HIGHLIGHTERS FOR PALE SKIN | Glow for the {Pale} Gods

Even though 2017 is starting to wind down (but whyyyy is Christmas decor in the stores already?!), highlighting is definitely not going out of style any time soon. With that being said, the coming short, cold days crush any hope I have of not being as pale as Casper the Ghost… so here are my favorite highlighters for pale skin with swatches (not in any particular order, including drugstore and high end).



GLOW TO THE GODS! (click product name to shop)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator in Starlight: Let’s get this one out of the way because it’s technically discontinued (WHYYYYYYY!?). These compact highlighters from ABH are amazing and extremely glowy, but it seems they’ve since transitioned to only producing palettes?? If you can get your hands on this or the shade ‘So Hollywood’, I suggest you do.

OFRA Cosmetics Highlighter in Beverly Hills: I picked this up in the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty sale and it is blinding. Wear your sunnies! It’s nice that you get 5 colors in one pan or can mix for a beautiful 6th shade, but for fair skin tones, the deepest 1-2 shades of the “wheel” won’t work alone, you’ll need to mix those with another shade. Regardless, it’s stunning and a little goes a very long way.

theBalm Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter: An oldie but a goodie for me! Mary Lou is a cult classic for a reason, with a lovely pale champagne color that works on the face, eyes, collar bone, etc. I find that you can build this one up or sheer it out, a perfect formula for anyone really.

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Champagne POP: This shade was originally created by Jaclyn Hill but has since become part of BECCA’s permanent line. It works well on my fair skin, but if you are a little bit more fair, then try Moonstone, and if you are extremely fair, try Pearl (which is almost a white highlight). This formula is super creamy, soft and pigmented, truly beautiful on the skin. But fair warning, being a somewhat soft pressed formula, the pans can break easily, so don’t drop it!


Laura Geller Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminators: Everyone talks about Gilded Honey (that highlighter alone blew up the Laura Geller brand to household name), but not enough credit is given to the other shades which are better suited to fair skin (Peach Glow is my favorite!). I honestly love these, and as they’re a baked formula, you can wear them dry or wet the brush for a truly intense highlight.

ColourPop Super Shock Highlighter in Flexitarian: I raved about this in my Drugstore Must Haves blog and it’s one I have to try not to reach for every day, I love it so much. (And it’s cheap!) You can apply these lightly for a more subtle glow, or pile it on to crank up the wattage. All Super Shock formula products were designed to be applied with your fingers, but I apply it with a damp beauty sponge, to make the highlight melt into my skin.

Marc Jacobs Glow Stick in Spotlight: This is the most silly looking package of all… and yet AWESOME. It looks like a mini deodorant but the shade is gorgeous for fair skin. It’s a bit more sheer than ColourPop Flexitarian for example, but oh so lovely. I don’t recommend applying directly from the stick, for some reason that always disturbs my foundation??

Benefit Watt’s Up: Everyone RAVESSSSS about this champagne gold cream highlight and it’s true, it’s super pretty! The formula is more of a cream to powder feel, so it dries down nicely if you want to avoid a wet highlight. It takes forever to get through, so I’ve never actually had to purchase it… hellooooo Sephora point perk freebies!


Essence Pure Nude Highlighter: This is the PERFECT subtle “look at that naturally glowing skin” kind of highlighter. I can’t begin to express just how perfect this is if you’re not into megawatt highlights, or you want a natural glow. Seriously, it’s under $5 and truly reminds me of so many more expensive brands.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders: These are less “beaming highlight” and more “subtle glow” (they do have their Strobe Powders for a bit more glow). I love these, and so many companies try to compare but just never are exactly as perfect. A must have for Bridal looks, photoshoots or even daily life. Take the time to go swatch these at a Sephora and see how they just make your skin look so healthy and luminous.

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter in Moonlight Pearls: This is a highlight that everyone in the beauty community seems to know about but doesn’t mention regularly! It truly is gorgeous and can be built up to look blinding. It looks champagne in the pan but comes across very light when built up. Another baked product so you really can make it shine even more with a wet brush.

e.l.f. Shimmer Highlighting Powder in Pearl Glow: Pearl Glow came out after the initial launch of the e.l.f. Shimmer Highlighters and for whatever reason, the formula of this particular shade is worlds above the next deepest (I only own those two lightest shades so I can’t compare otherwise). It’s sooo buttery, smooth, and a super high bling pigment that doesn’t emphasize any texture or sit awkwardly on my skin. (FYI I found the other shade I have to be more chunky/glittery?? Weird.)

Jeffree Star Skin Frost in Peach Goddess: Ok, Jeffree Star rubs me the wrong way… but darn it this is a gorgeous highlighter! I picked it up for more than 50% off or else I wouldn’t have (seriously, such a click bait YouTuber, ugh) but it’s truly super glowy. I have to use it sparingly so I don’t go overboard! The nice thing with that is seeing how huge the pan size is, I’ll have this gorgeous highlight for years.


Tarte Amazonian Clay Highlighter in Exposed: This is the only shade of the single Tarte highlighters which I like, and let me tell you… I FRICKIN’ LOVE IT! The other shades of single highlighters are kind of mehhhh… the formula doesn’t feel the same?? Exposed though is magically perfect for my fair skin at any time of year, even when I have a bit of a tan or am more pale. (FYI, the Tarte PRO Glow To Go Palette has two gorgeous highlight shades as well.)

Wet N Wild Megaglo Highlighters: These broke the internet. Ok, the wet n wild website, but still!! I have and love Precious Petals, and these Megaglo highlighters are some of the most lux feeling drugstore highlighters around. There are also new shades out which are stunning! I need to order Blossom Glow and Golden Flower Crown for my pale self.

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Powder in Candlelight: This is a very high end price for a gorrrrrgeous glow. There are definitely alternatives for less on the market but I just love the Kevyn Aucoin formula, subtle payoff, and ohhhh that packaging. I’m such a sucker for packaging!

Artist Couture Diamond Glow Powder in Illuminati: This one is NOT for the faint of heart. I’ve basically saved the most shiny for last but it’s beautiful! All of the Diamond Glow Powders are intense, almost too much for an everyday look. But I’ve found that they really are lovely to have in your collection if you’re a makeup artist or lover. If not really experienced, the loose highlighter is a bit difficult and/or messy to work with, but the payoff is gorgeous.


Ok guys, that’s it for now, although I could probably recommend glowing glittery gems for daysssss. I’d love to know your favorites too, let me know in the comments. Be sure to subscribe and follow all of my fun social links around here, and please share if you loved this post! Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel too: Meeghan Dunleavy

Xoxo, Meeghan 

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