Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Best Highlighters to Compensate for the Loss of Your Summer Glow

Starting at just $10.

Racked has affiliate partnerships, which do not influence editorial content, though we may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. We also occasionally accept products for research and reviewing purposes. See our ethics policy here.

close-up shot of model wearing glossier haloscope Photo: Glossier

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

I am so happy that summer is over. I don’t like the kind of clothes you have to wear in order to not melt, and I hate seeing other people on vacation when I’m... not on vacation. But I would be lying If I said I didn’t live for the bronzy glow it gives my face, with or without any makeup.

Luckily, though, it’s 2017, and highlighter is still literally everywhere (thanks, Kim!). I tested out a bunch — with all different textures, finishes, and levels of shine — so you don’t have to. Whether you’re like me and just want a healthy, dewy glow (sorry but I always want to look like I just got out of hot yoga) or you’re going for the real Instagram-grade high shine, the highlighters ahead will have you covered all year round.

Drugstore Wins

Maybelline Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter ($10): Super long name! Equally long wear! This dense highlighter is wildly impressive for a drugstore pick, giving you disco strobe-light shine that lasts for hours. I wore it out dancing at a small, sweaty Brooklyn dive bar, and it looked the same in my late-night Uber ride as it did when I left the house. You can use a light hand for a glow-y sheen, or go all out and get an actual chrome finish.

Sonia Kashuk Chic Luminosity Highlighter Stick ($11): Drugstore highlighters are more often than not jam-packed with sparkle and glitter, aiming to give you the Instagram Girl glow of your dreams. But this creamy stick gives off a really healthy, luminous glow, and the shape makes it easy to highlight individual features, like in the corners of your eyes or apples of your cheeks. I love that it blends seamlessly with or without makeup underneath.

RMS Living Luminizer, $38
RMS Living Luminizer, $38
Glossier Haloscope, $22
Glossier Haloscope, $22

Natural Everyday Glow

RMS Living Luminizer ($38): This subtle highlighter is for anyone who is looking less for shine and more for healthy, awake, and hydrated. It’s made with a base of coconut and castor oils, so it really melts into your skin for that natural glow-from-within look. It’s so light you can’t f*ck it up. It comes in a pot, so it’s great to throw in your bag for mid-day touch-ups — just dab with your fingers onto the inner corners of your eyes and cheekbones, and you’ll look like you actually got a full night’s sleep.

Glossier Haloscope ($22): I’ve been using this highlighter since it came out last summer, and I haven’t found anything to compete with how good it makes my skin feel. It comes in three shades, but Quartz — a universal pearlescent shade — is my favorite because it looks good even when my tan fades. The core of Haloscope is packed with castor, coconut, and sweet almond oils, so it’s actually super hydrating (instead of just looking like it), and it blends in smoothly on top my moisturizer. Plus, the stick applicator makes putting it all over my face a breeze.

Cult Favorites

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter ($38): Becca is known, among other things, for making damn good highlighter in shades that work for just about every skin tone out there. (The brand even has a Glow Glossary.)

I tried the exclusive Bronzed Amber shade, which can be a great bronzer or blush for lighter skin but acts as a really strong highlighter for people with darker skin like myself. It’s super creamy and buildable, so you can really go all out if you want to — it’s my new “club” highlight. If the price scares you, the brand recently launched mini versions for $19 that will last you way longer than it will take for you to fall in love with it.

Nars The Multiple ($39): This multipurpose stick has been touted as a favorite of editors, bloggers, and Normal People alike for years, and I finally get why. I gave it a go in Copacabana, a pearl/champagne-colored tint with just the right amount of shimmer. It gave me a really solid glow without adding color to my cheeks, which I appreciated, and it blended really seamlessly with my concealer.