Best Highlighters (2020) | Editor’s Top Picks

Best Highlighters (2020)

The highlighter craze hasn’t slowed down yet–there were plenty of newly-reviewed and now, newly-added, highlighter formulas to this year’s updated guide to the Best Highlighters — 2020 Edition!  In order to add some of the newcomers, old favorites were removed, but it’s steep competition so this year’s guide is more focused on giving a greater variety in types of highlighters at different price points than past editions.

Every product recommended below has been tested and reviewed by me, your editor-in-chief, and I test thousands of products every year–so they’ve earned their way onto this list. To read more about a specific shade or view swatches, make sure to use the drop downs and buttons below, as we’ve tried to make this guide comprehensive and easy to use!

Colour Pop Lite Stix

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They dry down to a semi-set finish–lightly dewy, definitely “natural, skin-like” in appearance, but not overly tacky or really wet-looking. I haven’t found that they migrate or move around much, so the formula is still longer-wearing at seven to nine hours with minimal movement. They have applied well and worn well over foundation thus far, too.

Availability
ColourPop
Availability
ColourPop

Milk Makeup Flex Highlighter

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The formula is as smooth and as silky as described; it felt like a thinner, powdery cream than it felt like a true powder. It had good glide and slip, and I did feel like it “melted” a bit when applied to my skin, so it had that “seamless” aspect to it as marketed.


Maybelline MasterChrome Metallic Highlighter

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The texture was soft, smooth, and blendable that was delightfully creamy to the touch, but it was still more loosely pressed (without being powdery), which made it particularly easy to apply with a slew of brushes. For subtle coverage, I’d recommend a light hand and a tapered highlighting brush or a fan brush with a moderate hand.


Natasha Denona Super Glow Highlighter

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The powder has a denser consistency with slight slip and creaminess, but it definitely feels like a powder. The three shades available had semi-opaque to opaque coverage in a single layer with a strong, metallic sheen and a lot of shine–more reflective and shiny than shimmer in texture, but it was a mega-watt kind of glow.


OFRA Highlighter

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It’s a very pigmented formula with a high-shine, metallic finish that will be most suitable for someone who wants an intense highlighter. The texture was denser but not dry or difficult to work with, so it seemed to melt onto the skin the more I buffed and blended the highlighter on.

Availability
UltaOfraBeauty Bay
Availability
UltaOfraBeauty Bay

Dior DiorSkin Nude Luminizer

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The texture was soft, smooth, and blendable that was delightfully creamy to the touch, but it was still more loosely pressed (without being powdery), which made it particularly easy to apply with a slew of brushes. For subtle coverage, I’d recommend a light hand and a tapered highlighting brush or a fan brush with a moderate hand.


MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish

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The Extra Dimension Skinfinish formula is supposed to give “the perfect glow to the skin” with a “creamy powder formula” that wears for “10 hours.” It’s a powder highlighter that I’d describe as a moderate to intense highlighter, and they come in varying hues with some that might work as highlighting blushes/bronzers are on some skin tones and true highlighters on other skin tones. In general, the formula is very pigmented, blendable, and wears around eight to nine hours on me.


Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (Illuminating)

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Custom Enhancer Drops are 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.


Colour Pop Super Shock Cheek (Highlighter)

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It’s an excellent cream-to-powder formula that sits well on bare skin or over foundation, can be applied with fingertips or brushes, and lasts all day long (some shades are still intact after 12 hours of wear!). They have a smooth, emollient consistency that makes them easy to apply and blend out on the high points of the face.

Availability
UltaColourPop
Availability
UltaColourPop

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed

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The texture of the highlighters is incredibly smooth, silky, and finely-milled with frosted to metallic finishes and the occasional more sparkly finish. They tend to have a high-shine, more metallic finish and are a stronger highlighter, so they are going to be best suited to someone who likes an obvious highlight over a very subtle one.


Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

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The consistency was similar to a lot of other “gelee” highlighters: smooth, soft but more firmly pressed (where there was no powderiness but was still pigmented) with semi-opaque to opaque coverage and a frosted to a metallic finish.


Colour Pop Pressed Powder Highlighter

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ColourPop’s pressed highlighter powders have a smooth, moderately dense texture that was soft enough to be picked up easily by a brush but not kick up any powder in the pan. The formula was semi-opaque to opaque but easily sheered out for less shine and coverage if desired.

Availability
UltaColourPop
Availability
UltaColourPop

Jouer Powder Highlighter

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The formula is supposed to be "long-wearing, highly pigmented" and have a "radiant finish." They are semi-opaque to opaque typically with a denser, creamier consistency that doesn't have any powderiness or dustiness to it. The powders apply well to bare skin, blended out easily, and tend to have a stronger, metallic sheen--definitely a more intense highlighter. They lasted between eight and nine hours on me.


NARS Highlighting Powder (2018)

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The powder highlighter formula is supposed to “melt seamlessly into skin to enhance your natural glow” with “buildable radiance.” The texture had a smooth feel that was finely-milled but firmer, almost stiff in a way, in the pan (not in a bad way), and it was not at all powdery.

Our Methodology

The way I approach my guides is by focusing permanent formulas that have stood the test of time–they are high quality, consistent, and all formulas that have performed well. Every shade is thoroughly tested and reviewed, and these are formulas where I’ve often tested every shade in the line of, so I really grasp each formula’s strengths and weaknesses!

More product guides: Best Blushes, Best Eyeshadow Palettes, Best Single Eyeshadows, Best Lipsticks, Best Lip Glosses, Best Blush Brushes, Best Eyeshadow Brushes, Best Highlighter Brushes, Best Makeup Products of 2019.

