Best Powder Highlighters: Top 5 Shimmering Products Most Recommended By Beauty Experts

Who doesn’t want healthy, glowing skin? For many of us, that’s easier said than done. If your skin is looking less than perky, one of the best powder highlighters can help. Just like other makeup products, powder highlighters come in many different shades to match your skin tone. Just add a touch to your face to accentuate your features and achieve a natural-looking glow. 

Lack of sleep, stress, aging, and even environmental triggers can cause our skin to lose its luster over time. You probably already know that secondhand smoke causes health issues. But, a study from the University of California-Riverside finds acute exposure to thirdhand smoke (THS) can lead to skin disease. Thirdhand smoke refers to the residual pollutants from tobacco smoke that linger on indoor surfaces like couches or tables, and in dust, long after the cigarette’s been smoked. According to the team at UCR’s findings, acute exposure to thirdhand smoke appears to result in the elevation of biomarkers associated with the development of various skin diseases including contact dermatitis and psoriasis.

“We found exposure of human skin to THS initiates mechanisms of inflammatory skin disease, and elevates urinary biomarkers of oxidative harm, which could lead to other diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and atherosclerosis,” says Shane Sakamaki-Ching, a former graduate student at UC Riverside, in a university release. “Alarmingly, acute dermal exposure to THS mimics the harmful effects of cigarette smoking.”

StudyFinds wants you to look radiant no matter where you are. If you’re having trouble choosing a powder highlighter, don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of the five best powder highlighter brands from ten expert websites so you’re ready for your next glow up. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

Makeup palette and highlighter brush
Makeup palette and highlighter brush (Photo by vonvix on Unsplash)

The List: Best Powder Highlighters, According to Reviews


1. Dior Forever Couture Luminizer Highlighter

A favorite with reviewers, this long wear powder highlighter from Dior comes in six shades. “Made up of nearly 95 percent natural-origin pigments, the highlighter offers a shimmery, pearlescent shade with enough payoff from just one swipe,” according to InStyle.

Dior Forever Couture Luminizer Highlighter
Dior Forever Couture Luminizer Highlighter

Elle adds, “it’ll set your foundation in place and add a perky, pinky touch of radiance that wakes up tired skin in seconds. Try it on the inner corners of your eyes, or to make a smoky eye really pop.”

If you want a powder to soften, but still illuminate your face, this one is definitely worth trying. “The finish is fine and easily buildable: think candlelight, not disco-ball,” notes Harper’s BAZAAR. 

2. Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Powder

Forbes calls this Palette by Hourglass ‘Best Overall’ adding, the “trio of soft-focus shades, aptly named Ambient Lighting Palette, is a favorite among makeup artists because it functions as a powder but gives you the dewy look of a cream.”

Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Powder
Hourglass Cosmetics Ambient Lighting Powder

This powder highlighter is great for blurring out pores and wrinkles, giving you a warm candlelight glow. “It is meant to be used with a fluffy brush to ‘set’ or perk up areas that need more radiance such as under the eyes or along the cheeks,” points out The Cut.

This product comes in single shades as well, if a palette isn’t your thing. Cosmopolitan notes, “if you’re averse to high-shine illuminators on your skin, you’ll definitely love how natural and sheer this one looks, whether you just focus it on your high-points (cheekbones, Cupid’s bow, bridge of nose) or sweep it across your entire face for a slight radiance.”

3. Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter

This powder highlighter by Rihanna’s beauty brand scores high marks with reviewers. It’s “available in nine shades, so you’re guaranteed to find something suited to your skin tone,” suggests Allure.

Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter
Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter

The highlighter’s hues can take you from a daytime or evening look easily. “You can pick it up in single shades or opt for the two-in-one duos, all of which boast a soft, pearlescent sheen that can be toned down for day or amped up for a night out,” according to Forbes.

However, there’s one thing to consider that may be a potential drawback if you are trying for a bolder makeup look. The Cut points out, the colors “look more intense and shimmery in the packaging than on your face.” 

4. Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo

Elle calls Tom Ford’s Skin Illuminating Powder Duo, “the perfect highlighter for taking you from morning to evening. Brush the lighter shade onto the highest points of your face and the deeper shade where you want to create shadow with a slight sheen.”

Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo
Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder Duo

“Gone are the days of having chalky-looking streaks on our cheeks from wearing those one-color-fits-all highlighters that were way too light for most of us. At least where Tom Ford’s concerned,” adds Glamour.

PopSugar notes, “it looks borderline wet on the skin and leaves no discernible shimmer behind. It can’t be described as anything other than sophisticated, so if you need a highlighter that will bring you from a work meeting to dinner with friends, you can’t go wrong with this one.” 

5. MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighting Powder

Rounding out our top five, is MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighting Powder. “The baked powder formula is soft and lightweight, and it works to illuminate the complexion without looking overly metallic, greasy, or powdery. It comes in a range of shades with various depths and undertones that complement different complexions, and it’s quick and easy to apply with a few strokes of a highlighting brush,” according to Byrdie.

MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighting Powder in shade Lightscapade
MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighting Powder in shade Lightscapade

So what makes MAC’s highlighting powder standout from the rest? “This slow-baked powder highlighter features a unique formula that ensures silky smooth application and radiant strobe finish,” notes Glamour.

The Cut adds, “it isn’t cakey, and it doesn’t cling to dry skin or draw attention to fine lines. What’s more, if your complexion tends to get shiny, this one has oil-absorbing abilities.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.   

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About the Author

Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

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