What are your deal-breakers when it comes to highlighters?

I like ’em all — subtle, moderate, intense — and I don’t mind fine pearl to high-shine to glittery finishes, either. What I do want is really even, smooth application that can highlight without being too emphasizing of skin texture.

— Christine


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Joan Avatar

I definitely don’t have a straight forward “deal breaker”, I feel like most highlights work for me in some way or for a certain time. I would say some of my very least favorite on the everyday are incredibly glittery ones, but I still like them at times. I think one of the only other issues I have had was so subtle highlight that it doesn’t show up.

MacKenzie G. Avatar

1. Subtle to moderate. I do not do intense highlights.
2. Sheen, NOT metallic. See above.
3. I prefer cream or liquid over powder, but it’s not the biggest issue per se.
4. Cannot gunk up on my skin. I put it on to make my skin glow, not to make me look like a hobgoblin.

Anne Avatar

No vivid colors (purple, green, orange, etc.)
No metallics
None that require buffing (moving what’s underneath)
Nothing chunky in texture (be it powdery, glittery, dry, gritty, etc.)

Highlighters are not stand-alone products is my rule-of-thumb. They have to melt seamlessly into everything else to keep the big picture about ‘skin.’

AB Avatar

On my, anything that’s sparkly or shiny is a non-starter. All I use now is just a touch of Becca Backlight Priming Filter along my cheekbones underneath my foundation, so a highlighting use, name of the product notwithstanding. I have come to really like the effect so may explore further someday.

xamyx Avatar

Glitter; I don’t mind intense, highly metallic, or shimmery, but I’m not a fan of obvious glitter particles.

Color; I’m pretty fair, so I need something light in shade, otherwise I may as well just wear a shimmery blush. I also don’t care for “gold” shades, which aren’t bad, but I already have several, and prefer cooler tones.

Opacity; again, if I want high-impact color, I may as well just wear a shimmery blush. I personally like a sheer layer of light-reflecting glow on the high points of my face.

Shari Avatar

I’m also really fair and have trouble finding shades that don’t leave a dark or orange stripe on top of my cheekbones. A lot of popular shades like Becca Opal, ABH So Hollywood, and Wet n Wild Precious Petals are just too dark.

Flaky Avatar

Price! Once we get over $50 – it’s a pass for me. There are so many dupes for everything, I don’t see the need to spend a fortune. I’m never going to hit pan on even one from my collection so I don’t see it as worth it.

ShariP Avatar

I prefer powder over liquid or cream, subtle to moderate, and white to light golds. I don’t like obvious glitter or anything that emphasizes texture or rainbow colored highlighters. I’m pretty fair so my favorites are champagne colored powders by MAC and Lorac. I love MAC Double Gleam.

Deborah S. Avatar

I can’t do actual glitter in my highlighters and I have to have a fairly light tone. My super pale skin doesn’t like anything even remotely dark. I have to be careful because most make me look bruised on my upper cheek bone. As far as intensity goes, I like them all.
I also have some texture on my cheekbones and hyperpigmentation so I need a highlighter than smooth’s a little or at least doesn’t intensify the texture.

Anne Avatar

Green. Lol! Pretty much any color that is not close to a natural skin color. I have debated on blue and so far have not used it. Lavender, I have used on occasion. I have the ABH Aurora Glow palette and the Moonchild Glow palette. I use some of the more outrageous colors as eyeshadow as they are really gorgeous colors. Really blinding silver is a no for me but just because it’s not flattering on my skin tone. That is most likely because I’m one of the whitest white people in America :/

Alecto Avatar

Glitter. No go.

I really prefer the highlighters that are just one step more shimmery than your average finishing powder, so … very subtle. I’m okay with stronger ones, right on up to metallic, but the reflect needs to be homogenous — no distinct sparkly bits!

And it’s not a deal-breaker necessarily, but it’s best if they have some adhesive ability built in (not especially powdery), as my face is always powdered, and very powdery things don’t last long because of that.

Emilie Avatar

I don’t like anything with noticeable sparkle (including the Becca highlighters)! My favorite kind of highlight is one that gives my cheekbones a natural/dewy look or a glazed/wet look. A little glitter is okay for me as long as the base product looks smooth on the skin. If it’s a subtle highlight (like Benefit Dandelion Twinkle or Fenty Metal Moon), it has to have great staying power. If it emphasizes texture, it’s a no (I find that the Hourglass Ambient Lighting powders make my skin look kind of dry… I have the palette, but don’t reach for it all that much).

Silvia Avatar

I love them all but prefer no chalky, big glitter on it. A smooth application of any color with light to the moon pigment but ni chunky glitter. I actually wear it very slightly.

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