Top Rated Highlighters from 2020

Check out the current top 10 highest-rated highlighters (individual shades) reviewed by the editor in 2020–this list will update automatically! This list is focused on any and all highlighters reviewed during 2020, and it includes individual shades (rather than consistently high-performing formulas, like the first list) that are both a mix of limited edition and permanent.

01.

01. Moondance OFRA

OFRA

LELimited Edition. $29.00/0.35 oz.

A+

OFRA Moondance Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a pale, yellow gold with strong,w arm undertones and a smooth, metallic sheen. It had opaque...

OFRA Moondance Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a pale, yellow gold with strong,w arm undertones and a smooth, metallic sheen. It had opaque...

02.

02. Duchess Sydney Grace

Sydney Grace

PPermanent. $9.00/0.25 oz.

A+

Sydney Grace Duchess Highlighter ($9.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a medium-dark gold with strong, warm yellow undertones and a luminous sheen. It was...

Sydney Grace Duchess Highlighter ($9.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a medium-dark gold with strong, warm yellow undertones and a luminous sheen. It was...

03.

03. You're a Catch Colour Pop

Colour Pop

LELimited Edition. $8.00/0.15 oz.

A+

Colour Pop You're a Catch Super Shock Cheek (Highlighter) ($8.00 for 0.15 oz.) is a light, golden beige with warm undertones and subtle, pink shimmer...

Colour Pop You're a Catch Super Shock Cheek (Highlighter) ($8.00 for 0.15 oz.) is a light, golden beige with warm undertones and subtle, pink shimmer...

04.

04. Amnesia NABLA Cosmetics

NABLA Cosmetics

PPermanent. $26.00/0.23 oz.

A

NABLA Cosmetics Amensia Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a light-medium gold with stronger, warm undertones and a luminous...

NABLA Cosmetics Amensia Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a light-medium gold with stronger, warm undertones and a luminous...

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06.

06. Adults Only NABLA Cosmetics

NABLA Cosmetics

PPermanent. $26.00/0.23 oz.

A

NABLA Cosmetics Adults Only Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a deep, coppery red with warm undertones and a luminous sheen. ...

NABLA Cosmetics Adults Only Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a deep, coppery red with warm undertones and a luminous sheen. ...

07.

07. Lucent Jungle NABLA Cosmetics

NABLA Cosmetics

PPermanent. $26.00/0.23 oz.

A

NABLA Cosmetics Lucent Jungle Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a medium, reddish-copper base with warmer, golden copper...

NABLA Cosmetics Lucent Jungle Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a medium, reddish-copper base with warmer, golden copper...

08.

08. Truth NABLA Cosmetics

NABLA Cosmetics

PPermanent. $26.00/0.23 oz.

A

NABLA Cosmetics Truth Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a medium pink with moderate, warm undertones and a golden, metallic...

NABLA Cosmetics Truth Skin Glazing Highlighter Powder ($26.00 for 0.23 oz.) is a medium pink with moderate, warm undertones and a golden, metallic...

09.

09. Sea Shimmer OFRA

OFRA

LELimited Edition. $29.00/0.35 oz.

A

OFRA Sea Shimmer Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright, light copper with warm, rosy undertones and a high-shine, metallic finish. It was a...

OFRA Sea Shimmer Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.35 oz.) is a bright, light copper with warm, rosy undertones and a high-shine, metallic finish. It was a...

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15 Comments

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I have such a love for Dior’s highlighters but I was also floored by the quality and value of Milani’s Afterglow. I may need to keep my eyes peeled for Moon Glow as well.

You just keep making this website better and better, Christine. No other site comes close to yours. I have several highlighters in my collection, but MAC Extra Dimension highlighter in Double Gleam is my all time favorite. I feel like its the perfect shade for my skin tone.

I have always known that there are a lot of highlighters out there but when you see a round up of the best it is pretty mind boggling. I think I have at least one from each brand and probably shouldn’t think about buying anymore but I am always tempted. Thank you for doing this Christine.

I have to be extremely careful with highlighters due to fine lines and skin texture. I found my perfect highlighter in Becca’s Berlin Girl. I love it’s sheer nude under pinnings, something I really haven’t seen in too many other highlighters.

I love Ofra the best – it’s such a unique formula, so buttery and pigmented and SHINY.

I’ve mucked about with all the Colourpop options and the Super Shocks are still my fave. And they’re not on the list but I really like the Makeup Revolution liquid highlighters as a much more affordable option to the Cover FX ones… and I will have to check out the Dior ones, definitely!

My favorites are from ABH, Becca, and Looxi Beauty. They have more unusual colors and great formulas. Looxi’s formula is a bit powdery, but they look stunning on. I’m still loving MUG Celestial: It’s just the perfect white with violet shift for fair skin.

I tried Dior Nudeskin for the first time this year, and I get the hype! So silky, luminous, and flattering.

I’m more a cream highlight person and Becca’s liquid Pearl and Flesh’s lightest shade (the name eludes me) are favorites.

If I go for a powder highlight it’s usually Mac’s Extra Dimension skin finish.

Hi!
I was hoping you could make a list of your best peach highlighters. You have a list of best peach blushes but now they are coming out with more peach ones so I’d love to see your list ! Thank you Christine.

Great post Christine! my favorite highlighters are beam the haters from ofra the collab with nikki tutorials, Makeupgeek Ablaze, Firework and Ignite, and melt cosmetics Genesis!

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!