Temptalia Logo
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
  • Pat McGrath LabsEarly access + 10% off FetishEyes mascara with code FETISHEYES, ends 2/15.
  • Space NKEnter code BEAUTY19 on the Shopping Bag Page when claiming your beauty bag gift with purchase. Worth over $470, ends 2/17.
  • UltaBuy one, get one 50% off: Nivea, L'Oreal Eye & Lip, ALmay, Revlon, EcoTools, Orly Lacquers, Maybelline, Real Techniques, ends 2/16.

Best Highlighters | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Highlighters | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products.  I hope you find this list of top performing highlighters useful 🙂

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder

Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder ($44.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a luminous, powder highlighter that strikes the right balance between being noticeable without emphasizing the skin’s natural texture. The shimmer is fine, while the powder is silky and smooth. There are only three shades at the moment, and the one I use the most is Starlight, which works as a highlighting blush on my skin tone.

Availability

Sephora, Nordstrom, Beautylish, Neiman Marcus,

Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator

Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator

Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a moderately shimmery powder highlighter available in four shades. The consistency is soft, smooth, and blendable, while the shades provide subtle color and plenty of sheen to the skin. They’re medium to opaque in coverage, but the texture is forgiving enough that it can be sheered out or applied with a fan brush for subtle luminosity. The shade I use most often is Ballerina.

Availability

Nordstrom, Ulta

Anastasia Illuminator

Anastasia Illuminator

Anastasia Illuminator ($28.00 for 0.35 oz.) is supposed to “impart a lit-from-within glow,” and they are a pressed, powder highlighter that is similar to products like MAC In Extra Dimension, NARS Dual Intensity Blush, Estee Lauder Gelee, and so forth. The formula is smooth, high-shine, and pigmented–so it is most suitable for someone who likes a very strong, more metallic highlight. The one I use the most is Starlight.

Availability

Macy’s

Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer

Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer

Cle de Peau Luminizing Face Enhancer ($55.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a softer, subtler powder highlighter. The powder’s texture is soft, smooth, and blends easily on the skin, while the shimmer is luminous and sits well on the skin without emphasizing pores or the skin’s natural texture. My favorite shade is Sand Beige (13).

Availability

Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Cle de Peau, Bergdorf Goodman

Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder

Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder

Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder ($46.00 for 0.28 oz.) is only available in two permanent shades–Bronze Glow and Pink Glow–but the formula is smooth, luminous, and easy to use. There are also three limited edition shades floating around on various retailers (still available at the time of writing), and those three I heartily recommend if you find them!

Availability

Sephora, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bobbi Brown

LORAC Light Source Illuminating Highlighter

LORAC Light Source Illuminating Highlighter

LORAC Light Source Illuminating Highlighter ($22.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a powder highlighter available in four shades–three gold-inspired hues and one pink one. These have a very soft, smooth, and finely-milled consistency, so they’re easy to control and apply to the skin without emphasizing pores. My favorite shade is Daylight.

Availability

Ulta

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter ($4.49 for 0.23 oz.) is an excellent highlighter, and the fact that it’s under $5 is just icing on the cake. It’s soft, smooth, and blendable with enough sheen that it’s noticeable but doesn’t look metallic. There is only one shade at this time, so let’s hope they add more to the range!

Availability

Ulta

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder

Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder ($40.00 for 0.26 oz.) is comprised of five shades, four which are more like hues of bronze and one that is a lighter, translucent champagne, Highlight 01. It doesn’t add a lot of color to most skin tones, but it doesn’t seem strongly white-based, so it is still a versatile shade. The finish of it is spectacular: just glowy enough to use on cheeks but subtle enough that it can be dusted more freely on the face or all-over.

Availability

Sephora, Nordstrom, Saks

Cover FX Custom Enhancing Drops (Illuminating)

Cover FX Custom Enhancing Drops (Illuminating)

Cover FX Custom Enhancing Drops (Illuminating) ($42.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is a liquid formula that can add a “highlighting, strobing, or bronzing effect” to your favorite liquid products or used alone on top of (or underneath) your other products (including powder); two of the six shades are bronzing and four are more shimmery/metallic for highlighting. What’s neat about these is that they are versatile as you want them to be; they really do perform well mixed with various liquid and cream products (moisturizer, foundation, tinted moisturizer, primer) while also working under and over makeup, and they really are buildable from sheer to opaque coverage. My favorite shades are: Celestial and Sunlight.

Availability

Sephora, Beautylish

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Highlighter ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is available in three shades–a pale pink, peachy-orange, and champagne–but knowing Urban Decay, I remain very hopeful that they’ll expand the range in the next year. The texture of the highlighters is soft, smooth, blendable, and yields moderate or greater sheen. The shade I like the most in the range is Aura, as you don’t find too many permanent, cooler pinks.

Availability

Sephora, Ulta

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

21 Comments

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the post above for information regarding pricing, availability, dupes, and availability, and keep discussion on-topic.

Please do not ask if/when a review will be posted as we cannot review everything and often change priorities from day-to-day. If you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us. Thank you!

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.

Comments on this post are closed.

Oh this is too funny. 🙂 I was just looking through your highlighter swatches trying to see who you gave an A to & then I needed to walk away from my computer so I shut the window. Upon returning, I opened to your main page & bam you read my mind!

They are lovely! I hope they will add more shades to the permanent range. I hear you on the price, though – there are a surprising number of “high-end” highlighters that sit nearly at $40 a pop.

Not looking! I don’t need any more highlighters! OK, just a quick look…
That’s right, I don’t have one form Cle de Peau, and I’ve been wanting one for years. If I ever manage to actually finish a highlighter, I’ll buy one form CdP, but not before.

Goodness, so many great highlighters! My collection exploded this year – I have the cheapest (Wet N Wild -$4) all the way up to the budget busters (EL Modern Mercury -$65), the subtle, barely- there- ones to the disco balls. Love them all- I think I only ran into 1 dud in my entire collection, so lots of great choices out there.

I have KA , CDP and LM from the above list ….
and wanted 3 which gladly you listed here …..
UD , LG and ABH …..
they are definitely coming home this yr 🙂

Weird that with the gazillion highlighters I own, I only have LM Matte Radiance from above. But most of mine seem to be either MAC LE ones or Colourpop highlighters. Laura Geller Ballerina and perhaps an ABH one are still in the future for hauls, as is UD Fireball highlighter.

What about the MUFE highlighters? I am looking for a smooth, buildable highlighter that will not emphasise texture but can go from subtle glow from within to night-out, pop of metallic reflex (not glitter). Does such a product exist for medium to tan complexions?

If you don't see your comment yet, it's still in our moderation queue. We try our best to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind. Thank you for your patience!