The Best Highlighters for Any Budget

Still not over the highlighting craze? Here are our favorite highlighters for the perfect sheen.

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Here at CF, we’ve been discussing makeup essentials for college girls, along with our favorite products for each beauty category. This week, we’re discussing the best highlighters, ever.

Over the last year, makeup wearers across the globe fell into a sort of obsession over a seemingly innocuous product— highlighter. In the age of internet – Instagram – makeup, many of us have fun painting for the selfie camera’s gaze instead of the human eye, meaning we layer mascaras, line our lips, and pile on that highlight for a real pop.

But highlighter isn’t just for Insta-makeup lovers; it can be just as much of a staple for those who prefer a more natural look. Here are the best highlighters we’ve found on the market, with options for every budget.

Related reading: The 5 Best Drugstore Highlighters for the Glowy Skin of Your Dreams

For a blinding glow:

Of course, of course, this is Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector ($38). This cult favorite is a classic, and everyone and their mothers have been raving about these for years now. They have a wide range of gorgeous, buttery shades and an extra-fine shimmer so you look really glowy but not glittery.

For those who like the power of liquid highlighter, there are plenty of more well-known options on the market, such as the Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops ($42) and Benefit High Beam ($26), but this NYX Liquid Booster ($16.99) is my personal favorite for that liquid sheen. This formula is more affordable than the high-end options and just as blendable and beautiful. A little goes a long way with this, so start off with small dots and then layer as desired!

Another favorite from the drugstore is the Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter ($9.99), which is incredibly popular for its bold, warm shine and soft texture. A concern with highlighters is that they can sometimes emphasize textured skin, but this formula is soft enough to gloss over your texture and provide a glow that’ll shine to the back of the room. It’s also a great dupe for the Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator ($26).

These Colourpop Super Shock Highlighters ($8) are my personal go-to and literally come with me wherever I go. My favorite is the one pictured above, Flexitarian, which is a super bright light champagne color. The texture of these is so unique and so impactful when applied with fingers, but the finish can be toned down with a brush applicator. Some of my other favorite shades include Hippo, a cool soft lavender, and Wisp, a summery gold.

For a more subtle sheen:

If you’re looking for a more natural finish, balm formulations will be your best friend. This cult favorite luminizer by RMS Beauty ($38) has a non-sticky formulation and a subtle, glowy finish. You just can’t go wrong with this dewy product.

Another popular balm formula is Glossier Haloscope ($22), which moisturizes and glows-up your skin in one swipe. It’s pretty when dabbed on and built up, which is great for those day-to-night transitions!

Okay, so this last one isn’t a highlighter, per se, but highlighting is all I use this product for, so I figured I’d share the secret. Weleda Skin Food ($9.49), beloved by stunning makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, is technically a balm moisturizer for dry skin, but when sparingly tapped onto the cheekbones, it’s an incredible dewy highlighter.

This is my favorite product to use when I’m not going for the glitter and glam and just want a fresh, glossy look. You should note, though, that this will probably sit better on your face if you have dry skin like me and not as well if your skin is oily. Give it a shot!

That’s all!

These are my favorite highlighters of all time. What are yours? Tell me by leaving a comment down below.

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