Highlighters and luminizers are often treated as just another superfluous product in the makeup routine—an afterthought, if you will—but we’re here to tell you that it shouldn’t be so. Better still, we’re presenting you with a list of our all-time favorite subtle highlighters. These pearly products will brighten up your face and draw light to your features without the disco ball effect, so they’re perfect for morning, evening, and anytime in between.
Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up! ($30, benefitcosmetics.com)
In a shade described as “luminous champagne,” the touch of pigment in this highlighter is flattering on all complexions. The secret is in the fact that the color leans neither warm nor cool, so all skin tones benefit from the soft-glow boost of sheen. Better still, Watt’s Up! comes equipped with a soft targeted sponge on the opposite end for easy blending, no extra tools required.
Topshop Glow Stick in Play Up ($20, topshop.com)
The latest addition to Topshop’s affordable, high-quality makeup line is a soft, powder-finish cream highlighter in super-handy stick form, with a twist-up bottom that eliminates the need to sharpen. There’s nary a glitter particle to be found in the pearly, easy-to-blend luminance this stick imparts when glided along cheekbones or under brow bones.
Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer ($28, sephora.com)
If skin is looking dull, a touch of this unique, bronze-y illuminizer should do the trick. A little goes a long way with this formula, which comes chock full of Josie Maran’s signature argan oil—blend a drop into your everyday foundation for all-over radiance or dab just the tiniest bit along the high points of the face to use it as a true highlighter.
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat ($41, yslbeautyus.com)
This classic click-touch pen is the gold standard on the market for shimmer-free highlighting. It truly highlights the face in the literal sense of the word—as the tagline goes, “Catch 8 hours of sleep with the click of a pen.” Our best advice for choosing a shade (there are many) is to find the one that’s in the same color family as your complexion but is slightly lighter and brighter than your actual skin tone.