Style

The Face Off: I Tried 5 Highlighters

The Best Highlighter

Welcome to summer. In these days of heat and humidity, shiny faces abound. When that summer sheen is inevitable, why not lean into it by embracing dewy makeup? Using a highlighter takes seconds and always makes me feel like I have my own personal lighting crew. To that end, I tested five popular ones. Here’s how they stacked up…

In our last installment of The Face Off, you asked for photos to accompany each product, and we were happy to oblige. So without further ado, here are our contenders:

The Best Highlighter

RMS Living Luminizer, $38
Let’s start with the only negative: This product comes in a pot. The germs! The cross-contamination! Do you need to use a brush? Valid concerns, all. If you are staunchly anti-pot, then this product isn’t for you. That said, if you can look past it, Living Luminizer is a cult product for a reason. The lightweight formula pats on for a dewy, not-at-all-sparkly glow. The pearl color gives your face an immediate pick-me-up, like you just ran for approximately four minutes and then someone decided to follow you around with a spotlight.
Verdict: Amazing, if you can embrace the pot.

The Best Highlighter

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz, $22
When this product first launched, I recall reading somewhere that it makes your face look like a glazed doughnut (my favorite thing). The easy-to-transport highlighter stick glides on smoothly and blends like a dream, brightening your whole face. The overall effect is neither sparkly nor metallic, just a straight-up sheen. You just look, well, sort of like a glazed doughnut, in the best possible way.
Verdict: Pretty much foolproof.

The Best Highlighter

W3LL PEOPLE Bio Brightener Stick in Universal Glow, $24
The subtlest of the bunch, this is an excellent choice if you secretly like glitter but harbor a fear of glitter flecks becoming permanently trapped on everything in your life. The pearlescent formula leaves teeny tiny shimmery flecks — but only where you want them. The ingredients are as clean as they come, and the tiny packaging (a mere two inches tall!) easily stows away in your makeup bag.
Verdict: Sparkly, yet subtle.

The Best Highlighter

Juice Beauty Flash Luminizer in Golden Bronze, $32
This nifty little stick has two different sides: one light golden, one dark bronze, so it’s like getting multiple products in one. Use the gold side on your cheekbones, to highlight, then flip it around and use the bronze side on your cheeks, as blush or contour. OR, mix both shades together to create a shimmery golden bronzer. Bonus: The formula is organic, vegan and cruelty-free.
Verdict: Packs a one-two-three-four punch.

The Best Highlighter

NARS Illuminator in Orgasm, $30
Spoiler alert: This one is my all-around favorite. Like the cult blush from whence it came, this liquid has a peachy-pink tint. Take a tiny dollop and blend blend blend. You can even mix it into foundation for an all-over glow. Every time I’ve worn this, someone has asked: a) if I’m drinking ungodly amounts of water, b) if I’ve started working out more, or c) what I’m wearing on my face. It’s that good.
Verdict: All your dewy water nymph unicorn dreams come true.

The Best Highlighter

Because highlighters are a subtle bunch, here is a photo that looks like a severed arm in a salad, so you can easily see the difference. (Pictured, from left to right: NARS, W3LL PEOPLE, Glossier, Juice Beauty, RMS.)

Also! For those asking, my lipstick is Pillow Talk from Charlotte Tilbury.

Do you have any other favorite illuminators? Or tricks for applying them? Would love to hear!

P.S. More face offs, including five eyebrow products and a lipstick challenge.

(Photos by Heather Moore for Cup of Jo. Except the arm in the salad. That was me.)

  1. Amy says...

    Ok, but how do you put it on?! I am leaning into the dewy look while on vacation, but today I saw a photo of myself looking, um, stripy. Am I not blending enough?

  2. Kirsty says...

    I’d love to see a post on good drugstore buys – all these things add up to a really expensive beauty routine!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, kirsty! we’d love to, please stay tuned!

  3. Stacey says...

    Laura Mercier Glow is another wonderful highlighter. I absolutely love it!

  4. Carrie Jones says...

    Heritage Store Rosewater & glycerin spray. A few good mists, let air dry and my skin has an amazing glow all day. BUT, I love RMS too! I don’t mind the pot. It’s quick and easy to use. Worth the money for sure!

  5. Emily says...

    I can’t believe nobody recommended a dab of aquaphor! 1 tube will last a lifetime and there are itty-bitty ones that fit in a purse!

