This post may contain affiliate links, but opinions are 100% my own. Clicking these links costs you nothing, and you are helping to keep this blog running! See my Legal Stuff page for more info.
Can you believe there’s only one more month of summer left? I love having summer glow skin and a great tan, and I plan to extend that as long as I can into fall and winter! (And don’t forget your sunscreen! Read about my favorite sunscreens for oily skin here.)
To compliment my tan, I love using these products to make my face GLOW. It’s so easy to add some bronzey color and illuminate your skin. Today, I’m sharing my favorite ways to get summer glowy skin with little time and effort, and the products I use to do it.
Summer Glow Skin: How To Get It
There are 3 types of highlighters that are all easy to use and can get you a mega-glow! Keep reading for product reviews and recommendations. I included both high end and drugstore priced products!
This is my favorite way to get a beautiful glow because it’s SO easy and no brush or sponge is needed. I simply add a few drops to my foundation or BB cream and mix it together before applying. You can also mix it with primer or moisturizer. You don’t have to worry about accidentally overapplying in one spot, and it looks very natural. Then, if I want extra sparkle, I’ll dab a little bit extra on my cheekbones or bridge. Here are some glowing options for liquid illuminators:
This is my FAVORITE highlighting product, and I use it almost every day with my foundation. I’m obsessed! I bought a mini set (usually they release one around the holidays) to sample different shades, and Rose Gold is my favorite. It gives me an amazing bronze glow!
It’s subtle enough for work, but you can build it up and strobe out for a glam nighttime look. I really love this and already thinking about repurchasing when I run out. Try this, and you’ll see why it has over 1000 positive reviews on Sephora!
This gives you a very natural, subtle, dewy glow. If you don’t want too much sparkle or shimmer, you’ll love this. Personally, I like a little bit more oomph, but not everyone wants a ton of shimmer. It comes in seven different shades, and adds a slight tint to even out your skin tone.
The finish is dewy, so oily skinned gals may not like that. I think this is perfect for someone with normal to dry skin though. If you have good skin and don’t need foundation, you could probably wear this on its own and it would look beautiful too!
This highlighter has a creamy, easy to apply texture. The finish is pretty dry to the touch and not sticky at all, which I really like. This is a good option if you have oily skin. I love the Solstice color, which has a pink/rose gold tint. So pretty!
This a great alternative if you find the Cover FX drops too pricey! There is a cooler tone (Daybreak) and a warmer tone (Golden Hour) to suit different looks!
I love NYX cosmetics, partially because they always have great color selections. This highlighter comes in light and dark shades to suit many skintones! I love Gleam, which is a peachy rose gold. It’s quite on the shimmery side, so keep that in mind if you want more subtle sparkle.
This highlighter is soo pretty and pigmented, and super affordable too! You’ll definitely get the high shine and glow you’re looking for. I think this is a fantastic alternative to the Cover FX drops. What I really like is the unique shade range. Some standouts for me include the iridescent Unicorn Elixir, the lilac Ethereal, and the unique green tinted Mermaid’s Scales.
This is great if you want to touch up during the day, because they’re very portable and easy to apply. Also travel-friendly! Just swipe onto your cheekbones and bridge, and blend with your fingertips. There are so many great options, from those that dry down to a powder finish and won’t smudge, to ones with a dewy finish.
I’m a big fan of Rihanna’s style and I must say, her makeup products are truly impressive! I really love the versatile Match Stix, which I use on my cheeks, eyes, AND lips. The finish is an awesome cream-to-powder that won’t mess up your foundation underneath. (Tip: once you apply, blend it quickly because it’ll dry down fast!).
If you want to try Match Stix but don’t want to commit to a full-priced product, try the Lil Match Stix Duo. This mini set comes with Starstruck (iced out pearl) and Sinamon (cinnamon bronze). I have a lighter skin tone (MAC NC25) and was worried the Sinamon would be too bronzey, but it looks great when I blend it out. Love it!
