14 Cream Highlighters for Seriously Glowy SkinDecember 20, 2023
Cream highlighters are our go-to for achieving that glowy, dewy makeup look that says, “I’m not wearing any makeup; My complexion is just naturally this radiant and gorgeous.” We love cream highlighters for their blendability, easy application and the way they make our skin look lit from within. Whether you’re looking for a drugstore highlighter or want to treat yourself to radiance-boosting makeup that’s a little more luxe, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite cream highlighters for every skin tone, ahead.
What Is a Cream Highlighter and What Does It Do?
But first, you may be wondering what cream highlighter is. Available in cream, powder and liquid forms, highlighter is a type of face makeup that adds a bit of glow to your complexion. It can be shiny or shimmy and flecked with glitter. While there is a time and a place for powder highlighter, with cream highlighter, you’re guaranteed to avoid a chalky or unnatural finish. Cream highlighter blends seamlessly into the skin to accentuate the high points of your face and boost the radiance of your complexion.
How to Apply Cream Highlighter
Like powder highlighter, you’ll want to apply cream highlighter to the high points of your face that naturally catch the light — or just anywhere you want a little extra glow. Generally, you might apply cream highlighter to your cheekbones, your brow bone, the bridge and tip of your nose and your cupid’s bow. You can also add it to the inner corners of your eyes to brighten them up. Then, use your fingertips or a blush to blend out the product.
The Best Cream Highlighters for Glowy Skin
For an ultra luxurious glow, opt for this primer-highlighter combo. It comes in two striking shades: an iridescent purple-pink and rose gold. Apply it under makeup for a full-face glow or stick to the high points of your face to catch the light.
If you are looking for a highlighter to enhance specific areas of your face (rather than an all-over glow), we recommend the NYX Professional Makeup Jumbo Multi-Use Highlighter Stick. The chubby crayon format allows for ultra-precise application, so it’s perfect for highlighting spots like the tip of your nose or the brow bone.
For a glowy option that will radiate against your skin wherever you place it, opt for this creamy liquid formula that comes in 11 shades. It has a buildable finish that can be tapped onto the cheekbones for a dewy flush or stippled onto the face with a brush for a shimmery, eye-catching look.
This drugstore stick is small enough to carry in your bag for touch-ups throughout the day and makes for a super easy and mess-free application. Simply apply it anywhere you want to illuminate, blend it out with your fingers and go.
Looking for a cream highlight that gives a subtle glow but can be worn with or without makeup? Try this liquid luminizer which comes in four flattering shades for fair, medium and deep skin tones.
This dual-ended stick is a must try if you’re looking to highlight and define your face with just one to two swipes. One side is a glossy, high-shine highlighter, while the other is a pigmented matte contour shade. It comes in eight hues that complement a variety of skin tones.
With tiny light-reflecting pearls, the YSL Beauty Nu Halo Tint Highlighter gives you a subtly pretty, natural-looking glow. Plus, the skin-loving formula is enriched with vitamin E antioxidants to defend against free radical damage.
Sculpt and highlight your face with this cream highlighter stick that can provide you subtle luminosity or a radiant, shimmery finish. It’s blendable, buildable, easy to use and made with lychee extract to hydrate and amp up your glow.
Use this cream highlighter balm to soften the look of dry skin or cakey makeup. It’s infused with jojoba oil and other hydrating ingredients to instantly illuminate your complexion, offering a glass skin finish. It’s available in five shades, ranging from translucent to a rich bronze.
For a creamy formula that blends seamlessly, opt for this highlighter option. It comes in five stunning hues: copper, rose gold, pink, pearl and champagne, and contains hydrating rose extract and squalane for a hydrated, fresh finish.
The MERIT Beauty Day Glow Highlighting Balm makes application a breeze. If your approach to makeup tends to be lower maintenance, you’ll love this highlighter stick. You can take the stick directly to your cheeks, then tap your fingertips to blend and you’ll have a natural-looking glow in minutes.
If you like the experiment with different makeup looks, opt for a palette like the RMS Beauty Luminizer X Quad. Looking for more of a bronzed sun-kissed look? Try the Luminizer Nude shade. Want a frosty finish? Champagne Fizz is the highlighter for you.
Depending on the shade you choose, Jones Road Beauty’s Miracle Balm combines highlighter, blush and bronzer into one multi-use, no-fuss face makeup product. Choose between a clear opalescent option, a warm radiant brown and more.
For a more fluid formula, check out the Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer. With a silky texture, this lightweight highlighter feels comfortable all day and won’t fade, crease or settle into fine lines.