You either love highlighting, or you don't. Read through to see comparing a liquid, stick and powder highlighter and how they perform!

I feel like highlighting is one of those products / parts of your routine where you’re either REALLY INTO IT, or… you’re not. I happen to be in that weird stage of “I used to LOVE highlight but I’m slowly making my way towards a bronzed look because I’m a sucker for summer trends.”

And then I found some highlighters (a few that I got recently) and noticed that not all highlighters are made alike, particularly in form.

This would probably be more effective if I also had three different brands to talk about, especially for the liquid highlighter since Colourpop came out with a whole line of crystal liquid highlighters, but hindsight is 20/20 right?


I should mention that I have the travel sized version of this, so when I talk about packaging, it might not be true for the full sized version. I say that because I like the applicator: a flat wand that makes application easy.

I wrote a first impressions post on this saying that I preferred this to the pressed powder version since they’re in the same color, but my tune is changing as I use it more and more.

To me, this isn’t so much a highlighter as it is something to add dewiness and radiance to your face. While it is highlighting, it’s a very different result than using a pressed powder—using a liquid formula gives a more subtle glow. However, this means that it’s not as buildable unless you’re using it as a foundation for other products.

This would be a great base for a pressed powder version on top.

Note: even though I have this is in the same color as the pressed powder (opal) I find this one looks more pinkish on my light/medium toned skin. It’s hard to notice since I use it more as a base and less as a standalone highlight, but side by side with the powder it’s easier to see and worth a mention.


Like the Spotlight Wand, I found this stick to give a very subtle application.

You can either directly apply the stick to your face, which is easy but not very sanitary, or use your finger and warm up the product before applying. I’ve tried both, and the results are similar. This is quite buildable (although if you’re applying with your fingers it might take some time to get there) and easy to blend out.

This definitely does not give you the dewy finish of the Spotlight Wand, but it’s still great as a base for further highlight if you want a more popping look.

In general, I feel like stick formulas tend to give more subtle applications. I’ve noticed that whenever I see swatches of Glossier’s Haloscopes, it can take quite a bit of warming up the product to give a stronger highlight. (I’ve never tried the Haloscopes myself, so I’m not entirely sure though… I find Rose Quartz very similar looking to my Maybelline in pictures though, so I think that kind of put me off for now).


And now to the powders, the most popular form of highlighters, ranging from a subtle “lit from within” to blinding “in yo face” looks.

The first time I used this, I applied with my fingers, which let more glitter through than I wanted so I didn’t like the use of this as a face highlighter. Still, because this swatched really well on my fingers, I thought it might be more appropriate as an eyeshadow or inner corner highlight where I could pat on the pigmentation in a smaller area.

However, with a sponge (I’m using the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge) you get way more pigmentation out of it. It becomes more buildable, for either a subtle wash of glow or something a little more blinding.

And as the color leans more towards a gold, champagne as opposed to the pink hues my two previous highlighters do, I find this one more suitable for summer.

What’s your favorite type of highlighter?

On a side note, I watched Spiderman! I haven’t been to the movies in forever, let alone seen a recent movie in who knows how long, so I’m excited to be in the know. I thought it was pretty funny; very lighthearted compared to the previous Spiderman. Have any of you watched it? Let me know if you have, if you liked it or not!

  • I have a huge collection of highlighters, cream, liquid and powder. Depending on the day, I will use cream and then top it up with powder so my highlighter lasts longer.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

    • Sam

      oh nice! That’s a good way to get some extra shine too, I imagine!

  • Nice post💞

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  • I need to try that Becca wand! I love my pressed powder so much!

    Have an awesome day!

    xx Kris


    • Sam

      You definitely should!

  • I am obsessed with the Becca highlighter, both the powder and the liquid. I got the travel sized version as well at Ulta, and they are literally my holy grail. A poppin highlight is what I love to complete a look, and the Becca one really makes a lit from within sort of glow. I definitely know what you mean about it being really strongly glittery and pigmented when using a finger, but I find that using a fan brush really helps!

    ~Andrea Tiffany~

    • Sam

      Oh, I’ll have to try a fan brush! Since I got the Real Techniques sponges I’ve taken a break from brushes but sometimes it’s hard to get a more precise application of highlighter with a sponge, especially in places like under the brow bone.

  • I actually prefer cream and liquid highlighters. I have dry skin and I find they work better, without looking cakey and obvious. I also prefer the fact that they give off a sheen, so it all looks like part of your skincare x

    Velvet Blush

    • Sam

      Yes, I really do like how beautifully the liquid sits on my skin!

  • Lovely post! I’m not a big fan of highlighters and tend to leave it out on most days but for nights out I opt for a more lit from within look and apply the benefit watts up highlighter under neath my foundation x Sam

    Sam Hodgett || Beauty, Food & Lifestyle

    • Sam

      Oh, I’ve never tried putting on highlight underneath my foundation, that would be something to try!