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Makeup

The best highlighters for glowing skin as chosen by GTG readers

April 23rd 2021 / Melanie Macleod / 0 comment

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From just £5, these are the highlighters you voted as the best, including the best cream highlighters, the best highlighters for dark skin and the best budget highlighters

We're all after dewy, glowing skin, which is why pretty much every makeup brand out there has a highlighter (or two, or three) in its collection, from creams to powder, drops to palettes. While that's amazing for choice, it can be difficult to know which one to pop in your basket. To make the mission of finding the perfect highlighter that little bit easier, we asked you for your favourites on Instagram and you voted in your hundreds.

Best powder highlighter

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, £45

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In our online vote, we asked you to choose between this icon in the powder highlighter game and Laura Mercier's much-loved Face Illuminator, £31. This one just pipped the Laura Mercier offering to win the title of best powder highlighter. What's so good about it? It's completely glitter free for a grown-up, no shimmer take on highlighter. It simply lightens tired-looking skin for a subtle luminosity, giving a softly filtered, diffused look to the skin. Being a powder it doesn't sink into the skin, so is longer-lasting than liquid highlighters and it adds a subtle glow to matte makeup rather than creating cheekbones that can be seen from space. Despite not sinking into your foundation, it blends well for a seamless look. Can you tell we're fans?

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Best dewy highlighter

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Light Wand, £29

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Nobody does glow quite like Charlotte Tilbury, so it's no surprise her Magic Light Wand highlighter came out tops in our poll, though Iconic London's Insta-famous Illuminator, £30, came a close second. The Magic Light Wand is regular in beauty editor's empties stash, with our columnist Hattie Sloggett (who is also a makeup artist) saying it's one of the best she's ever owned. It has an incredible champagne warmth, that works with any skin tone and creates a highlight effect that you might expect from a candlelit dinner. She applies it on her cheekbones and under her brows, on top of her skincare for a healthy glow that blends seamlessly into the skin.

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The cult favourite highlighter

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter, £30

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Some highlighters are so widely loved that they're given cult status and this ultra-finely milled powder from Becca falls into that category, which is one of the reasons we were so shocked to hear that the brand is closing its doors in September of this year. The news of the brand's closure sent ripples of shock around the beauty world, with lovers of this lightweight highlighter stocking up immediately. It has a soft and creamy texture that blends easily into the skin with a smooth finish and can be built up for a statement shimmer or kept subtle if you prefer. We pitted this against Fenty's Killawatt highlighter, £28, which is loved for its immense shine, but couldn't compete with this show-stopper.

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Best highlighter for darker skin tones

Huda Beauty 3D Palette in Bronze Sands, £40

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This gilds darker skin in the most eye-catching of glows. It harnesses Huda’s hack of layering oil with powder for a more intense finish and really pops on deeper skin tones. Layering the products creates a blinding glow for the most glam of looks. We're yet to see another highlighter that gives such a showstopping glow on dark skin. That said, this was competing against Dior's Backstage Glow highlighter, £36, which delivers natural healthy shimmer and intense luminosity, depending on which shade from the quad you use.

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Best cream highlighter

Nars The Multiple, £30

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This was the first highlighter that GTG's digital writer Melanie ever tried and is the one she comes back to time and time again for sheer ease of use. It glides on to cheekbones and eyelids for an instant glossiness with a hint of pearly. It's ultra-creamy so blends into foundation with no trouble at all with just a hint of sparkle. You voted this as your favourite above Glossier's Haloscope, £18, which delivers an undeniable dolphin skin style shine to cheeks, but sometimes you just want a classic!

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Best budget highlighter

E.L.F. Baked Highlighter, £5

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Given how liberally we apply highlighter on a daily basis, it can be nice to use a budget buy and this pocket-money priced powder highlighter was your winner for best budget highlighter, triumphing over Makeup Revolution's Highlight Reloaded, £3.95, which is a convincing dupe for the Laura Mercier Face Illuminator, £31. So what makes this E.L.F. offering so stand out? It's extremely pigmented, so go lightly if you want a soft glow, or layer it for full-effect shimmer.

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Best classic highlighter

Benefit High Beam, £15.50

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This liquid highlighter has a fool-proof doe foot applicator and was many people's first foray into adding sheen to their makeup. Pearly, bright and a cinch to blend, it sculpts the face and erases tiredness in a flash. Dotted in the inner eye and at the top of the cheeks, it dries quickly to a create a lit-from-within effect on paler skins and somehow creates bone structure and definition on even the most puffy, post-party complexions. The other (very strong) contender in the race for best classic highlighter was MAC's iconic Strobe Cream, £25, which only had 22 fewer votes than this.

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