Writer and expert /
It’s no lie that buying makeup can get expensive, especially when you’re the kind of gal or guy who likes to keep their finger on the pulse of what’s new. From cream contour kits to liquid lipsticks, there’s always a new must-have item in beauty land, meaning that we keep forking out that $$ — even when we shouldn’t be.
One cult item that we think is here to stay, though, is highlighter. As a dedicated glow-lover, finding the best highlighter in the biz is a lifetime goal, so I set out to round up those holy grail favourites to give you an idea of what’s worth the money. After a little searching, I discovered quite a few hits, and surprisingly, some of them came in way cheaper than expected.
So, whether you’ve got cash to splash, or champagne tastes on a boxed wine budget, keep reading to discover the best highlighter in your price range.
The fact that there are quality makeup items under $15 may be astounding to some, but thrifty babes have been dabbling in inexpensive makeup for years. It may take a little searching, but there are brands out there that somehow manage to expertly merge quality and affordability, resulting in an all-round amazing product that won’t break the bank.
Our pick for the best highlighter under $15 is the elf Cosmetics Baked Highlighter in Blush Gems. This highlighter boasts a champagne shade with small reflective particles, and is baked, meaning it originally began as a cream formula and has been dried out to take on a powder consistency. Apply it dry for soft radiance, or wet your brush to intensify the pigment and create a more iridescent look. This formula is also available in Pink Diamonds, which is a rosy blush shade.
If your budget permits slightly more of a splurge, you’re bound to find some gorgeous highlighters around the $30 mark. These will maintain the same quality you expect from your even bigger-ticket items, without the hefty price tag.
This pick is a cult-fave amongst beauty bloggers, so it’s no wonder it’s made our list as the best highlighter under $30. We’re talking about theBalm Manizers, and in particular, their Cindy Lou Manizer Rose Highlighter. A little different from the typical golden or champagne shades you’ll see everywhere, this highlighter is a pearlescent pink shade. It can be worn all over the cheeks as an illuminating blush, or even in the inner corner to accentuate the eyes.
Madinah says: “I love how pigmented this is! I wear it as a blush/highlight and get so many questions and compliments on what I’m wearing.” ★★★★★
With an even bigger spend limit, you’re opening your makeup bag up to a whole world of possibilities. We’re talking bigger pans, insane quality and killer reputations amongst your favourite beauty connoisseurs. Our choice under $50 won’t come as much of a surprise if you love your YouTube and Instagram beauty gurus.
The OFRA Beverly Hills Highlighter is a raved-about product, beloved by big names like Jaclyn Hill, Nikkie Tutorials, Dani Mansutti and more. It’s also incredibly versatile, giving you great bang for your buck. The pan is segmented out into five sections, each of which is a different shade. Swirl your brush around and apply to the cheeks, or grab a smaller brush and pick your fave hue to apply individually. OFRA also offer other beloved highlighters, including champagne shade Rodeo Drive.
Hey, big spender! You’ve taken the leap and perhaps set away some of your salary to purchase a new highlighter — TBH, we don’t blame you. If you’ve got the funds, sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to something you love, so if makeup’s that for you, why not?! For under $70, you’re sure to find a crazy-luminous shade that fits your exact specifications. You’ll also be investing in better quality packaging (i.e. less likely to smash if you drop it) and a bigger pan.
The holy grail highlighter of celebs and makeup artists, the BECCA Pressed Shimmering Skin Perfectors are radiant luxury at its best, hence why they deserve the title of best highlighter under $70. They’re ideal for creating that soft-focus look, reflect light with ease and are intensely pigmented but easy to sheer out, too. Go for Pearl or Moonstone for pale skin, Opal or Rose Gold if you’ve got a bit of a tan, or Topaz for deep complexions. Limited edition Gradient Glow blends them all!
Daniela says: “I’m so glad I purchased this highlighter…You only need a small amount and there is a lot of product, so it’ll last forever. Worth every penny!” ★★★★★
What’s your holy grail highlighter? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter!
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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