In the age where glass skin rules supreme, a great liquid highlighter is a must-have in any makeup kit. You might already rely on a classic pressed-powder highlighter, but nothing can beat the wet-looking finish of a liquid formula if a dewy makeup look is high on your priority list. And the beauty retail world has endless options to offer you when it comes to liquid highlighter, whether you like a glow with a barely-there sheen, a bright enough glimmer to stop traffic, or a finish that sits somewhere in-between.
As far as makeup products go, liquid highlighters are about as user-friendly and versatile as it gets. You can apply these glow enhancers literally wherever and however you want. Tap a swipe into your brow bone to finish off an eyeshadow look, or mix a couple drops into liquid or cream blush or bronzer for added dimension. You can even mix it into your moisturizer or skin tint, just don’t forget to add some sunscreen too. Application is also a breeze, whether you prefer to blend it out with your favorite tool or use your fingers to diffuse the glow.
To help you navigate the never-ending world of liquid highlighters, Allure editors have revealed their current go-to liquid highlighters and their all-time favorites. For some, that’s a recent launch from a luxury brand — for others, it’s a fan favorite from the drugstore. No matter your liquid highlighter preference, skin tone, or budget, you’ll find something in this list for you. Glazed donut skin is in your future — we can feel it.
Below, shop the 21 best liquid highlighters in the game, according to makeup artists and beauty editors. Happy highlighting — and you’re welcome in advance.
Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand
Charlotte Tilbury is no stranger to going viral, so it was hardly shocking when the brand’s Beauty Light Wand in Pinkgasm took over Tiktok. If the shade’s pearlescent pink flush is pretty sweet, but don’t sleep on the other gorgeous options. Makeup artist Tobi Henney’s shade of choice is Spotlight, a subtle rose gold. “I love to dot this product onto the top of the cheekbones,” she tells Allure. Henney uses a brush to blend it in, but you can also use the cushion applicator or your fingers to do the job.
Rare Beauty Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight
When it comes to buildable, easy-to-apply products, Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty is hard to beat. The Readers’ Choice Award-winning brand’s Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight comes in eight breathable shades ranging from shimmery soft pink to deep bronze. Use the doe-foot applicator to dot your shade of choice on the high points of your face for a glow that looks totally natural.
Saie Dew Balm Bouncy Marshmallow Highlighter
There is such a thing as a liquid product that’s too liquidy — that’s where Saie’s Dew Balm Bouncy Marshmallow Highlighter comes in to save the day. The balmy formula has a thicker texture than your average liquid highlighter, so there’s no risk of it dripping down your face before you get a chance to blend it out. This Best of Beauty winner is also packed with nourishing ingredients like jojoba esters and sunflower seed oil that leave skin looking plump and dewy.
Chanel Fluide Enlumineur
Chanel’s Fluide Enlumineur in Or Ivoire is Henney’s go-to for medium to dark skin tones. “I love using this golden liquid highlighter for a beautiful bronzed goddess makeup look,” she says. According to Henney, it looks stunning mixed with or applied on top of foundation, but it also blends beautifully into makeup-free skin.
Live Tinted Hueglow
Live Tinted’s Hueglow is akin to if a serum and highlighter had a beautiful, shimmery baby. Squalane and botanical extracts nourish skin for a healthy, lit-from-within look, while light-reflecting bronze pigments deliver serious radiance. Pro tip: Mix a couple of drops into your favorite body lotion before applying to glimmer from head to toe.
Ilia Beauty Liquid Light Serum Highlighter
This super-subtle pick comes from news editor Nicola Dall’Asen. “What results every time is a soft, lit-from-within look that can only be spotted in certain lighting, making my face look dynamic as I shift my head naturally through a conversation,” she says of Ilia’s Liquid Light Serum Highlighter. Plus, this gel-based formula acts just like a serum that melts directly into the skin.
Milk Makeup’s Bionic Glow Illuminating Liquid Highlighter is another staple in Henney’s makeup kit because it looks stunning on just about everybody. She recommends mixing a bit of this highlighter into foundation or concealer to create a personalized natural glow. “Start with the foundation base and then apply a mix of the highlighter and foundation to only the high points of the face to create a glowy base,” she advises. Both shades, Reality, a glimmering bronze, and Virtuous (a shimmery peach, pictured above) look great on all skin tones, so you really can’t go wrong.
