Best in Beauty

Best Cream Highlighters – Affordable & High-End (2018)

July 25, 2018

As promised, this list focuses on the best cream highlighters (you can find my list of best liquid highlighters here).  Cream highlighters have a denser quality to them–they don’t spread and run like liquid highlighters–but they have a similar application and wear.  I’ve included the best “drugstore” cream highlighters (actually, more of my favorites are quite budget-friendly than not this time around!) along with three of the best high-end cream highlighters I’ve tried.

>> View swatches of the best cream highlighters here! <<

All products recommended below have been tried and reviewed by myself, and some of these products were sent for consideration by brands. We use affiliate links, where we earn commission on sales tracked from our links. Thank you for your support!

Best Affordable Cream Highlighters

These are three of the best “drugstore” cream highlighters I’ve come across–and by drugstore, I mean budget-friendly, affordable options. As always, I make recommendations only for high-quality products, regardless of price, so these are good, period, not just good for the price!

ColourPop Might Be, $8 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who loves rose gold and a sparkling, metallic finish.

Why I love it: I love this shade as a highlighting blush on my complexion (about light-medium), and it is gorgeous on deeper skin tones as a true highlighter.

Physicians Formula Iridescence, $11 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who wants a cool-toned, lavender highlighter that gives a subtle sheen on the skin.

Why I love it: I find this shade to be very transformative–it really can look warmer or cooler and pop against different blushes.  The formula is fantastic as it’s blendable and long-wearing.

ColourPop Stole the Show, $8 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who is fair to light-medium and wants a silvery, more white-hued highlighter.

Why I love it: The cream-based formula makes it easier to wear on my skin tone than other similar-hued, but powder-based formulas, and the quality and performance of the shade are superb.

ColourPop Wisp, $8 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who wants a luminous sheen with subtle color and warmth.  More rose gold than gold.

Why I love it: The Super Shock Cheek formula lasts all day on me–easily 10 hours!–and has buildable, controllable pigmentation and can be applied with fingertips or brushes.  Wisp is an easy shade for a lot of skin tones as it doesn’t have a white base while still being a light to light-medium shade.

Physicians Formula Champagne, $11 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who loves a true gold with a luminous sheen that never emphasizes pores.

Why I love it: The ultra-creamy, emollient consistency makes the Butter Highlighters a dream to blend, and they wear well throughout the day.

ColourPop Candyman, $8 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who has deeper skin and wants a luminous, golden-bronze sheen.

Why I love it: I love this shade myself and wear it more as a bronzing blush, but this is a stunning highlighter on deeper skin tones as it catches the light without looking ashy.

Best High-End Cream Highlighters

Here are my top three favorites that range from $22 and higher for cream highlighters.  All three recommendations below give the skin a wetter, dewier finish than the recommendations above.  I’m curious if we’ll see glossier highlighting formulas available at a lower price point in the next couple of years.

Glossier Quartz, $22 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who wants little color impact but lots and lots of glossy shine.

Why I love it: The long-wearing formula goes to show just how far cream highlighting formulas have come, as it retains a glossy, wet finish on the skin but doesn’t break down base products.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Spotlight, $42 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who loves a glossy, wet-looking highlight that wears all day long.

Why I love it: It’s silver, wait, no, it’s gold!  It leaves a delightful wet finish on the skin but doesn’t feel tacky or wet throughout the day.

Glossier Topaz, $22 (Review/Dupes)

Who should wear this shade: Anyone who has medium or deeper skin and wants to add warmth and glossy shine.

Why I love it: It features a long-wearing formula paired with an ultra-glossy finish in a golden tone that’s easy to wear, even if you’re lighter (but particularly stunning on deeper skin tones).

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