Over the last few years, and especially over the last few months, I’ve collected quite a few highlighters.
But highlighters are a bit tricky when you’re over 40… and REALLY tricky when you are over 60.
But using the right product with a light hand, they can add a beautiful glow to your face.
I initially thought I would go through all the highlighters that I own (and even some I’ve tried but have not purchased) but this post would get really long.
So let my give you my overall impressions about highlighters in a general way, with a specific mention of five of my favorites.
Cream and Liquid:
Creams and liquid highlighters seemed to me like they would be perfect for older women, as they would be less likely to settle into any wrinkles and fine lines. But I have found that cream sticks are really hard to blend in. Either they look like a streak across the top of the cheekbones, or if I work hard at blending them in, they disrupt my foundation. They sit ON my skin rather than looking like part of my skin. And the liquids with their tiny doefoot applicators aren’t great for blending naturally either. If I use any of mine at all (and I have two stick highlighters and two liquid) – I find it it better to put the product onto my fingers and dab onto my cheekbones, rather than apply the product directly to my face.
I think the pressed powder highlighters give the best look, whether you are going for a subtle glow or an intense strobe highlight.
It’s important to find a product that is finely milled – that feels velvety and almost creamy, so that it will melt onto your skin and blend with your makeup in a non-streaky way. It also shouldn’t be what makeup reviewers on YouTube call “Chunky” – that is, have large pieces of obvious glitter. As the day wears on, a too-glittery product ends up by showing specks of that twinkly shit on your face – you look like you’ve been sweating and then feel asleep with your cheek on a Christmas card.
So here are the products I have that I like:
For a subtle glowy look, I have two products that look very similar on my face:
Laura Geller Baked Highlighter in French Vanilla. I heard a lot of great things about this silky and subtle highlighter. Laura Geller has moved to a showier highlight – the baked gelato line, so the only place I could find it was on the Laura Geller website in a kit with a foundation/bronzer compact and a brush for $35. To get all those products for $35 didn’t seem like a bad deal, so I went ahead.
And it’s very pretty. It goes on smoothly, blends well, and is very understated. I like it a lot better than the pressed foundation/bronzer combo that came with it.
The other highlighter I like for an understated glow is is Essence’s Pure Nude Highlighter in Be My Highlight. Again, I had seen rave reviews on YouTube. And it’s crazy inexpensive – I found it at Ulta for 4.49!
And it has 0.24 ounces versus Laura Geller’s 0.06 ounces.
They are nearly identical on the skin – here’s how they look side by side:
As you can see, the Essence Pure Nude highlighter has slightly more sheen. I actually prefer it. And the price is incredible – so if you are looking for a subtle glow – I wouldn’t even bother buying both. Just the Essence.
If you want to go more dramatic – here are three great products.
For the middle-of-the-roaders:
The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer. This goes for about $24 for 0.3 ounces. It has more sheen than the first two products, but it is not all-out intense. It’s the grand old dame of highlighters. (The Balm products are not carried at Ulta or Sephora as a rule, but you can find them online or at Kohl’s.)
And while I am describing this product, let me add that for most of us, how much product is in the compact is not all that important. I got my Mary-Lou Manizer in a sample size from Birchbox. It’s incredibly tiny. It’s almost gone now, but I have had it for THREE YEARS! Look how tiny my sample is, and I still have a little left.
This is important because of the price of the next product I’m sharing with you:
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. This is a gorgeous highlighter. (Becca’s Champagne Pop is also a lovely shade). Opal has a distinctly golden hue. And even on pale skin like mine, the gold translates to “lit-from-within-but-better” glow. And it’s not subtle. But it’s also not cheap. It goes for $38 for .28 ounces. However – there is definitely a way to get this highlighter with less of an investment. You can buy a travel size.
For $20, you can buy the set called “Glow On The Go” at Sephora or Ulta and get 0.085 ounces, paired with the liquid highlighter in the same color. I don’t like the liquid nearly as much… but knowing how little highlighter you really use, at least you don’t have to make a huge commitment to add it to your makeup stash. (And styles change – highlighter could be passe in a year.)
And the last product was a tremendous surprise – and delight – for me.
Wet-n-Wild To Reflect Shimmer Palette in Boozy Brunch. This product is as crazy looking as its name. I never ever would have picked this up if I hadn’t seen a YouTube video where the reviewer was freaking out because it was so good. And it costs $5.99 for .4 ounces. It looks like a camo print of yellow, pink and brown. But oh my, on the skin… well, it’s nearly a dupe for the Becca Opal that I love.
Here’s the last three products swatched on my hand and you’ll see what I mean:
Notice in the photo the intensity of the shine you get from the Wet-n-Wild product. And although you can see when you look at the compact above my hand how much kickup you get in the powder (it’s a powdery mess, and not as silky as the Becca) – it still goes on the skin nearly silky-smooth and doesn’t look glittery.
To compare the amount of reflective shine you get – here’s another photo, with the subtler Essence Pure Nude Highlight versus the Wet-n-Wild Boozy Brunch:
I really like all these products.
My favorite for pure silky perfection is the Becca Opal.
But if you are on a budget… why not try the Essence or the Wet-n-Wild?
P.S. – a freebie tip. If you want even more shine, (perhaps so aliens could see your cheekbones from Pluto), spray your face with setting spray, and then apply the highlighter before the spray dries. Wowsa.