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Get Glowing With These Highlighter Brush Faves

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If you ask us (or any professional makeup artist), highlighter is a must-have makeup staple, no debate. Like a mini spotlight for the best parts of your face, highlighter reflects light around your cheekbones, accentuates your Cupid’s bow, and effortlessly complements your bronzer, concealer, and contouring

But makeup brushes can determine whether it’ll take hours or minutes to apply your product, and highlighter is no exception. That’s why no matter which highlighting product you use–from the thickest cream highlighters to the loosest powder ones–your highlighter brush is key to unlocking a natural-looking, hassle-free highlight. 

And since we've already broken down the top blush brushes and contour brushes to add to your collection, it's high time highlighter brushes get their turn in the limelight, too. To make sure we picked the absolute best brushes there are, we asked our beauty editors for their faves and combed through reviews from the ultimate beauty experts: Ipsters. So sit back, relax, and prepare to get glowing with these highlighter brush heroes.

COMPLEX CULTURE All Over Highlight•Powder Brush

1. Our Pick for Most Luxurious Highlighter Brush:

COMPLEX CULTURE All Over Highlight•Powder Brush

We believe the best makeup brushes should be able to multitask as well as you do, and that's what this amazing highlighter and powder brush does. Featuring unbelievably soft bristles (trust us, we tried ‘em and couldn’t put ‘em down), this brush's fluffy brush head can be used for buffing in your powder highlighter, powder foundation, or translucent powder with practically no effort. It’s ideal for an allover glow or more precise highlighting around any areas that need a pick-me-up, so it’s no wonder our IPSY staffers love it. 

What’s more, COMPLEX CULTURE was founded on the mission to make makeup simple, fun, and accessible (not to mention, sustainable). The eco-friendly handle of this all-purpose powder brush is biodegradable (the first of its kind), and both the handle and brush head are vegan and cruelty-free. It’s also designed to fit snugly into just about any size palm for easy, time-saving use. And, since you can use it for multiple different makeup looks, it cuts down on waste and cost. What more can we say? These makeup brushes will not only help you look amazing, but feel amazing, too.

LUXIE BEAUTY 640 Pro Precision Tapered Brush

2. The Best for Buildable Color:

LUXIE BEAUTY 640 Pro Precision Tapered Brush

Prepare for a highlight so blinding, it can be seen from space–that is, assuming you used this beautiful brush. The narrow, tapered shape of this vegan highlighter brush ensures you brighten up only the highest points of your face (your brow bone, Cupid’s bow, cheekbones, etc.) without fallout or streaking, while still getting the most intense highlighter look possible. However, the fluffy brush head is round and soft enough that you can nail a lightweight, sheer coverage look just as easily–just lightly touch the cruelty-free, synthetic bristles into your powder highlighter, and tap the handle before dusting across your face. You'll get an instant natural glow without the effort. Ipsters loved the soft bristles, with Ipster @rory7676 writing “it’s perfect for my highlight!” and @kienast21 summing up our thoughts perfectly: “This brush is amazing.”

ROYAL & LANGNICKEL MŌDA® Pro Glow Brush

3. The Best for Powder Highlighter:

ROYAL & LANGNICKEL MŌDA® Pro Glow Brush

Fun fact: most highlighter brushes also double as concealer brushes or blending brushes, but few others do it as well as this one. We love it for dusting powder highlighter on top of our cheekbones, but it's also great for blending setting powder, as Ipster @brandimarie69 noted: "I like this brush because it’s great for using as a highlighter brush as well as a powder brush for specific areas (jawline, under eyes)," and "it's not too heavy of a brush, so you get the right amount on your face." The extra-long silicone handle makes this precise application possible, a feature Ipster @terese02 also loved, writing "love the silicone material along the handle. It makes it easier to grip." Plus, the smaller brush head makes it easy to highlight smaller, harder-to-reach areas of your face, or to blend eyeshadow or set your under-eye concealer.

SLMISSGLAM Tapered Face Brush P62

4. The Prettiest Highlighter Brush:

SLMISSGLAM Tapered Face Brush P62

Makeup feeling mundane? Spice it up by adding this sparkly jewel-toned makeup brush to your collection. This face brush's neon bristles and glitter-covered handle make any morning makeup routine ten times more fabulous–but looks alone aren't the only reason to reach for this highlighter brush. The tapered brush head and high-quality synthetic bristles result in a glamorous highlighter application every time. Ipster @china_doll131 loved the cute design, writing “brush was very soft, and was good at picking up powder [and] spread evenly,” while @n_noodle09 similarly loved this “gorgeous brush” for its “very versatile and soft bristles. Can’t get enough of SLMISSGLAM.”  The best part? This brightly-bejeweled brush will never be hard to find when digging through your makeup bag.