When the unicorn, holographic makeup trend hit, I was an instant fan. I mean, shimmery, rainbow makeup?? YES! Milk Makeup’s Holographic Stick was one of the first holographic products I bought. I like it, but it’s more of a cooler tone. Their sister product highlighter stick is what you want for that golden, summer skin glow! The stick applies easily, but I would be aware that it doesn’t dry down completely. The finish is slightly tacky, not powdery. If you are applying over matte foundation and powder, it may disturb your makeup a little. If you don’t wear foundation and only tinted moisturizer or BB creams, this would be a great option for quick, blendable application!
When I think about the OG highlighter, multi-purpose product, I think of NARS The Multiple. There’s a reason why this is a staple in many ladies’ NARS collection! NARS is famous for their beautiful, shimmery blush shades like Orgasm, so you know their colors are on point. I love the peach champagne color of Hot Sand (limited edition!), and of course the classic peach pink shimmer of Orgasm!
The large stick is easy to apply if you’re a beginner. The formula is easy to blend with your fingers (especially if you’re on the go) or you can blend with a brush as well. Many reviewers like the buildable coverage that really gives you a “blinding strobe”!
There are a dozen colors to choose from, so you can have a highlighter for every look! Some of the other shades are more of a blush color. This has a cream consistency that blends well into the skin to look very natural. As with other highlighting sticks, they may perform better when applied on bare skin or just some tinted moisturizer/BB cream. If you wear foundation and powder, I think it might cake up and mess up your foundation.
Pressed Powder Highlighter
These are versatile because you can use a fluffy brush to dust over your entire face, or a small blush brush to dust on your cheeks, bridge, etc. A lot of them can also be used wet to get a really dramatic glow!
This is my absolute favorite, everyday highlighting powder. It’s subtle enough to dust over your whole face, which gives you a lit-from-within glow. It’s pretty expensive, but the powders are quite large and you get a lot of product. The powder is incredibly soft, and milled so fine that you look super natural. I love this so much I bought the Ambient Light Palette. But you could always buy the mini size to try it out first, which is less than half the price and you still get a good amount of product! There are 6 super natural shades to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong with any!
My first Becca items was one of these pressed highlighters in Champagne Pop. I admit, my Becca highlighter is several years old now, but I still kept it because it’s so beautiful! I really love the shade range, which includes soft tangerine Dreamsicle and the lavender duo-chrome Prismatic Amethyst. Becca products are really high quality, and these highlighters are no exception. The powder is so fine that it feels creamy, and leaves you with a beautiful finish that isn’t glittery. Definitely some sexy, grown up highlighter! These also come in mini sizes so you can try it out first!
It doesn’t get any better than this. I love Fenty Beauty’s highlighters so much. The duos are great because you not only get more bang for your buck, but one color is more subtle for day and the other is great if you want to up the shimmer and color for night. The shade Trophy Wife is just the ultimate gold highlighter, it’s an in your face, shine like the diva you are gold!
This costs a bit more for your average drugstore brand, but you get two colors for one! It’s a good substitute if you don’t wanna splurge on the Fenty Beauty Killawatt duos. You can choose from a lighter or darker shade palette. This powder contains diamond powder to blur imperfections and really give you that summer glow skin. Sparkle on!
For around $3, this e.l.f highlighter is some super glowy stuff. It’s such a good deal, as you’ll see from the 1000s of reviews. It comes in three pretty shades and you can use it dry for a more subtle look, or wet for a more dramatic look! There is quite a bit of shimmer, for all you glitter queens out there!
Anything chrome or metallic, I pretty much love! This Maybelline Chrome Highlighter comes in super pretty rose gold and gold colors. You can get that molten metal, almost wet look with this powder! Great if you want a look that really stands out!
This affordable highlighter comes in a variety of shades, including pretty holographic colors (above left). You can totally try multiple shades at such a great price!
These affordable highlighters are excellent dupes for Fenty Beauty highlighters. The shade 60 Watt is almost a dead ringer for Fenty’s Trophy Wife Killawatt Highlighter (check out a comparison review here)! I love gold highlighters, and L.A. Girl offers a wide range of golds, from dark coppery gold to lighter, cooler gold.