Rant & Rave: Cream Highlighters

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Cream Highlighters

They are usually too subtle for my personal preference, but I like how easy they blend out, and they very rarely emphasize pores/skin texture, so they are nice for those who find powder to be too prone to doing those things. I like them mostly for layering with powder highlighters, though.

— Christine

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

25 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

I am not a fan- I usually prefer powder products because I don’t like the feel of cream products much on my skin. If they don’t dry down fully it bothers me, and I personally feel they are more difficult to apply evenly- but that is very possibly due to my own lack of experience with the product type.

Worst thing ever though, is when companies put powder and cream highlights together in the same palette (ex: Kevyn Aucoin, Sleek) ? The powder starts getting caught in the cream immediately and it totally grosses me out (and messes with the cream).

I like that they’re usually more subtle (although the best ones should be buildable) and give you a real glow without visible sparkles or shimmer particles.

Yeah also agree on too subtle some times! I really nice in photographic though.

I found that most CREAM HIGHLIGHTERS that a shimmer base pigment are too emollient and break found my foundation underneath it (even the silicone based ones). But the new formula from MUFE and ABH are more wax based and work really nicely.

They really melt into the skin and don’t cake. The downside is sometimes it can shift my base makeup.

I love it that they give this nice healthy glow, and they seem to blend into the skin by themselves as the day goes on. I am wearing Mac’s cream color base in Pearl and I just love how natural it looks. But, I do have to pay attention to put it on before I use powder and be a little careful not to powder the glow away once it’s on!

I’m not a fan of cream highlighters (or blush for that matter) The cream highlighters I’ve tried worked just fine it was the texture that i do not perfer. After putting on foundation and maybe concealer after moisturizing, it’s just a bit much for me to feel on the skin. I perfer powder ones as i feel i have more control over the application and amount used.

RAVE: They’re great for my “subtle skin” days where I want just enough makeup to look human and not like my pores are oily volcanos from hell. Some have a really pretty tone to them–one I wore all through the spring was a pink with champagne shimmer; blended backwards into my cheeks, it was the perfect blushing glow!! They blend suuuuper well into foundation and can be set with either translucent powder or a powder highlight for extra oomph.

RANT: The textures can be…weird. Some are incredibly stiff and feel like I’m using a crayola crayon on my cheeks. Others feel like they never really dry down, or are just straight-up sticky. Hard to find the lovely workable medium!

I feel like I just can’t master them. It isn’t so much the feeling, but that they never seem to look right on me. It may be a function of needing more practice, but I’ll stick with powders.

The only highlighter I have (MAC Pearl) is cream but I almost never use it because I don’t really like being shiny? I’m not totally sure why I bought it, it was definitely a whim. I don’t think I will ever want anything any shinier.

You’re welcome for this milquetoast opinion!

Rant: They can be tricky to use on oily skin. They usually aren’t as intense as I’d like. There is less shade variety than with powders.

Rave: They can make a good base for powders. They’re good for a more subtle look. They’re easy to apply.

Rave: If Colourpop is included, yes, I love those! But I’m guessing those fall into a category of their own, being a hybrid? Also love the one true cream highlighter I have from MAC, from the Maria Moretti collection last year. It’s a nice, soft glowy highlight that doesn’t seem to stay “wet”.
Rant: Some that I’ve swatched turned me off due to their almost grease-paint or wet feeling texture. My skin is combination, so anything to oily or greasy isn’t gonna work out for me at all!

ColourPop highlighters ? Love them. I find it a let don
An to go back to powder after using CP for a while.

I’m oily, too, so I hate the feel of cream highlighters – like my face is sliding off.

I love cream highlighters (and blush). They apply really well and are buildable without looking to heavy. I think powder highlights are nice, but once you add in other powders, I think it can look a little cakey on the cheeks, where the sheerer cream products blend together much better. For me at least, since it looks like I’m in the minority!

I have the Becca one in the lightest shade and I haven’t found one I like better. I think it’s my HG for cream highlighters. I’ve tested a few others (and I have an lllamasqua pink one), but the Becca is the smoothest, easiest to blend out and I love the texture because it’s all pearlescent sheen (no glitter) and dries down nicely. I’ve barely put a dent in it as I bought the large one and have had it for a few years now. It just keeps on performing.

I don’t wear foundation so using cream or liquid highlighter works better for me most of the time. I use the pink and white liquid ones by Rouge Bunny Rouge.

I normally like my cheekbones shiny, so I mostly use powder highlighters. Tried only two properly – MAC CCB in Pearl and in Yellow Topaz.

Rant: yes, Pearl is just a tad too subtle for my taste (although it is buildable). Also, both do not seem to last on me as long as I want them to (for about 8 hours at least). The last one – they run out waay faster than powder highlighters, which? again, can be a good thing, cause you do not get bored with them 🙂

Rave: They give such a pretty finish! It’s a glow from within type of thing. It looks natural, does not emphasize any lines, or pores – on the contrary, it smooths out your skin! I really like my Yellow Topaz one – I get beautiful golden glow, happy makeup times had! I think, provided MAC does not come up with smth better and it gets re-released, I will buy one more!

I simply have not mastered cream highlighters at all. I’m just beginning to learn how to use cream eyeshadow. The only cream product I use is blush to layer in the evening when extra color is needed.

I like them for subtle highlighting, which tends to be my thing more often. I also like them as someone who has dry skin, and someone who doesn’t do well in hot weather.

They’re not great for the times when I want a more “bam!” highlight effect, and of course they can dry out which sucks.

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!