8 of the best cream and liquid highlighters money can buy
By Briar Clark
BEAUTYcrew Content Producer / September 14 2021
When it comes to highlighter, illuminator and everything radiance-enhancing, we have a tendency to gravitate towards cream and liquid formulations.
Sure, powder highlighter is great when we want to blind the haters, but when it comes to creating an ethereal, otherworldly glow (if it doesn’t look like we’re naturally radiating our own personal form of bioluminescence then we don’t want it TBH) nothing beats a moisture-rich formula.
Here are eight stand-out cream and liquid formulations that’ll remind you just why you love highlighter so damn much.
PAT MCGRATH LABS Skin Fetish Highlighter & Balm Duo
Pat McGrath may have a reputation for creating some of the best runway makeup looks the world has ever seen, but this handy 2-in-1 highlighter duo is actually a favourite of celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips. Phillips used the radiance-enhancing formula in the shade ‘Golden’ to create luminous red carpet looks for both Hailey Bieber and Addison Rae at the 2021 Met Gala. Formulated with aloe, argan oil and hyaluronic acid, the highlighter imparts a natural dew that’s only further amplified by light-refracting pigments, while the balm adds a healthy sheen to skin where needed.
$79 at Sephora
RARE BEAUTY Positive Light Liquid Luminizer
An utterly weightless pick to be sure, Selena’s gone and done it again with this one. We’re talking an infusion of moisture and glow-boosting lotus, gardenia, and white waterlily and light-reflecting pearl particles that impart a radiant, dewy glow. Just in time for spring too? How convenient.
$38 at Sephora
Flavedo & Albedo High Glow
That strobe-level glow doesn’t have to come at the cost of compromised ethics with Flavedo & Albedo, who’re committed to a plastic-free kind of beauty. The pay off? An uber buttery-mousse texture that makes blending a dream thanks to a formula rich in natural hydrators and antioxidants, leaving skin with a hydrated, dewy radiance that lasts all day.
$44 at Flavedo & Albedo
Giorgio Armani Neo Nude A-Highlight
If you after that no-makeup makeup look then you can’t go past this water-based pick from Giorgio Armani, which effortlessly blends into skin for a watercolor finish. Plus, if you’re a bit wary of a liquid highlighter because of the mess you might cause, this pick promises a mistake-proof application every time. Don’t worry, you got this.
$69 at Adore Beauty
Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick
If glass skin could be packaged and sold, then we suspect it’d look a lot like the Westman Atelier Lit Up Highlight Stick. Think a sheeny glow that looks almost holographic in the right lighting – subtle but impactful. The fact that the formula also happens to be full of skin-loving, vegan-friendly ingredients that help to stimulate hyaluronic acid and collagen production is just an added bonus TBH.
$68 at MECCA
By Terry Brightening CC Serum
Beautiful on it’s own, under makeup or on top of the igh points of the face, this versatile, skin care-infused formula delivers a potent cocktail of complexion-perfecting ingredients. Optical glow technology creates a blurring, unifying effect on skin, while rose stem cells boost radiance and provide antioxidant protection.
$128 at MECCA
HOURGLASS Vanish™ Flash Highlighting Stick
Hourglass’ entire stick format range is to die for and their highlighting stick is no exception, delivering blendable, buttery wear with just a few swipes. Hollow microspheres are responsible for the weightless and effortless lustrous glow you’ll be touting post-application.
$60 at MECCA
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat
We can’t talk about liquid highlighters without chatting about the OG in the category – can the real Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat please stand up? The iconic gold pen is formulated to minimise the appearance of dark circles, fine lines and signs of fatigue, as well as imparting skin with a subtle, radiance-enhancing glow that adds the brightness back into any makeup look.
$72 at Adore Beauty
After a highlighter that won’t break the bank? These are the best drugstore highlighters under $30.
Main image credit: @rarebeauty
Briar is a Content Producer at BEAUTYcrew. She is a self-professed skin care obsessive, always on the hunt for the perfect mascara, and can't go past a plumping lipgloss.