I Tried 63 Highlighters Looking for a Natural Glow— Here Are the 9 Best Glitter-Free Highlighters

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If you're reading this, you've probably tried a highlighter… or five. To date, I have tried 63 highlighters and I took extensive notes. The perfect highlighter is tough to find. So many of them are full of glitter and sparkles, which can be pretty for some occasions, but they don't create a natural look, at all. If you're looking for that "lit from within glow" that genuinely looks natural, you need to step away from the glitter. There are very few highlighters that are glitter-free, but there's no need for you to buy a bunch of new products or test out every product in a store because I did all that for you.

I finally tried the Charlotte Tilbury highlighter that was always sold out and i'm happy to report that it is worth the hype. Currently, I'm obsessed with this L'Oreal Paris luminizer that I can use in so many different ways.  I've been using the liquid highlighter from Selena Gomez's brand Rare Beauty since 2021 and I love it oh-so-much. Here's my pro tip: Hailey Bieber's rhode Glazing Fluid is a serum that I also use over makeup to get a natural-looking glow— don't knock it until you try it.

I have tried 63 highlighters and I narrowed down my list to nine products I love that are actually glitter-free. I found highlighting powders, balms, creams, glazes, liquids, and sticks that will deliver that oh-so-subtle glow we all want.

The Best Glitter-Free Highlighters

  • My Current Obsession: L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer ($17 $14)
  • Usually Out of Stock: Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Highlighter Wand ($42)

L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer

The L'Oréal True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer is the multitasking must-have that you need to get an all-over, fresh, natural-looking glow. This lotion is super hydrating and it imparts a luminous, glitter-free glow I absolutely adore. This top-seller has 24,700+ 5-star Amazon reviews. This lotion is such a great value because you can use it in so many different ways:

  • Apply to bare skin as a tinted moisturizer.
  • Put it on before makeup as a glowy primer.
  • Mix it in with your foundation.
  • Put it on over makeup for a glowy finish.
  • Apply as a highlighter.
  • Mix it in with your facial moisturizer.
  • Use this is a body luminizer.
  • Mix it in with your body lotion.


Rhode Peptide Glazing Fluid

Let me share my secret for achieving that enviable, lit-from-within glow rhode's Peptide Glazing Fluid. While it's technically a skincare serum, I've discovered its hidden talent as the perfect highlighter. With just a touch on a makeup sponge, I effortlessly blend it over my makeup for a dewy, natural-looking radiance that lasts all day. Trust me, this multi-tasking gem delivers the ultimate natural highlight that will have everyone asking for your secret!


RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

If you're interested in trying a cream formula, the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer is the best of the best and the first of its kind. It's an award-winning product that creates the ultimate, subtle glow. The color Living Luminizer is the most sheer, subtle shade that will create a "lit from within" glow on any skin tone. If you prefer something more pigmented, the other shades are beautiful as well.

I Tried 63 Highlighters Looking for a Natural Glow— Here Are the 9 Best Glitter-Free Highlighters

If you want a delicate highlight that's devoid of glitter, sparkles, and grease, this cream delivers that look along with some hydration. Just apply it sparingly with a brush or your fingers at the high points of your face to create a realistic, yet luminous glow. You can add some extra twinkle to your eye area by dabbing a tiny bit at the corner of your eyes.


Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact

Sometimes powder formulas can feel dusty and cakey, which is something no one wants. The Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact delivers a soft radiance with a silky smooth, velvety texture that feels comfortable and looks natural. If you love that "no-makeup" look, this matte finish highlighter creates a healthy glow. This highlighter stays on for up to eight hours without oxidizing or flaking.

$49Sephora$49Neiman Marcus$49Nordstrom

NUDESTIX Nudies All Over Face Color Bronze + Glow in Ice Ice Baby

We've all been there: excited to use a new makeup product, but unsure how to apply it effectively. Sometimes, using the right brush is make or break. You'll never have that worry with these NUDESTIX products. The product has a built-in applicator and the other end has a brush so you can blend it in perfectly. The Nudies sticks are great for blush, bronzer, lip color, and even eye makeup, depending on your shade of preference.

For that natural glow, the shade Ice Ice Baby is the way to go. It's a clear, glass-like color that delivers a dewy, lightweight finish. It's the perfect, universally flattering glow that every woman needs in her makeup arsenal. You'll love it, your friends will borrow it, but don't worry, a little bit goes a very long way with this product.

$35Amazon$35UltareadThis Glow-Enhancing Lotion With 15,300+ 5-Star Reviews Is a Primer, Highlighter, Moisturizer, and More

Tower 28 SuperDew Highlight Balm

This is a clear highlight balm with no shimmer or glitter that delivers a no-makeup, glassy, luminous skin effect. You can wear this as the final step of your makeup application or even on bare skin for a little bit of a glow. Use your fingers to warm up the balm in its container. Then you can tap it onto your cheeks, browbone, and the bridge of your nose to get that "maybe she's born with it" sort of highlight.

This isn't just a makeup product though. It also has benefits for your skin. It's made with green tea extract, which calms redness and irritation, and aloe vera extract, which is hydrating and soothing.


Danessa Myricks Beauty Colorfix Eye, Cheek & Lip Cream Pigment in Clear

This clear glaze is not a conventional highlighter, but it's an award-winning product that delivers a glass-like shine, without glitter. Just tap on a tiny bit with your fingers or a tapered brush and you'll have instant, dewy shine that can last for up to 24 hours.  It can also be used on your eyelids and lips.


Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight

A little goes a long way with this liquid luminizer. It creates a long-lasting, soft, dewy highlight on its own or you can mix it in with your foundation if you want an all-over glow. Use the applicator to apply a dot or two on the high points of your cheeks, browbone, cupid's bow, and the bridge of your nose. You can blend it in with your fingertips or with a makeup sponge or brush.

The shade Enlighten imparts a beautiful glow on light skin tones. Flaunt is a stunning highlighter on darker skin. Mesmzerize is Selena Gomez's go-to shade. 


Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Highlighter Wand

It took me such a long time to try this because it was sold out for such a long time! Now, I make sure to buy one whenever it is in stock. I can't get enough of how effortless it is to apply. Just a quick swipe and it blends seamlessly into my skin. The best part? A little goes a long way, so one container lasts me a whole year! My go-to shade is Spotlight, a stunning rose gold that adds a natural, lit-from-within glow to my complexion.

$42Ulta$42Sephora$42Charlotte Tilbury

What are the most natural-looking highlighters without glitter?

There are lots of glitter-free highlighters, but some of the most popular products are Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight, L'Oreal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer, and Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact.

Where should I apply highlighter?

Where you apply highlighter is totally up to you and your personal preferences, but a lot of people apply highlighter on the spots of the face that catch the light because this enhances your natural features. Go-to places to apply highlighter are cheekbones, temples, bridge of the nose, under the eyebrows, inner corners of the eyes, and above the cupid's bow.

When should I apply highlighter?

This is really up to your personal preference. If you want to make sure your highlighter is a prominent part of your look, apply it after foundation. If you want a lit-from-within look, try applying highlighter underneath foundation. If you want an all-over glow, mix a little bit in with your foundation. 

Still shopping for makeup? Get rid of redness instantly and frizzy hair in 60 seconds with my favorite new beauty launches of the month.

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—Originally published July 8, 2021 at 11:47 AM PT.

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