The Best Cream Highlighters For Dewy & Luminous Skin

Best Cream Highlighters

We independently select and review the products we recommend. If you make a purchase using our affiliate links below, we may earn a commission.

A highlighter is the finishing touch on a dewy makeup. Sometimes subtle and sometimes glowy, highlighters offer luminous skin. While most of us are used to highlighters in powder form, cream highlighters offer the most natural finish by seamlessly blending into the skin. If you’ve never used one before, you’re going to love these glossy makeup must-haves.

A cream highlighter is a type of highlighter that comes in cream form usually in a small pot container or a stick. Cream highlighters have a very soft, emollient texture, which is almost like a balm. Because of this texture, cream highlighters blend in seamlessly with your makeup, and look more natural.

They don’t look patchy like some powder highlighters might. And more importantly, they are incredibly instrumental in creating no-makeup makeup looks. And they’re the go-to products for creating glossy makeup looks.

Moreover, because of their balm formula, cream highlighters tend to be very moisturizing for the skin. Just like their powder counterparts, they come in different finishes like dewy and shimmery, and various shades to match any skin type and tone.

Keep reading for the best cream highlighters.

Best Cream Highlighters

1. Chanel Baume Essentiel Multi-Use Glow Stick

Chanel Baume Essentiel Multi-Use Glow Stick - Best Cream Highlighter

This is more than a cream highlighter. This is like glass skin in a stick! It’s such a weightless, natural formula that the stick looks good even on bare skin! It comes in different shades but the transparent one is what you want to get for luminous skin. You can use it as a highlighter on the high points of the cheeks, but you can also use it on the eyelids for glossy makeup, on the inner corners of the eyes to highlight, and on top of your lipstick to gloss it up. You can’t go wrong with this weightless formula.

Shades: 7
Size: 0.28 oz

2. RMS Beauty Luminizer

RMS Beauty Luminizer - Best Cream Highlighter

One of the most flattering products you can have in your makeup bag is this cream highlighter. And not just for wet and dewy makeup or showing off youthful skin. It’s an instant refresher for the entire face. The cream highlighter has coconut oil in it, so it melts with heat and glides on the cheeks. While the shade Living Luminizer is perfect for the inner corner of the eyes to open them up, the shade Gold Luminizer is the one to grab for dewy summer skin.

Shades: 4
Size: 0.17 oz
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

3. Milk Makeup Highlighter

Milk Makeup Highlighter  - Best Cream Highlighter

For glitter-free hands, this cream highlighter stick is a staple! Throw it in your bag for on-the-go touch-ups or swipe it on the cheeks by the pool to pop up your tan. Just like their cream blush, the buttery texture moisturizes the complexion and gives you healthy and fresh-looking skin. It completes your makeup, but it also illuminates bare skin in the most natural-looking way with a glistening effect. Besides, the champagne shade looks good on any skin color!

Shades: 6
Size: 0.21 oz
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, vegan

4. Kora Organics Crystal Luminizer

Kora Organics Crystal Luminizer

This one used to come in different shades but now there’s a single shade, which is disappointing. It’s a pinky shade, which disappears into the skin and leaves a very subtle glow with neutral undertones. Not sure if it’s because of the fact that it’s organic and is filled with good-for-skin ingredients, but the cream highlighter melts into the skin and lights up a soft and wet glow.

Shades: 1
Size: 0.21 oz
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, vegan

5. Tower 28 Beauty SuperDew Shimmer-Free Highlight Balm

Tower 28 Beauty SuperDew Shimmer-Free Highlight Balm

Not everyone is a fan of super glowy and metallic highlighters. And for those of you, this one is so subtle that you’re going to get addicted! The cream highlighter is formulated with skin-loving botanicals like aloe and shea butter. You can also use it as a base and apply a tinted moisturizer over it. This will give you that sun-kissed look with light coverage and a glow-from-within finish.

Shades: 1
Size: 0.158 oz
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

6. Benefit Watt’s Up! Champagne Cream Highlighter

Benefit Watt's Up! Champagne Cream Highlighter

The subtle dewy finish of this cream highlighter is more like a glass skin gloss and less like a glittery finish. That’s why it looks good on every skin type and tone! The light-reflecting formula brings about a healthy dew to the complexion without giving you an overly-done look. It’s also the perfect refresher to use on bare skin. The stick has a sponge on the other end you can use to blend your highlighter. But if you want the most natural look, dampen the sponge and blend the highlighter that way.

