16 highlighters that leave your skin looking dewy and healthy—never glittery

These days, when you think of highlighter, you probably picture what we’ll call, for lack of a better term, the Instagram glow. That is, a strip of powder highlight in some sort of metallic, holographic, or pearlescent shade, usually applied at the end of a makeup routine—after contouring and baking.

There’s nothing wrong with that type of hyper-glow, but it’s not for everyone. And it’s certainly not meant to emulate a natural sheen that just hits the high points of the face, making you look healthy and glowy. But sometimes, that natural look is all we want. If you’re looking for a subtle, dewy sheen this summer, we’ve picked out 16 of the best glossy highlighters out there, ranging from $4 (yes, really!) to $62.

Shop our glossy highlighter picks below, and get ready to glow—naturally.

1NYX Cosmetics Dose of Dew Face Gloss

Glossy highlighters - NYX Cosmetics

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The name says it all—there’s nothing shimmery or sparkly about this gorgeous highlighter.

2Kevyn Aucoin Glass Glow Face Liquid Highlighter

Glossy highlighters -- Kevyn Aucoin

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A real OG—you can’t go wrong with this pick.

3M.A.C. Cosmetics Mixing Medium Shine

Glossy Highlighters - M.A.C Cosmetics

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Makeup artists often mix this with eyeshadow or other pigment to create a glossy finish, but we love it on its own as a subtle highlighter.

4Make Beauty Face Gloss

Glossy highlighters - Make Beauty

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Totally colorless and fragrance-free.

5Milk Makeup Hydrating Oil

Milk Makeup

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Okay, so this isn’t technically a highlighter, but it’s one of the best (and most hydrating) ways to get a subtle shine.

6Nudestix Skin Glossing Pencil


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Easy to apply, not a hint of shimmer in sight, and can be used all over—there’s nothing we don’t like about this glossing pencil.

7Glossier Haloscope

Glossier Haloscope

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It’s basically an Instagram celebrity—and for good reason.

8Marc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator

Marc Jacobs Beauty

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Don’t let the color fool you—this cream stick is perfect for creating a wet-looking sheen.

9E.l.f. Cosmetics Liquid Highlighter

e.l.f. liquid highlighter

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A little goes a long way, so just a couple of dots on each cheek will do the trick.

10Giorgio Armani Beauty Fluid Sheer

Giorgio Armani Beauty

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Yes, the price tag is steep, but this will always be one of our faves.

11Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

Charlotte Tilbury

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This primer/highlighter/foundation hybrid has been a game-changer since its launch.

12Ciaté London Dewy Stix Luminous Highlighting Balm

Ciaté London highlighter

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Perfect for travel.

13Kjaer Weis Highlighter

Kjaer Weis

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So subtle and pretty—and it comes in refillable packaging!

14Tata Harper Very Highlighting

Tata Harper

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You’ll love this cream formula and its natural-looking dewy effect.

15ohii Soft Glow Highlighter


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It may not look it in the packaging, but this delivers one seriously natural-looking glow.

16VDL Lumilayer All-Over Stick


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Use this balm all over your face for a wet-looking finish you’ll be obsessed with.

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