No makeup junkie's collection is complete without a top-notch highlighter. Whether a powder version for sweeping across your cheekbones for a luminous glow or a cream formula to tap onto your eyelids for a dewy, glossy finish, highlighters are the multi-use staple every makeup kit needs. But navigating the many highlighting creams, powders and sticks on the market right now is no easy (or inexpensive) task — which is why we scoured the drugstore shelves to find out which wallet-friendly formulas actually hold up.
When choosing a highlighter, makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci first considers its texture. "I tend to lean toward using cream highlighters, because they mimic the skin's natural texture and can be built into the most natural or glam of looks," she explains. Cream highlighters should be applied pre-setting powder, says Ciucci, by tapping lightly with your ring finger.
"However, a powder highlight does have its time and place: I use them on clients who want a more full-makeup look," says Ciucci. "I suggest blending a powder highlighter with a fan brush, after you've set your foundation."
But whether you've gravitated toward a cream or a powder, as a general rule of thumb, Ciucci recommends concentrating the pigment only on the high planes of your face to avoid creating an overall effect of greasiness.
Ahead, we rounded up the 11 best drugstore highlighters — along with a few of Ciucci's absolute favorites — all of which happen to cost $16 or less.
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