BILLION DOLLAR BROWS Fan Brush

5. The Best Multitasking Fan Brush:

BILLION DOLLAR BROWS Fan Brush

Look like a billion bucks with this fan brush from BILLION DOLLAR BROWS. Its densely-packed, charcoal-infused bristles make it a great brush for dusting on highlighter and setting powder. Why charcoal? Charcoal's antimicrobial properties mean you won't have to clean this brush as much–a win for time-pressed beauty lovers everywhere. And, thanks to its angled fan shape, it can work equally well as a blush brush, eyeshadow brush, or even as a contouring brush when you’re in a pinch. “My new favorite brush for both blush and highlight!!” one Ipster said, while another Ipster commented: "I'm blown away learning what a proper fan brush can actually do. It works great for picking up fallout [and] applies highlighter beautifully." Even better, BILLION DOLLAR BROWS' makeup brushes are cruelty-free, vegan, and always high-quality.

SIGMA BEAUTY F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush

6. The Most Durable Highlighter Brush:

SIGMA BEAUTY F35 Tapered Highlighter Brush

The glow-up is real. Especially if you use this makeup artist-approved SIGMA BEAUTY Tapered Highlighter Brush. It’s made with a small, tapered brush head for precise application around your temples, cheekbones, and even the inner corner of your eyes. The synthetic bristles, responsibly-sourced wooden handle, and corrosion-resistant ferrule (the metal part that holds the brush to the handle) are all cruelty-free and long-lasting. Whether you use it as an eye brush to apply your eyeshadow base or to apply your setting powder, you really can't go wrong.

THE BEAUTY CROP Fineapple Highlight Brush F204

7. The Most Fun Highlighter Brush:

THE BEAUTY CROP Fineapple Highlight Brush F204

We’re willing to bet that this fabulous fan brush puts even the most decked-out red carpet gown you’ve ever seen to shame. That’s right–THE BEAUTY CROP Fineapple Highlight Brush F204 is almost as glowy and eye-catching as the highlighter you’ll apply. Vegan and cruelty-free, this synthetic brush can be used with cream highlighter, powder highlighter, and even liquid highlighter without streaking or fallout. It can even be used to apply highlighter all over your body, so go wild and get your glow on everywhere.

OFRA COSMETICS Brush #2 – Nose Highlight & Dusting

8. The Best for Hard-to-Reach Areas:

OFRA COSMETICS Brush #2 – Nose Highlight & Dusting

This angular highlighter brush was designed specifically to highlight those tiny, harder-to-reach places where precise application is key (like the bridge and tip of your nose). The brush head's triangular, slightly-curved shape is not only super unique among highlighter brushes, but it makes it ideal for dusting anywhere you want just a smidge of brightness. And, if crazy-detailed highlighting isn't enough, it also works just as well as a precise contouring brush for when you want to sculpt those same hard-to-reach features, too.

SMASHBOX COSMETICS Precise Highlighting Brush

9. The Best for Cream Highlighter:

SMASHBOX COSMETICS Precise Highlighting Brush

We love ourselves a good cream highlighter, but finding a brush that can apply it well is surprisingly hard. Enter: SMASHBOX COSMETICS Precise Highlighting Brush. The comfortable handle and long, fluffy bristles pick up both cream highlighter and powder highlighter perfectly, for the perfect amount of pigment every time. Sweep it above your eyebrows and tap onto the top of your cheekbones for a truly foolproof glow.

MAKEUP GEEK Cheek Highlighter Brush

10. The Best Highlighter Brush for an Allover Glow:

MAKEUP GEEK Cheek Highlighter Brush

Unlike many of the highlighter brushes we’ve featured on this list, this brush has a flat brush head that's ideal for buffing and stippling your product into your skin. The dense bristles are designed to pick up the ideal amount of cream, liquid, or powder product so your application is quick, easy, and as waste-free as possible. Want to really boost your glow? Mix your liquid foundation and liquid highlighter together, then use this as your foundation brush to get an instant dewy, illuminated makeup look.

Want in on all the Glam Bag fun? Take the beauty quiz now to get started. And don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

About the author
Isabel Miller-Bottome
Ipster, California girl, French beauty product fanatic
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Article Last Updated March 20, 2020 12:00 AM