So: highlighters. Can someone just quickly explain to me why on earth I keep on buying the things? 

I mean, I know it’s not that I actually USE them: or not often, anyway. See, highlighters and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship, in that I love them, but they hate me. No matter how carefully I apply them, most highlighters leave my already-shiny skin looking even shinier than it was before, which is never a good look, really. I always think they’re going to give me a “healthy glow”, but they actually just make my face look like a disco ball: shame.

Even so, I just keep on buying the things, and I know they’re one of those beauty products that people with pale skin sometimes struggle to find, so here are three I’ve found that are perfect for the pale-skinned…

3 highlighters for pale skin

From top- bottom, we have…  01. Makeup Revolution Highlighter in Pink Lights, 02. Benefit High Beam  03. NARS Illuminator in ‘Copacabana’

And here’s what they look like on:

highlighter for pale skin: swatches

Just to keep you on your toes, I’m going to switch up the order I show you these, and talk about the one I’ve been using longest first. Step forward, Benefit High Beam!

Benefit High Beam - highlighter for pale skin

Benefit High Beam

I’ve been using High Beam for years now – and I do actually use it, too, as opposed to simply buying it and then leaving it in a drawer, like I’ve done with too many other highlighters to count. It’s a pale, pinkish colour, which I find works perfectly on my skin, and a tiny dot goes a long way, too, so although it’s not the cheapest highlighter out there, it’ll last you a very long time. Well, unless you’re absolutely dousing yourself in it, obviously, which… just don’t do that, OK?

Actually, although this is a great highlighter for pale skin, it works pretty well on other skintones, too. My mum, for instance, has an olive-toned complexion, and when I let her borrow this, she liked it so much she ended up buying her own bottle. I mostly wear it dotted along my cheekbones, and then blended in, but I’ll sometimes also use a dab of it under the arch of my eyebrow, or in the corner of the eyes themselves, to make me look a little more awake.

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana

If you like the colour of High Beam, you’ll probably also like NARS Illuminator in the shade ‘Copacabana’, which is even paler, although still with a bit of a pink undertone. I bought this having already purchased the same product in ‘Orgasm’ (Which is awesome, by the way: I use it dotted over my face, and although it’s not strictly a “pale skin” staple, I find it warms up my complexion nicely, and kinda takes the blue tinge off it a bit, without making me look like I’m wearing makeup that’s too dark for me.), and loved it, but as you can probably see from the tube, this one is now old, but has barely been used. For some reason, although the colour is great, I find the liquid just sits on top of my skin, and looks a bit too glittery for my liking – which is a shame, because it’s a great colour for my skin tone.

Makeup Revolutuion Vivid Baked Highlighter

Makeup Revolutuion Vivid Baked Highlighter

Makeup Revolution Vivid Baked Highlighter in Pink Lights

Finally, the only powder highlighter on this list is Makeup Revolution’s Vivid Baked Highlighter. This was a complete impulse purchase a couple of weeks ago, and yes, I may have been influenced by the fact that it was only £3. The colour is called ‘Pink Lights’, so I was a little bit alarmed when it turned up looking so very… lilac. I was pretty sure this would just make me look like I’d been exhumed, but I actually think it’s a pretty good colour for pale skin: I could definitely be doing with a little bit less purple in it, and maybe a little less shimmer, too, but the effect is more subtle on the face than it looks in the photos, and a light dusting on the cheek bones creates a nice effect, which you can layer up as required. Despite the lilac look, I actually like this better than the NARS highlighter, and it goes without saying that I like the price better, too!

3 highlighters for pale skin

Anyone found any other good highlighters for pale skin? 

12 Comments
  1. As a fellow pale (blue) skinned person, I love your make up pics as even in Ireland the curse of fake tan means that alot of beauty blogs don’t cater for the paler people out there. Love High Beam and have added the Makeup Revolution to the shopping list 🙂

  2. I’m a big fan of Benefit’s Shy Beam, which I don’t think is released properly yet, but I got it in a kit with something else at Christmas. It’s like High Beam, but not shiny. I just find adding shine to my oily face isn’t a good idea, but Shy Beam is a great alternative for me… Although perhaps could be a touch lighter, as it is at risk of disappearing on my face completely!

  3. You should definitely try either Pearl, Moonstone or Champagne Pop by Becca Cosmetics – I’m pretty pale but I have a yellow undertone to my skin so I can get away with quite ‘dark’ highlighters, but I have heard so many people rave about all of the above highlighters for pale skin. I hope this helps 🙂 xo

    Char | http://www.charslittleblog.blogspot.co.uk

  4. Being almost transparent myself (my mother affectionately calls me Casper) I love to use MAC MSF in Lightscapade. It has blue and beige veining, but on skin it’s a pale shimmer that looks quite natural. It reminds me of Copacabana but less shimmery.
    I think you would like it.
    BTW, I love your blog!

