High-End Highlighter Collection | Review & Swatches

High-End Highlighter Collection | Review & Swatches

It’s clear I have an unhealthy obsession with highlighters. The swoon-inducing products whether powder, cream or liquid, are undoubtedly the essential finishing touch to my daily makeup routine, adding a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to my favourite features; underneath the arch of my brow, the inner corner of my eyes, the high points of my cheeks and my cupids bow. So today I'm sharing all my high-end glow-givers (which of course were all necessary purchases). Highlighter addicts, take note...


If you live in fear of looking like you fell face first into a tub of glitter when using highlighter you'll love Laura Mercier's baked highlight in '01'. It's described as a 'golden nude' and is the perfect middle-of-the-road hue that's not too gold, white, or bronze. The universal shade imparts the most beautiful lit-from-within healthy glow without running the risk of looking sparkly. The formulation is buildable and ultra-smooth, so much so that when it's applied to the skin it’s undetectable and leaves my skin smoother in appearance. A great option if you have oily skin, or walking down the wedding aisle anytime soon. It's my go-to and one of the only high-highlighters I've repurchased. It's just that good.

Anastasia Beverly Hills 'So Hollywood' Illuminator is perfect for darker complexions and one of my favourites for a glam makeup look. The embossed powder highlight is a light-medium yellow-gold with warm undertones and has an intense metallic finish. 'So Hollywood' is highly pigmented (be warned, it's easy to over apply) and whilst it can be blended out for a less intense finish, it imparts a gorgeous high-shine without the sparkle. The powder is finely milled with a creamy, smooth and soft texture which doesn't emphasize my pores. It's no wonder this shade was a constant sell-out on its release.

Purchased by my boyfriend Benjamin when he was in Vegas (he's a good egg), the Laura Mercier Face Illuminator in 'Devotion' is a cool, light rosy pink with a luminous sheen, similar to BECCA's Shimmering Skin Perfector in 'Rose Quartz'. It's slightly dry to touch in the pan, but this doesn't translate onto the skin and is buildable and blendable. The product itself is far too pretty to touch, appearing in the pan like a ruffled, satin bedsheet. And for that reason, I shamefully don't reach for it often.

Illamasqua’s Beyond Highlight in ‘OMG’ is not for the faint hearted. The domed baked highlighter makes my cheekbones go pow, delivering a polished champagne glow. The formulation is ultra-fine and well worth the extra pounds. It can be sheered out, or loaded on and can also be used wet if you're feeling really bold! It's not for the faint hearted, but for those who love a high-shine highlight.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in 'Nectar' £35.00
The Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in 'Nectar' is a multitasker - and ya'll know I love that. The ombré highlight features five shades ranging from a warm cream, to a vibrant pink/peach all with a golden undertone, which can be worn alone on the eyes as eyeshadow, or worn together on the cheeks as a rose gold blusher/come highlighter. I find swirling the shades together works best, as together they have just the right amount of colour, shimmer and sheen. It can be applied with a light hand, or layered for a more intense look. This shimmer brick works best as a luminous blush on my complexion, but if you love coral tones, you'll love this. 

MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in 'Double-Gleam' £24.50
Left unsupervised in duty free on my way to Dublin it didn't take me long to gravitate towards the MAC counter and I would of been breaking the law if I left empty handed, right? So when the MAC MUA recommend I purchased one of the new MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinishes I obliged (of course). I opted for 'Double-Gleam', it was a no–brainer. It's a seriously beautiful 'beige that breaks silver'. The light gold highlight has subtle warm yellow undertones which when applied imparts a ridiculously luminous finish that shines without an ounce of sparkle. It is richly pigmented, but can easily be sheered out and has a soft, smooth and blendable consistency. TBH, I'm having a hard time finding any downsides.

‘Champagne Pop’ is the highlighter of 2015 that broke Sephora’s record for the most purchased product on the day of release. And believe the hype, ‘Champagne Pop’ is a unique light-medium gold, with a warm orange undertone. OTT on first impression, this highlight from BECCA is not for those who like a subtle highlight. Soft and smooth in consistency and a little bouncy in the compact ‘Champagne Pop’ can be blended out for a less intense finish opposed to a strong sheen. I prefer to use a fan brush for application, as it can emphasize pores when applied with a heavy hand or a dense brush.

Inspired by the colours of a Telluride sunset (a Colorado town and Bobbi Brown’s favoured holiday destination) the embossed limited edition highlighter is a beautiful rosy copper. ‘Afternoon Glow’ has a slightly metallic, almost wet-look finish. It’s super smooth, blendable and doesn’t accentuate pores. And whilst no longer available, the shade is reminiscent of Bobbi Brown’s best-selling Pink Quartz Shimmer Brick.

