Top 10 Illuminators for a Gorgeous Glow

top 10 illuminators

Highlighter is the perfect finishing touch to any makeup look. It has a transformative power that makes every look that much better. Without it, no matter how flawless and perfect your look is, the entire effect can fall a little flat. After this summer’s strobing trend, many people associate highlighting with an all-over-intense look, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re not into strobing, you can strategically place highlighter on certain parts of your face that you want to spotlight. It allows you to draw attention to your best features. Keep reading for our top 10 illuminators, application tips and more!

The usual go-to areas to highlight are the tops of your cheekbones, center of your forehead, brow bone, inner eye corner, down the bridge of your nose, Cupid’s bow and your chin. As with any beauty tip, this is just a guideline, and not a rule. If there’s an area you don’t want to highlight, don’t do it. I personally don’t like to put highlighter on my chin.

As for brushes to apply with, for powder highlighters, I alternate between the Real Techniques Setting Brush (for a more intense glow) and a fan brush (for a subtle, daytime-appropriate look). All of the brush brands offer fan brushes, but my favorite is the super affordable ELF one – it’s two dollars! I usually mix liquid highlighters into my BB cream and buff it all in with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. If I decide to apply it on top of my makeup rather than mixed in, I’ll stipple it in with the previously mentioned setting brush.

watts up

Benefit Watt’s Up: This was my first highlighter, and still a favorite. The cream-to-powder consistency is so unique, and it’s perfect for a subtle highlight. I love using it on smaller areas, like my brow bone. The luminous champagne color is flattering on so many skin tones. When I think highlight, I think champagne. This is a must. ($30)

josie maran

Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer: If you want your face to glow with a capital G, this liquid luminizer should be right up your alley. A little goes a long way with this intensely pigmented illuminator, but sometimes you need that drama. Mix it into your foundation or BB cream, and apply it all over for a radiant, beautiful glow. This is the perfect product for a big night out. ($26)

maybelline master hilight

Maybelline Master Hi-Light Powdered Blush: I ordered this blush-highlighter hybrid on a whim when it was mentioned in a YouTube video, and I was pleasantly surprised. Available in colors like coral and mauve, this mosaic-patterned product can be worn as either a highlighter or blush. Sweep all of the colors in the palette together for a luminous blush color, or use a smaller brush to just pick up one of the highlighter shades. ($9.99)

champagne pop

BECCA x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop: This caused quite a commotion when it was released a few months back, and it’s no wonder why. This product is good. Wow. BECCA’s Opal was my holy grail for over a year, and while it’s still incredible, I think Champagne Pop might have taken its place as my number one. This soft white gold with peachy-pink undertones is so unbelievably flattering. You need such a small amount of product for a major glow. While it’s pricey, this will last you forever – I honestly think it’s impossible to hit pan. You need Champagne Pop in your life – it’s limited edition, so get it while you can! ($38)


becca perfector

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector: BECCA is the glow master. The brand knows how to do highlighter right. Whether it’s powder, cream or liquid, they always get it right. I love mixing a drop of liquid Opal into my BB cream for a luminous glow. It’s fairly subtle when mixed with another product. Perfect for achieving that ‘I Woke Up Like This’ look. For a more intense effect, dot it on over the rest of your face makeup and stipple it in. ($41 for full size, $19 for travel size)

manizer sister

theBalm The Manizer Sisters Palette: When it came to theBalm’s stellar Manizer line of highlighters, I could never choose which of the three I wanted the most. Mary-Lou is a champagne highlighter, Cindy-Lou is rose and can double as a blush, while Betty-Lou is a golden-bronze that can work as an illuminating bronzer. This holiday season, theBalm solved my dilemma by releasing The Manizer Sisters Palette, which has smaller versions of all three shades. It’s also the perfect travel palette – you have your bronzer, blush and highlighter all in one! So convenient. ($28)


l'oreal true match lumi

L’Oreal True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator: L’Oreal has recently expanded their selection of highlighters, adding three liquids and three powders to their line. In general, I feel like the drugstore hasn’t really mastered highlighters yet – you can find good ones, but the best remain at department stores and Sephora. The liquid Lumis are the exception! Available in the shades Ice, Rose and Golden, these intensely pigmented liquid illuminators will give you a beautiful, all-over glow. The pink-tinted Rose shade is especially gorgeous to me. ($12.99)

bobbi brown shimmer brick

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick: The Shimmer Brick is a cult classic, with good reason. There have been many dupes, but nothing quite captures that perfect glow like the original. You can swirl all of the stripes together to use as a blush or bronzer (depending on the color you purchase), or use one of the lighter stripes as a highlighter. At almost fifty dollars, this is definitely pricey, but it will last you a lifetime. ($46)

gerard bb

Gerard Cosmetics BB Plus Illumination Creme: Gerard’s illuminating BB cream is one of the most underrated beauty products ever. I don’t know why people don’t talk about this more! It’s so incredible. I mix a drop into my BB cream and it gives me the most glamorous, radiant, dewy glow. It’s a bit too gold to wear all-over as your main BB cream, but I love that it has all of the BB benefits like anti-aging AND hydrating properties. Definitely give this product a try – you won’t regret it! ($36)

elf highlighter

ELF Baked Highlighter: Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t glow like a goddess. ELF has some pretty fantastic baked highlighters for only three dollars. You read that right. Three bucks for a pretty, shimmery powder highlighter. It has a slightly sheer effect, so it’s perfect for the daytime. If you want to use it for an evening look, I would definitely recommend applying it wet for an extra pop. ($3)

Are any of these of your list? What’s your must-have highlighter? Let us know in the comments below and on PAMPADOUR.COM!

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