The 2 Best Highlighters For Brown Girls

These two products finally satisfied my need for that golden glow.
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These two products finally satisfied my need for that golden glow.

Among the various challenges women of color run into shopping for cosmetics, highlighters have always been a particular struggle for me. My go to look is a natural, fresh-faced glow, so when I got into the contouring game, adding a shimmery highlight seemed like it would be a perfect complement. Woefully, I tried plenty of products only to find that they gave my skin that bizarre disco ball vibe. 

Lots of highlighters come in shades of opalescent white or pearly pink, which look SO AMAZE on ladies with fair skin (remember Mari’s article on white eye shadow?) but don’t play well with my warm undertones and deeper shade.

The key for darker skin is to find an illuminator that runs a buttery gold color, rather than white, pink, or even Champagne, which is a surprisingly tall order. I’ve tracked down two awesome ones to try.

NARS Highlighting Blush in Satellite of Love

nars highlighting blush in satellite of love

 Don't be scared of the glitter! 

The cult favorite highlighter shade from NARS is Albatross, but it was a touch too frosty on me. Satellite of Love, meanwhile, has a golden taupe base with tiny flecks of gold glitter throughout. This can look intimidating in the pan, but it’s oh-so-subtle when blended across the cheekbones. 

nars highlighting blush in satellite of love swatch on cheek

See what I mean? It's like a glitter whisper. 

Come holiday party season, though, I'll totally be layering this on for maximum sparkle. Right now I’ve been wearing this to work with just a smudging of eyeliner for a simple, well-rested look, and I don’t find it too glittery under the fluorescent office lights at all. It also looks gorgeous dusted over matte eye shadows or swiped across the collarbones and shoulders with a sleeveless dress.

Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Powder Duo

too faced candlelight glow highlighting powder duo

This highlighter brings together two shades in one pan: on the left is a sheer, pearly gold, and on the right is a shimmery pale pink. They can be swirled together for an iridescent glow, but I stick to using just the golden side. (The pink shall be reserved for my pale friends). 

too faced candlelight glow highlighting powder duo swatch on cheek

Shine bright, y'all.

The powder is fine and buttery soft, and packed with luminous pigment--use a light hand. Where the effect of NARS’ Satellite of Love is more shimmery and glittery, this highlighter gives an overall diffused glow. It’s also just the right tone for a brow bone highlight.

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  • Anyone else planning to unleash their inner glitter queen this holiday season? 
  • What’s your favorite highlighting product?