The 7 Best Drugstore Highlighters to Buy in 2018

These products will give you a lit from within glow

Not only does highlighting go hand in hand with the ever popular technique of contouring, it’s also just an easy way to bring light to the face and show off your best features. Have you heard of the full face of highlighter challenge? Yes, the result is quite disco ball-esque, but there’s something so beautiful about skin the shines so bright, you almost can’t look straight at it. And don’t get us started on the holographic trend. Beyond your usual gold and silver hues, highlighters come in blue, green, pink and even black tones because believe it or not, the demand is there.

The world of highlighters is so endless that there seems to be a new formula popping up everyday. There are sticks, creams, powders—oh, my! And despite what you may have been told, highlighter knows no age limit. When used in the right way, it can actually make you appear younger, instead of making you look like you’ve broken into a tween’s makeup stash. Skip the expensive offerings and head straight for your drugstore. Brands like NYX, Maybelline and L’Oreal make some of the best highlighters out there, meaning you don't have to break the bank to get that sun-kissed glow.

To learn more about the best drugstore highlighters you can buy now, read on.


The opalescent quality of this fluid makes it super wearable and also very versatile. Mix a drop into your skincare (think: serum or cream) or base product (think: tinted moisturizer or foundation) and smooth all over for a lit from within glow. The light-reflecting pigments will help blur any imperfections, making for an even more flawless base than if you were starting with even the most full coverage foundation. The more you add into your products, the less coverage they’ll have, so if you like a finish that’s more high intensity, this technique may not be for you. Instead, dab some of the straight up liquid highlighter onto your cheekbones with a damp beauty blender. Though the effect won’t be exactly the same as if you mixed it with your foundation, it’s a nice compromise.

It’s called butter highlighter for a reason—it’s so velvety, it actually feels like butter on the skin (and it’s formulated with a power-packed trifecta of butters: Murmur, Capua cu, and Tucuman that moisturize skin). Upon first touch, it’s creamy and then it turns into a powder, giving it more staying power for all-day wear. This shade in particular is perfect for darker skin tones because it has rich pigments that match the warmth in deeper tones. While the champagne option might look ashy, this one leaves you with a subtle hint of radiance that catches the light and dazzles. Use your fingers or a brush for the application.

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter
Courtesy of Target

Anything that’s pearlescent will flatter fair skin tones. Stick to shades with a cooler appearance like blue and green shimmer flecks instead of warm ones like pinks and oranges—the latter will make it look like you weren’t too sure about where your blush should go. This illuminating powder in particular is finely milled and won’t make it look like you have chunks of glitter on your face—score! For a more intense sheen, dip your brush in water first and then swipe this on skin. It even works well as an eyeshadow if you’re going for a more monochromatic look. More »

Wet n Wild Mega Glo Makeup Stick When The Nude Strikes - .21oz
Courtesy of Target

The best thing about a stick highlighter is not needing any extra tools. It’s such a great on-the-go product because all you need is a few swipes and you’re looking more put together than before. Pro tip: throw this in your carry-on and just before landing, dab some on your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and on your cupid’s bow. Even if you don’t have a stitch of other makeup on or didn’t get a wink of sleep on your red eye, you’ll emerge from the plane looking glowy and well-rested. More »

Whether you’re trying to recreate the full face of highlighter look or just like having options, this quad of four powder shades has got you covered. Armed with two universal glowy highlighters, a blush, and bronzer tone, you’ll be glistening in no time. Get creative and try multiple shades on your face to come up with your own unique hue or stick to one if it suits you. Choose from the Moon-Kissed kit or Sun-Kissed kit based on your skin tone.

One of the things you need to look out for, especially if you have more mature skin, is glitter pigments in highlighter. This one is formulated without any chunky glitter and will glide on smooth, melting into skin without it looking like you’re headed to a rave. It’s described as a metallic sheen and that’s exactly what you’ll get with this. It won’t settle into fine lines, but instead, blur them and give the appearance of a smooth complexion. Try tapping it on with your ring finger (it’s the weakest, so it won’t tug, especially around the delicate eye area) for a more diffused look that’s on the natural side. Makeup artists love using a formula like this on the brow bone—it creates the illusion of an eye lift and will help to shape the brow, too.

Pacifica Rainbow Crystals Highlighter - .14oz
Courtesy of Target

If you’ve looked at any beauty videos on Youtube or have scrolled through Pinterest, you’ve probably come across a fair share of unicorn this, mermaid that, and crystal everything. These trends are right up there with all the highlighter buzz. This strobing formula, which is infused with crystals, checks the boxes on all of what’s hot right now, plus it’s vegan so you can feel good about using it. The Nebula shade is described as a holographic, reflective violet and it looks super cool anywhere you put it. For some wow-factor, place it on your collar bones for a night out. You’ll look otherworldly, in a good way. More »


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