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The 8 best highlighters that will make you glow, not sparkle

There are personal staples in everyone’s (beauty) bag of tricks. Some swear by mascara; others refuse to leave home without a red lip or the perfectly arched brow. If you’re all about skin, however, you might want to consider adding the best highlighters known to man to your arsenal.

More: 101 Tips for Getting the Clearest Skin of Your Life

If you’re an expert at the art of Kardashian-style contour, you’re already familiar with highlighter makeup’s magical properties, but if you live in fear of looking like you fell face first into tub of glitter, relax. These highlighters are subtle and radiant, like the best kind of real-life Instagram filter. Promise. So sit back, relax and scroll through this roundup of the best highlighters on the market, and get ready to glow.

1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminators

Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminators
Image: Anastasia Beverly Hills

No matter how you feel about the Kardashians, you have to admit that their makeup game is pretty unparalleled: those girls glow. They’ve got this very special highlighter to thank—each of the shades imparts a ridiculously luminous finish that shines without any sparkle. No wonder they’re constantly selling out. (Anastasia Beverly Hills $28)

2. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed
Image: Becca Cosmetics

The liquid version of this silky powder is the stuff of legends, but we prefer the “pressed” take on it—so much less mess, and fewer opportunities to waste product. They have an almost creamy bounce to them, and they reflect light like nothing else we’ve ever tried. (Becca Cosmetics $38)

3. Kevyn Aucoin ‘The Celestial Powder’ in Candlelight ($44)

Kevyn Aucoin 'The Celestial Powder' in Candlelight
Image: Nordstrom

You can use this in the same old places you’d put highlighter—cheekbones, brow bone, temples—or you could branch out and try a hint of this shimmery, apricot-colored powder on your collarbone or shoulders. The glow it casts is so lovely that we’d hardly want to restrain it to just the face. The possibilities here are endless. (Nordstrom $44)

4. NARS The Multiple in Copacabana

NARS The Multiple in Copacabana
Image: Nars Cosmetics

This is the shade that works for every fair complexion. This product wins awards for good reason—it’s the gold (or “shimmering pearl”) standard for a multitasker. Use it on your cheekbones for a supernatural glow, blend it into your lids for a subtle pick-me-up, or dab it on your temples and blend well. (NARS Cosmetics $39)

5. Benefit Watt’s Up! Cream Highlighter

Benefit Watt's Up! Cream Highlighter
Image: Benefit Cosmetics

Packaged in a handy stick format, this highlighter is a little glitzier than the other options here. Used sparingly, it enhances golden and olive toned complexions the best, but can be used for a more dramatic look if you’re fair-skinned or have pink undertones.(Benefit Cosmetics $30)

6. Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer

Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer
Image: Sephora

With a distinctly golden cast and a slew of natural, good-for-you ingredients like argan and grapeseed oil, this liquid works best on olive and golden complexions. For a more subtle, all-over glow, mix a drop or two with your favorite foundation or moisturizer. To amp up the radiance, apply this anywhere on your face where the sun naturally hits.(Sephora $26)

7. RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer
Image: RMS Beauty

A staple of beauty editors everywhere, this golden balm imparts the right amount of luminescence on every skin tone. Formulated with ingredients like coconut oil and rosemary extract, it feels good on the skin and blends easily for the most natural-looking glow money can buy. (RMS Beauty $38)

8. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette
Image: Hourglass cosmetics

This palette features three finely-milled luminizing powders in varying shades, perfect for every skin tone. Meant to mimic the natural light of the sun right before it sets, or a candlelit room, the Hourglass palette creates a natural, lit-from-within glow that livens up any look. Brush some anywhere you’d use bronzer, and ready yourself for compliments. (Hourglass Cosmetics $62)

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