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8 Best Highlighters for Mature Skin That Will Get You Glowing, According to Makeup Pros

Plus, application tips that help turn back the clock even more

If you’ve noticed that your skin is looking dull with age, there’s a makeup product that can help restore luminosity in just a few swipes. Enter: Highlighter. This shimmery product is applied to the high points of your face, giving skin a youthful glow in seconds. But if you’ve never used it before, you might be wondering what is the best highlighter for mature skin. So we turned to top makeup artists for all you need to know when it comes to highlighter and their favorite ones to use. Read on to discover the formula that will take your skin from dull to dazzling in a flash.

What is highlighter?

swatches of highlighter
Gaelle Beller Studio / Getty

Highlighter comes in several formats — it can be a liquid, cream or powder formula. And it’s used to highlight the high planes of the face like the top of cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the forehead, chin and cupid’s bow. “These products are usually lighter than your skin tone and [are] shimmery or pearlescent,” says makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci. Plus, while this might seems like a newer makeup product, it actually dates back to the 1920s and was originally used in silent films to accentuate actors’ features under harsh studio lighting.

Related: Underpainting Makeup Is the Latest Beauty Trend That Makes Mature Skin Look Smooth, Flawless and Youthful

The benefits of highlighter

As for the benefits of highlighter, it brings attention to the spot of the face it’s where applied. “It can also amplify shapes on the face, making wherever it’s applied look more rounded and three-dimensional by catching the light,” says celebrity makeup artist Tomy Rivero. Ciucci agrees, adding that “highlighter brings depth to the face and makes you look like you’re glowing from within.”

Why women over 50 should use highlighter

With age, our skin produces less natural oil that keeps skin hydrated and looking luminous. So adding a light-reflecting product to your makeup routine instantly enlivens a lackluster complexion. “Women over 50 can use highlighter to bring back the ‘juicy’ fresh-from-a-facial look especially if they are using powder products to set their makeup or as a makeup base,” adds Rivero.

Also, the aging effects of gravity and a slow in collagen production each year can make features like eyes and cheeks look droopy or saggy. But sweeping on highlighter onto the top of cheekbones and along the brow bone help direct focus upward, which optically lifts features with it to offset droopiness.

Related: Celebrity Makeup Artists: The 8 Best Blushes for Mature Skin That Make You Glow

How to pick the best highlighter for mature skin

Mature woman applying the best highlighter for mature skin

If you have fair skin, Ciucci recommends choosing pinky-pearly shades to complement the rosiness in skin. For medium to olive skin tones, she suggests picking champagne or soft peach highlighters that enhance the warmth in skin. And for dark skin, she advises choosing a bronze or rosy-bronze highlighter to avoid the shade from looking ashy against skin.

As far as formula, it’s personal preference whether you like to use a liquid/cream or powder highlighter. Liquid or cream formulas tend to sit better on mature skin and not settle into fine lines or wrinkles, but powder formulas can be equally as flattering. Just “stay away from chunky glitters or really frosted metallic finishes,” says Rivero. Instead, opt for more of a high-shine cream format with a hint of color. Think peachy, rosy or neutral tones. “It should look like a second skin, not another makeup product applied over your foundation,” he notes. 

How to apply highlighter for mature skin

When using a cream or liquid formula, Ciucci says that it’s best to use a sponge or, better yet, your fingers to apply. “Using your ring finger — your softest digit — tap to blend the cream under your brow bone, atop the cheekbones, the inner corners of your eyes, down the bridge of your nose and your cupid’s bow,” she advises. Rivero adds that it can be helpful to use the back of your hand to warm up the product before apply to the face. This will help it sink into skin better.

For powder highlighters, dust them onto skin with a fluffy makeup brush. And if you go a bit overboard with highlighter, don’t fret! “Take a clean tissue and blot lightly over these places for a more skin-like finish that looks radiant and fresh,” notes Rivero. 

Watch the below video from @NinaUbhi1 on YouTube for more tips on how to apply highlighter.

The best highlighter for mature skin

Keep scrolling to see the luminous products that our pros say are among the best highlighter for mature skin and are sure to make you shine.

The best drugstore highlighters for mature skin

Maybelline Facestudio Master Strobing Stick

Maybelline Facestudio Master Strobing Stick (Buy from Amazon, $9.99)

Highlighter is a great product to buy at the drugstore as there are several wallet-friendly ones to test out. One that Ciucci recommends is this one by Maybelline. The $10 illuminator is easy to apply, thanks to its stick format, and comes in light and medium shades that work for a range of skin tones.

Product image of e.l.f. cosmetics Halo Glow Highlighter Beauty Wand, one of the best highlighter for mature skin
e.l.f. Cosmetics

e.l.f. cosmetics Halo Glow Highlighter Beauty Wand (Buy from e.l.f. Cosmetics, $9)

For another ultra affordable option, Rivero likes this liquid highlighter. It comes in three beautiful shades and even boasts skincare benefits. That’s because it’s infused with squalane that deeply hydrates so it looks glowing even after makeup is removed.

The best powder highlighters for mature skin

Product image of Makeup by Mario Soft Glow Highlighter Powder, one of the best highlighter for mature skin
Makeup by Mario

Makeup by Mario Soft Glow Highlighter Powder (Buy from Sephora, $34)

If you prefer using a powder highlighter, Rivero recommends this one from Makeup by Mario. This illuminator comes in five gorgeous shades and has a shimmery finish that gives you a beautiful lit-from-within glow.

Product image of Rare Beauty Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter
Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty Positive Light Silky Touch Highlighter (Buy from Sephora, $25)

Ciucci likes this Rare Beauty highlighter that doesn’t look heavy on skin. This often sold-out formula comes in four shades and gives your skin an instant glass-like finish that lasts.

The best liquid highlighters for mature skin

Product image of Charlotte Tilbury Glowgasm Beauty Light Wand, one of the best highlighters for mature skin
Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Glowgasm Beauty Light Wand (Buy from Sephora, $42)

This cult-favorite liquid highlighter is a favorite of Ciucci’s. And it’s actually a blush and highlighter all-in-one product that comes in seven shades and is buildable for an instant glow that’s super simple to apply. Just dot the product onto cheekbones and blend it with a sponge or fingertips.

Product image of Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight, one of the best highlighter for mature skin
Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight (Buy from Sephora, $25)

Rivero is also a fan of Rare Beauty, but in particular their liquid highlighter. Available in eight shades, this TikTok-viral highlighter imparts a candlelit glow to skin and is easily blendable, thanks to its liquid formula.

Best splurge highlighters for mature skin

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Cream Contour Duo
Tom Ford/Sephora

Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Cream Contour Duo (Buy from Sephora, $90)

If you have the budget, Ciucci says that this contour duo from Tom Ford is well worth it. The cream formula boasts light-diffusing pearls for a three-dimensional luminosity. And it also contains moringa and passion fruit oils, along with ginger extract to nourish skin at the same time.

Product image of Westman Atelier Lit Up Glow Highlighter Stick
Westman Atelier

Westman Atelier Lit Up Glow Highlighter Stick (Buy from Sephora, $48)

This splurge-worthy stick highlighter is beloved by many including Rivero. The stick applicator is ideal for creating skin that looks dewy and with a somewhat wet sheen as opposed to shimmer. It’s available in three beautiful neutral shades that work for all skin tones.

For more of our favorite beauty tricks and products, click through these stories:

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