Highlighter Reviews: Which Works Best?

Highlighter Reviews: Which Works Best?

For quite some time, I never really used much make-up other than the standard foundation, powder, eyeshadow and mascara. However, in the last few months I have developed a new obsession… highlighter. I love the way it adds a positive shine to my face, the way it glows in the sunlight and the way it adds a glitter to my face like nothing else.

I first started using highlighter when I received a small sample in one of my Birchbox subscription boxes. As someone with incredibly pale skin, I’ve become pretty picky with the colours I put on my skin because I am afraid of something looking ‘out of place’.

When choosing a highlighter, I prefer to go for lighter, silvery or light pink shades opposed to gold. Below I’m going to talk about the highlighters I have used over the last few months and give my overall rating for each of them.

All photos in this post were taken and edited by Becca Newbold.

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ModelCo Baked Blush - £24

Back in April 2018, I received a small sample of the ModelCo Baked Blush in the shade ‘frose’. I was delighted by this - the colours looked so beautiful, like raspberry ripple ice-cream. The sample lasted me a while but not as long as I’d hoped. I held off buying the full-size product, out of fear that I wouldn’t use it. However, after a couple of months of not using it I really began to miss it.

For Christmas, this item was wrapped up neatly and I was so happy when I opened it. I now own the full-size product. I love this one so much because it is soft, radiant and doesn’t look out of place on my skin. It has a light pink hue, which works as both a blush and a highlighter so I don’t look too pale. It lasts a long time, too.

I’d rate this highlighter/blush 9/10. The only reason it doesn’t get 10/10 is because sometimes it is quite easy to go over-board with it, which is usually something I don’t mind, but in this case I go too pink.

No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter - £10

I’ll be honest, I much prefer powder-based products on my cheeks because cream-based ones tend to go into a weird consistency on my skin. This highlighter is very pretty but when it mixes in with my foundation and powder, it can sometimes go clumpy. I’ve loved No.7 products for years - my foundation and pressed powder are from this brand and they used to do the most beautiful eyeliner in turquoise that I wore every single day. That eyeliner became my signature make-up, it’s how people remembered me.

I have tried using this highlighter by both directly applying the stick to my skin and using a beauty blender with tapping motions. Don’t get me wrong, for a good few hours this highlighter doesn’t look too bad however, by mid-afternoon it definitely looks like there are clumps left on my skin that I can’t seem to rub in properly.

I’d rate this highlighter 5/10, mainly because I find it difficult to apply smoothly and when in a rush (like most of us are at 7:30am), it’s not the easiest product to deal with.

Laura Geller Hi-Def Illuminator Duo - £26

During a day out in London, I was on the hunt for a highlighter that screamed ‘look at me, I’m glittery!’. I looked at loads of different brands and shades. My hands looked like I’d dipped them in glossy paint. There were so many highlighters that I loved the look of but none of them begged me to buy them. You know what it’s like… you’re looking for something specific but you just can’t pinpoint exactly what it is until you see it.

I was mooching around Debenhams when I spotted the Laura Geller counter. They had lots of different highlighters from singular powders, liquids and duos. When I spotted the Hi-Def Illuminator Duo in the shade ‘Bed Of Roses’, I just knew I had to try it. With two shades, I felt like I was onto a win. One of them is a beautiful rose-gold glitter. It was perfect.

The highlighter duo also comes in another shade called ‘Heart Of Gold’, which looks lovely too. However, perhaps slightly too gold/bronze for pale skin.

The idea with this duo is that you can wear one, or both of them. I tend to use the left shade first and then smooth the glitter over the top. It leaves an idyllic glow that lasts all day (although, I do use setting spray too).

At the moment, I’d rate this highlighter 9/10. It’s glitter heaven.

Iconic London Illuminator - £30

This is the most recent addition to my little highlighter family. It’s the liquid Iconic London Illuminator in the shade ‘Pink Pearl’. I decided to go for this colour because it looked like it would suit paler skin. The other shades include ‘Champagne Shimmer’, ‘Terracotta Bronze’ and ‘Peachy Rose Gold’. They all look amazing.

I was eager to try this highlighter as I had read and watched so many positive reviews of the product. It is a little pricey compared to other highlighters but it’s easy to work out why. It has a glow unlike no other, so if you’re not afraid to look like you have an intense glow brighter than the stars, this one is for you.

The product comes in a small droplet style container and you definitely don’t need much of it to see the magic happen. I tend to put two drops onto the back of my hand and then dab it on with a beauty blender. If I’m after a more intense glow, I layer it and blend it in but I do often find this difficult. This highlighter is by far the least subtle of them all. I also use this in the corners of my eyes, on my brow bone and my Cupid’s bow.

I’ve also used this before applying my foundation, which is the easiest way for me to wear it if I’m honest. It adds a pretty glow and an added bonus is the glitter left on my hands!

Currently, I’d rate this product 8/10. This is because although it is AMAZING, by the end of the day I don’t think it has the same effect. It looks slightly less glow-y and looks patted into my skin. However, it definitely still looks bright, just slightly less intense compared with first thing in the morning.

Natural Collection Highlighter Stick - £2.49

This highlighter is great if you’re on a budget. When I was first into highlighters, I didn’t have the money to spend on the ones I wanted. So, until the next payday came around the Natural Collection highlighter in ‘Rose Glow’ had to do. It wasn’t too bad, considering the price. I did have a couple of people comment on it, which was lovely!

However, it didn’t last as long as I needed it to sometimes. Despite this, I would recommend it to anyone that is on a budget because it works well enough that it’s noticed. It’s easy to apply as you just glide it across your cheek bones. It isn’t the typical kind of highlighter that I go for now as I prefer powder-based products. For these reasons, I’d rate this product 6.5/10.

CLĒ Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion - £22

I’ve mentioned Birchbox quite a lot and I truly believe it is one of the best subscriptions I’ve ever had. I pay £12.95 per month and get sent some products that I don’t use, but I also get some products that are now in my daily routine. One of those is the CLE Cosmetics Essence Moonlighter Cushion which is my go-to, every-day highlighter. What was so great about receiving this product is that I received a FULL SIZE version, which would usually cost £22 on its own. Receiving full products like this in my Birchbox makes my subscription so worth while.

Now onto the main things you need to know… this highlighter is really pretty. It comes with an interesting applicator puff, although I don’t tend to use this. I hate it when my highlighter looks like it’s just a straight line and I think using the applicator puff creates that effect. I tend to use a beauty blender, and I find this to work wonderfully. The product itself is a cushion highlight and I love this because I think it gives me more control over how much goes on my skin. It’s easily layered and works great on all those other areas of the face you want to highlight too.

I received this product in the shade ‘Apricot Tinge’ but it also comes in ‘Copper Rose’ and ‘Glinting Buff’.

I’d give this highlighter 10/10. It is by far my favourite highlighter that I own.


The highlighters I have tried are honestly all completely different to one another - which is why I love and use four out of five of them every single week. They’re all unique in their own way and have different uses depending on the look you’re after. I hope it’s given you some idea of good highlighters to try!

Love, Ali x

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