My favorite thing about makeup has to be highlight. I’m definitely not alone in that – just look at Sephora’s sales of products like Becca Champagne Pop! However, I’m starting to see less appeal in powder highlights, & go straight to the cream/liquids when I’m shopping for a new highlight (not like I need more).
Here’s why I like liquids & creams more than powders at the moment: they move with your face, so you never look frozen or cakey, they fade more gracefully, & they can give you either a super subtle look by themselves – or a blinding glow if you layer a powder on top.
Basically, cream & liquid highlights are running my summer, & here are some of my favorite picks! I swatched all of these on a clean hand – & made sure to wipe off each highlight after swatching with a cotton pad soaked in micellar water, just so you can see how the highlight truly looks on my skin tone. For reference: I’m very fair, with cool/pink undertones.
Initially part of the limited edition Glossier Black Tie Holiday 2016 Set, Haloscope in Moonstone was made permanent in March of this year. I was super happy about this! It had been a shade I’d been eyeing…but I didn’t want to shell out $50 for the whole set just for one highlight. Now, you can get Moonstone as a single item – & it’s great.
This highlight works on all skin tones (check Glossier’s Instagram page for swatches of Moonstone on a variety of skin tones!) but it gives an opalescent, subtle, glazed effect. If you’re looking for a beam that’ll reach the sun, this probably isn’t it. It looks a bit underwhelming in the tube – it is white & rather transparent, & can be a bit dull once you’ve put it directly on your cheekbones. However, once the product goes onto your face, there’s absolutely no lack of glow! I love swiping it on when I’m on the go – it compliments my undertones really well, & I like the slight blue effect it gives off on my skin. This is one of those highlights that looks very different (yet very good!) on each individual skin tone. It remains one of my favorites in Glossier’s makeup collection.
One of the two original Haloscopes that dropped last summer! (The other was Topaz, a bronzy shade that works beautifully as a highlight on deeper skin tones, & as a bronzy glow on lighter skin tones). This one is still super easy for me to work with – I had some qualms, as “gold-y” tones don’t always work for my skin tone…but since this one is so sheer & dewy, it’s super easy to tap into my cheekbones, on my nose, & brow bone for a natural, healthy glow. I also love combining this either with NARS Albatross on top (for a super powerful, yellow-gold glow) or blending Quartz & Cloud Paint in Beam (my favorite Cloud Paint shade!)
Quartz has a slightly more concentrated, intense glow than Moonstone – it’s less sheer, more solid, if that makes sense. If you’re looking for something a bit more powerful than Moonstone, you’ll probably be best friends with Quartz.
Okay…I have to admit it. I got this mostly for the packaging (because it truly is gorgeous). If you’ve used a Touche Eclat pen before, you’ll already know how to work this: click the bottom, kind of like any run-of-the-mill pen, & product dispenses. I was kind of disappointed in how “orange” the product seemed to be, but once I blended it out, it just kind of turned into a golden shimmer with big flecks of gold glitter.
I wouldn’t call this…a highlight. I think that’s stretching it a little. However, if you’re a fan of glitter on your face (& I am! At times…) this could be a fun splurge to use over the summer. I’ve enjoyed combining it with other highlights, as well as using it on my lids. But if you’re looking for an actual summer highlight, I wouldn’t recommend this one as your one & only. It’s more glitter, less glow.
You know! The one that everyone was losing absolute shit over on social media last summer. I finally gave in & got Celestial, which seemed to suit my skin tone the best. I have to say – no one is exaggerating when they say this product gives an overwhelming, beaming effect. I used a pea-sized drop on the back of my hand, as you can see – & that would be more than enough to use on my cheekbones, browbones, nose, & chin – basically, with one drop, I’m all set. I do think the price point is worth it because of this. A little goes a very, very long way. I think this might be the only product that I’d say is…a little too intense by itself. I love love love mixing these babies in with the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint (in Light) or CLĒ Cosmetics CCC Cream (also in Light) – honestly, if I want to amp up any face product, I’ll put in a tiny bit of the Cover FX Drops – instant, radiant glow…but no sweaty effect. For those of you worried about highlights enhancing your pores: this is a great option for you. They’re so highly concentrated that they do not in any way enhance your pores/make your pores look larger. Never fear!
Basically, this is a super fun product, you can do a lot with it (eyes, lips, face – it’s safe for all those areas!) & really experiment. There’s some “crazier” shades on sale now, too – including Halo & Blossom, the brand’s latest two releases.
I know what you’re thinking: this isn’t a highlight! Technically, it’s not. But I like to think of it as a much cheaper version of RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer – it gives off that same holographic, peachy-glitter effect – for about a quarter of the price. Balm Dotcom is meant to be a multi-purpose salve for face & body, so it’s totally okay to use this on whichever part of your body you choose! I’ve used it on my lips, eyelids, & cheekbones so far – it’s the perfect combination of a face gloss & a highlight – less sticky than a gloss, more malleable than a highlight. I really, really love this product – & yes, I’m a bit biased, because I love birthday cake-scented (& flavored) things, & I love holographic things, but this truly is worth $12. If you want a salve, balm, eye gloss, & highlight, you can get it with the Glossier Birthday Balm Dotcom.
Hello!!!! This is Glossier Haloscope on steroids (same form of dispension, same general idea of application). I was first put on to this when I read an interview with Jazzelle Zanaughtti (@uglyworldwide on Instagram, genderqueer model, bald, bad as fk! & a huge fashion/attitude inspiration) & saw her mention that she used this. I’d already had it on my Sephora loves list for a while, so I decided to take the plunge & buy it in March. I was not let down! This is an amazing product – super concentrated, doesn’t take a lot to glow – but at the same time, it doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard. Even if I’m wearing no face makeup, it’s so easy to swipe a little bit of this on my cheekbones, lids, & browbones, brush on some brow gel, & run out the door. The shade is “Spotlight: universal glow” & I have to agree…I’ve seen so many people with so many different skin tones/undertones rock this highlight. It’s truly amazing – & a little goes a long way, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Well – that’s about it! I collect highlights like crazy, but it’s still hard for me to find ones that work well on my pale skin without giving a brown/dark cast to the tops of my cheekbones. None of these do that – but none of these will look bad on deeper skintones, either! In my opinion, these are all universally flattering. It’s up to you which one (or two, or three) you’ll pick to make your signature summer highlight.
Let me know in the comments which highlight you’ve been loving so far this summer, & why!