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If your motto is dewy over matte, always, highlighter is probably one of the most-used products in your makeup kit. But as you likely already know, not all highlighters are created equal. Highlighting powders tend to leave behind a striking, glittering finish, but if you’re all about the dewy effect, you’ll want a highlighting cream, gel, or balm. You’ll find five of the best dewy highlighters featured ahead — choosing the right one for you will come down to your preferred shade and effect (e.g. holographic and bold, shimmering and sun-kissed, or clear and colorless), as well as the type of highlighter you tend to favor, whether that’s a stick, a compact, or a tube.
While all of the highlighters here will look amazing on any skin tone, typically, pearlescent highlighters bring out the pink and purple undertones in pale skin, while bronze and gold shades work best for darker skin. But as you’ll see, dewy highlighters can also be completely colorless, and that type of highlighter is best for people who prefer a totally natural, just-stepped-out-of-a-steam-room effect. You’ll find options that fall into all of these categories, just ahead — so scroll on to shop five of the best dewy highlighters worth picking up right now.
1. Best Translucent Dewy Highlighter
If you’re looking for a truly dewy highlighter — no shimmer, no fuss — try this best-selling balm from Honest Beauty. It’s more like skin care than makeup, and it’s completely colorless; dab it on, and your skin will look sweaty in a sexy, refreshed way. You can apply it just about anywhere, too. When using it as highlighter, put some on your cheekbones and beneath your brow bones (I like to pat some onto my eyelids also to tie the whole glossy look together), but you can also use it on dry lips and cuticles to give your skin some much-needed moisture. One of those versatile, multitasking products that everyone should keep on hand.
2. Best Shimmery Dewy Highlighter
On the other end of the makeup spectrum, if you prefer full-on shimmer, you’ll love this jelly highlighter from e.l.f. It’s a concentrated, pigmented highlighter that feels just like — you guessed it — jelly, and leaves behind a wet, shimmery finish. Choose from three shades: Bubbly, reminiscent of champagne; Cloud, which leans rose gold; and Dew, a golden bronze.
3. Best Holographic Dewy Highlighter
This holographic highlighter is ideal for those who like to get playful with their makeup. It’s a luxe, cream highlighter that’s sold in three iridescent shades: The Sorcerer, silver, is perhaps the most dewy among them, while The Siren produces a shiny, gold effect. The boldest choice is undoubtedly The High Priestess, a cool pink-purple that’ll look different depending on the way the light hits it. Every shade is made with a blend of plant-based oils, so they’re all inherently creamy and moisturizing. You can also use this highlighter as eyeshadow, or get really creative and put it on your lips or body.
4. Best For Your Undereyes
An instant way to look like you got eight hours of sleep (when you actually didn’t): put some highlighter under your eyes. This TULA Glow & Get It eye balm makes things super easy. You just glide it on under your eyes and across your cheekbones — no brushes or blending required. Made with hydrating hyaluronic acid, invigorating caffeine, and soothing probiotics, this is another highlighter that doubles as skin care. The creamy, moisturizing balm leaves behind a naturally dewy effect, and this shade, Rose Glow, has a subtle shimmering finish. It also comes in a colorless version if you prefer your dew without shimmer.
5. Best Multitasker
The beauty of this “Glotion” from L’Oreal lies in the countless different ways it can be used. Dab it onto the high points of your face as highlighter; slather it all over to create an illuminated base for your makeup; or mix some in with your favorite moisturizer to tone down the shimmer a bit (similarly, you could mix some in with body lotion for a head-to-toe glow). The formula itself is a creamy lotion, so it dries down into a dewy, radiant finish. Choose from four light-reflecting shades.
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For an all-over dewy effect, consider this ACURE moisturizer. Key ingredients include nourishing hemp seed oil, exfoliating lactic and glycolic acids, and unicorn root — yes, that’s a real thing! — which is rich in antioxidants. Not only will it make your face look refreshed and luminous immediately, but it also helps resurface your skin for a clearer complexion in the long term. Use this as your base and pair it with one of the highlighters featured above for your glowiest skin ever.