If you didn't own a highlighter a year ago, today you probably own 12. Just as 1999 was the year of butterfly clips and 2003 the year of punky black eyeliner, 2017 is the year of the highlighter. But judging by the blinding radiance coming from your cheekbones, you probably knew that already.
Here's our theory: In a dramatic rebellion from the harsh contouring trend, the beauty community has ricocheted in the opposite direction with force. The result? Such things as the вЂњFull Face Using Only HighlightersвЂќ challenge trending on YouTube and the term вЂњaliengelic вЂќ becoming a part of our daily vernacular.
Nearly every makeup brand has released a highlighter over the past two years, but they're not all created equal. Highlighters come in a wide variety of textures and finishes: sparkly, glittery, satinyвЂ¦ but our preferred type of highlighter happens to be very specific: In the Byrdie office, it's dewy or bust.
When we say dewy, what we mean is glossy, glistening, and natural-like you just walked in from spending a hot afternoon by the pool. No chunky sparkles, no glitter, just pure dew.
Deadset on finding the absolute dewiest highlighters on the market, we devised a dewiness scale-a Dewy Decimal System, if you will-and ranked 13 popular picks.
Keep scrolling for our honest reviews of the dewiest highlighters on the market.Milk Makeup Face Gloss $30Shop
The promise: вЂњFace Gloss provides a colorless finish and sheen on bare skin or on top of foundation while its lightweight, vitamin-rich formula nourishes your skin.вЂќ - Milk
The review: вЂњWhen it comes to that slick, glossy, almost wet-faced look, Milk clearly gets it. There's no way to describe the texture and finish of this stuff other than the name-face gloss. Slather this over your eyelids, on the tops of your cheekbones, and in your Cupid's bow for a perfectly modelesque, dewy look.вЂќ - Amanda Montell, Byrdie associate features editor
The promise: вЂњInspired by extraordinary light phenomena, each shade imparts an ethereal glow-with a highlight that subtly shifts and transforms to reveal a remarkable depth of color.вЂќ - Rituel de Fille
The review: вЂњThere are few beauty products that I feel so strongly about I will interrupt a stranger's conversation to tell them they just need to use it, and Rituel de Fille's Living Luminizers are one of them. (Just ask my fellow Byrdie editors Hallie and Lindsey-I practically forced the products into their hands and stood over them impatiently until they applied. Luckily, they now share my same passion.) There's something about an iridescent, purple-tinged highlighter that just speaks to my soul, and Rituel de Fille's cream version in Ghost Light is the best of the best. It looks a soft, shimmery white at first, then purple and even slightly blue depending on the angle. It blends beautifully-I use my fingertips to tap it along the tops of my cheekbones for a subtle, otherworldly glow. I can't get enough.вЂќ - Faith Xue, Byrdie editorial director
The promise: вЂњOur satiny pink liquid highlighter accents cheek and brow bones for a dewy glow.вЂќ - Benefit Cosmetics
The review: вЂњThis has been my go-to highlighter since my freshman year of college. It gives me an ethereal glow without looking like a shimmery mess. Whenever I wear it, I receive compliments on how dewy my skin looks. I've tried other highlighters, and yes, some of them are really good, but my first love will always be High Beam.вЂќ - Aimee Jefferson, Byrdie social media editor
The promise: вЂњThe galaxy's first dew effect highlighter. It's a dual-delivery formula: the outer halo is infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment, with a solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish.вЂќ - Glossier
The review: вЂњI'm typically a blush girl, but Glossier's HaloscopeВ in Topaz brings my skin a little color while giving me a major glow. I apply it to the highest points of my cheekbones for a lit-from-within look. It's lightweight, and the natural oils in the product really give me that coveted dew without looking too shiny. It sometimes feels a little sticky when I first put it on, but overall I love it.вЂќ - Maddie Sensibile, Obsessee editor
The promise: вЂњA brightening highlighter with a pearl color that boosts the look of the skin's vitality for a dewy, youthful appearance.вЂќ - Ilia
