Beauty, Makeup

Testing Liquid & Cream Highlighters

We all know that highlighters are having their time, and I’m on board with it. Not chunky glitter highlight, but I’m definitely all about that subtle sheen. I feel like the best way to achieve something a little more subtle is using a cream but I always forget to use them as they sit at the back of a drawer that I don’t go into until after I’ve powdered. Whoops?

Overview Closed

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve used a cream or a liquid highlight most days to decide which ones I’d recommend and which ones I’d steer clear of in the future.

I bought the Seventeen Skin Wow for the full face of highlighters challenge that I never actually completed (that’s not true, I tried it three times and there were a number of issues each time). On the bottle it says that it can be used to prime, but that’s definitely not the case. This is 100% a highlighter which you need very little of! It’s very watery so requires a lot of control if you want to use it, and it is very pink toned so if you’re anything but pink I don’t think I’d reach for it. I love products from Seventeen but this is definitely one of their more disappointing products and there are better products on the market. However, if you’re on a budget and want something that will go a long way then this is probably one for you.

I got the No7 Skin Illuminator in the No 7 Advent Calendar last year and hadn’t touched it until around July. Because it looks so gold in the tube I thought it would come out like that on the face, and it does but in a really subtle way. It only appears gold if it catches the light in a specific way so it’s not something that you should be scared of. This is definitely a product to mix with foundation though rather than as a highlight as it’s definitely more of a traditional illuminator than a highlight. I’m hoping I’ll get a decent tan next summer and will be able to use this all the time!

The NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam comes in such a tiny bottle and it feels half empty as it is, so that’s a little disappointing. This is another product that I’m more likely to mix with foundation than apply over the top just because it looks very glittery if you don’t mix it. I’m a fan of a pearly glow rather than full on glitter and this is bordering on too much glitter for me. I’d personally give this one a miss and reach for one of the other illuminators, although it does dry down quite quickly which makes it a little different to the other ones in this post which take a little while to dry (if they do at all).

A few months ago, everyone was raving about the Collection Speedy Highlighter and it was impossible for me to get hold of! It was always either sold out or open in stores, and in Superdrug they were always broken which was a bit ridiculous really. Eventually I got my hands on and it and I was so excited because it seemed like a foolproof way to get a really subtle champagne highlight. But when I came to use it I was a little disappointed as you end up with a line on your face that’s a little difficult to blend out. The only way that you can blend it out is by building up the product, but then that defeats the object of a subtle highlight and it seems to draw attention to any flaws that you have on your skin. I’d probably steer clear of this and go for a different highlighter from this list if you’re looking for a cream highlight.

The Sleek Barekissed Illuminator in Monaco (which I once heard pronounced as Moh-nah-co, with the emphasis on the middle syllable so that was weird) is a very pink/silver highlight with a really pretty sheen. Believe me a little really does go a long way with this, similarly to the Seventeen offering but I do much prefer this one. It’s easier to work with as it’s a little thicker and so much easier to blend to make it subtle if that’s the look you’re after. I wouldn’t call this an every day highlight but it looks so beautiful on a night out and in photos that this is probably one that you want in your collection.

MAC Strobe Cream isn’t strictly a highlighter, but it adds a lot of glow. I bought the travel size version to try out as people were raving about its uses as a highlight and a base, although I can’t stand it as a highlight. If I apply it over foundation it just pulls the base off and you end up with a streak on your face. However, as a base it is beautiful. If I’ve moisturised earlier in the day but want to add something to my face before I put makeup on and want a glow, this is what I reach for. It’s another product that you really don’t need a lot of so the 30ml that comes in the travel size is plenty for me and I know it’s going to last me a long time!

Glow Pot

Benefit Shy Beam is quite frankly a waste of money in my opinion. I love benefit products but I don’t understand the point of a matte liquid highlight. Matte highlights in powder form are beautiful under the eye to brighten, but a matte liquid highlight just doesn’t look natural. It just looks like more of a badly matched and poorly blended concealer on my face that anything.

The first highlighter I ever owned was Benefit High Beam, but this wasn’t intentional. I went to buy the Rockateur boxed blush and somehow came out with the Rockitude set (I regret this as I wanted the blush and not the gloss or Benetint but we live and we learn) which included high beam. It took me about a month to pluck up the courage to use it as liquid terrified me, and sort of still do, but once you get a handle on it it’s a really nice product. I don’t often use this on its own, but will sometimes put it under a powder highlight as per Isabelle‘s video on how to get highlight to pop. This has a pink pearl tone and can be built up so you can go for a look that’s a little more subtle I’m not sure I’ll ever need a full size as a little goes a long way but a miniature might be worth picking up which is only £5 in Boots.

Topshop Glow Pot in Polished was the first highlight I bought specifically for the highlight and it’s probably due to head for the bin as I’ve had it quite a while. This is basically identical to the Topshop Powder Highlighter in Crescent Moon which I absolutely adore (and will be writing about very soon because I never see any love for it) so I think it’s high time I give this more love. I have a feeling that these were either discontinued or continually sold out for a really long time but I believe they’re back now in a couple of colours and I really like it. My only quibble is that it doesn’t dry down properly so if you touch your face a lot this probably isn’t for you as you could end up smudging it or taking it off completely.

And that is all of my liquid and cream highlights for you to see in one place. I’m definitely a powder girl at heart but it’s fun to play around a little sometimes. I think the reason I prefer powders is that they’re just easier to work with and require very little skill, but I definitely think creams and liquids give off a brighter highlight in the end. At the end of the day it’s all down to personal preference so you may have your favourite that works for you and I definitely recommend sticking with that one true love. If you have any highlighters, of any form, to suggest to me then please tweet me or leave a comment below because I’m always looking for new ones to try.


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If you enjoyed this post, why not check out Mascaras Currently In Rotation or My Face Mask Stash


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