Best Highlighters (2020)

Whether you’re looking for a liquid, cream or powder highlighter, this editor-approved and -tested guide to the best highlighters available in 2020 will help you sift through the numerous highlighters on the market. In order to add some of the newcomers, old favorites were removed, but with such steep competition, I’ve also made it a point to ensure that there is greater variety in types of highlighters at different price points.

Every product recommended below has been tested and reviewed by me, your editor-in-chief, and I test thousands of products every year–so they’ve earned their way onto this list. To read more about a specific shade or view swatches, make sure to use the drop downs and buttons below, as we’ve tried to make this guide comprehensive and easy to use!

It’s supposed to have “superfine, light-catching pearls” that can be built up from “soft sheen to pure pop.” Per the description, it is intended to be used as a standalone highlighter–applied over liquid, powder, or cream–or mixed with foundation. It worked well on bare skin as well as over foundation, and it was mixable, though the style of applicator made it less readily mixed into foundation compared to a dropper. I had slight lifting issues with certain shades, but it was less prone to doing so overall. Read more…

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SephoraSephora

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The highlighters are supposed to be “smooth and pigmented” that “blend like a dream” and “last all day long.” The majority of the shades in the range are incredibly pigmented with a creaminess to the texture that makes them a cinch to apply and blend out on my skin. Read more…

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Sydney Grace

The formula is supposed to “blend effortlessly” with a “natural, skin-like finish” that can be layered or applied on bare skin. The brand recommends applyling directly from the tube for heavier coverage and using a brush to pick up product for less coverage, though the coverage “easily builds colour to your heart’s desire.” Read more…

The formula is supposed to apply “seamlessly” to skin and hydrate skin with a “weightless pearlescent base” that gives “next-level glow.” There’s no specific description about coverage, but the promotional swatches showed all shades as opaque. The formula is as smooth and as silky as described; it felt like a thinner, powdery cream than it felt like a true powder. Read more…

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It’s supposed to have a “chrome effect” that can be applied “lightly for a subtle glow” or built up for a “bold melted metal look.” The texture was soft, smooth, and blendable that was delightfully creamy to the touch, but it was still more loosely pressed (without being powdery), which made it particularly easy to apply with a slew of brushes. Read more…

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The formula is supposed to be a “super-soft powder” that “mimics skin’s natural texture for a slick, seamless finish that won’t settle in fine lines” while creating a “multidimensional glow” and “glass-like sheen.” The powder has a denser consistency with slight slip and creaminess, but it definitely feels like a powder. Read more…

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Sydney Grace

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The formula is supposed to have a “liquid to baked technology” that has “unparalleled pigment payoff” that can be used as a highlighter as well as an eyeshadow or as a blush topper.” It’s a very pigmented formula with a high-shine, metallic finish that will be most suitable for someone who wants an intense highlighter. Read more…

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It’s a new line of powder highlighters that are supposed to give the “face a multidimensional glow” with a “high concentration of shimmering pigments.” It’s an update on their previous Luminizers but with lighter-weight packaging (and no included brush, which wasn’t anything to write home about anyway!) and a lower price. Read more…

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The Extra Dimension Skinfinish formula is supposed to give “the perfect glow to the skin” with a “creamy powder formula” that wears for “10 hours.” It’s a powder highlighter that I’d describe as a moderate to intense highlighter, and they come in varying hues with some that might work as highlighting blushes/bronzers are on some skin tones and true highlighters on other skin tones. In general, the formula is very pigmented, blendable, and wears around eight to nine hours on me.

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The Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed formula is described as having an “ultra-reflective shine” with a “creamy” texture that “applies seamlessly.” In general, the texture of the highlighters is incredibly smooth, silky, and finely-milled with frosted to metallic finishes and the occasional more sparkly finish. Read more…

The formula is powder highlighter that’s supposed to have a “radiant finish” and is available in seven shades. The consistency was similar to a lot of other “gelee” highlighters: smooth, soft but more firmly pressed (where there was no powderiness but was still pigmented) with semi-opaque to opaque coverage and a frosted to a metallic finish. Some shades emphasized my skin’s natural texture slightly when worn heavily. This formula will be most suitable for someone who likes an intense, more metallic highlighter and warmer-toned shades.

The formula is supposed to be “long-wearing, highly pigmented” and have a “radiant finish.” They are semi-opaque to opaque typically with a denser, creamier consistency that doesn’t have any powderiness or dustiness to it. The powders apply well to bare skin, blended out easily, and tend to have a stronger, metallic sheen–definitely a more intense highlighter. They lasted between eight and nine hours on me.

Our Methodology

The way I approach my guides is by focusing permanent formulas that have stood the test of time–they are high quality, consistent, and all formulas that have performed well. Every shade is thoroughly tested and reviewed, and these are formulas where I’ve often tested every shade in the line of, so I really grasp each formula’s strengths and weaknesses!

More product guides: Best Blushes, Best Eyeshadow Palettes, Best Single Eyeshadows, Best Lipsticks, Best Lip Glosses, Best Blush Brushes, Best Eyeshadow Brushes, Best Highlighter Brushes, Best Makeup Products of 2019.

Top Rated Highlighters from 2020

Check out the current top 10 highest-rated highlighters (individual shades) reviewed by the editor in 2020–this list will update automatically! This list is focused on any and all highlighters reviewed during 2020, and it includes individual shades (rather than consistently high-performing formulas, like the first list) that are both a mix of limited edition and permanent.

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