  6. Lisa says...

    I heavily got into highlighter (the Nars one actually) after a man repeller article where Hayley got a makeover and ended up looking lit from within. But then I saw a bunch of people with stripes of highlighter in their face and it put me off. Now it’s “summer” in London I might give it another try

  7. Maura says...

    OMG why has no one mentioned the FENTY killawatt highlighters?! They’re amazing and also double as really pretty eye shadow! Also, Josie Maran makes an amazing glittery face oil (Josie Maran moonstone drops) that smell great and can be used as highlighter or mixed into your daily moisturizer/SPF situation for a low-key all over glittery vibe!

  8. Jennifer says...

    Fun post! I am obsessed with Beautycounter’s powder highlighter. It couldn’t be easier to use and I use it as my base eyeshadow as well. Comes in three shades which is awesome as well!!

  9. K says...

    How would you say they’d work on Asian skin?

    • Mullica says...

      I have asian skin and I have used the Glossier Haloscope and love it! Especially the shade Quartz. My favorite subtle highlight though is the Becca Shimmering Liquid Highlighter in Opal.

      My favorite drugstore option is Essence Pure Nude Highlighter in Be my Highlight. It’s only $5 at Ulta.

  10. Nicola says...

    Just going to throw in yet another plug for RMS! I have bad reactions (rashes, acne) to a lot of makeup, but I have never ever had an issue with RMS. They are pricy, but a little goes a loooong way and I have found they last forever. They’re also multi-purpose, so you only need one or two for your entire beauty routine.

    Also, if there are any other acne-prone, lazy-beauty types out there who are looking for a good foundation, I just discovered Kosas tinted face oil and it’s a wonder! Takes about ten seconds to apply, and only a few drops and you’re done! So natural and light, and does. Not. Look. Like. Makeup.

  11. April says...

    Excuse me but why is this the LAST INSTALLMENT???

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh it’s not! Many more to come!

  12. Jeanne says...

    Caroline, what about the Weleda Skin Food trick? I’ve been using it as highlighter ever since your post and love it. Also, Nars looks amazing on you ❤️.

  13. Sarah says...

    But like, can we talk about Caroline’s eyelashes? (In addition to her wit, intelligence, and all the other inside things that make her wonderful?)

    • Kim says...

      Exactly. I was like, this post should be about her lashes. Banging.

  14. Katie says...

    I feel like Caroline could model even paper bag hats with wild success. Just beautiful.

    • G says...

      Bahahaha!

  15. Danielle says...

    Thanks for this. I trying to get back into a routine and I remember liking highlights vs powder cause it just looked more natural (I like that dewy glow with a hint of color).

    I like the pics and the arm one was very helpful.

    Lipstick or something that will give my lips a pop of color is next on my list-seems like scary-what color, type, etc. Inneed a lipstick 101 course lol.

  16. Amanda W. says...

    I’m a big fan of Antonym’s Organic Highlighting Blush. There are three different shades for your skin type. I’m extremely fair-skinned and use the Cheek Crush color. However, my mom has very olive skin (go figure) and that color looks good on her, too. I find that it looks very natural and not at all sparkly. That, a little mascara, and a touch of lip color is all I wear most days. It’s vegan and comes in a bamboo case. https://www.antonymcosmetics.com/collections/blush-highlighting/products/certified-organic-highlighting-blush-cheek-crush

  17. Christina O says...

    My personal favorite (not mentioned) is Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter- I use Opal but they have many beautiful shades

  18. I’m a huge fan of the glossier one! So easy and fool proof for me. My eyeballs seem to be allergic to MOST eye make up so I’ve taken to trying to up my game with subtle face make up like highlighter and blush!

  19. Olivia says...

    My best highlighter discovery is the Wet n Wild highlighter in precious petals! It somehow manages to make me look like I’ve actually seen the sun and gotten exercise lately, plus it was about $5!

  20. AGY says...

    Ha. Arm salad! These all look great – I’ve personally been meaning to try the RMS one for ages, but I always go back to Marc Jacobs’ ‘Dew Drops’! It’s a favorite, and ppl ask my on the regular what I am wearing with my makeup. Sephora doesn’t give it away, but it lasts forever!

  21. Jenny says...

    I’m a huge fan of RMS! I agree with the pot thing, it’s like those lip balms from Glossier where you have to use your finger. BUT they do this b/c they’re green! The pots are reusable/recyclable – you can actually clean them out.

