Types of Highlighters and How To Choose The Right One

Now that the countdown to summer is officially on, it's time to step up your glow game!  All highlighters and illuminators are not created equal and each will give you different results and intensity levels. 

Extra Glow

Highlighters come in every shape, form and texture these days! So we're here to break down the different types of highlighting products so you can shine bright to your desired level of intensity, all summer long!


There's so many different types of glowy skin looks to choose from! Depending on your current mood and of course where you're going will depend on the type of glow you're going for.

You can go for a subtle and minimal, 'I woke up like this' barely there glow. This is great for that bare faced, natural look and ideal for a daytime, everyday look.

Rosy Glow

Of course there's the soft glam makeup look. Soft glam is all about still having that medium to full coverage yet using an earthy or neutral color palette so everything looks soft, feminine and pretty.

Wedding Guest Makeup Look

The glow for this look is usually achieved with a mix of blush and highlighter and possibly even a bit of bronzer, depending on personal preference. The finished look is soft and blended.

Mauve Vibes

You can go with the dewy glow for a fresh and youthful look. This makes your complexion look all over plump and radiant and beaming with wellness. If you're an oily skin type, you might not prefer this look as it requires a whole lot of hydrating products, as well as cream or liquid products and minimal setting powders.

Golden Glowy Dewy Makeup Look

Powder highlighters are ideal for oily to combination skin types as they will still give you the glow without added oil or greasiness.

Glowy Makeup

A baked or shimmery blush or shimmer brick is ideal if you're trying to add color and a soft glow to your face.  It's a good product to use when you're short on time and can't apply each individual product (blush, bronzer, highlighter) to achieve that natural looking, radiant glow. So, it's kind of like a three in one product! Also perfect for the summer travel bag as it's sleek and compact and can be multi purposed as eyeshadow as well as lip highlighting!

Golden Glow

Of course there's the in-between glow which is just about in the middle on the glow spectrum. It can be definitely detected on the skin yet it's not in your face blinding. Yet, it's essential to dab just a bit to complete or finish the look.

Neon Halo Color Pop Smokey Tutorial

Then, there's the otherworldly celestial glow when you're really feeling extra and want to be seen from outer space! 

Natural Glam with Poppin' Highlight

Then, there's the glow in the dark highlighter. It's insane that's actually a thing and this is also great for theatrical makeup as well as editorials because who doesn't want to glow in the dark, right?!

Glow in the Dark Highlighter Look

Iridescent highlighters contain reflects for multifaceted shine. These metallic lustre formulas add dimension with an ethereal like glow.

ABH Aurora Glow Kit Look

Mermaid highlighting illuminators are packed with intense metallic pigment and gives skin a pearly glow. These silky smooth pearlescent formulas glide onto the skin for a radiant glow.

Mermaid Highlighter Glow

Since most of these highlighters are normally limited edition and/or seasonal items, you can easily create your own versions with intensely pigmented shadows! Check out this look using MAC's cult eyeshadow in Nylon. It's insane how similar the champagne glow is, right?!

MAC Nylon Eyeshadow as Highlighter Look

Then there's mystical highlighters that come in iridescent high shine shades such as lavender and periwinkle blue for major mermaid vibes!

Ultra Strobe Balm Look

Mermaid Glow

There's highlighters then there are skin frosts. These highlight pigmented are packed with intense pigmentation with a frost like finish. In this next image, you can see the intense glow on her nose bridge, temples and cheeks.

Frosty Glow

Then, there's rainbow, unicorn, duochrome and yes, there's even holographic highlighter that actually exists! 

Neon Accent

Rainbow highlighters create a fun, multi-colored glow.  The micro-fine pearlescent formula adds an iridescent unicorn glow that would be great for summer carnivals and festivals.

Rainbow Unicorn Highlighter Review

These might not be your practical, everyday highlighters, yet they're great for editorials and of course your Instagram feed! 

Unicorn Glow

In case you have a fun, summer themed party, these out of the worldwhimsical highlighters might be just what you need!

Stick highlighters are great for on the go and add a beautiful sheen without much effort. You also need little to no products to blend out the product which is a major plus!

Milk1422 Inspired

Although the next few looks aren't exactly wearable, these go to show that there's a whole 'nother sphere for editorial glowy makeup looks. The glow is just unreal on these and we had to share!


Eyes Are The Windows To The Soul

Fantasy Celestial Glow Makeup

The Mad Hatter

Depending on the desired intensity that you'd like for your glow, you can dampen the brush before going into your highlighter for a really wet and metallic effect. It will really amp up the glow! This is a great evening or party look!

Metallic Glow

Finally, there's the wet, glossy or glassy skin look which is a Korean Beauty trend that's super popular right now.

Anastasia Beverly Hills X Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit Review

This look is all about keeping everything very light and basic and layering different hydrating products and going all in with the strobing technique (which is using liquid illuminators or strobing creams to highlight and sculpt the face) to achieve a transulecent, glass-like finish.

Glass Like Skin Makeup Look

You want to work with different light reflecting products here as they will really boost your glow. Jelly highlighters are ideal for a wet skin glow as it's concentrated formula provides a customized glow.

Strobed Makeup Look

Finally, you can never go wrong with too much moisture so start building the hydrating layers on!

Glossy Wet Skin Makeup

How will you be glowing this summer season, comment below?!

Also, check out our post on Complete Guide To Glowing Skin.

Upload your looks here or share your makeup looks with us on Instagram with #GlamExpress

View more posts from Glam Express here

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