Top Highlighters

We’re approaching that time of year when we (we meaning beauty and style bloggers) start to gather up all of their favorite products of the year in anticipation of the ever-popular Yearly Favorites (for example, come Dec 31, YouTube will be rife with 2012 Favorites videos–they’re awesome!). I’m working on my list and will get set to film it soon, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you some of my favorite highlighters.

I’m a highlighter nut. It all started with my purchase of a then little-known company called Benefit’s highlighter called High Beam. At the time, Benefit was known for one thing: their universal lip/cheek stain Benetint. Once I picked up their High Beam cream highlighter, I was hooked. For every high school party and throughout college, I would carefully dab a few dots of the luminizing cream on each cheekbone and blend up into my temples. I loved looking like I glowed, and it helped distract from the requisite teenage breakouts I constantly had on my forehead and chin.

To this day I’m still obsessed with highlighters and looking “glowy“. Since I’ve tried a lot of them, I thought I would share with you my top highlighters of all time–but since I can’t choose one favorite, they will be in no particular order of preference.

Benefit High Beam

highbeamAs the name implies, and as I’ve already waxed poetically about above, Benefit does highlighters and does them well. Since the incarnation of High Beam and its subsequent popularity, they’ve also released Moon Beam (a golden shimmer) and Sun Beam (a bronze-y shimmer). But what I love most about High Beam is its subtlety but also its potency. A little bottle of this stuff will last ages. And you can add as much or as little as you want. Another thing I do with highlighters/luminizers is I add a few drops onto the back of my hand and then mix with a pump of my liquid or cream foundation for instant radiance. But more often than not, I apply this last, to the tops of my cheekbones and blended up into my temples for a subtle glow. If you’re darker skinned, Moon Beam will work equally as well for you. And if you’re looking for a tanned glow in the summer, try Sun Beam.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector


This is relatively new to me when you consider how long I’ve been “luminizing”. But I immediately fell in love with Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl. I tend to prefer cream highlighters over powder ones as they tend to give more of a sheen and run less risk of looking frosty. This one is so sheen-y and lovely, that you really need a spare hand with this. It also means that this ginormous bottle lasts you ages! It’s not cheap, by all means, but it is regularly touted by beauty experts as one of the best highlighters on the market, and it’s easy to see why. I use “Pearl” which is the white shade as I’m quite fair, but the great thing is these come in a nice range of colors to suit absolutely every skin tone.

Benefit Watts Up!

wattsupAnother fantastic product from Benefit (I swear, I don’t work for the company), I started using this highlighter this year. Now, admittedly, I was coming in to the store to return another Benefit luminizer called “Girl Meets Pearl“–I swear it didn’t even show up on me. So I took a chance and swapped it out with Watts Up!, and I’m so glad I did. Watts Up! is a shimmery champagne solid stick that is so easy to apply, you don’t even need to get your fingertips messy as it has a convenient sponge blender on the other end. The effect is very sheen-like and not at all artificial, frosty, or sparkly. Perfect for day or night. Plus the packaging is super cute–it looks like a little light bulb! Precious!

Diorskin Amber Diamond Shimmer Powder

amberdiamondAn absolute cult favorite, so popular in fact that when rumors spread recently that Dior was going to discontinue this line of highlighters (there’s also a Rose Diamond), public outcry was so intense and it started flying off the shelves at an incredible rate, the Dior folks (rather astutely) chose to keep it in the lineup. Amber Diamond is, simply put, gorgeous. I’ve tried both shades and although I do feel Rose Diamond was a better fit for my pale skin tone, I absolutely love using this highlighter in the summer months as it gives more of a bronze-y glow that allows me to skip bronzer & blush. You can use each shade individually as eyeshadows, or swirl it all together. And it’s the exact opposite of frosty–all sheen, luminous, and doesn’t accentuate pores.

I’ve also included a couple more highlighters in my YouTube video which I filmed for my channel subscribers, so feel free to check that out if you’re interested!

