The Best Highlighters in Canada

For makeup lovers, highlighter is maybe the most important part to give that glow, besides having fresh and moisturized skin. The intensity and finish vary according to the consumer taste, being more or less shiny and perceptible – but the fact is a high-quality highlighter lift any makeup and even our mood.

For this guide, we separated drugstore and high-end brands to better fit from those who prefer subtle effects or brightest ones. Is that makeup essential for daily use? No. However, highlight is absolutely a must-have even if you prefer a matte finish! The secret is finding the right product, as we can see plenty of options for each preference to highlight the cheek bones, nose bridge, cupid’s bow, brow bone, center of eyelids, and chin. 

Our top picks

What to look for in a highlighter

Colour: Pink, bronze, white, pearl, nude… There is a sea of colours on the market to choose the best highlighter for your skin tone, undertone, and taste. 

Intensity: From liquid to powder, the shininess varies according to each highlighter. Stick and liquid highlighters tend to be more subtle, while powder is often brighter and flashy.  

Texture: Dry or wet? The dry finish is possible to get using powder or compact highlights while the wet finish is easy, depending on the formula, using the liquid, gel, spray or stick version. Is important to highlight that light (liquid and creamy) formulas don’t enhance pores or wrinkles like powdered ones.  

Particles: Many people love to see glitter particles, but some others prefer the healthy and glowy look without the shimmer effect. Themore glitter particles, the more artificial the effect.   

Quantity: Highlighter can last a lifetime since you use it just a little bit in some specific areas on your face. For that reason, many people prefer to buy a mini size one as they are more affordable, compact, and easy to carry. The size varies from 4g to more than 11g. If your idea is mixing the highlight in the foundation, it’s better to look for a bigger one. 

Skin type: As the highlighter goes in strategic areas of the face, the consistency (liquid, stick, powder) doesn’t make your skin oily. If the objective is mixing the highlighter in foundation, it is better to look for an oil-free one. 

Buildable and Blendable: To purchase a versatile highlighter, is always important to look if the product is buildable and blendable. Can you smoke it out without affecting the makeup quality? Can you add layers of highlighter without looking cakey? 

The best highlighter palettes & sets

Dior Backstage Glow face palette

With two options to better fit your taste and skin tone, this Dior highlighter palette can be the best friend from a party to a trip or work time. It’s versatile; in one product you hav eyeshadow, highlighter, contour, and blush.  

Buildable, the powder formula has a smooth touch and a sophisticated shimmer, with or without sparkle particles depending on the shade you choose. When you use this set is possible to get many compliments, since the makeup looks natural, but professional with a soft but striking glow at the same time. 

Designed to suit all skin tones and undertones, this palette is used at the Dior runway shows and has an ultrafine texture concentrated with shimmery pigments that can be worn alone or blended together, for a customizable look for all ages. Light, the formula doesn’t emphasize pores or wrinkles and is suitable for oily to dry skin.  

Pros
  • Multiuse. 
  • Blendable. 
  • Buildable. 
  • Professional finish. 
  • Sophisticated glow.  
Cons
  • Colours aren’t highly pigmented.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kit

A must-have for makeup lovers, the Anastasia Glow Kit is all-in-one, containing 4 shades of highlighting powder, from warm bronze to intense luminosity to highlight eyes, cheeks, lips, also being a great option to use on the body to highlight the clavicle and shoulders, giving a healthy, elegant, and professional aspect on your look. To fit all skin tones and undertones, the buyer has 2 palettes to decide between: Sun Dipper and Sugar. 

Vegan and cruelty-free, the highlighter has a neutral shade range, and is easy to customize when necessary, having removable magnetic-backed pans. Ideal for makeup professionals, the highlighter shimmer lasts all day, is buildable, and has good and long-lasting coverage. 

Intense, this highlighter does not go unnoticed and gives the skin the mirrored aspect, fresh and shiny. Although the formula can enhance skin texture, as the product is powerful you don’t need to add much to shine – avoiding this concern.

Pros
  • Long last. 
  • 4 shades. 
  • Shiny. 
  • Face and body. 
Cons
  • Fragile.  

Natasha Denona Bloom Cheek palette

Perfect for all skin types and tones, this palette contains a range of exquisite formulas and four different textures. This hydrating, velvety cream blush is designed to give your skin a healthy flush of colour and can also be used as lipstick, while the glow cream base is a hydrating, luminous cream highlighter with real crushed mineral pearls, creating that wet look and soft glow.  