  22. Kristal Vick says...

    I’m pretty disappointed that my comment about shade range was deleted. It would be nice when posting about highlighters to pick a range that could fit multiple skin tones not just fair skin.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh i’m sure it wasn’t deleted! are you sure you checked the multiple pages of comments? we welcome discourse and debate! xoxo

  23. Heather says...

    “Here is a photo that looks like a severed arm in a salad, so you can easily see the difference.” insert crying laughing face emojis here!!!

  24. Erin says...

    As someone who is totally clueless about makeup and rarely wears any, yet constantly feels aspirations to get it together in this department already (I’m 40! What’s my excuse?!), I have to laugh at this post … because truly, they all look exactly the same to me. Like, I keep going over each photo reallly close and … nope, the same. I guess all of this is to say, somehow, this post made me feel better about my life?
    p.s. Caroline you look gorgeous no matter what, I vote ‘yes’ to all the highlighters!!

    • Rosie says...

      I am very into makeup and I can’t really see a difference either. They all look beautiful though.

  25. Denise says...

    I love the RMS living luminizer though I only use it for special occasions. Just a swipe down the nose ridge and a fingerprint only in the middle of my eyelid makes my face glow and doesn’t look like heavy shine. As far as the pot, as long as I use clean fingers and never share I’m fine with it. I’ve never had an issue.

  26. Lauren says...

    I’m super not a highlighter person but Dr. Perricone no makeup highlighter converted me! It’s super subtle and comes with a doe foot applicator – a little dot or two where you want it, minimal blending, and the perfect natural look!

  27. Michaela says...

    SO excited to see you review highlighters! They aren’t part of my usual routine but I’ve been thinking about them lately – craving that glow!! Maybe this is a silly question (i’m an amateur here!), but can you apply directly to your face without other makeup? I dont usually wear primer or foundations, but love the idea of brighting up my face a bit!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes you can use with foundation or alone! Xo

    • laura says...

      i never wear primer or foundations (i don’t even own any anymore) but i have the RMS luminizer and slap it on in the morning after my usual cleaning and moisturizing routine, and it works great!

  28. Sara says...

    BECCA Liquid Luminizer comes in lots of shades (my favorite is moonstone and champagne pop) and its the BEST highlighter hands down.

  29. Rachel says...

    I don’t see any change in any of them….

    • Leslie says...

      Yes Rachel same! I wanna know how did it wear? Did it last? Did it rub off? I can go to Sephora and swipe my arm. I need boots on the ground!

  30. Emily says...

    I wear EXCLUSIVELY the loreal lumi glotion in fair (because I am fair) and it is seriously the best. its halfway between freshly moisturized and glass skin, no sparkle, the perfect slightly pink undertone for my super fair skin. it comes in four (I think???) shades, for different skin tones. I tap it on my cheeks over my foundation or on bare skin an its beautiful.

    • Meredith says...

      Oh my gosh, yes! I ADORE this stuff. Besides mascara, I could never commit to using any makeup every day…until this came along. I have tried two shades and love them both. Plus, it lasts forever!

  31. Kate says...

    I’ve had the same NARS Orgasm highlighter stick for over 5 years, hand to god. I think it’s lasting so long because I keep forgetting about it, but you’ve convinced me to get it out and try to use it up, finally.

  32. Kristyn says...

    Kosas in 8th Muse – It’s a compact with cream highlighter and blush and it’s a clean beauty brand. I also have the set in Equinox. Their website shows the colors on a range of skin tones.
    All of the color duos are very blendable. I don’t want to appear like I’m wearing makeup and this is the only color I wear except for lipstick. BTW Kosas lipstick really is the best too.
    Anybody know a good concealer?

  33. Erin says...

    Why is this the last instalment of Face Off? Hasn’t there only been one other? I was actually going to ask what happened to this because I’ve been waiting for more since the eyebrow one!!! I was so excited for this especially since a lot of beauty uniforms these day have been focusing on beauty philosophy over actual products.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh this isn’t the last installment! we have more coming up that have already been photographed. here are the archived ones, too: https://cupofjo.com/tag/face-off/

      excited to share more! :)

  34. Kelly says...

    Just a heads up that the RMS one has coconut oil in it. Depending on your skin type, that could be fine or it could clog your pores :( .

    • Kelsey says...

      That is a good and appreciated heads up! Thank you!

  35. stacy says...

