19 Stunning Drugstore Highlighters
Highlighting and creating a glowing complexion has become one of the most important steps in a makeup routine, and who says you can’t have the most beautiful and glowing highlighter without splurging on it? With all these amazing, high-quality drugstore highlighters and liquid illuminators, you don’t have to rob a bank and spend over 30$ to get that natural and effortless glow!
1Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powders
We’re starting out our list with Milani’s Strobelight Instant Glow Powder, a highly pigmented highlighting powder that has a smooth application and a beautiful, natural glow. Instead of a too shimmery, glittery finish, Milani highlighters have that popping, reflective glowing effect that some other drugstore highlighters tend to lack.
2Elf Studo Baked Highlighter
Elf’s highlighters have become one of the most popular drugstore highlighter choices – and with their high pigmentation, long-lasting formula and versatile shades, we totally understand why. Their blush gems shade is also known as a dupe for the iconic Mac Soft & Gentle, so if you are on the look for a pinky highlighter on a budget, try out this one.
3Sleek Barekissed Illuminator
Sleek’s liquid highlighter was one of my first ever highlighters that is still a huge favorite. It has a soft texture that’s super easy to work with, and the formulation leaves a subtle, natural glow without any heavy or chunky glitters. The color range of the product also fits any skin tone, but for a versatile choice, we’d recommend Monaco. Although the brand is based in the UK, it is easy to get your hands on it at online beauty stores.
4The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer
Although it’s more on the pricy side of drugstore, the Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer is worth every penny. It has a slight yellowish undertone that works perfectly with any skin tone (without leaving your skin looking too pink or silver), and it will make your cheekbones glow from miles away. It has a powder texture, but it’s just a tiny bit creamy for flawless application. Besides using it as a highlighter, you can also experiment with it on the inner corners’ of your eyes.
5Wet n Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powder
Wet n Wild has been killing the game lately with their new highlighter launches, and their Megaglo Highlighting Powder with almost reflective shades is definitely a winner. The darker shades in the collection will look amazing during summer with a slight tan.
6NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator
Another liquid illuminator that works like magic on the skin is the NYX Born to Glow highlighters. Instead of being too heavy or glittery on the skin, this illuminator gives your cheekbones a glowing base that can be amplified with a powder or cream highlighter on top. For cool undertones, we recommend trying out a pinky toned liquid illuminator, but if your skin is more on the deeper, warm undertone side, go with a peachy, golden or bronzy shade to match your skin tone perfectly.
7Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter (Peach Lights)
One of the cheapest yet most daring highlighters is from Makeup Revolution. As its name suggests, the Vivid Baked Highlighter will make your cheekbones pop with a reflective, beautiful shine. Our favorite from the collection has to be Peach Lights, which works with various undertones, whether you have a deeper or a yellow undertone complexion.
8L’oreal True Match Lumi Liquid & Powder Illuminators
The L’oreal True Match and True Match Lumi lines have to be one of the brand’s most successful lines, and with their liquid and powder illuminators, they really won us over. To maximize your highlighter (for example for taking photos) and create an extra glow on your nose, cheeks and cupid’s bow, create a glowing complexion with the liquid highlighter at first and lock it in place with a powder highlighter.
9Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips
We all know and admire the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks, but let’s be honest – it is crazy expensive. Luckily, Physicians Formula brought us a solution with their Shimmer Strips, which a versatile, all-in-one face product. Each Shimmer Strips “package” contains various glowing, shimmery shades you can work with, and you can either mix them all together or play with only one from the collection.
10Essence Per Nude Highlighter Powder
This Essence highlighter gives you a very natural, subtle glow, so it is perfect if you are looking for something gentle or would like to recreate a no-makeup makeup look. It has the regular powder formula that works beautifully on top of liquid foundations. For a stronger glow, use a slightly wet, small packing brush and gently press the powder onto your face instead of applying it with a fan brush.
11Sleek Highlighting Palette
Just by looking at it, it’s clear that the Sleek highlighting palettes are on the stronger glow side of our highlighter scale – and for special occasions, these are just perfect! With a creamy texture, they are long-lasting highlighters and while two have a more matte finish, the other two highlighters are crazy pigmented and shimmery. We also have to admire the golden and metallic lavender packaging of these highlighters, they look absolutely gorgeous.
12Milani Illuminating Face Powder & Blush
Besides their highlighters, Milani also has various other subtle face products that can achieve that natural glow. Their Illuminating Face Powder works really well with oily skin (because instead of creating a shiny, shimmery finish, it only has that pretty glow), and with the shimmery Rose Blushes, you won’t need a blush topper to complete your look.
13L’oreal Magic Lumi Highlighting Pen
The smaller sister of the Lumi Magic liquid illuminator and powders is the highlighting pen. Similarly to YSL Touché Éclat, this pen works amazingly under the eyes to lighten and brighten up the darker circles. Unlike usual highlighters, this highlighter pen has a natural, tinted formula to it, so it can be used as a concealing, highlighting touch instead of a regular pen. To apply it, use the brush tip of the pen and gently tap it in to your skin once you’ve reached the coverage and glow you are looking for.
14Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Highlighter Stick
This highlighter stick mashes together the benefits of a powder and a liquid highlighter: as it has a cream texture, it is easy to apply and move around, but once it dries, it sticks to the skin and will stay in place for hours. It effortlessly adds a glow to your cheeks without looking too sparkly or greasy.
15Wet n Wild Geometric Highlighter
After the huge trend of the rainbow highlighter and metallic shine highlighters, this unicorn shade is an absolute must-have for every girl who loves experimenting with makeup! What is really special about this highlighter is that instead of the regular peach, golden and shimmery pink highlight shades, this highlighter features a mix of color correcting and illuminating shades such as pastel pink, yellow and a hint of lavender…and the result is absolutely breathtaking.
16Maybelline Master Contour Palette
Although this is a full palette, it would be worth only purchasing because of the highlighter itself, which is a universal, lightly shimmery shade that works well on any skin type. While too glittery texture tends to bunch up on the skin, the Maybelline highlighter is smooth, so it’s super easy to apply.
As surprising as it sounds, H&M has some really-really good highlighters. They are not flaky or too glittery – although they have a powder consistency, they smoothly glide onto the skin and have a reflective, pretty shimmer to them. Whether you choose a single or a palette, you’ll have a beautiful, glowing highlighter without chunky glitter pieces. It is also available in various color options from a light golden/silver to light skin tones to a deep peach and golden shimmery highlighter for all the girls with deep skin tones.
18Essence Sun Club Highlighter
Another great Essence highlighter is the Sun Club bronzing powder & highlighter. Although these shades are mixed together, the bronzing and highlighting powder together create a natural, beautiful tanned look that can be applied to the side of your cheeks or directly to your cheekbones.
19Makeup Revolution Highlighting Palette
Inexpensive, practical and versatile – this is how we can best describe the Makeup Revolution highlighter palettes, which come with 8 highlight, blush and bronze shades to create the perfect complexion. One of our favorites from their collection is Golden Sugar, which features diverse shades from shimmery, golden white to rose and deep brown bronze shades. Just like an ideal highlighter, these are not too powdery, nor they have crazy amount of chunky glitter or pigment.