  • Rach

    Thanks for the review! I’m always thinking I should buy a highlighter!

    xo Rach

    Enter the Alex and Ani Giveaway!

  • Rachel

    I love Benefit products, I’ll have to give those a try!

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  • Jessica

    My sister and I just went through my “old makeup” box last weekend and re-discovered Benefit’s High Beam! I quickly grabbed it to put in my current makeup bag. What funny timing that you write a blog about it the same week :)

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  • followmarlaslife

    Benefit Watts up! is one of the most beautiful highlighters I have tried. It makes your cheeks have the most beautiful glow. I am addicted to that stuff.

    • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

      It’s like candlelight in a tube!

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  • disqus_Xxv7d9X3SL

    I have Benefit’s High Beam and must confess it’s one of my go-to highlighters. However, I now have the worst need to get my hands on that wonderful, glittery highlighty confection that is Dior’s Amber Diamond Shimmer powder.

    • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

      You will be addicted. I’m here if you need enabling. ;-)

  • Lynette Marie

    The only highlighter I own is Benefit’s High Beam. I like it, but I guess I can’t find a reason to own too many highlighters. Maybe I’m just not picky, but it seems that pretty much any satin or semi-shimmery eye shadow will work for me!

    • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

      I completely agree! I’m just obsessed. ;-) I in no way condone any of my readers having 10 highlighters in their collection!!

  • Rola’s FOY

    Becca Skin Perfector is my favorite liquid highlighter. I would love to try the Dior shimmer powder.

    • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

      Isn’t becca just the best?? Love them both equally!

  • Lloyd & Wolf

    i’m big on bronzer but have yet to purchase a highlighter. great post!

    • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

      Getcha some! Life changer. (Well okay, not really, but it’s just pretty.)

  • Meg O.

    Well, now I need to get that Dior stuff! Love High Beam and Watt’s Up.

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  • whitney

    i love all the make up you have on here… i must go shoppning now!

  • Gwen

    Heading out to buy Watts Up AND the beautiful Dior….my name is Gwen and I am addicted…..

    • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

      Welcome, Gwen! *wink*

  • Sunshineinala

    First of all love your blog. Secondly I wanted to ask what type foundation you use? Powder or liquid? I’m a nurse, so waking up at 5 am to get to work leaves very little time to look fabulous! I currently use Pur Minerals but have used Benefit and Lorac powder foundations in the past. I will mention that my skin is ruddy and I’m always told I look like I have a sunburn. I use Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Adjust for that. Any suggestions?

    • Pretty Shiny Sparkly™

      Oh thank you so much! Girl, I use so many foundations it’s ridiculous – I’m completely promiscuous with them! Since you’re a nurse, I recommend Revlon Colorstay 24 hour – it’s actually a REALLY good foundation and lasts FOREVER. Also, NARS sheer glow is full coverage and gives a flawless finish..just may not last a 12 hour shift looking like it did when you applied it, but the wear is pretty darn good.

      • Sunshineinala

        Thank you! I’ll try both. It seems to be hit or miss with drug store brands, finding that perfect shade.

  • Veronika Kostrouchova

    I have always been afraid to put it on my nose as not to have it look too shiny. But as for the cheeks, my go-to is the MAC powder :)

  • Sthephany

    Have you tried the Smashbox Soft Lights? It’s my favourite highlighter apart from benefit High Beam xx

  • Dawn

    I love the Christian Dior Shimmer Powder, perfect eye-makeup for a great date night. Thanks for the beauty tip, I posted it to my own virtual collections:

    All the best!Dawn, a.k.a. “Chocolate Fox”

  • Satyaveda5

    You can get a natural complexion enhancer, available in 3 different gorgeous colors, and they are from Glam Girl Naturals. Very great because they are natural, wont clog your pores or cause acne, and they are well-priced at $16. 

  • Claire bear

    I have always adored High Beam, and have a bit of a Benefit obsession. Am so tempted to try Watts up,
    I have very pale skin, so, my question to you
    Is it a No – No for fair skin, or can I get away with it ?!