The duo-chrome highlighting powder is more intense and gives that multidimensional, sparkling, aspect ideal when you look for a dramatic finish. The creamy powder formula gives a soft-focus, HD finish and a velvety-smooth texture that doesn’t emphasize pores or wrinkles, and is easy to blend or mix with other colours.  

Versatile and easy to use, that is a palette ideal for trips when you don’t have enough space on luggage and need to bring strategic products. This will highlight your beauty colouring cheeks, eyelids, cheekbones, lips, in a quick way. 

Pros
  • Versatile. 
  • Buildable.
  • Blendable. 
  • Multiuse. 
  • Wet or sparkling finish. 
Cons
  • Pricey. 

The best drugstore highlighters

Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

This is a well known highlighter from the drugstore, reviewed by many digital influencers and makeup professionals on YouTube. If you search online, you will probably find many videos regarding this Maybelline highlighter with a metallic finish look. 

Affordable, the Maybelline highlighter is infused with reflective pigments that give a bold glow with sparkle particles but not emphasizing the pores and skin texture at the same time. You also can build it up, applying the product according to your taste without getting a cakey look. Soft, the powder formula allows for seamless application, which gives a smooth, and radiant look at the same time. 

Pros
  • Reflective pigments. 
  • Don’t emphasize the skin texture. 
  • Buildable. 
Cons
  • Fragile. 

Milani Baked Highlighter

With four different colour to perfectly match all tones and undertones, this Milani highlighter is made with multi-tonal, micro-fine luminescent powders, and a velvety-soft formula that blends and builds seamlessly, so you can build up the finish and go from a natural glow to high-impact. 

Cruelty-free, the product is formulated without any oils to help keep breakouts at bay, avoiding all the bad attention to pores, wrinkles and skin texture. Is ideal to use on nose, cheekbones, brow bone, cupids bow – even your body if you want to. Ideal for oily to skin types. 

Pros
  • All skin types. 
  • Natural glow. 
  • Cruelty-free. 
  • Oil-free.  
Cons
  • Too soft highlight effect. 

Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter

 The Physicians Formula highlighter has cream-to-powder formula, bringing a radiant glow with a natural finish. Easy to blend, the highlighter features refined pearls & soft-focus pigments that smooth and brighten skin tone. If you are looking for a different effect, with a purple/pink tint, this is your match. But it’s not ideal if you’re looking for a sun kissed or classic pearly look.  

The formula, besides being ideal for sensitive skin, is hypoallergenic and created without any of the 150+ known harsh ingredients found in other personal care items as well. For makeup addicts concerned about longevity, this highlight doesn’t get cakey and lasts all day.  

The highlighter has anti-aging peptides and skin-conditioning ingredients offer hydration and light-diffusing particles, making it the best highlighter for mature people.  

Pros
  • Creamy formula. 
  • Anti-aging ingredients. 
  • Hypoallergenic. 
  • Glow effect. 
Cons
  • Too fragile. 

E.L.F. Jelly Highlighter

Ideal for oily skin, this jelly highlighter is 100% cruelty-free, vegan, and gives that reflective finish perfect for those who prefer to avoid sparkles. Super easy to apply and blend, it’s also a good-sized highlighter to carry inside a bag to go anywhere and retouch when necessary.  

The three shades (bubbly, cloud, dew) were thought to fit well to any skin tone and undertone. You just need to choose which one would be the perfect match for your taste. Smooth, and jelly textured, the product is bendable and buildable. 

 The E.L.F highlighter has a versatile formula that allows the person to use it alone, over makeup, or mixed into foundation to get that glow “which comes from inside”. It also applies wet and dries to a long-wearing glowy finish. However, if you have dry skin it can emphasize pores and wrinkles.  

Pros
  • Wet Finish. 
  • Long-lasting.  
  • Cruelty-free. 
  • 3 shades. 
  • Glow effect. 
Cons
  • Emphasizes lines and wrinkles. 

Best stick highlighter

Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! Soft Focus Cream Highlighter

If you are looking for a wet finish, this will perfectly fit your needs. Easy to use and bring everywhere, you can apply with a beauty sponge or fingers on top of your nose bridge, cheekbone, eyebrows, chin, and all the places you want to. 

Without the glittery aspect, this Benefit Cosmetics Champagne highlighter is subtle and an ideal option for daily routine and to do clean makeup to go work, less intense, but classy at the same time. This product gives a fresh look and it’s a usable option from fair to deep skin tones. The favourite of many digital influencers, the Benefit Watt’s Up creamy highlighter glides on smoothly and blends easily, being perfect to retouch when necessary.  

