7 best highlighters

Keep your summer glow all year round with an on-trend illuminator

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The Independent Online

Just because the sun is starting to set on our British summer, it doesn’t mean you have to lose your healthy glow. Thanks to celebs like Kim Kardashian, ‘strobing’ – the art of accentuating parts of your face - has fast become a makeup trend that’s here to stay. This minimalist approach ditches tricky-to-use contour palettes for a simple highlighter. You apply it to your temples and across the high points of your cheekbones for facial definition, your cupid’s bow for the appearance of bigger lips and your brow bones to look as if you’ve had your full eight hours sleep. In fact, applying this beauty tool to anywhere the light naturally hits your face and blending will leave you with a dewy, youthful complexion.   

 When you’re choosing a highlighter though think about what shades would suit your skin tone. If you have fair skin, opt for pink shades. For olive skin, try peachy golden illuminators and for dark skin, use variations of gold, such as champagne or bronze. They usually come in liquid, cream or powder formulas, so pick a product that you’re comfortable applying too. The best have a number of different pearly shades to blend and apply with.  We’ve tried and tested a range of highlighters to find ones that are sure to leave you looking fresh-faced. 

1. Benefit Watt’s Up Soft Focus Highlighter: £24.50, Benefit 


As far as highlighters go, Benefit’s creamy illuminator gives the most flawless finish. With a soft-focus champagne hue, this velvety formula looks great on darker skin tones. The double-ended design comes furnished with an applicator too, meaning no extra brushes are needed for application. And if you haven’t highlighted before, this one is ideal. Simply swipe on the skin and blend for a natural-looking sheen that combines all the easy-application of a cream with the finish of a powder.

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2. Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Duo: £25.00, Too Faced


This duo from boutique brand Too Faced comes packaged in a handbag-ready compact and a how-to glamour guide, making it perfect for first time glowers. With both peach and cream powders in the ‘Warm Glow’ shade, these light-refracting colours can be used separately or swirled together for a golden tone. Once swept onto the highpoints of your cheeks, the bridge of your nose and cupid’s bow, blend to achieve a natural finish. The highlighter’s pinker shade, Rosy Glow, is a great alternative for those with fairer complexions.

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3. NYX Strobe of Genius Illuminating Palette: £15.00, Boots


With seven shades of shimmering highlighters, NYX rivals higher-end palettes for its sheer variety. Colours range in depth from a cool lilac to rose-gold, making it suitable for all skin tones. It also means you can create your own custom colour. By buffing different shades together, or layering lighter shades on top of others, you can find the blend that works for you. The highlighters are highly pigmented too, so you only need to apply a little product to get the best finish. 

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4. Marc Jacobs Glow Stick: £28, Harrods


This highlighter rolls onto your skin smoothly, leaving a silky texture and making light work of blending. It’s also bigger than most, making up for the higher price tag, and the pearl/silver formula is reasonably sheer, illuminating almost any skin tone. The unusual oblong shape also makes application to the cheekbones and nose much easier. 

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5. Illamasqua Beyond Powder: £32.00, Illamasqua


For those with a bigger budget, Illamasqua Beyond Powder is a high-quality compact worth the extra pounds. This powder is the subtlest of all seven because of its ultra-fine pigment, meaning a more pearly and youthful finish that needn’t be reserved for just your cheekbones. With the added versatility of using the powder wet or dry, this highlighter can also be used as a high-shine eye shadow or on the neck and décolletage to give you a healthy glow.

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6. The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter: £17.49, Superdrug


The Balm’s luminizer is honey-hued and its high-pigment formula packs a beauty punch - you only need to apply a little to get great results. The iridescent powder blends seamlessly with your make-up creating a soft and light-catching sheen for that healthy glow. The pigment is probably the most buildable of the bunch too, making your daytime glow just brush-sweeps away from an evening gleam.

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7. Sleek Highlighter Eye Palette Solstice: £9.99, Boots


Sleek’s five-piece palette is the cheapest of all seven but it’s a decent buy. This gold, mirrored highlighting hero has the best of both worlds with both cream and powder highlighters (and a handy brush too). The compact comes complete with frosty pink, pale yellow and copper powders, plus a rose-gold cream. The cool shades may look a little frightening at first, but blending just a little product onto the skin gives a great, high-pigment metallic finish. 

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Benefit’s Watt’s Up takes the top spot for its creamy formula, easy application and warm shade for an everyday glow – unbeatable for first-time highlighters. The NYX Strobe of Genius is a value-for-money favourite and has some of the bronze and champagne hues of higher-end products. For a subtle and youthful finish though, indulge in the Illamasqua Beyond Powder.

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