Lately, I’ve been obsessed with a good highlight. Right on the tops of my cheeks and down my nose; whoo, makes me feel so alive! There’s nothing like a good hightlight to brighten your day. Get it? Brighten?
In honor of the day of our Earth, I’ve compiled a list of highlighters, glow powders, and illuminators that would make Mother Earth proud. Buying these babies should make you feel like a saint. 😉 You might even take that good karma and go plant a tree or something.
Ilia is well known for it’s lip products, but Polka Dots and Moonbeams made their top sellers list as well. It’s an illuminator in a pale pearl shade that is meant as a “subtle highlighter, adding dimension and vitality to the skin”. They advise you dot it along your “cheekbones, brow bones, inner corner of eyes, bridge of nose and pout of lower lip for a fresh, dewy glow”. This shade is most definitely meant for light skin tones, though.
Favorable review: “I bought this in the Polka Dots and Moonbeams color and I LOVE it. You don’t need much and it stays put. I am very fair and prefer not to have color/glitter in my highlighter. It gives me a gorgeous glow.” – woodwardhj, Sephora
Unfavorable review: “I am fair/light and thought this shade would be perfect for me. However, no matter a light or heavy application nothing is showing up on my skin and like other reviews have stated this is incredibly small for the price.” – toriablue22, Sephora
Average score from Sephora reviews: 4/5
Color Options: Polka Dots and Moonbeams (pearl), Cosmic Dancer (gold), Sway (bronze).
This one is a mineral powder. The primary ingredient in this one is Mica, a great one for powders. It usually comes out as a fine dust. This mineral powder “brightens and accentuates the complexion”. Alima Pure recommends you dust it on your “cheekbones, bridge of the nose, eyes, and shoulders”. This product is vegan, nut-free, and gluten free.
Favorable review: “this gives me a really nice glow. It’s not in-your-face obvious, but when you turn your head and the light brushes across your cheekbones, your skin gives this pretty, diffused shimmer. If you want something super obvious, try a cream highlighter, otherwise, definitely give it a shot!” – wingedfrog, Makeup Alley
Unfavorable review: “Application was easy but the texture was horrible inspite of using the finest natural bristle blusher brush. It was so bumpy that I had to stop after finishing on my chin to prevent this stuff from spreading to the rest of my face. The glittery shine was so artificial and clumpy.” – prettypopy, Makeup Alley
Average score from Makeup Alley reviews: 4/5
Color Options: Dolce, Lumina, Luna, Whisper
As a lotion, this one does well on it’s own or over makeup. You can use it on face and body to give you a “subtle veil of shimmer designed to warm and smooth the complexion”. This product used to be in Jane Iredale’s collection, but only for a limited time. It was highly sought after so now it’s back! The main ingredient once again is Mica, but it also has a surprising array of extracts that sound delicious: apple, elderflower, blackberry, white and green tea, grapefruit, and orange peel. Yum!
This product is certified cruelty-free by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ (CCIC) Leaping Bunny Program, the leading internationally respected animal protection group for cruelty-free certification, and by PETA. It doesn’t contain wheat and it is vegan!
Favorable review: “This product is great for giving your skin just the right amount of shimmer. It doesn’t come off on your clothing, look overly fake and has a nice texture. I used it to enhance my decollete on a night out. Glamorous!” – Amazon Customer, Amazon
Unfavorable review: “It comes in a small size and for the price I don’think it is worth it. It is supposed to give you a shimmery affect. I don’t see it when I put it on my legs but the palms of my hands sure do shimmer….not exactly what I wanted. Also it is a little bit tinted, but it did not give even a slight color change to the skin.” – thriftymom, Amazon
Average score from Amazon reviews: 4/5
Color options: Golden Shimmer
This is probably the most popular brand on this list, and for good reason! Tarte has made natural, well-made makeup main stream. They have made a name that is known for quality and diversity. This highlighter is made from a natural Amazonian clay that has “micro-pearlescent flecks to mimic natural light reflection” mixed in. Because it’s made of clay, this highlighter is long-wearing, 12 hours, it claims. Tarte promises a “soft strobing effect in a unique, skin-perfecting formula that won’t cling to dry patches, flake or fade”. Do watch out if you have sensitive skin, as this product can react badly.
