How beauty-obsessed are you?
This will help us personalize your experience.

13 Non-Glittery Highlighters for a Glow Without the Fuss


There’s a time and a place for glitter. We reserve the glitzy particles for a night out with the girls, or a holiday party. But for every day, we’re always looking for the best highlighters that give a lit-from-within glow sans glitter. Because while glitter is fun on our nails and eyes, and sometimes even our lips, a chunky glitter particle on our cheekbones can feel a little too dramatic for daily life.

Luckily, there are numerous non-glittery highlighters that give off a more wearer-friendly and natural-looking glow, from subtle to high-beam, and for all skin tones and undertones. Below, 13 of our favorites to help you get your glow on.

1. NEEN Pretty Shiny Highlighter in Metta

NEEN Pretty Shiny Highlighter in Metta

We can’t get enough of this multi-use cream highlighter! When you need a little extra glow, just apply it anywhere on your body. Its formula isn’t sticky or oily, so you have enough time to apply and blend it to the finish you want. What’s also great about this highlighter is that it’s perfect for even those with dry skin, because it can be mixed into your everyday body moisturizer for a mega glow-up.

2. CHARLOTTE TILBURY Beauty Light Wand


This liquid highlighter is a cult-favorite for the way it adds a gorgeous radiance to any complexion. That’s because there are six pearlescent shades, ranging from the nude-pink liquid highlighter Pillow Talk, to the prismatically pearlescent Pinkgasm. Bonus: some shades double as a glowy blush!

3. HOURGLASS Ambient™ Lighting Palette

HOURGLASS Ambient™ Lighting Palette
Courtesy of HOURGLASS

Have you ever noticed that certain ambient lighting situations, such as the softened glow of a romantic restaurant, can be quite flattering? This is what HOURGLASS tries to capture with this ultra-coveted highlighter palette, which contains three powder highlighters that mimic flattering light sources: Dim Light (a neutral peach beige powder), Incandescent Light (an opalescent pearl powder), and Radiant Light (a golden beige/tan). We love how these shades are meant to mimic the effect on real skin, so results are subtle and not meant to be noticeable with the naked eye.

4. M·A·C COSMETICS Extra Dimension Skinfinish

M·A·C COSMETICS Extra Dimension Skinfinish
Courtesy of M·A·C COSMETICS

This liquid-powder highlighter is so creamy, we couldn’t believe it starts off in powder form. Each of the seven shades are meant to sculpt and highlight your face, bringing your best features forward. The best part? The glow lasts up to 10 hours, so you can dance the night away.

5. FENTY BEAUTY Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter

FENTY BEAUTY Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter
Courtesy of FENTY BEAUTY

What makes FENTY BEAUTY’s cream-powder highlighters so versatile is that many have two shades in one compact. Apply the soft, subtle side or the supercharged pearlescent option — or both layered together, for the prettiest glow. If you’re looking for the best highlighter for darker skin, leave it to FENTY BEAUTY to have more than one eye-catching option perfect for deeper tones.

6. GLOSSIER Haloscope

GLOSSIER Haloscope
Courtesy of GLOSSIER

An OG fave, GLOSSIER’s highlighter stick has a strobe effect with a light dewy finish. That’s thanks to the inner core shade in each of the three colorways. The stick’s outer core is formulated with genuine crystal extracts (really!) for a glitter-free glow, while the solid oil-based inner core is made from skincare-like ingredients like vitamin E and fatty acids. Blended together, this creates a moisturizer that gives you that natural-looking luminosity.

7. NARS Highlighting Powder

NARS Highlighting Powder
Courtesy of NARS

With its silky feel and dewy finish, you’d think this NARS highlighter was a liquid. The lightweight powder melts onto your skin and looks as if you’re not wearing makeup and are just sporting seriously succulent skin. Each of the six shades contains sheer powders and pearls to give that satin-soft finish you crave. We’re obsessed with how it’s also super buildable, so you can layer on for a little extra luminosity when you need it.

8. RMS BEAUTY Luminizer

RMS BEAUTY Luminizer
Courtesy of RMS BEAUTY

If you’re looking for more of a subtle radiance to complete your perfect no-makeup makeup look, you’ve found it in RMS’s ultra-sheer highlighter. There are six light-reflective, dewy shades that leave skin looking glowy and feeling nourished. We can thank the additions of organic coconut and castor seed oils for that.

9. SMASHBOX <3 Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter

SMASHBOX <3 Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter
Courtesy of SMASHBOX

When BECCA went out of business, taking its cult-fave highlighter with it, SMASHBOX came along and snatched up the brand’s holy grail products —including this pressed shimmer. Now, you can grab the ultra-creamy highlighter in its new home. It still delivers the same gorgeous glow you remember in iconic shades such as Champagne Pop and Moonstone.

10. E.L.F. Baked Highlighter

E.L.F. Baked Highlighter
Courtesy of E.L.F.

This baked highlighter is often called a dupe for its pricier counterparts, but we think it’s unique all on its own. The pigmented shades provide a shimmer finish that outshines its low price point on the high points of the face. We like it across our brow bone and cupid’s bow, as well as the inner corners of our eyes for an allover glowy skin look.

11. RARE BEAUTY Positive Light Liquid Luminizer

RARE BEAUTY Positive Light Liquid Luminizer
Courtesy of RARE BEAUTY

Like its cult-fave blush, you only need a dab of RARE BEAUTY’s liquid highlighter for the ultimate glow. The eight shades are intensely pigmented. Mix one into your foundation or concealer for a more subtle glow, or apply the superfine, light-catching pearlescent formula right to the cheeks. Because it’s crease-free and longwearing, we even like swiping it across our lids as a shimmer eyeshadow.

12. WET N WILD BEAUTY MegaGlo Highlighting Powder

WET N WILD BEAUTY MegaGlo Highlighting Powder

There are six shades of this creamy powder illuminator, making it mesmerizing for all areas of the face. Try a deeper shade as a shimmery bronzer and a rosier hue for a glowy blush. The micro-fine pearl pigments ensure easy blending and maximum versatility.

13. DANESSA MYRICKS Dew Wet Balm in Rose Water

DANESSA MYRICKS Dew Wet Balm in Rose Water

Dull skin? Not if this glow-giving balm has anything to say about it. Packed with hydrating and highlighting goodness, it’s like a refreshing drink of water for your face and body. The lightweight formula effortlessly melts into your skin, leaving you with a rosy pink glass-skin finish whether you wear it with makeup or not.

Want in on all the IPSY fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own beauty subscription. Already a member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

Like this article? Share it with your friends by clicking the icons below!

About the author
Elizabeth Denton
Elizabeth is a freelance beauty writer. Previously, she was a beauty & fashion editor at Time Out New York, Seventeen, & Allure. She has more than a decade of experience in the beauty and fashion world, writing for Nylon, StyleCaster, Cosmopolitan & more.
Share Article
Article Last Updated November 6, 2023 12:00 AM