The Best Face Highlighters To Achieve a Natural Glow

Finding a highlighter that gives you just the right amount of glow without making it look like you accidentally dragged a greasy slice of pizza across your cheeks while stuffing your face is no easy feat.

Subtle radiance in a stick (or tube, or jar, or bottle…) shouldn’t be too much to ask for in a highlighter, but there are enough products with the ability to transport us back to our middle school beauty routines—either because they’re packed with overzealous flecks of glitter or because they recreate that “oily skin” look that drove our Proactiv habits—to leave our hopes for the perfect product as dull as our complexions.  And while achieving that perfect cheekbone highlight relies on the art of application, no amount of blending can make up for a bad product. Luckily, as sporting a dewy, fresh-faced complexion has become more and more popular, the options for products made to achieve the look have grown. Given the number of women we feature with gorgeously glowing skin, it’s no surprise that most passersby seem to count a brightening product amongst their favorite beauty buys. Keep reading to learn more about their favorite picks.


RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

RECOMMENDED BY: Jill Singer, Mo Mullen, charlotte hundley, gia salvaggio, kayla tanenbaum, dana drori, Kelsey Garcia, Molly Young, Dana Drori, Angie Venezia, Erika Spring

The RMS Beauty Living Luminizer may be considered the Holy Grail of highlighting products. Ideal for achieving a subtle, natural glow, the super sheer formula makes it perfect for customizing how much highlight you want on different parts of your face. Packaged in a small pot, this luminizer can be applied with your fingers or a brush if you want more precision. The satin-pearl finish looks amazing on all skin tones.

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Glossier Haloscope

Recommended by naima abed, holly liss, dianna cohen, Beverly Nguyen, Glynn Connolly, Jessie Webster, Mariana Orkenyi, Alaa Balkhy, Holly Mitchell, angie venezia

Like pretty much all Glossier products, Haloscope is an instant cult-favorite. It promises dewy—never glittery—skin, thanks to genuine crystals in the outer halo. Formulated with a solid core of moisturizing oils, it’s great for those with dry skin.

"Right now I absolutely love Glossier’s Haloscope highlight. So good!" – Glynn Connolly

"Lately I’ve been using the face highlighter from Glossier. I really love the dewy look it creates, especially because my skin tends to be dry." Jessie Webster

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Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat

RECOMMENDED BY: Fariha Róisín, lisa przystup, kayla tanenbaum, Mathilde Hamart, Tea Hacic Vlahovic, shruti naik, and naima abed

YSL's Touche Éclat ("Radiant Touch") is essentially magic in the form of a little gold pen. A concealer and highlighter in one, it adds radiance to your skin while simultaneously banishing signs of fatigue. This is the product you need after sleepless nights of tossing and turning—or up-until-dawn-dancing. 

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Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter

RECOMMENDED BY: Daryl OhPeisin Yang Lazo, alyssa coscarelli

An incredibly smooth formula and cream-to-powder finish make Benefit's Watt's Up! Highlighter difficult to dupe. It provides the ideal amount of shimmer without going Las Vegas showgirl-level overboard. The most unique selling point of Benefit's highlighter may be the clever packaging, which includes an applicator on one end of the stick for easy blending.

“For glowy everyday makeup, my recipe is Nars' Radiant Creamy Concealer and Benefit's Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder and Watt's Up Highlighter.” Alyssa Coscarelli

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Words by Michaela Del Viscovo