Favorable review: “The formula is super buttery and there’s zero fall out. It’s subtle enough to use everyday but still pretty buildable, taking you from a natural glow to blinsing shine in just a few brush strokes.” – msjeanne, Sephora
Unfavorable review: “When I swatched sparkle it looked absolutely beautiful! I had to have it. But once i applied it there was nothing there. No shine, no beam, nothing.” – beautyguru269, Sephora
Average score from Sephora reviews: 4/5
Color options: Stunner- opalescent highlight, Exposed- nude highlight, Sparkler- rose gold highlight
BareMinerals would be the other big name on this list. If Tarte is known for showing off, bareMinerals is know for not showing at all. They are the pinnacle of the no-makeup-makeup-look. They keep things simple and clean. This highlighter is right along those lines. It’s a sheer, natural look. It’s made with “ultra-fine reflective pearls [that] catch the light to create a natural glow.” You can trust the proof is in the name; only the bare minerals go into their products.
Favorable review: “This product adds a nice flow to your skin without glitter. I use the complexion rescue, a little blush and finish with one light swipe of This highlighter on my cheeks, forehead and nose. My skin looks dewy, fresh and healthy.” – j, ULTA
Unfavorable review: “I could barely see the highlight on my face so I kept building it up. Finally got it built up to where it looked like a natural glow…It totally faded after a couple hours, couldn’t see it at all.” – KT, ULTA
Average score from ULTA reviews: 4.5/5
Color options: Fair to light, Medium, Tan, Dark to deep
RMS is a brand often named when talking about Earth-friendly products. This highlighter’s coconut oil and beeswax make it a creamy alternative to the popular powder highlighter. It is certified organic, of course. It has a definant shine quality that gives you a “seductive, dewy opalescence.”
Favorable review: “I had used highlighting powder before which always looked glittery and dewy…but this luminizer gives a warm, lively look without being so bold. It makes me look more awake…A little goes a long way and I can’t even feel it sitting on my skin. It lasts through the workday and looks freshly applied at 5 pm.” – Emmahlee, Sephora
Unfavorable review: “I personally think the name is misleading. When I think champagne rose I think of a slightly warm rosy tone. This is very cool. It really should have been called pink opal…The tiny shimmery particles are almost magenta/hot pink in tone. And this seems even more oily than the standard living luminizer.” – angielovestoki, Sephora
Average score from Sephora reviews: 4.5/5
Color options: Champagne rose
This product is so luxurious! Everything about it screams ‘I have money’, and I’ve been so into anything in wand form, lately. Josie describes it as a highlighter with “champagne illuminessence [that] mimics the natural radiance of healthy skin”.
She’s very proud of what goes in her products, and she should be. This highlighter has Argan oil, shea buttrt, rosemary, rice bran, and sunflower seed extract. Altogether very hydrating. There are neat little graphics that shows all the great things about Josie Maran’s stuff.
Favorable review: “I love this wand. I won’t leave my house without applying this to my face. I initially bought it because the store employee said it was made with “crushed diamonds and pearls” – why would i not want to rub it all over my face? it’s a gorgeous illuminator. Creamy consistency. It stays on all day. You can wear it over your make up or wear it alone (i love wearing it alone).” – sugarfacex, Sephora
Unfavorable review: “i have a light-medium complexion the shimmering is almost invisible once it is on my skin, it does not blend easly, and if you blend too much it got dissapeared. Not long lasting shimmer, just a couple of hours” – pitumonk, Sephora
Average score from Sephora reviews: 4/5
*This also comes in liquid and powder.
I personally love this brand’s skincare products. I have their green apple moisturizer and it’s lovely, smells great and feels great. Their highlighter is a “mulit-tasking illuminator and cheek color duo”. All of their products are made without any nasties like parabens, pesticides, and artificial dyes. This one is also chalk full of organic ingredients like sustainably-sourced shea butter.
Favorable review: “I like how easy this is to apply and it blends well. It is so natural that it would be very difficult to apply too much.” – Natural girl, ULTA
Unfavorable review: “Same concept as the CoverFX click sticks but lesser quality.” – Sarah, ULTA
Average score from ULTA reviews: 3/5
Color options: Bronze, Marigold, Rose
Pick whichever one you want, and you’re guaranteed to sparkle. 😙