Best Highlighter: The 2023 Glam Beauty Awards

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Highlighters were once makeup artists' best-kept secrets for adding just the right amount of glow to their clients. Now, they're a handy tool in almost everyone's makeup bags. A touch of shimmer on the high points of the face really brings out your features in a subtle way. Highlighting also goes hand-in-hand with contouring, and if you want that snatched look, you can't do one without the other. Or, you can forego contouring and try the nontouring trend, which is defining your features by applying highlighter on all the right places and letting your skin look as natural as possible.


Most highlighters come in a powder form but they also come in pencils, rollers, liquids, and sticks. When choosing a highlighter, you want one with an obvious sheen, but stay away from anything glittery. We want to look glowy — not like a disco ball. Keep your skin tone in mind as well. Lighter shades do well with creams and soft pinks while darker skin tones should opt for bronzes and rose golds.

These days, you can't walk into a makeup store without seeing an array of highlighters. It seems that every cosmetic brand has a whole line of shimmery products. To make things easier for you, we picked our favorite ones, with one top highlighter reigning supreme.

Read more about the 2023 Glam Beauty Awards methodology and all the top picks here.


Best Overall: Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter

Out of all the highlighters we tested, there was one clear favorite: Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter. The compressed powder comes encased in a light, peachy-pink mirrored compact, which is handy for on-the-go touchups. The line comes with four options: a cool champagne color, light gold champagne, rose gold, and a deeper bronze shade.


We tried Exhilarate, which is the light gold champagne color. The powder is silky smooth as air and true to its name. The particles are super small so you don't see an obvious deposit of powder on the skin. It has a strong shimmer but it glides on so effortlessly that the finish is not overwhelming. You may need to use a light hand for a daytime look. For more precision, we recommend applying the highlighter with your ring finger or a small brush. At $25 a pop it was one of the more expensive highlighters we've tried but it's well worth it. 

Purchase Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter at Sephora for $25.

Best liquid highlighter: Iconic London Rollaway Glow Highlighter

Liquid highlighters can be tricky but we love the ease of Iconic London Rollaway Glow Highlighter's packaging. It comes in a small glass tube with a roller ball applicator, so you can apply it directly onto your face. The applicator dispenses quite a bit of product, so we recommend either using a light hand or depositing the highlighter onto a small brush before applying. The liquid formula does dry fast so a speedy application is necessary in order to blend it well. However, once it's dry, the highlighter lasts all day.


Iconic London's highlighter is very shimmery, which is great for a dramatic nighttime look. The highlighters, priced at $29 each, come in three colors: Champagne Chic, Peach Paradise, and Rose Potion. We tried Champagne Chic, which is the lightest option and has a pinkish-white sheen. Peach Paradise is a warm gold tone that would look great on medium and olive skin tones, while Rose Potion is a cool, deep pink shade that would look best on darker skin tones. 

Purchase Iconic London Rollaway Glow Highlighter at Sephora for $29.

Best highlighter for precision: NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil

Whether you're a makeup novice or a seasoned pro, you'll love NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil. While the line comes in a variety of colors and is used as an eyeliner or shadow, Cottage Cheese and Frosting can also be used as a highlighter. The two shades have just the right amount of shimmer to make your features pop and what's best about the pencil is that you can get into those tiny areas, such as the inner corners of your eyes and your cupid's bow.


Cottage Cheese is a silvery, white color, while Frosting is a light, metallic gold. We love the super creamy consistency and how easy it is to blend once we've applied the product. The product lasted pretty well and maintained its shimmer throughout the day. The pencil is also great for sticking into your purse or pocket for later touch-ups. The packaging is a bit misleading as there is no way to twist or sharpen the pencil for more product, so what you see is what you get, and it's a pretty small amount. However, for around $5, we can't complain. 

Purchase NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil on Amazon for $4.99.

Best drugstore highlighter: Wet n Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powder

Wet n Wild makeup has been a drugstore staple since 1979 and the line still proves to deliver for those on a budget. Their Megaglo Highlighting Powder is our favorite wallet-friendly highlighter and at $6.49, you get a lot of product for your buck. It comes in a square palette with a clear cover that displays a pretty flower design embossed into the powder.


What we love is how shimmery the highlighter is without being too overpowering, and for a drugstore product, the quality is pretty darn good. The powder is silky smooth and glides onto the skin effortlessly. It is highly pigmented so you can use a light hand and build on top for more shine. The highlighters come in six options, with colors ranging from a soft champagne color to a deep bronze, so there is a shade for every skin tone. There's even a peachy-pink shade that can double as a blush. Wet n Wild has been a fan favorite for many decades and they continue to knock it out of the park with their highlighters. 

Purchase Wet n Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powder at Wet n Wild Beauty for $6.49.


Best prismatic highlighter: Makeup Revolution Highlight Reloaded

Our final favorite pick for a dewy finish is Makeup Revolution Highlight Reloaded. Powder highlighters continue to be a fan favorite due to their ease of use and Makeup Revolution has left us thoroughly impressed. The shimmer isn't as bold as other highlighters, which is great for those who just want a subtle glow. If you want a more dramatic sheen, the powder is airy enough for building on top of your first layer without causing a chalky finish.


Makeup Revolution's highlighters have six options to choose from. Their lightest shade is a white, pearlescent color, and their darkest is a tawny bronze. What we love best about their highlighters is how the colors change depending on the angle. We tested Make An Impact, which is a soft rose shade with gold accents. The color goes on pink but takes on a dreamy buttery hue when the light hits it differently. This highlighter is definitely going to be one we reach for when we want to achieve that goddess glow. 

Purchase Makeup Revolution Highlight Reloaded at Ulta for $7.