Pros
  • Wet look. 
  • No particles. 
  • Easy to blend. 
  • Perfect for all skin tones.  
Cons
  • Pricey. 

L’Oreal Paris Infallible highlight

From the supermarket to drugstores, this is an easy product to find. Besides being affordable, this L’Oréal highlighter gives that wet finish and natural long-lasting glow – up to 24 hours. A dream when you can’t retouch the makeup during the day. The right amount of shimmer. 

The formula is never cakey or draggy, so you can make it more or less shiny according to your taste or necessity for each occasion. To use it you only need to apply the product at high points of the face and lightly blend with fingers or a makeup sponge for a natural finish, don’t accentuate pores or wrinkles. 

Portable and small, the L’Oréal highlighter is easy to bring anywhere – even inside a pocket if you won’t carry a bag, to deliver the right amount of glow any time. With two different colours (rose and cold), the Infallible highlighter match from fair to deep skin tones; so, you only need to choose the best colour before the purchase.  

Pros
  • Affordable. 
  • Blendable. 
  • Buildable. 
  • Wet look. 
  • 2 colours. 
Cons
  • According to some customers you need to retouch after a few hours. 

Maybelline New York Facestudio Master Strobing stick

Is it possible to find something good quality for less than $11 dollars? Yes. If you are looking for a glittery finish, this creamy Maybelline highlighter is a good match. Easy to blend with fingers or a beauty sponge, this lightweight product gives dimension, a healthy and glowy look, and a powerful metallic and shiny finish. It’s possible to see glitter particles. 

In two versions, light and medium, the Maybelline New York Studio is versatile and can fit from fair to deep skin tones or undertones, and for those who prefer the gold or rose finish. The strobe effect is also viable with this highlighter – when your skin appears radiant as if lit from within. That intense finish if you are looking for a festive highlighter, easy to be noticed far away.  

Pros
  • Glittery.  
  • Creamy formula. 
  • Natural look. 
  • Buildable.  
  • Easy to blend. 
Cons
  • Not long-lasting. 

Best body highlighter

Ownest Body Luminizer

This liquid highlighter has illuminating ingredients suitable to use on the face and body, adding light to the skin for a sun-kissed look. Available in two different colours, this body highlighter has a moisturizing formula with a light texture that doesn’t give cakey skin or settle into fine lines or wrinkles. 

Applying it alone you can get a light strobing effect even on top of powder, and by adding on your favorite liquid foundation or skincare product you can get that all-over glow. Buildable and long-lasting, it’s possible to use the illuminant all over your body.  

To clean you only need to use a little soap and water, and the product will be washed off. Easy to carry, good sized, natural luminescence, the Ownestsuits perfectly for various occasions, and it can be a perfect gift for your female friends. 

Pros
  • Body highlighter. 
  • Liquid. 
  • Light reflective strobing effect. 
  • Doesn’t get cakey. 
Cons
  • The metallic gold is too yellow. 

Best pencil highlighters

Anastasia Beverly Hills – Highlighting Duo Pencil

If you like to highlight under your brow and in your tear ducts, that is a perfect highlighter for both. The best way to give your brows an “up arch” effect. 2 in 1, this special pencil is dual-sided: one for defining eyebrow lines and another one for highlighting the brow bone. So, you can choose the areas you want to emphasize more. The Anastasia Beverly Hills highlighting pencil is available in two colours – Sand and Lace.  

Easy to blend and buildable, the pencil highlighter leaves just the right amount of color. You also can use on the cheek bone, top of the nose, and all the areas you would like to highlight. It’s lightweight and good sized to bring in a small bag to retouch everywhere. 

Pros
  • Easy to bring everywhere.
  • Dual-sided. 
  • Matte and shimmery.  
  • Easy to blend. 
Cons
  • Thick.

Benefit High Brow Glow

Ideal to use under eyebrows, the Benefit High Brow Glow Pencil gives a natural and fresh-look, and suitable for all skin types – oily to dry, and all skin tones and undertones as well. Blendable and buildable, it’s possible to highlight not only eyebrows, giving that eyebrows lift effect, but also cupid’s bow, eyes, and small areas, having a transparent background and glowy finish. 

It’s simple to use and long-lasting; a good option to create a natural makeup look or professional one. Ideal for daily use to parties and events. The Benefit pencil highlighter is small-sized, lightweight, and compact, fitting on pockets, bags, wallets, and everywhere.  

Pros
  • All skin colours. 
  • Dry or Oily skin. 
  • Long-lasting. 
  • Versatile. 
  • Buildable. 
  • Easy to blend. 
Cons
  • Pricey. 

