Best Highlighters (Over $15) | 2018

As I mentioned in the previous post, highlighters had another bright year with a plethora of options from affordable to luxury. My initial list of “favorites” stood at over 40 shades in the mid-end/high-end category, which I pruned to a mere–ha!–list of 20 favorites.

Best of 2018

Best Highlighters (Over $15)

While the Make Up For Ever Star Lit Diamond Powders may not have rated well based on claims, I absolutely loved them as cheek highlighters (which was where they performed the best without extras).  I’ve reached for these over and over again when I put together cheek combos for photos (which I then remove to test something else after I take those photos, haha). They’re the perfect mix of shimmer and sparkle, so they’re intense but not glittery dirt-like either.

In the same vein, I tend to gravitate toward highlighters that shift or have some sort of multi-colored pearl to it.  The following all fall into this group: Tom Ford Liquid Sun, Becca Berlin Glow, Marc Jacobs Beauty Gilty, OFRA Space Baby, and Pretty Vulgar Lilac Lust.

I specifically looked for and tested more liquid and cream highlighters this year, and I found two new-to-me favorites: Marc Jacobs Beauty Spotlight and Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Light WandNatasha Denona’s new Super Glow highlighters are a new go-to favorite (they made it into my vanity drawer).

Also, I’ve kept my list of favorites here to standalone products (not shades within a larger palette), but I’d like to plead with Fenty Beauty to release Stone Cold (from the holiday palette) as a single for 2019 — please and thank you!  Some of you may wonder why Anastasia’s Amrezy didn’t make my list… because I have dozens like it, and I didn’t personally find the finish or color to be vastly different than the many gel-powder formulations out there.

What mid/high-end highlighters did you reach for this year?

P.S. — You can view swatches of my favorites here.

P.P.S. — If you enjoy reading/viewing my favorites, make sure you check out my all-time favorites here, products I’m thankful for (2018 series), and all of my editor’s recommended products here.

Top Highlighters (Over $15) of 2018

02.

02. Glazed Donut OFRA

OFRA

PPermanent. $29.00/0.35 oz.

A+

OFRA Glazed Donut Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright white with subtle, warm undertones and a metallic sheen. The color coverage was...

OFRA Glazed Donut Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright white with subtle, warm undertones and a metallic sheen. The color coverage was...

03.

03. Bronze (03) Natasha Denona

Natasha Denona

PPermanent. $38.00/0.35 oz.

A+

Natasha Denona Bronze (03) Super Glow Highlighter ($38.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright, sunshine yellow gold with warm undertones and a shiny, metallic...

Natasha Denona Bronze (03) Super Glow Highlighter ($38.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright, sunshine yellow gold with warm undertones and a shiny, metallic...

04.

04. Bathe Dose of Colors

Dose of Colors

LELimited Edition. $28.00/0.41 oz.

A+

Dose of Colors Bathe Highlighter ($28.00 for 0.41 oz.) is a medium, rosy copper with warm undertones and a high-shine, metallic finish. It was richly...

Dose of Colors Bathe Highlighter ($28.00 for 0.41 oz.) is a medium, rosy copper with warm undertones and a high-shine, metallic finish. It was richly...

08.

08. Glow Up Pretty Vulgar

Pretty Vulgar

PPermanent. $32.00/0.2 oz.

A

Pretty Vulgar Glow Up Shimmering Swan Highlighter ($32.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a light, golden peach with warm undertones and a metallic sheen. It was...

Pretty Vulgar Glow Up Shimmering Swan Highlighter ($32.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a light, golden peach with warm undertones and a metallic sheen. It was...

09.

09. Lilac Lust Pretty Vulgar

Pretty Vulgar

PPermanent. $32.00/0.2 oz.

A

Pretty Vulgar Lilac Lust Shimmering Swan Highlighter ($32.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a bright, medium lavender with strong, warm pink undertones and an...

Pretty Vulgar Lilac Lust Shimmering Swan Highlighter ($32.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a bright, medium lavender with strong, warm pink undertones and an...

12.

12. Space Baby OFRA

OFRA

LELimited Edition. $29.00/0.35 oz.

A

OFRA Space Baby Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright, bluish-white with a metallic sheen that shifted from icy blue to icy violet. It was...

OFRA Space Baby Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright, bluish-white with a metallic sheen that shifted from icy blue to icy violet. It was...

15.

15. Light-Medium (02) Natasha Denona

Natasha Denona

PPermanent. $38.00/0.35 oz.

A-

Natasha Denona Light-Medium (02) Super Glow Highlighter ($38.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a soft peach with warm, yellow undertones and a metallic sheen. It...

Natasha Denona Light-Medium (02) Super Glow Highlighter ($38.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a soft peach with warm, yellow undertones and a metallic sheen. It...

Glossover Breakdown

95%

Average Score
A
16
B
4
C
0
D
0
F
0
Glossover Averages
product
9.5
pigmentation
10
texture
9.5
longevity
9
application
5
Total
94%
product
9.5
pigmentation
10
texture
9.5
longevity
9
application
5
Total
94%
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10 Comments

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My vote would be Dior’s Nude Air Luminizer 002 (the very pale pink shade). I’ve had The Balm’s Mary Lou Manizer for ages but still really like using it and several other LE highlighters from Dior and Guerlain. And who can forget UD’s Aura Afterglow, to say nothing of wailing about it being discontinued??? But of the newer ones, it would be that 002 from Dior.

Free Soul is the only one of these I own. I wear it as blush, but I absolutely love it. I don’t think I bought any other high end HL singles this year.

I reached mostly for my ABH Moonchild Glow Kit. Other favorites this year were MUG Celestial, Laura Geller Diamond Dust Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator, Too Faced Satin Sheets from the Natural Face palette, UD Afterglow in Fireball, Becca Opal Flashes Jade, and Sephora Twilight.

I bought Berlin Girl Glow this year, and then got rid of all my other highlighters! (Ok I kept Colourpop Honeymoon and the Wet n Wild rainbow one, but they’re definitely different). This is my perfect highlight, goes with any cheek color and any look for me, and I just love it! My top find of 2018!

Didn’t buy much this year, but Fenty’s split pan highlighters that were released in the summer were beautiful! Sand Castle/mint’d mojito was surprisingly wearable for me!

Yay for Glazed Donut! It is such a stunning highlight. I do understand why ABH Amrezy didn’t make the cut, though. Gold highlighters are a dime a dozen. Again, so many of these are on the good ole WL!

I don’t have any of the above, and I am not really a highlighter fan. Some of these look more like blushes. But if I had to pick one it would be the Glow Up Pretty Vulgar one.

I desperately want Becca Berlin Girl, because it’s both wearable and unique. I know I don’t need it, and I almost kind of want it to sell out to end my will-I-won’t-I tug of war! I have a feeling it’ll end up mine, since I’m a sucker for Becca highlighters as it is.

My favorite new (not just new-to-me) highlighter this year was the Natasha Denona Super Glow in 01 Fair. Very bling-bling and dramatic, but not glittery.

I really wanted to own Pretty Vulgar’s Lilac Lust one, but Sephora’s warehouse packed it poorly so it arrived completely shattered. 🙁 I didn’t buy any new highlighters this year (other than that one), so just cycled through ones I got from previous years.

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