, yellow-based tones and go for cool shades with a pinky, silvery base unless you’re dark skinned, when you should should opt for golden tones.

“It’s about skin that looks moonlit not sunlit,” explains celebrity make-up artist, Lisa Valencia. “Obviously if you have dark skin, stick to golden highlights to avoid your skin looking ashy, but everyone else will suit pinkier hues.”

The best highlighters come in various formulas, so you can pick and choose what’s best for your skin and what will give you your desired finish. Cream highlighters and liquid highlighters can be mixed with your moisturiser or foundation and applied all over your face for a dewy finish. If these don’t take your fancy, there are plenty of powders out there, just use a brush to buff these into your skin to stop any tell tale stripes.

The best highlighters and where to buy them

The best highlighter palette

best highlighters

SHOP NOW: £40, Huda Beauty’s 3D Highlight Palette, Cult Beauty

If you fancy mixing and matching a few colours, it’s more cost effective for you to buy a palette rather than splurge on lots of separate highlighters. There are lots on offer and if you’re after a selection of blendable shades we suggest giving Huda Beauty’s 3D Highlight Palette, £40. It comes in two shades, The Pink Sands Edition for lighter skin and The Golden Sands Edition for darker skin.

The best highlighter for pale skin

best highlighters

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Barry M Liquid Chrome - Liquid Fortune

Barry M Liquid Chrome - Liquid Fortune

Boots are offering a Free Barry M Nail Paint Duo Set when you spend £8 on selected Barry M

Don’t make the mistake of going for a highlighter that’s too dark for your skin because you’ll end up looking like you’ve plastered your face with a sparkly bronzer. Fairer faces should look for white, pale pink and holographic highlighters with purple and blue undertones. Barry M’s Liquid Chrome Highlighter Drops in Precious Pearl, £6.99, will get you glowing without adding a bronzed effect to your skin.

The best highlighter for oily skin

best highlighters

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Save 15% at John Lewis on the MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish, Beaming Blush

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish, Beaming Blush

Price Match Save 15% at John Lewis (saving already applied)

If you’ve got an oiler complexion it’s better to use a powder rather than a liquid highlighter as these can leave your skin looking a little slick and covering it with powder only covers up your shimmer. MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish, Beaming Blush is a great highlighter for oily skin, the powder formula helps wick up grease and there’s no need to layer your finishing powder over it, either.

The best highlighter for darker skin

best highlighters

We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals. If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.

20% off at John Lewis for Bobbi Brown Highlighter Powder, Bronze Glow

Bobbi Brown Highlighter Powder, Bronze Glow

Save 20% on selected lines at John Lewis (price includes saving)

The best highlighters for fairer and pale skins are completely different tones to those for tanned and darker complexions. For darker skin tones, rather than reaching for pearlescent pinks and holographic highlighters with purple and blue undertones, you want to choose bronze, golden and orange colours. Bobbi Brown’s Highlighter Powder in Bronze Glow is a deeper copper shade, making it the perfect pick for darker skin tones.

The best drugstore highlighter

best highlighters

SHOP NOW: £9.99, Sleek’s Solstice Highlighter Palette, Feel Unique

A lot of highlighters out there are very expensive, often they seem disproportionately pricey compared to blusher. But, you don’t have to drop a lot of dollar to get one of the best highlighters. This winning strobe set, Sleek’s Solstice Highlighter Palette, £9.99, comes with two cream and two powder shades which you can mix, match and blend together for a full face of glow.

Oh, and did we mention the whole thing comes in at under a tenner?