Shades: 1
Size: 0.33 oz

7. Ilia Illuminator

Ilia Illuminator - Best Cream Highlighters

This one comes in 2 shades and the range includes beautiful gold as well as metallic silver. The energizing finish is all thanks to the creamy texture formulated with sunflower seed and avocado oils. This clean beauty must-have is a skincare makeup hybrid and is as skin-friendly as it gets. As it offers a light and non-streaky application, the highlighter doesn’t ruin your foundation. Because of its rich, emollient texture, this one is a great cream highlighter for mature skin.

Shades: 2
Size: 0.18 oz
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

8. Glossier Haloscope

Glossier Haloscope - Best Cream Highlighters

With pearly, golden, and pinky pigments, these sticks set the tone of your makeup. You can go for a summer tan pop or a youthful and playful pop. Either way, you’ll pop. The trick is the crystals. The highlighter stick has a balm in the center made with vitamin-rich coconut and sweet almond oils. Around that balm is the same texture that contains crystals. So, both your skin and your makeup can benefit from the stick. The highlighter gives a super easy application and is one of the best cream highlighters for a non-greasy, healthy glow.

Shades: 3
Size: 0.19 oz
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

9. Wander Beauty On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator

Wander Beauty On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator

For the ultimate blush and highlighter combo, this one is gorgeous. It’s a multi-tasking lip and cheek tint and a makeup must-have to enhance your beauty right on the go. From peachy coral to rosy pinks, the blush and the highlighter give you those rosy cheeks with exquisite radiance. Use the blush to color up your cheeks and lips and the highlighter to wake up your complexion.

Shades: 5
Size: 0.4 oz
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, vegan

10. Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter

Physicians Formula Butter Highlighter - Best Drugstore Cream Highlighter

And if you want something you can find at your local drugstore that’s more on the affordable side, this one has all the right shades. For a more in-between dewy look, the shade Champagne will reflect light very well. The shade Copper can work as a highlighter on darker skin tones and as a glowy bronzer for more medium skin tones. Either way, this is an incredibly flattering cream-to-powder highlighter.

Shades: 5
Size: 0.17 oz
Good To Know: Hypoallergenic, cruelty-free

So these are some of the best cream highlighters you can use to create any makeup look. Chanel Baume Essentiel Multi-Use Glow Stick is a cult-favorite formula and I’ve never met anyone who’s used it but didn’t like it. It has the perfect, seamless texture. You’re going to love it even if you don’t wear makeup! If you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, below are the things to keep in mind when choosing a cream highlighter and how to apply it.

How to Choose Cream Highlighters


As you’ve seen, cream highlighters come in varying textures. A good cream highlighter should be blendable by melting with the heat of your fingers. Blendability is what makes a cream highlighter apply easily on makeup, especially foundation. Avoid the ones that don’t melt easily. They will give you a streaky application, and look patchy.


Cream highlighters usually come in 3 shades such as translucent, silver, and gold, to match the skin’s undertones. Translucent options look the most natural and are the most versatile. But to get the most out of your makeup, consider your skin’s undertones as well. Go for gold tones if you have warm undertones and go for silver tones if you have cool undertones.

How To Apply Cream Highlighter

Apply Highlighter Last

Highlighter is one of the last makeup products to apply. After you’ve done your base makeup like foundation, apply your bronzer, and blush, and then apply your highlighter. Remember to set your makeup for a long-lasting glow!

Apply It Using Your Fingers

The potential problem with a cream highlighter is that you can move your foundation if you don’t apply it correctly. The best way to apply a cream highlighter is by using your fingers.

Dab your finger into the jar or on the stick and rub your finger over it to melt the highlighter with heat. It becomes creamy in a few seconds.

Dab your finger onto cheekbones or wherever you want to apply it. Gently press the product onto the skin so that you lay it down without moving your foundation.

If you want to use your stick highlighter directly onto the skin, swipe it on the back of your hand first. The top of the stick will glide more easily from the heat.

Consider Using a Brush or a Sponge

You don’t need a brush for creamy highlighters. But if you want to use one, stippling brushes are the best. Dab the brush onto the stick and gently go over the high points of the cheeks to apply your highlighter. Do a tiny little swipe on the bridge of the nose too.

Sponges also work great for applying cream highlighters, giving you a more natural look. Dampen your beauty blender and dab it onto the highlighter.

Pat it onto the skin where you want to apply the highlighter. You can use the pointy side of the sponge to highlight the inner corners of the eyes, below the brow bone, and on the cupid’s bow as well.


Read Next: How to Properly Highlight The Inner Corners of Your Eyes

Scroll to Top