    I’m not sure if anyone’s mentioned it, but Tacha Luminous Dewy Skin spray is AHHHHHMAAAZZZIIIGGGG. I spritz it in the air and lean my face into it (like one does with perfume). It gives you that ‘i just did something sweaty’ kind of glow. No color at all… just a sheer dewiness without any glitter whatsoever.

  36. Christy says...

    Those pictures all look absolutely identical to me..haha.

    • Sarah Richey says...

      Ditto – ha!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, we thought the same thing! it’s so hard to capture in pictures, even though they do look different in real life. haha — when we did the post about eyebrow pencils, people begged for photos, so we thought we’d give photos a shot. but maybe it’s better to do gifs or videos? after 12 years blogging, i’m still learning!!! :)

    • NN says...

      I still appreciate the pics, tho!

      I have the RMS one and it’s especially good in the summer – in part because the warmer temp makes it easier to apply. I love it and even put it on my eyelids when I want a natural super-dewy look. I’m 44 so I’ll take all the light refraction I can get! ;)

    • Katie says...

      Maybe in addition to the individual photos, do a side-by-side comparison, like all 5 in a horizontal row? Or a standard before picture next to each after photo? Love this series and the addition of photos!

  37. Mar says...

    I use Touche Éclat de Yves Saint Laurent and love. So easy to apply, leave the face radiant in a few seconds!

  38. Melanie says...

    Could you do a review exclusively on vegan, cruelty free, zero waste cosmetic and personal care products?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we do a mix of products, since our readers prioritize different things (clean beauty, price point, color, brand, etc.), but we will always include clean and cruelty-free products in the mix! thank you xoxo

    • Melanie says...

      Thanks, Joanna! I love this blog and your team is fabulous! I must check it five times a day 😄

  39. Nina Hakovirta says...

    Love this! In a post like this, though, it would be great to also include products that are more affordable/drugstore to cover a wider range for the readers with less disposable income. Especially analysing how those compare in terms of quality/value :)

  40. Lisa says...

    I so appreciate your ”Face Off” series as they are both helpful and fun to read. Also I’m a fan of Caroline’s writing! However, ever since I watched a documentary on refinery29 about the use of child labour in India I have become wary of all things sparkly. Maybe you could do a follow up article about the mica mining industry or link to other sources where your readers can learn more about this dark side of the make up industry?

    • Melanie says...

      I read that article too. It was very disturbing. Once I use up my current products, I’m going to make every effort to research the business practices of makeup companies. No more mica! Trying to go plastic-free, vegan, cruelty-free while staying within a budget.

  41. lena says...

    milk holographic stick in mars – i have medium tan skin and it looks surprisingly natural with a holographic sheen. makes this 40 year old feel like a space unicorn.

    • Sara B says...

      This comment is super helpful. I have olive-ish skin and I am totally clueless about highlighter, how to pick a shade, how to apply it, etc so I am going to check out this shade!

  42. Anon says...

    Love the pics!
    Gonna add another request for the next one- please do pics of all the coj ladies so we can see how each one looks on different skin types. Would
    Be so appreciated!

    • Daniela says...

      I’d love to see all the COJ ladies as well! I don’t even know who the full team is anymore – where’d Stella go? :(

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we will do a big editor’s letter update soon! after 3.5 wonderful years with stella, she moved to new york magazine to be a photo editor. (photos have always been her first love.) we miss her every day and are so proud of her! xoxo

  43. Lulu says...

    I laughed out loud when I read the caption: “this photo looks like a severed arm in the salad” Caroline you are just too much – in the BEST way!

  44. diana k. says...

    I usually use Glossier Haloscope in Quartz ($22 seems like a lot for what you get, but I bought it and it does its job) BUT I also got Milk Makeup holographic mini stick ($14 for enough highlighter to last you over a year, in my estimation) in blue and I use it ALL THE TIME and the blue highlight is so dreamy and subtle and I highllllly recommend.

    https://www.sephora.com/product/holographic-stick-mini-P425737?skuId=2032753&om_mmc=ppc-GG_1917488095_74306495961_pla-419444360611_2032753_353513007577_9004317_c&country_switch=us&lang=en&ds_rl=1261471&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIl9LHwcz54gIVE1mGCh2hOQyzEAQYAiABEgJQz_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

  45. S Kay says...

    Hi! I wanted to add some feedback about this post that I hope will be taken as I intend – constructive and appreciative of what you do.

