I showed you a very pretty but also pretty pricey highlighter last week that had everyone sighing wistfully. I’ve realised that many higher end brands like to produce limited edition highlighter powders that are beautifully designed and embossed. It must be the metallic shine that lends to an intricate design, and it is also more attention grabbing.
Yet, like many of you reading my blog I’m not terribly skilled at wearing highlighter (if you are, this is no insult, I promise!). The learning curve is less steep than learning to wear bronzer (you only risk looking like a metallic robot vs falling face first in cocoa powder) but there is a learning curve.
If you don’t quite feel up to dropping RM200 or more on a product you aren’t sure about, I have a few budget-friendly alternatives for you!
Highlighters perform the opposite function of bronzer or contouring products. You use a highlighter product on the high points of your face, where the light would hit to give the impression of light. Done in a subtle manner, you can create an illusion of higher cheekbones or a sharper nose, or just to give skin a subtle lit-from-within look. Overdo it, and hello, shiny robot :P
I’m not personally crazy about using highlighter powders. I do tend to use blush that have a touch of shimmer or shine to them, so adding on more shine can be counter-productive. Also, I don’t necessarily work in an environment that will encourage you shining like a beacon LOL! :D But I keep the odd highlight powder on hand, because it’s useful, and hell, they’re pretty :P
That said, I found a couple in my stash that I’d peg as being budget-friendly options that do a very good job. So, I wanted to share, especially if you’re interested to try a highlighter powder, without dropping the big bucks! :)
TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer – RM115 | US$24
Many of you are familiar with theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer and this was one of the first highlighters I voluntarily bought due to the raves. It’s been raved about for many many years and I’ve had mine for erm… many years LOL! :D
You may also be pleased to note that this is the most “expensive” of the 3 I’ll be showing you today and locally, you can purchase it at Sephora or Sasa stores. I believe it might be a bit cheaper in Sasa (or at least there are often discounts at Sasa) but don’t quote me except on the discounts.
The theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer is a champagne toned highlight powder that can be rather strong and metallic if you aren’t careful. The texture is quite soft and brushes pick up the product quite easily. However, I do find also that it buffs out quite easily too, to a lovely gentle candlelit glow on the skin, so you can tone it down if shine makes you uncomfortable.
The champagne colour will, I feel, work best on lighter skin tones. Recognizing this, theBalm has another shade (Betty-lou and also Cindy-Lou Manizer) for deeper skintones. I haven’t personally seen nor tried it so I have no comments on it.
Catrice Cosmetics Strobing Duo Highlighter – RM27.90
I’ll keep it short because the Catrice Strobing Duo Highlighter is a limited edition product that isn’t available anymore elsewhere, but here in Malaysia, if you look hard enough (or try Guardian online) you can still find it.
I bought this on sale (as if it’s not cheap enough already! LOL!) and I like it although the powder has a fairly hard texture and it can be hard to pick up product with a brush. However, because this is a highlighter, I don’t really need that much product.
While there are 2 tones of powder, it really doesn’t matter. I just swirl a brush in there a few times to pick up powder before applying where I want it to go. Unlike most highlighters this Strobing Duo Highlighter isn’t very metallic nor shimmery at all. It gives that touch of highlight, without very much shine and if that’s the sort of look you prefer, this is the one you want. I like it because I don’t have to worry I’m overdoing the shine.
Catrice Cosmetics High Glow Mineral Highlighting Powder – RM24.90 | €4.99
Also by Catrice Cosmetics, the High Glow Mineral Highlighting Powder is a permanent item and very affordable. I also got this on sale. Bargain! :P Locally, Catrice Cosmetics is only sold at Guardian Pharmacy stores.
The powder comes in a rather flimsy plastic case and the powder is domed, so the packaging isn’t very sleek. The Strobing Duo Highlighter has more sturdy packaging. I do find that this lives up to its name. It does impart a fairly high glow to the skin, so if you are averse to that, use a light hand and a fluffy brush.
I usually just touch my brush to the surface of the powder, because I find that the texture is rather powdery, so it’s very easy to pick up product and as a result, easy to overdo if you aren’t careful. However, with a light hand, and some gentle buffing, it gives skin a nice glow without shine.
The powder comes in only 1 shade I believe, 010 Light Infusion, and it has a decidedly pink tint as opposed to the more flattering champagne tint of Mary-Lou Manizer. On medium to deep skintones, this can risk looking ashy so be warned. I do notice as well, that the shimmer and shine is more pronounced. For the price, I’m not complaining because I do think it does exactly what it says on the lid.
For comparison purposes, here are the swatches for all 3 highlighter powders above on me. I’m fairly light-skinned (generally, the lightest shade in all foundations) with a neutral skin tone.
Of the 3 highlighter powders I’ve showed you, theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer has the warmest tone and the softest texture and is the easiest, I feel, to wear for most people. It is fairly metallic but you can buff it out without sparkles showing. The Catrice High Glow Mineral Highlighting Powder as you can see, has a cooler pink tone and isn’t as smooth. It is also quite shiny and can be buffed out.
If you can get your hands on the limited edition Catrice Strobing Duo Highlighter, it has the least shimmer while allowing you to play with highlighting. It does have a harder texture so you will have to get your brush in there. But you won’t end up with a metallic shine on skin.
Some tips for wearing highlighter
- Use a light hand and buff out the powder – This gives your skin a glow as opposed to a shine
- Less is more – Seriously, don’t over do it. Here in Malaysia, you’d look like you’ve been running a marathon and sweating buckets. Not flattering.
- Only highlight parts of your face – Please don’t trowel on your highlighter all over like you see on YouTube or Instagram. I promise you, in real life, you only need a tiny bit of shine to look “on fleek”
- If your skin tends to oil up, highlighter may not be the best option – Shine on shine isn’t very flattering
- Use a primer before highlighter if you have a problem with noticeable pores or scars – Highlighter can accentuate or highlight what you prefer to keep less noticeable and a primer can help fill in and smoothen skin before you go to town with the shine.
But you know what? Highlighter products aren’t for everyone. I never started using any till fairly recently. Yes I had Mary-Lou Manizer. It didn’t mean I used it LOL! :P Even then, because I have a fairly conservative makeup style, I only use highlighter when I don’t have a lot of other shiny bits on my face, or for the evening, when low-light combined with that touch of candlelit shine on skin can be super flattering. I’d rarely be “on fleek” at any time, so finding some budget and wallet-friendly highlighter options are a boon! I hope these help you if you decide to play around with highlighter powders :D
Do you use highlighter products often? Do you have other budget or wallet-friendly highlighter powders to recommend?
I’d love to know of any other affordable options out there so hit me up with your suggestions. I know you have them! :D