We tried every highlighter and here are the best for every skin tone

After testing over 400 different products, the results are in...

What is the best highlighter 2021

by Jazzria Harris |

For a make-up lover there are a few beauty staples out there that we seem to be always on the quest for. One of these, we're sure you’ll agree, is a flawless lit from within glow. Yes, you know what I’m referring to, it’s the radiance that can only come from getting eight hours sleep a night, drinking two litres of water a day and, let’s be real, a great highlighter.

So, when the heat team were deciding what to put to the test for the heat Style Book - there was no other option. And this time around we roped in seven industry experts to join our testing squad.

From finding the perfect finish to a shade for every skin tone, we tried over 400 highlighters. So, here’s our shortlist of the best of the best…

The best highlighters 2021: the results are in


The best highlighters 2021

1 of 10

Chosen by: RachaelWhy it's the best: A little goes a long way with the liquid highlighter. I found that mixing a few drops into my foundation enhanced my complexion, creating a healthy-looking glow and the golden shade worked well with my complexion.

Lancu00f4me Custom Highlight Drops in Golden Glow
2 of 10

Chosen by: LauraWhy it's the best: I've never tried Lancôme before, so I was thrilled by how much I loved this one. The shade really complimented my skin tone, and, the texture was light and super easy to build up for more coverage

3 of 10

Chosen by: Harie Why it's the best: I thought this highlighter would be super glittery but the effect was actually gorgeous, wet, glass skin. The shimmer stays where it's applied, no travelling into fine lines and it catches the light in all the right places

Delilah Pure Light Liquid Radiance in Halo
4 of 10

Chosen by: Jazzria Harris Why it's the best: Cream highlighters are always a winner for me as rather than shimmer they give a sweat inspired highlight (it sounds gross but trust me it looks great). This one is a super blendable and comes with a built-in brush for easy on-the-go application

Illamasqua Beyond Powder in Epic
5 of 10

Chosen by: NorresaWhy it's the best: I love a highlighter that makes me look fresh from a holiday and this did it for me. It was shimmery, rather than glittery, and gave a bronzed finish. I simply applied with a highlighter brush across my cheekbones for instant glow.

doll beauty
6 of 10

Chosen by: Aimee Why it's the best: I normally go for liquid highlighters, so this Doll Beauty pan was a complete game changer for me! It's super pigmented, glides easily on skin and gives you a blinding highlight. Kira Kira who?

Essence Wanna Bee My Honey 8 Colour Eyeshadow & Highlighter Palette
7 of 10

Chosen by: JemmimahWhy it's the best: I was really surprised by this palette as I've never tried Essence before. I loved the that it had a range of golden shades that suit deeper skin tones. And, the formulas were highly pigmented meaning they lasted all night.

8 of 10

Chosen by: Laura Why it's the best: I'm a big Anastasia fan so this was a no-brainer for me. The highlighters look glittery in the pan but when applied to the skin they give a much more subtle shimmer. I simply applied with a fan brush for an instant glow.

Becca Ignite Liquified Highlighter in Gratitude
9 of 10

Chosen by: AmyWhy it's the best: This highlighter gave a really high sheen that looked beautiful without being too OTT. It was really easy to work into my skin and lasted all day which is a big plus for me

Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in Affection
10 of 10

Chosen by: AmberWhy it's the best: This has been my go-to for as long as I can remember. I tend to wear it in the evenings as it's a bit much for everyday but I love how luminous is makes my skin look.

Photography: Thomas Watts

Makeup: Enya Sullivan

Hair: Livia May

Words and Styling: Jazzria Harris

Related best highlighter articles:

8 gleamy highlighters that are not one bit glittery

The best cream highlighters for dewy, summer skin

Pro highlighting tips: How to get the A-list glow

Tips for choosing the best highlighter...

Work with your skin tone

Much like when choosing a foundation, selecting the right shade is key for a flawless finish. Ensure your highlighter works with your skin tone by matching your skins natural undertones. The easiest trick is to match your highlighter to your jewellery, for example, if you look best in silver you’re probably suited to cool toned highlighters with silvers and blues as a base, while, gold jewellery lovers should opt for warm, pearl and gold tones.

Your skin type matters

How a highlighter sits on your skin will not only be down to the highlighter itself but also due to your skin type. Cream and liquid formulas are great for those with dry skin as they add moisture while also adding radiance, or, if you find your makeup slips and slides throughout the day go for a powder highlighter which will absorb oil and stay put.

Think about the finish

When choosing a type of highlighter, it’s also important to consider the look you want to achieve. While liquid highlighters are great for giving a delicate finish, they may be not right for a night out when you want to really make an impact. Therefore, it’s good to have a wardrobe of highlighters for different occasions so you can switch it up as the mood takes you.

Apply to the high points

Once you’ve chosen your highlighter it’s time to think about where to apply it. For the perfect finish a highlighter should be applied to the places where light would naturally fall on your face, this means the top of your cheekbones, under the brow bone, the tip of the nose and on the cupids bow of your lips.

Don’t be afraid to customise

Finally, don’t be afraid to have fun. Whether that means applying it in different ways (our testers have tried everything from their fingers to fan brushes and even a wet beauty blender) or combining different shades to get a colour that’s truly fit for you, it’s all about finding what you like and rocking it with confidence.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
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