    Caroline – you are a beautiful woman who has gorgeous skin! With reviews on makeup, particularly because I think this is part of a periodic column to review beauty products, I think it is necessary to show makeup on people with varying skin tones. Your skin is a beautiful porcelain, but it looks so different from mine, So I still have no idea how these products would look on someone like me. And the same would go for women who have other skin tones too I’d imagine.

    Even with something as basic as cool and warm tones, I know products can look drastically different on people so for your diverse audience to actually be able to work off of your reviews, can you please have more than one person model the products/share their feedback?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you for this thoughtful feedback, S Kay. We would love to do this. Please look out for the next ones!

    • E says...

      Thank you for suggesting this, S Kay! And Joanna, thank you for taking it into consideration. If the models could also provide a brief description of their skin type, that would be very helpful as well. Sometimes a product will suit someone with more oily skin but not someone with dry skin, or vice versa.

    • CL says...

      <3

    • Gina says...

      Fully agree! I think it’s really important to acknowledge that we all come in a range of skin tones and that the shade needs of woc matter too. I am glad to see that Joanna has acknowledged this in the comments and I look forward to seeing future posts on cosmetics incorporating diverse models to showcase products.

    • Rosie says...

      S Kay I can’t help you with examples of how it might look on your skin, but my wife is African American with skin that she describes as latte, and she borrows my RMS highlighter in champagne rose. Their website offers examples of what the shades look like on different skin tones. https://www.rmsbeauty.com/products/champagne-rose-luminizer

  46. Kim says...

    I don’t love using pots, but I wash my hands before I use any moisturizer or makeup in a pot and have never ever had a problem. Wash your hands before you touch your stuff, or your face.

  47. Nayantara Mukerji says...

    I love learning about products from your blog! So what is the winner here? If Caroline had to choose? The Nars?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes!

  48. Caroline says...

    Ooh you have to try Pink House Organics glow sticks! All the colors are amazing! Tint and shimmer shine goodness. I buy the travel size and it lasts forever. Best of all, they’re organic, vegan, cruelty free, and all natural.

  49. My skin guru friend just introduced me to the (vegan, all natural) brand Cocokind and their highlighter trio is AMAZING (and affordable, you can buy all three colors for $36 or each stick is $13). You can mix and match the colors (bronze, rosé, and gold) for special occasions or every day wear, and I’ll swipe one of them on my brow bone to elevate my look. I’m in my 30s and have always been afraid to try anything other than tinted moisturizer and blush on my skin because I’m such a makeup novice but these make me feel super put together. Their IG account is very helpful and they have saved highlights with tips on how to apply their highlighters. They sell them at Whole Foods too!

    • Em says...

      Yes! I love cocokind!

  50. Nina says...

    Hi. What’s the nail color you’re wearing?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Geranium, by Essie

  51. Bonnie says...

    I don’t consider cruelty-free to be a bonus, but rather a starting point for anything worth consideration.

    • Ash says...

      Amen sister. I agree and hope the rest of the world will follow suit soon… The good thing is that I think all of these are cruelty-free except the Nars, right?

  52. ginger m. says...

    Ok, so the highlighters are all great and everything. Love the final shot comparing the different ones, but I can’t see past that perfect little gold bracelet. I’d love to know where it’s from. I know the answer will be ‘my grandmother gave it to me, she bought it in a shop in Prague 300 years ago’. I just know it.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Haha, thank you! And no, no grandmothers involved in this one! It’s from Catbird – it’s called the Forever Sweet Nothing bracelet and they weld it to you in the store, so it never comes off (until, of course, you want it to).

  53. Nia says...

    Highlighters are the best! I love the rms living luminizer. Quick note on the pot of germs- because the product doesn’t contain water, there really isn’t much chance anything will grow. The base is also coconut oil, which is naturally antimicrobial. Apply away!!

  54. Quinn says...

    “here is a photo that looks like a severed arm in a salad” – bahhahaha! Caroline for the win! (Always. :)) Back on topic, I am a fan of both the RMS one, although I find it’s a tad sticky if I accidentally put too much on, and the pressed powdered version of the NARS one, which blends well with their Orgasm blush.

    • Hilary says...

      I burst out laughing at this, too…

  55. Sandra says...

    I love the Laura Mercier Radiance primer. It makes my skin look subtly glowy overall. And yes, videos might be better for this but I do appreciate the attempt at photos!