The review: вЂњThis isn't just my holy grail highlighter-it's my holy grail makeup product, period. Trying it on for the first time a couple of years ago suddenly and completely changed my entire makeup routine-it just finally gave me this glowy finish that really brought my entire look together in a subtle but essential way. It really creates that perfect illusion of a dewy, lit-from-within finish without actually feeling wet or sticky. Plus, it's created from really hydrating, botanical ingredients, so it actually improves my skin while I wear it.вЂќ - Victoria Hoff, Byrdie news editor
The promise: вЂњIts 100% natural, creamy formula goes on sheer, catching and reflecting light to brighten the look of the areas that the sun would naturally illuminate for a subtle, lit-from-within glow.вЂќ -Tata Harper
The review: вЂњAs a gal with oily skin, I've mostly stayed away from products that promise a dewy finish out of fear that my face would end up looking like an oily mess. I think the wet look is so pretty, but trying out a dewy highlighter always seemed counterintuitive after years of trying to achieve a perfectly matte complexion. However, this product has convinced me that dewy yet non-greasy skin is possible to achieve. The balm-like formula glides on without disturbing my makeup, and it blends seamlessly into my skin. I'm glowing-but without one fleck of shimmer in sight. The finish looks dewy, almost wet, but not oily or greasy in the slightest. This product will give you the fresh, natural glow we all wish we were born with.вЂќ - Paulina
The promise: вЂњThis formula is the ultimate illuminator for creating a sensuous, sheer, luminous glow.вЂќ - RMS
The review: вЂњI prefer a subtle, pearlescent finish over anything glittery-and Rose-Marie Swift had those same requirements in mind when she created this product. It has a base of coconut and castor oils, so it really melts into your skin for a natural-looking dewiness.вЂќ - VictoriaMarc Jacobs Beauty Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator $42Shop
The promise: вЂњThe sheer cream luminizer gives skin a uniquely mist-like radiance as a result of the balanced ratio of pearly gold and silver pigments.вЂ¦ It glides on smoothly and effortlessly for the right dose of dewiness anytime, anywhere.вЂќ - Marc Jacobs
The review: вЂњA lot of brands describe their highlighters as 'pearlescent.' I've never met a pearlier highlighter than this one. Before it's even applied, it looks beautiful in the packaging, so shiny that it's almost holographic. Not to mention the packaging itself-it's minimalistic, clean, and unique. It's a package that makes me want to toss it in my bag for busy days. The intensity is the same once it's applied on the skin. One swipe on my cheekbone was all it took for an intensely dewy highlight. I usually don't go for intense, but its creamy, blendable formula convinced me otherwise. It may be a splurge for a highlighter, but I believe it's worth it.вЂќ - Kaitlyn
The promise: вЂњThe ultimate in luminosityвЂ¦ Use on key areas of the face for a perfectly dewy glow.вЂќ - L'OrГ©al Paris
The review: вЂњI love this stuff. It has more of a pinky blush color, but it looks amazing, like glowy color that doesn't look crazy or like you have a bunch of makeup on. It's super natural, like a subtle flush, which is awesome if you just want an awakened glow.вЂ¦ You could even use it for a bit of contour-it's a great all-in-one product.вЂќ - Amanda Steele, Byrdie guest and YouTube starNars Hot Sand Highlighting Blush $30Shop
The promise:В вЂњNars's highlighting blushes subtly highlights the face with soft pigments and shimmering pearls to create instant radiance, leaving skin with a luminous glow.вЂќ -Nars
The review:В вЂњI was a full-fledged member of the cream highlighter club until I stumbled upon this gem. Yes, it's a powder-so it doesn't immediately inspire fantasies of dew. However, nothing has left me glowier or garnered more compliments from strangers. It's subtle but reflects light in the prettiest way. I mean, would you expect anything less from an iconic brand like Nars?вЂќ -Hallie Gould, Byrdie senior editorVapour Organic Beauty Halo Illuminator $36Shop
The promise: вЂњBring a halo of transformative light to your look with the Vapour Organic Beauty Halo Illuminator. This mineral makeup highlights and enhances your most beautiful features: cheeks, brow bones, lips, and dГ©colletage. Halo Illuminator is non-irritating, will not clog pores.вЂќ
The review: вЂњI love that this is a totally clean highlighter-no unwanted chemicals or toxins, which seems pretty oxymoronic for something that's supposed to give you a 'healthy glow,' anyway. It's super sheer, but buildable depending on the level of cheekbone bling you're after.вЂќ - Lindsey Metrus, managing editor