The best drugstore highlighters under $30
Our favourite drugstore highlighters, reviewed
Beauty Crew Contributing Editor / November 11 2019
It’s hard to beat glowing skin. And while we would love to glow au naturel, some days we all need a little help. Good thing there’s no shortage of highlighters that impart the perfect amount of radiance with a single swipe.
With a little sweep along the high points of your face - cheekbones, brow bone, temples, the bridge of your nose and even your Cupid’s bow - highlighter helps brighten and lift your complexion, and accentuate your features.
For glowing skin that looks like a million bucks, but costs less than $30, we asked our Beauty Crew team and SUPERcrew members to share the best drugstore highlighter in Australia they’ve ever used. These are their top affordable picks.
#7 / NYX Professional Makeup Away We Glow Liquid Highlighter
This liquid highlighter has a shimmery finish and light-reflecting formula that gives the high points of your face an illuminated glow. What’s unique about this drugstore highlighter is the doe-foot applicator - it’s similar to the type of wand you’d find in a lip gloss. You simply swipe or dab the sponge tip along your cheeks and wherever you want to highlight, then blend it in with your fingers or a makeup sponge. It won’t settle in your pores or fine lines, which is why we rate is as one of the best drugstore highlighter buys for mature skin. If you want a more intense glow, pop on another layer. It comes in six shades, ranging from an ethereal white opal shade to a bronzed gold pearl for dark skin tones.
The review: “I love the little brush and container this comes in - great for slipping into my bag on a night out. It comes in different shades, has a creamy yet lightweight texture and is non-cakey. It's great for a shimmery effect!” Georgia, SUPERcrew member
For tips on how to apply liquid highlighter, check out our step-by-step guide.
#6 / Nude by Nature Touch Of Glow Highlighter Stick
If a cream highlighter is your thing, give this one a try. The pearlescent formula has a fine glittery finish that imparts a soft radiance that looks healthy rather than OTT. It’s packed with lots of skin-loving ingredients like Kakadu plum, quandong and desert lime which means it nourishes and melts into skin and doesn’t mess with your foundation. It’s a great travel-friendly highlighter, too.
The review: “I love this highlighting stick for an everyday look when I want to boost my skin’s glow but still want my highlighter to look natural. It complements liquid foundations really well (which are my go-to) and I find it easy to blend and it never goes patchy. I have it in all three shades!” Chelsea Tromans, Beauty Crew’s Contributing Editor
#5 / Flower Glow Getter Liquid Illuminizer
Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty brand has already proven to be a huge hit since launching here in Australia in December 2018 and we can’t get enough of this cheap liquid highlighter. It delivers such a beautiful lit-from-within glow that it’s hard not to apply it *all* over your face. The water-based formula makes it great for oily skin types as well as dry skin, and it feels weightless and non-greasy once applied so we especially love it in summer.
The review: “I love this fabulously priced highlighting illuminator. I love to mix it up with my foundation or BB cream, then apply it to all my skin to get a lovely, flawless complexion, every single day. So light and gorgeous, it really makes you look radiant.” Ariane, SUPERcrew member
#4 / Revlon Sculpt and Highlight Contour Kit
You’re not just getting a stellar highlighting powder with this budget buy; you’re getting a banana powder to conceal, a bronzer to warm up the complexion, and a contouring powder to add definition. Created with beauty blogger Chloe Morello, this palette comes in a Light/Medium and Medium/Dark version. The powders are finely milled and are easy to blend into skin for a natural-looking finish. The highlighting powder has a subtle shimmer to it, so you can gently accentuate your features without feeling like a disco ball.
The review: “Whilst the price tag of $24.95 doesn’t seem like a massive bargain, you actually get four incredibly silky powders in this palette which you can use to illuminate your eyelids and cheekbones.” Iantha Yu, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Editor
#3 / LUMA Illuminating Highlighter
Australian beauty brand LUMA has managed to bottle that elusive dewy radiant glow into these pots of cream highlighter. The pearlescent formula is buildable and effortless to use for face and body highlighting for a healthy-looking glow. Enriched with coconut oil, beeswax and jojoba, it nourishes your skin and always goes on evenly.
The review: “I love using this creamy highlighter on my cheekbones, brow bone and Cupid’s bow, because it gives my skin the most perfect natural glow. It’s my go-to for those days when foundation is just too much effort.” Erin Docherty, Beauty Crew’s Beauty Writer
#2 / Flower Shimmer & Strobe Highlighting Palette
If you’re after a glitter-free highlight with a soft metallic-like sheen, the three shades in this affordable palette are made for you. There’s a bronzer, blush and golden highlight shade, although they all work beautifully on the high points of your face to boost your skin’s glow. Currently boasting a 4.9-star rating on Chemist Warehouse (it’s also their bestselling highlighter!), this one gets the tick of approval for pale skin and medium skin tones and is loved for its buttery soft texture and all-day longevity.
The review: “For $10, I had quite low expectations but was pleasantly surprised to discover just how pigmented each shade of this highlighting palette is. You really don’t need much to create a radiant glow – so my advice is to go slow and build up the luminosity. I like to use a loose powder brush for a more natural finish, and quite like blending the shades together.” Carli Alman, Beauty Crew’s Editor
#1 / Maybelline New York Master Chrome
This powder highlighter really impressed our Review Crew®, who awarded it 4.5 stars. While this highlighting powder does deliver a seriously intense pigment when layered, you can also apply just a light sweep with a fluffy fan brush for a natural glowing effect. Instead of a glittery finish, it contains reflective pearl pigments that glisten under light. The shades are warm, so you get a flattering sun-kissed vibe no matter which colour you pick.
The reviews: “It seems to melt into my skin, giving me a natural glow without being obvious. The staying power is great but is easy to remove and doesn’t leave shimmer everywhere.” Anne, SUPERcrew member
“Maybelline Master Chrome in Rose Gold is a gorgeous formula that gives an out-of-this-world glow without the annoying glitter. You can go in with a light hand to get a natural lit-from-within look and layer it up to get a blinding flash. It has a soft, buttery formula that lasts all day.” Kylie, SUPERcrew member
If you prefer a matte complexion over a glowing one, check out these foundations for oily skin.
What’s your favourite drugstore highlighter in Australia? We’d love to hear what your favourite brands are below.
Main image credit: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.