The best highlighters for all skintones

For fresh, healthy-looking skin – without the faintest hint of disco-ball glitter

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By Elle Turner on

A sweep of highlighter deftly applied to cheekbones can do the world of good for dull, washed-out-looking skin. I've been a fan for yonks. I can see the reluctance, though. Sheeny disco-ball cheeks dripping with shimmer can, quite rightly, strike fear into the most adventurous of us. But, with the advent of creamy formulas that gently glean, rather than outright dazzle, and finely milled, light-reflecting powders without a fleck of chunky glitter in sight, it seems our interest has been piqued. In the last year alone, Pinterest has seen a 140 per cent uptick in users searching for a highlighter to suit them. The trick is in keeping things natural, which means finding the best shade for your skin.

Best for paler skintones: TOPSHOP Glow Highlighter in POLISHED

In general, pale pink undertones are the best, which is why Benefit's Dandelion blusher is so popular among paler skintones. Now, Benefit has tinkered with the formula to release a "Twinkle" version, out in June. Frou-frou name aside, the sheeny rendition is glorious. A champagne with the tiniest wash of pink, it's an instant pep for healthy-looking cheeks. Until then, you can't beat Topshop's Glow Highlighter in Polished. A moonlight silvery gold, it applies an ever-so-subtle luminous glow along cheekbones. And, because it doesn't contain any hint of bronze, it won't look muddy.

Benefit Dandelion Twinkle highlighter, £24.50 (out in June)


Best for medium skintones: MAC mineralize Skinfinish in SOFT & GENTLE

My personal favourite is MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle. Silky soft and blendable, the gorgeous peachy champagne-gold shade is the perfect balance between detectable and barely there – what you get is lovely, dewy-fresh skin with the smallest hint of shimmer. Plus, you get a lot of product in the pan – mine's been going strong for longer than I'd care to admit...


Best for deeper skintones: Nars Multiple in South Beach

Who doesn't love a Nars multiple? Portable, easy to use (draw on from the bullet, blend with fingers and go) and with a lovely lightweight creamy texture to boot. What's more, they come in plenty of shades to suit all skintones. For darker complexions, it's best to opt for warmer gold and bronze undertones. Their newest shade, Hot Sands, is a buttery gold that works beautifully on darker skintones, as does South Beach, a delicate sheer wash of golden warmth that melts into skin. 


Best for your body: Chanel chance 3 moods scented shimmer gels

A bit of a bonus one. Chanel's newest prodigy is the Chance Three Moods Scented Shimmer Gels – a trio of the fragrances in Chanel's Chance arsenal (Original, Eau Fraîche and Eau Tendre), but in shimmery gel form. Pat it over your décolleté, shoulders and neck – it leaves behind a subtle shimmer that glows in certain lights, makes knackered skin look fresh, and smells downright delicious. 

Chanel Chance 3 Moods Shimmering Scented Gels, £60 (available in June)


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