About-Face Light Lock Highlight Fluid
A couple of drops of About-Face’s Light Lock Highlight Fluid go a long way. Start with a small amount of this high-pigment formula for a natural finish, then build it up to disco ball status by applying more layers of this pearl-packed illuminator.
L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion
Thanks to the glycerin and shea butter in L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion, this liquid highlighter is every bit as hydrating as it is shimmery — no matter which of its four flattering shades you choose.
Beautyblender Glass Glow Shinelighter
Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes relies on Beautyblender’s Glass Glow Shinelighter to create plenty of her signature, glossy looks. “This is basically a colorless gloss, which I think is great for adding a little bit of physical texture,” she says. “It’s great to add to things where you don’t want shimmer at all.”
Milani Soft Focus Glow Complexion Enhancer
For a soft glow that won’t break the bank, look no further than Milani’s Soft Focus Glow Complexion Enhancer. Tap one of three dynamic shades onto the cupid’s bow or brow bone to highlight the high points of your face, or mix into your favorite foundation or moisturizer for an all-over luminous look. Did we mention that it costs less than $15?
Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face Illuminator
If a wet-looking sheen is part of your staple makeup look, Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face Illuminator could be the end-all, be-all highlighter for you. A Best of Beauty winner and all-time favorite of site director Sam Escobar, this super slick formula coats skin in a sheer, shimmering gloss without degrading any of the makeup beneath it.
NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator
Considering how affordable it is, we wouldn’t blame you if you decided to slather NYX’s Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator on your face and body. This lightweight formula comes in four shades that cover all your highlighter needs: pearlescent baby-pink (shown above), shimmering peach, light gold, and bronze.
Maya Chia Highlight of the Day Illuminating Serum
Associate beauty director Sarah Kinonen says her favorite is a shimmering tinted skin serum from Maya Chia. The Highlight of the Day doesn’t just act as makeup — with ingredients like calendula flower extract and chia seed oil, this formula hydrates and nourishes skin, too.
Perricone MD No Highlighter Highlighter
Natural-looking makeup meets skin-care genius, thanks to Perricone MD’s No Highlighter Highlighter. With vitamin C and ginger extract, this subtle formula brightens and soothes skin over the time the more you wear it.
Revlon SkinLights Face Glow Illuminator
Turn to Revlon’s long-loved SkinLights Face Glow Illuminator if you like to trick people into think you’re not actually wearing any makeup. Whether it’s worn alone or on top of other products, this subtle formula delivers a barely-there shimmer that’s impossible to mess up.
Chantecaille Liquid Lumière Highlighting Fluid
A few drops from this tube of Chantecaille Liquid Lumière is all you need to highlight all the high points of your face with minimal effort. Tap it onto skin directly with fingers, or mix a few drops into your highlighter for a subtle all-over glow.
MAC Strobe Cream
The genius of MAC’s beloved Strobe Cream lies entirely in its versatility. Apply this shimmering, wet-looking cream directly onto the high points of the face, mix it into your primer for a dewy complexion, or go all out and use it as an eye-catching body highlight.
Benefit Cosmetics High Beam Liquid Highlighter
Makeup artist Carl Ray, who works with Michelle Obama, lists Benefit’s High Beam Liquid Highlighter as one of his all-time favorites. Considering the subtle and sheer pink glow it can give to any skin tone, we’re not surprised.
Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Illuminator
The Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Illuminator is a staple in makeup artist Fiona Stiles‘s kit, thanks to its light-catching glimmer that you can build up to your desired level of sparkle. “That’s probably my all-time favorite,” Stiles says. “It’s very soft and subtle.”
Lumene Invisible Illumination Instant Luminizer
Lumene’s Invisible Illumination Instant Luminizer in the shade Rosy Dawn is the highlighter Hughes reaches for when she wants to adds a little color with her highlight. “It’s amazing for giving a really gorgeous pink aura to the skin,” she says. “It’s quite dense so it stays thick and glossy looking, which is why I love it so much.”
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