Best liquid highlighter

L’Oreal Paris Cosmetics True Match

This liquid highlighter by L’Oreal Paris has three different colours (ice, golden, rose) to perfectly fit skin tones, undertones, and personal tastes. The lightweight formula is ideal for oily, neutral, or dry skin features, to stay many hours at a party or at work – wearing it is not a concern.  

Ideal for everyone, from teenagers to mature people who prefer a natural finish without glitter and glitter, this is a versatile highlighter to use in the morning in everyday life, to work, and at any place that is important to use a subtle makeup.  

But if like a powerful finish, it’s possible to build the highlight intensity adding more or less product according to your preference. To create glowy and fresh skin you also can mix this liquid formula with your base without emphasizing pores or wrinkles.  

Pros
  • Doesn’t emphasize pores or wrinkles. 
  • Natural glow. 
  • Not glittery. 
  • Wet finish. 
Cons
  • Small tube. 

Maybelline New York Facestudio Master Strobing Liquid

Available in light or medium, this versatile liquid Maybelline highlighter can be used alone or mixed with your foundation before applying. It has a silky formula and offers a natural finish, without glitter. It has a subtle and soft finish. You can create the intensity you want to, creating a powerful finish. 

Being long-lasting and good for oily or dry skin, the Maybelline New York Facestudio has a fine texture ideal for all ages, not emphasizing pores or wrinkles and skin texture. Easy to apply, the product has more than one colour to better fit each consumer’s skin tone and undertone and can be easily blended using a sponge, fingers, or brush.  

Pros
  • Affordable. 
  • Easy to blend. 
  • Long-lasting. 
  • Natural look. 
Cons
  • Not too much product inside. 

Rimmel London – Insta Strobing Highlighter

Gold, pink, and bronze are the colours available. To make the right choice is better know your tone and undertone (cool or warm). the liquid and with a light formula, the Rimmel highlighter gives a flawless, highlighted and luminous glow, and can be applied using a makeup brush, fingers or sponge to blend.  

Besides being blendable, the Rimmel London liquid strobing highlighter can be used alone as a regular highlighter to emphasize the areas you want to, giving that natural and no makeup look, but also be used in foundation before the application. 

The illuminator has thin texture that doesn’t accentuate wrinkles or pores, being the perfect match for mature skins, providing that moisturized and fresh look.  

Pros
  • Light. 
  • Natural glow. 
  • Doesn’t emphasize pores or wrinkles. 
  • Affordable. 
Cons
  • Not long lasting. 

Frequently asked questions

Why do you put highlighter on your face? 

Highlighter is a makeup product whose main objective is to emphasize certain areas on the face and body, such as the cupid’s bow, cheekbones, chin, eyes, brows, giving the face a fresh look.  

Which is the best highlighter for a no-makeup look? 

A natural one with a wet/glassy finish and no glitter particles. It is possible to find this result mostly with creamy, liquid, or stick highlighters, but it is always essential to check reviews because they can be shimmery.  

How to apply a highlighter? 

It will depend on the formula. If is a powdered highlighter, the best way is by using a makeup brush. If it is a liquid product, it’s better to use your fingers or sponge. If it is a creamy formula, or stick shape, you can use your fingers, a brush, a makeup sponge, or the product itself.  

How to choose the best highlighter? 

First of all, you need to know the result you want because on the market you can find products to create a natural look, or more festive and sparkly/intense ones. The highlighter can be great and well-reviewed, but if it doesn’t match your taste it is better to avoid the purchase. Tip: you must pay attention to effect (wet, sparkly, light).

Where to apply highlighter? 

Bridge of the nose, the center of the forehead, under the eyebrows, on cheekbones, the center of your chin, cupid’s bow and all the areas you would like to accentuate.  

Which is the best highlighter for different skin tones? 

The secret to better knowing the best highlighter for fair or deep tones is by checking if the product has a transparent background or coloured one. The transparent ones are great for both skin tones, but the coloured ones have, in most cases, rose or gold undertones.  

What is strobing makeup effect? 

It’s a makeup technique well known by professionals that is used to create an illuminated complexion, emphasizing specific areas on the face using only glowy products, creating a healthy-looking skin rather than the sculpted look that contouring gives you. 

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Updated date

December 17th, 2021

About the author

Bruna Drummond

Bruna Drummond is a writer and a PR expert. She is a mom and loves to write about anything related to housekeeping (cooking, cleaning, and decoration), but also technology, fitness, and animal stuff. When she's not working, she spends her time exploring the city, watching documentaries, or reading books based on true stories.
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