Monday, February 20th, 2012

5 Subtle Highlight Eyeshadows

When it comes to choosing a highlighter, the best kind tend to have a satin-like finish–not too frosted or shimmery, but not entirely matte, because it will reflect light without looking metallic. Both matte and more shimmery highlighters have their place, though :) Choices for highlighters can vary based on skin tone, as one that works for really pale skin may look very stark against a deeper skin tone.

  1. MAC Brule — MAC has a huge selection of pale beige shades; I also suggest Dazzlelight, Bisque, Blanc Type, Shroom, and Vanilla
  2. Inglot #355 — pale peach with subtle warm undertones
  3. Burberry Trench — light satiny beige
  4. MAC Grain — beige-brown with a subtle sheen
  5. MAC Ricepaper — surprisingly universal shade of beige with subtle yellow undertones

What’s your go-to highlighter for eyes?

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

44 thoughts on “5 Subtle Highlighting Eyeshadows

  1. Meg

    My go to highlight is MAC Shroom. I use it every single day. I love it!

  2. bxboricua

    Ricepaper is my favorite everyday highlight color ! (I’m on my third one now.)

  3. Pat

    My favorite is the matte highlighting shadow from the “Greed” Wet n’ Wild ColorIcon palette! Beautiful!

  4. Kat_m

    I wouldn’t say it’s a favorite of mine since I just recently bought it but so far I’ve been loving The Balm’s Mary-lou Manizer. I know it’s mainly for the upper cheeks but I love using it for my eyes as an overall base eyeshadow 😀

  5. t_zwiggy

    MAC Blanc Type is my go-to, but I also use MAC Mylar and NARS Abyssina a lot.

  6. I somestimes use Mac lightscapade, or I have a whole array of pale beige matte shadows to choose from – I pretty much use them interchangeably!

  7. Mariella

    The ones that immediately come to mind for me are: Benefit Highbrow (honestly, it’s like nothing else!), MAC Dazzlelight and the 2 light shades from Tarina Tarantino’s Dreamy palette (which I never would have known about had it not been for you, Christine!). While the last 3 all have a shimmer to them, I find it’s very subtle rather than full on sparkle. I also like MAC’s Vapour but not as much as the others.

  8. Brenda

    I would like to give some love to Wet n Wild’s Brule! I don’t have MAC’s Brule so I don’t know how similar they are, but I do have two of WnW and they are my go to highlighter.

    • Mariella

      Brenda, I have both and they are VERY similar. In fact, I had WnW before I got Mac’s and only got the MAC one because it’s in the Caviar Dreams palette, which I really wanted. But I wouldn’t purchase it again – I’d go for Wet n Wild.

  9. I love MAC Blanc Type, Vapour, Vanilla, Vellum (enough V’s there?), as well as Lost in Makeupland Faerie, and Venomous Pegasus.

  10. Stephanie

    I use MAC’s Dazzlelight most often.

  11. Suzanne

    For those who care, All That Glitters is great on NC 40 cheekbones

  12. nana k

    MAC Vanilla

  13. Nessalba

    I love Bobbi Brown Metallic Eyeshadow in Champagne Quartz. It´s very nice and good for highlight cheeks too.

  14. TheDivaPlavalaguna

    Urban Decay Virgin by a long shot!

  15. Heather

    I am going to second Wet n Wild’s Brûlée as a highlighter. The texture is creamy and smooth with really good lasting power. I have two more pans in my drawer as backups just in case WnW ever decides to discontinue it!

    If I don’t use Brûlée, it’s UD Virgin.

  16. Jessica

    The matte highlight shade in the maybelline natural smokes palette is very nice for a matte and my favorite shimmery one changes daily! I have so many shimmery highlight shades!

  17. MAC naked lunch. Hands down

  18. Leo

    oooh these are soo pretty… I’m trying to find on your site anything in regards to concealers or stuff for dark under eye cirlces…best concealers and such? advice?

  19. Amanda

    I love MAC Grain as a highlight, also use MAC Daisychain.

  20. Dinitchka

    I am shocked that Stila’s Kitten (shimmer) wasn’t mentioned. I know some feel it’s overrated but it’s been one of my go to high lighter for some time. I wish Stila would come out with a matte version. I also love Michael Todd’s Malice (matte).

  21. katrina

    My favorite for my skintone is Naked Lunch. Is it just me or does Naked Lunch have a pinkish hue? Anyway, I love it!!

    • Miss J

      It’s not just you! :) It does have a pinkish hue. I believe it is described by MAC as a “minimal pink with shimmer.” Basically, a light nude-pink.

  22. Tiffany S.

    I love MAC Naked Lunch! I use it almost every day!

  23. Lisa G

    My go-to is predominantly Blanc Type. Sometimes Shroom or WnW’s Brulee.

  24. I use Urban Decay’s Virgin when I’m using my Naked palette, which is nearly every day!

  25. Sara

    Can you do a top 5 shimmery/frosty etc highlighting eyeshadows?

  26. Banafshe Sharifian

    My absolute fav is UD sellout! :)

  27. I agree about Brulé and Dazzlelight, they are my go-to highlight shades. I like to use Brulé on my browbone because it’s a satin so it’s not completely matte, but it has a slight sheen without being frosty or shimmery, and dazzlelight because it just makes me look so bright and fresh when I use it in my inner corner :)

    • Miss J

      If you haven’t tried it, use Brule on the browbone and then take a very small brush and use Dazzlelight right over Brule, but only on the highest part of the arch! I love doing this because it brings that light, but not overwhelmingly so. :)

  28. Miss J

    My two go-to highlighters are MAC Shroom & Vanilla.

  29. shelley bershof

    I love Chantecaille Perle, Chanel Lotus,Shu Uemura White (matte), Le Metier de Beaute Angel, Laura Mercier Sandstone. I know that I have other favorites but I can’t remember at the moment.

  30. brenda

    UD virgin and MAC ricepaper oh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 😉

  31. Sandy

    Shroom makes such a good highlight. I have Brule, Grain & Ricepaper too, love them all!

  32. Veronica

    The more you keep pushing that Burberry trench, the more I’m going to actually think it’s necessary to buy it. Which probably isn’t a good thing. 😛

    For highlighters, I’m very partial to UD’s Virgin, as well as theBalm’s Matt Smith from the Meet Matt(e) palette.

  33. Aisha

    MAC Phloof! I’m surprised this one wasn’t mentioned. It’s not too stark and has a beautiful, subtle shine. I’ve been through at least 5 and I’m almost out again.

    • Phloof! is stark on me, just FYI! :) I would say it’s stark on anyone who has medium to dark skin tone, because of it’s high frost content! I know I could rarely use it without it looking like a frosted mess, even though it’s super pretty. I think it works well for the inner corner, though!

  34. Mary-Lou Manizer by theBalm is my favorite highlighter for the eyes!

  35. Kathi

    I would have to say my favorite shade is Burberry trench, very nice!