  56. Maria says...

    Just wanted to chime in to say I love the clean/green beauty brands that you chose to test out. I usually skip over these posts when they mostly include brands that don’t rate low EWG’s skin deep site.

    • Em says...

      Same! Love non toxic recs!

  57. jade lees says...

    For any Aussie Readers – I adore the Luma illuminating highlighter – if anyone is a looking for a more affordable version of the RMS.

    • Ophelie says...

      Yes! It’s so good!

  58. Grace says...

    I recommend Maya Chia’s highlight of the day! All of the shades are beautiful and it lasts the whole day. I have also used and liked the RMS and W3LL People ones.

  59. Gigi says...

    Love me a good highlight! Just a heads up, it looks like Caroline is using a different NARS highlighter than what is linked to in the post. The cover photo for the story shows the NARS Orgasm Liquid Highlighter (which is limited edition and sold out at Sephora) but the link provided goes to the NARS Illuminator which is actually a different product. I believe they are pretty similar but worth noting. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      fixed! thank you, gigi!

  60. Elizabeth says...

    follow-up question- what amazing lipstick is Caroline wearing?! I was distracted by wondering what that most perfect shade is!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      just emailed her! xo

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s Pillow Talk from Charlotte Tilbury.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Thank you! That’s hilarious, literally yesterday morning I was reading a beauty review about that exact lipstick being the perfect shade for everyone. I guess it is true!

  61. Bec says...

    I’ve heard great things about “Fat and the Moon” highlighters – super eco-friendly too! I just ordered an “Ilia” brand highlighter – excited to try it out! I’ve been on the W3LL People train for years, but wanted something without plastic packaging. :)

  62. Ann-Marie says...

    I use RMS’s Champagne Rose Luminizer — slightly more pink/beige than their Living Luminizer. Love it! It really pops on my cupid’s bow and cheekbones. I love how clean it is (basically organic oils and non-nano particles) and how my pot has lasted forever.

  63. Meg says...

    I love highlighter! My favorite one that I’ve tried is Benefit High Beam. It comes in a bottle that looks like nail polish. I dot some on the back of my hand, then pat my finger in it, and dot it along my cheekbones with my finger, and also in a line down my nose. And while we’re talking products, I’ll say that my least favorite highlighter I’ve ever tried is Hourglass Ambient Lighting powder. I think technically it’s *not* a highlighter but some sort of mythical fairy dust to put on your face and look glowy, but I tried two different shades that were literally invisible no matter how much I caked them on. And they’re waaaaay too expensive to be worth it unless they make a big difference. Perhaps better for different skin tones.

    • Rue says...

      I love the ambient lighting powder! But I got mine while talking with a Sephora employee about colors that work for me (I’m normally way too socially anxious for this, but did it one time at an especially chill Sephora). The color she selected for me is *not* one I would have picked on my own. I was skeptical. But it works so well! It’s my perfect summer “sun kissed” shade without looking artificial.

  64. J says...

    Weleda skin food, always and forever my multi-tasker

    • tina crisas says...

      I slather my face in this stuff every night!

    • Hannah R says...

      I read on this blog to use it as a highlighter and it totally works! Definitely recommend.

    • Rosie says...

      I loved using Skin Food as a highlighter until I wore it outside on a sunny day. Even with sunscreen I ended up with a bit of a sunburn on the areas where I applied it. It’s basically like applying baby oil to your face.

  65. Laura C. says...

    My go-to highlighter: Mary-Loumanizer by The Balm. Affordable and amazing. I apply it by slightly rubbing my finger on it, then mixing it with a little bit of face cream and applying on the cheekbones. Give it a try, Caroline!

    • Gabby T says...

      YES! one container has lasted me over four years! I use a fan brush to apply to my cheekbones and it lasts ALL DAY. I know a lot of people prefer a liquid or stick highlighter to powder but this one is so finely milled it doesn’t look like powder when it’s applied! And it’s pretty cheap if i remember correctly…..

  66. Mary says...

    +1 for the RMS luminizer / pot o’ germs. Also, what is that beautiful lip color Caroline is wearing that makes her look like a pixie princess??

    • Irene Jaw says...

      SAME. I MUST KNOW.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s Pillow Talk from Charlotte Tilbury.

