8 Pro-Approved Highlighters For A Gorgeous Glow

We're going to let you in on a little secret: Most of those #wokeuplikethis selfies and model-off-duty makeup looks you see aren't 100% product-free. The fact is, that enviable, lit-from-within glow and those cheekbones that reflect beams of light don't come from drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep. No, that's the subtle work of a really good highlighter.

A single swipe of the stuff has the power take your look from so-so to out-of-this world, but not all highlighters are created equal. Instead of making you go through the trial-and-error process, we rounded up the sticks and powders we rely on for radiance. Hey, we all need a little help sometimes. Your secret's safe with us.
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Maria Del Russo, Beauty Editor
"There's a reason why this luminizer is a cult favorite among beauty editors — it's the ultimate in lit-from-within skin. Instead of a shimmering shine, Living Luminizer gives you a dewy sheen that makes your cheekbones pop. I also like to tap it on my lids to brighten my eyes in an instant."

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer, $38, available at RMS Beauty.
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Alix Tunell, Senior Beauty Editor
"Some people on the beauty team don't believe me, but I didn't use highlighter until a month or two ago — when I got my hands on this one. And even then, I held off until I could no longer deny all the gleaming cheekbones in my social feeds (Glossier's marketing is damn good). Highlighter just seemed like an extra step that wasn't crucial. But I get it now. This stick is idiot-proof — you just swipe a line above your blush and tap, tap, tap it in — and you never have to worry about it looking chalky, cheap, or sparkly under the sun. Sometimes, I even put it in my bag so I can reapply it if I'm going out after work, which is a big thing for a girl who never, ever liked the stuff."

Glossier Haloscope, $22, available at Glossier.
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Megan McIntyre, Beauty Features Director
"I'm more of a glow-all-over kind of girl, but in a subtle way. I'll mix a drop of this super-flattering golden highlighter into a semi-sheer foundation. Then, I place the newly illuminated mix down the center of my face and blend it outwards. The result is an even, clear complexion that has dimension and just enough of a sheen to make it still look like skin (but not skin with a layer of makeup spread over it)."

Nars Illuminator in Hot Sand, $30, available at NARS.
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Lexy Lebasck, West Coast Beauty Editor
"Smashbox's L.A. Lights is the easiest highlighter to apply — ever. The chubby stick allows you to draw exactly where you want (for me, it's a C-shape starting under my brows, going around to the top of my cheekbones, and then along the top of my Cupid's bow). To finish, I soften the edges with the included smudger. I'm fair-skinned, so I use the Hollywood & Highlight shade, but they're all gorg."

Smashbox L.A. Lights Blendable Lip & Cheek Color, $29, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer
"I was never a big highlighter fan before I tried Becca's Champagne Pop pressed powder. It's the perfect neutral hue and can be used in so many different ways. It can be applied lightly with a duo-fiber brush for a sheer glow or dusted on heavily with a fan brush for a strobe highlight. I like a highlighter that I can actually see on my face (and admire all day), so if you're into a more subtle glow, this one probably isn't for you."

Becca Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop, $38, available at Sephora.
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Samantha Sasso, Beauty Editorial Assistant
"It took me a while to love Benefit's Watt's Up, because I used to swatch it right onto my cheekbones, which was intense. But then I discovered a more subtle way of applying it: I dab it on my fingers and pat it onto my skin. Now, I'm in love. It's bright, long-lasting, and catches the sun — everything I need in an everyday highlighter."

Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up Cream-To-Powder Highlighter, $30, available at Sephora.
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Cat Quinn, Beauty Director
"Technically, this highlighter has two ends — a glossy, clear side and a hyper-reflective shimmer-highlighter side. You're advised to use them together for a customized, subtle, glowy finish, but I just go straight for the big guns and sweep a thick layer of the pigment on my cheeks and blend with my fingers. My strobe is probably sending signals into space, which is exactly how I like it."

Pat McGrath Skin Fetish 003, $72, available at Pat McGrath Labs.

Unfortunately, this product is no longer available.
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Lexy Lebsack, West Coast Beauty Editor
"I am a bit highlighter-obsessed, so you'll also find Charlotte Tilbury's Bronze & Glow in my kit. I use it at night when I want a polished look. It's a fast and easy way to add a bit of definition to cheekbones and the hairline (using the darker hue). I then top it off with the powder illuminator using a small, fluffy brush. Bonus: The two shades also make gorgeous eyeshadows."

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow, $68, available at Charlotte Tilbury.
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