The nostalgic highlight; MAC Soft & Gentle Mineralize Skinfinish has been a favourite amongst bloggers for years. The peach bronze highlight has a sparkling, metallic finish and is soft and dusty in texture. Due to its dusty texture the baked highlight is prone to sheering out and therefore doesn’t last as long on the skin as other highlighters in my collection. Nevertheless, this highlighter is a classic. If you’re a die-hard MAC junkie I presume you already have your mitts on this, if not, it’s without a doubt one to try.

Whilst inspired by their bestselling eyeshadow in ‘Sin’, Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter in 'Sin' is not to be compared as it’s far from pink. ‘Sin’ is a light golden champagne and the people pleasing shade, is not too flat, or too flashy and has a frosted slightly metallic finish. The highlighter from Urban Decay is soft, smooth and blendable. Unfortunately I find it does on occasion empathise any uneven skin texture, so for that reason isn’t a highlighter I reach for often.

Liquid & Creams

The icy-pink light reflecting liquid from NARS is great for fair complexions. Housed in a squeezy tube, the product is icy-pink and has reflective finish without looking too harsh. The multi-purpose illuminator can be applied directly onto the cheekbones, mixed with foundation (just a drop or two will do!) and can be used to highlight the collarbone. The formulation is super silky to touch and concentrated, so use sparingly. There is a slight hint of micro fine shimmer, but this doesn't translate onto the skin. Don't be fooled by its pink exterior!

Dramatic on paler complexions and great for golden, olive toned complexions Benefit Watts Up! (absolute pun gold) is a soft focus champagne that leaves a glowy sheen on the skin. The cream-to-powder highlighter isn't heavy, cakey, nor thick or greasy and doesn’t settle into pores. Whilst it comes in a handy stick, the sponge that’s included is pretty pointless. With cream highlighters, your fingers are your best friends for application. The warmth from my fingers helps melt the product into my skin and if you'd rather not use your fingers, a beauty blender works well too. Easy peasy.

‘Hush’ is a lovely peach-beige cream highlight. The cream colour base from MAC is gorgeous worn alone and works well layered with other products such as MAC’s Soft & Gentle Mineralize Skinfinish, helping intensify colour payoff and longevity. The lightweight cream is ever-so-sheer and blends so subtly into the skin, delivering a natural dewy finish. The multi-purpose product can also be used on the eyes, lids and cheeks. Its only drawback is its lasting power and if you have an oily complexion I'd recommend skipping this one. But when I do dabble in cream highlight, ‘Hush’ is my top pick.

The Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops broke the internet and my heart when they sold out EVERYWHERE. I consequently freaked out, but it was clear why they were flying off the shelves. They're beautiful AF. The shade 'Moonlight' is a pale rose champagne with a high metallic sheen and a very fine shimmer that creates a luminous almost wet appearance on the skin. It's crazy pigmented (a.k.a not-so-subtle), but the liquid consistency makes the product easy to sheer out and blend, but once it's set it doesn't budge, so blend like a bad-ass.

The Sculpting Highlight by Clinique is essentially a pearly pink, fat illuminating creamy crayon. It's oh-so-easy to apply. The stick allows me to apply the highlight exactly where I want. I just swipe a line above my contour and tap it in using my fingertips. It's finish is natural and very subtle without glitter and sparkle. It can disrupt my base if I get a little stick happy. But the portable stick packaging is an easy one to throw into my bag for on the go so I can reapply. And it ain't too bad on the eyelids either - especially when I don't get enough sleep!


ABH Glow Kit in ‘Gleam’ is an absolutely gorgeous quad of pearlescent highlighters. The cool toned, wintery highlighters are soft, apply beautifully are long lasting and easy to blend. They’re far softer and silkier than the ABH illuminators and can be layered together or worn separately. The shades vary from a light champagne to a dark copper and are great for fair to medium skin tones. ‘Hard Candy’ is a light yellowed peach with an iridescent, frosted finish. The shade is very similar to Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Highlighter in 'Fireball'. ‘Mimosa’ is a gold-shimmered brown and is the most metallic shade in the kit. ‘Starburst’ is a peachy-pink with a metallic finish and is intensely pigmented. ‘Crushed Pearl’ is a light champagne with golden undertones and isn’t as smooth as the other three shades.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze & Glow is a classic compact duo featuring a bronzer and highlight. Both powders are soft and finely milled and the highlight shade ‘Glow’ is a pale champagne beige that initially looks a little frosty on the skin, but blends out to luminous finish with an ultra-fine shimmer. It's as pretty as its posh packaging. A standout option if you’re after a soft candlelit glow.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit in 'Ultimate Glow' £44.00
I wish I loved this palette from ABH, but it just doesn't tick all the boxes in terms of pigmentation, texture and application. That's not to say this palette doesn't work well, it's just not my cuppa tea. But if you like a shimmery, sparkly gold highlights then you won't be disappointed. 'Snow' is the only exception and is a stunning pearly white with an equally pleasing formulation. It's near enough opaque, with a soft, smooth creamy consistency that wears well without emphasising my pores. It's a pity it's not sold separately, or removable from the palette.

Have you tried any of these highlighters? What's your favourite high-end highlighter? 
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