  67. Joanne says...

    How would you wear a highlighter if you (like me) need foundation all over your face? I have rosacea and when I wear makeup I need quite a bit of it to cover up redness and some roughness. I worry that putting a highlighter on over my foundation would mess it up. Is that not the case? I hope I’m wrong because I would love to try one of these!

    • Meaghan says...

      Use a powder one like from Becca – that will layer easily over your powder and foundation :)

    • ds4899 says...

      I have the same problem! I use powder luminizers (but be careful, some go on like straight up glitter). My favorite is the Laura Geller New York Filter Finish Setting Powder (Amazon). It’s subtle and perfect for every day. If I want something a bit more glowy for night, I love the ones from Physicians Formula (drug store).

    • Rebecca Quigg says...

      I’m another rosacea person and I used to fret about this, but have found it really doesn’t; I have puffed on powder highlighter, dotted and gently blended liquid and smeared on the creamy variety. None of them has shifted my foundation/concealer combinations at all.

      It may actually be that in fact the highlighter is ‘distraction’ enough on those points, so full coverage from my foundation etc doesn’t matter so much. If I’m going for superglow (and probably skipping concealer), I mix a dribble of highlighter into my foundation instead, thus nixing the problem!

  68. Michelle says...

    Caroline looks fantastic and this is great- but I have to admit- I’m completely lost with how to actually go about applying a highlighter! I’d love to see a step by stepper, diagram, or short video how to tutorial to help point me in the right direction!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! Would definitely love to work on some sort of interactive tutorial about this. In the meantime, the easiest way to use it is to tap a small amount on the tops of your cheekbones. (Above where you’d apply blush.) You can also apply it to your orbital bones (beside/above your eyes, but beneath where your eyebrows are), which helps your eyes and face look brighter. Hope that helps!

  69. Sarah E Bleicher says...

    How does one use highlighter per se? Asking for a friend…

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Great question! You can apply it to the tops of your cheekbones, along your brow bones, and (if the highlighter isn’t too sparkly or brightly colored) in the inner corners of your eyes and on your cupid’s bow to make your face look brighter.

  70. Ali says...

    Am I the only one who can’t see any difference..? I feel like the emperor has no clothes!!! (All gorgeous pics tho)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha we were laughing about that in the office! they look similar in photos but much more different in person because you can see the glitter vs no glitter; or bronze vs pink tone; etc — maybe we should take videos next time!!

    • Melanie says...

      I agree! I’m squinting like crazy and the all look the same! Caroline, you look great, as always.
      Yes, please do a video and can you show the product packaging? I love this series!!

    • Kari says...

      Ha agreed! The swatches on her arm look clearly different, but I was looking at the face photos for so long and was a little convinced they were all exactly the same. :)

    • Shannon says...

      Oh thank god, I’m not alone!! All of them look great, even if I can’t tell them apart!

    • Lena says...

      Can you please clarify for which ones you can see the glitter and which you can’t? Thanks!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      All of them are shimmery, but the W3LL PEOPLE stick is the only product where you can see visible pieces of glitter.

  71. Kara says...

    I use RMS Living Luminizer and love!!

  72. Amanda says...

    Burt’s Bees makes a stick much like the Haloscope and it’s a slam dunk for me. Comes in 3-4 colors (pearl, peach, bronze are the ones I remember) and I purchased it at Whole Foods. Under $20 and so easy to use!

  73. Liz says...

    These are all great! I did notice the prices are all pretty high, so I wanted to offer a more budget-friendly one, as I worship both at the alter of all things shiny but ALSO at the alter of affordability! The essence “pure nude” highlighter is HANDS DOWN the prettiest highlighter I’ve ever used…and its under $5 & available on Amazon. It gives the most gorgeous glow without being sticky or a glitter-bomb on my face (my most common gripes against highlighters.) Highly recommend!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you!!!

    • Melanie says...

      Almost makes a great highlighter also. One side is a stick and the other a liquid. So easy and subtle.

    • Melanie says...

      Almay, not almost- sorry!

    • Maria says...

      Loreal Lumi Glotion is pretty good too if you can get past the corny name.

  74. lisa says...

    pretty caroline! becca’s highlighter makes me glow. also i got it free for like 100 points at sephora and it will last me quite some time.

    • Kristin says...

      Same! I love Becca too. I have an oily face and prefer a powder (sticks, pots, and liquids freak me out).

  75. liz says...

    love this, very helpful! FYI – in my experience, I found the nars illuminator to be way way too sparkly! going to try the glossier one though asap.