  5. Thanks for this post! I am pale as a parsnip, with blue undertones and even if I’m wearing bronzer or fake tan I have to avoid anything orangey (or warm toned) or it brings out all the worst features of my colouring. I had Nars The Multiple in Luxor which lasted me years, it’s a cool, pale pink that is really easy to use with no glitter. Worth splurging if you have the cash. Lately I’ve been trying some cheaper dupe type brands & got Freedom cosmetics Highlight palette which has 2 powders & 6 creams which dry to powder. All the creams are cool toned which is awesome, and the powders are extremely pigmented/shiny which means one quick sweep with a brush over it, dusted on the back of my hand, is more than enough. Too big to carry around mostly but to be honest highlighter isn’t often something I apply on the go as I like to make sure I have true lighting when applying it – so I can avoid looking like an ill zombie with cold sweats, which is the pale person wearing highlighter’s makeup nadir IMHO.
    I did try hi beam and although it’s a good colour for everyone, I found it a bit wet to use over my makeup and blending it would just lift and mix up the layers of foundation/whatever underneath, so now I stick to highlighters that are on the dry side.

  6. I love NARS Copacabana – I blend it in with my fingers and find the warmth really helps it look natural on my skin. There’s a Topshop cream highlighter in Polished that I love too, though it’s not terribly natural – it’s a pearly, irridescent, white-based colour. And then there’s Becca Pearl, which again is white, so works very well with fair skin. Hourglass just released a range of subtle highlighters which are gorgeous, and there are a few that are suited to fair skin. I do love highlighter but it can be frustrating when they’re darker than my skin – the oft-hyped Becca Opal is just too dark for me. It takes a bit of digging to find ones that work for those of us who are off-white, but they’re out there.

  7. I honestly don’t even bother having a highlighter… I just dust a sprinkling of my pearlescent white eyeshadow that I use to highlight under my brow and in the corners of my eyes, lightly across my cheekbones and voila! Good to go. Lazy (and cheap) girls hack to highlighter… Still, that Makeup Revolution one looks really pretty! ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  8. I have been wanting NARS Copacabana for a while but just haven’t bought it. I think I would prefer to buy the shade in the NARS multi stick instead of the more liquidy highlighter. You might like it better as well. I have the NARS multi sticks in Orgasm and Puerto Vallarta, which is the perfect peachy almost bronzer for my super pale cool skin. Other bronzers just make my skin look like I rubbed mud or cocoa powder on my skin. I also like to rub a bit of Puerto Vallarta in the hollows of my cheeks and put the Orgasm on my cheekbones to kinda contour a bit–I was blessed with very high cheekbones and a nice oval face with a pretty shaped nose with a little character–a bit of a bump on top. I look a lot like Christina Hendricks. I have extremely dry skin, which is even more dry since I had to have a hysterectomy and ovaries removed at 29 because of precancerous cells and endometriosis. Because of other health problems I can’t take hormones, so my skin is paying the price. So cream blushes and highlighters work best for me. Since you have oily skin, I would also recommend Bare Minerals to you. You can use their mineral eyeshadows as highlighter. I used to do this when my skin was normal and powders worked better with summer humidity. I do really love that you’ve shown these 3 shades since it is so difficult to find shades that work for my super pale skin, especially since my skin is cool and doesn’t have yellow or pink undertones. I buy a lot of products from Sephora. They have a computer system that takes photos of your skin and matches it to the different brands of foundations so you know what brands have a shade that matches your skin. There weren’t many. My favourite foundation is Giorgio Armani’s luminous silk liquid foundation. A little goes a long way and doesn’t hide my gorgeous freckles. Sephora sells a travel size which I love because so little is needed that a regular size container would go bad before I could use it all.

    1. I have the stick version too, but I like it even less than the liquid, unfortunately. I don’t actually have oily skin – I know lots of people who love Bare Minerals, but I really disliked it – it looks very cakey on my skin, and I never felt like the coverage was great on me…

  9. I tend to use Shiro Cosmetic’s Love at First Lance and/or White Chocolate Frog (the preview images of the powder look dark, but in person WCF is actually a very milky pearl-like shade). They give a little bit of shimmer, LaFL more obviously than WCF, but it’s just enough to do what a highlighter should instead of producing the disco ball effect. LaFL I’d describe as a pinkish champagne color?

    If I do feel like being a disco ball, I’ll use The Last Unicorn. Glitter for days.

  10. I love CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops highlighters. The Celestial is my favorite for pale skin. Halo and Moonlight are also beautiful. They so shine, though. Since they are drops you can blend a couple drops into your foundation or even body lotion to get a subtle effect. I get so much use out of these I hope they always make them!

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