The 7 Best Affordable Highlighters for Serious Glow, According to Our Editors

September 28, 2021
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
The 7 Best Affordable Highlighters for Serious Glow

The past few years have seen the meteoric rise of the contouring craze, and it seems like everywhere you turn, there’s a new technique or product aimed at making you appear as chiseled as a Michelangelo sculpture. Luckily, thanks to the ever-changing Instagram beauty world, we’ve moved into a “dewy dumpling” and glass skin complexion phase, where highlighters thrive. Here, we rounded up our top highlighter picks to help you master the look, and you can find all of these affordable highlighters at your local drugstore. Plus, find out how to use them to get your skin glassy and reflective.

How to Choose a Highlighter

First things first, there are a lot of ways to highlight and a lot of different products to highlight with. There are powders, creams and sticks, all in an array of shades ranging from pinks and holographics to icy silvers and metallic golds. So, how do you pick the best one for your skin type and tone? Here, we gathered three  tips to help you find the perfect option.

Consider Your Skin Type

If your complexion is oily, you probably want to avoid cream and liquid formulas. Instead, get your radiance from a powder, which also helps absorb excess oil as it gives skin luminosity. On the other hand, if your skin is on the dry side, skip the powder shimmer. Instead, opt for a cream or liquid product, which gives dry skin a fresh, hydrated look. Stick formulas tend to have a creamy finish, so they will also work well for those with normal to dry skin.

Your Skin Tone Also Matters

You’ve probably noticed that highlighters come in a lot of different tones: pale champagne pinks, rich golds and coppers. So, how do you choose? If you’re fair, choose an illuminator in a cool, icy tone such as silver or pale pink. If you go too dark or golden, the product will look like bronzer on your skin, not highlighter. If your skin is medium, try peach or rose gold. And if you have deeper skin, choose a highlighter that’s deep gold, copper or bronze for major illumination.

And Don’t Forget About Your Foundation Texture

Do you wear powder foundation? Then you should stick to a powder highlighter. On the other hand, if you wear liquid or cream foundation, go with a creamy illuminator, too. Because you’ll be layering your highlighter on top of your base, you want the two to be compatible. If they aren’t, the two formulas will be tough to blend.

Affordable Powder Highlighters

NYX Professional Makeup High Glass Highlighter

A glass skin look is all the rage, which is why the masterminds at NYX came up with this sparkling powder. The finish of this formula is so fine that it actually gives off a reflective look when applied onto the face, making it a perfect option for those searching for a dewy glow.


Maybelline New Your Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

We love this product because it’s highly pigmented and comes in four shades that blend to flatter every skin tone.


affordable highlighters

Affordable Stick Highlighters

Maybelline New York Master Strobing Stick

If a blended, thick cream formula is more your style, a stick might become your new fave. Master Strobe is a secret weapon we always carry in our purse for this reason. Plus, it’s super user-friendly and easy to pull out for touch-ups in a flash.

affordable highlighters

Jason Wu Beauty Opal Highlighter Stick

Dewy highlight is only a swipe away with this Opal Highlighter Stick from Jason Wu Beauty. It gives off the softest glowy touch that can be applied on your cheekbones, brow bone, nose and Cupid’s bow.

affordable highlighters

Affordable Liquid and Jelly Highlighters

L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Amour Drops

Liquid highlighters can be your best friend when it comes to a daily strobing routine, but why limit yourself to just one look? For anyone who loves makeup versatility, True Match Lumi can be worn alone or mixed with foundation or skincare.

affordable highlighters

Lottie London Jelly Highlighter

For a fun highlight application, look no further than this jelly highlighter. Use this unique mousse-gel highlighter to create a wet-look glow that will seamlessly stay put for hours.

affordable highlighters

Pacifica Glow Jelly Dewy Radiance

If you want to add radiance to more than just the high points of your face, opt for this hydrating highlighter by Pacifica. It contains hemp seed oil and polysaccharides for an all-over glow that you can feel good about.

Visual Designer: Hannah Packer

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