14 Best Non Glitter Highlighters

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For a selfie-worthy shimmer...

Trying to find the best highlighter? Well the search is officially over…

Highlighters have officially taken centre stage in our make-up bags. But don’t worry – if you don’t want a face full of glitter, we’ve tracked down the best sparkle free formulas to leave you with a subtle shimmer. And don’t worry, we’ve considered all skins – you’ll find the best face highlighter for fair skin and darker skin.

Also, while you’re here, take a look at what happened when our Glow Gang got their hands on Iconic London’s new Illuminator Drops – and tested them on three different skin tones.

Nicknamed strobing, highlighting is all about enhancing areas of the face where light would naturally bounce off your skin – think cheekbones, temples, down the bridge of your nose and on top of your cupids bow.

If you’re into contouring we’re sure you already know all about highlighting, no sculpted face is complete without glistening cheekbones. Where you use darker shades to sculpt different areas of the face to make them appear less pronounced, highlighters are there to draw attention to the areas of your face that you want people to look at. Sweep them over the highest points of your face and down the centre of your nose, across your cupids bow and brow bones to create that model-worthy silhouette. It’s a trick the celebs have been doing for years!

It’s not about creating a bronzed post holiday glow, either (that’s bronzing, not highlighting, FYI!). To get it right, steer clear of warm, yellow-based tones and go for cool shades with a pinky, silvery base.

“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.”

Formula-wise, you can pick and choose. Cream highlighters and liquid highlighters can be mixed with your moisturiser or foundation and applied all over your face with your fingers to make skin look fresh and dewy. If these don’t take your fancy there are plenty of powders out there, use a brush to buff these into your skin and stop any tell tale stripes reflecting in the light.

Our last top tip? Hold a mirror up to your skin in front of a window or light once you’ve applied your highlighter – if you see any obvious stripes you need to blend a bit more.

Now you’ve got your highlighting technique sorted, invest in one of these top skin highlighters…


What is The best Highlighter Palette?

Huda Beauty’s 3D Highlight Palette, £40


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.


What is The Best Highlighter For Pale Skin?

Barry M Liquid Chrome Highlighter Drops in Precious Pearl, £6.99


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 warmer colour to your skin.


What Is The Best Highlighter For Oily Skin?

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish, £24.50


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’s Extra Dimension Skinfinsh, £24.50 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.

What Is The Best Highlighter For Darker Skin?

Bobbi Brown Highlighter Powder in Bronze Glow, £35.50


Highlighters for fairer skins are completely different tones to those for tanned and darker complexions. 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, £35.50 is a deeper copper shade, making it the perfect pick for darker skin tones.


What Is The Best Drugstore Highlighter?

Sleek Solstice Highlighter Palette, £9.99


A lot of highlighters out there are slightly spenny. But, you don’t have to drop a lot of dollar to get a 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?