Which MAC highlighters are best?

MAC Cosmetics offers a large range of highlighters, and there are a lot of factors to take into account when choosing the right one, including finish, color, your skin tone and whether you’d prefer a powder, cream or liquid. If you’re looking for a long-lasting MAC highlighter, Mineralize Skinfinish is a top choice. This baked dome powder has a shimmery finish that will last all day. It blends easily and can be built on the skin to create a radiant shine.

What to know before you buy a MAC highlighter

As with all cosmetic and makeup products, buying a highlighter requires you to consider a variety of factors.

Skin tone

Selecting the right shade for your skin tone is essential for creating the glow that highlighter is famous for. Choosing a highlighter too light for your skin tone is likely to wash you out and not flatter your makeup, but one that’s too dark will simply disappear into your foundation. If you are looking for a natural glow, choose a highlighter around two shades lighter than your skin tone. 


Highlighter is available in a range of forms, including baked or pressed powder, cream and liquid. If you are using a powder foundation, choosing a powder highlighter is essential, as a liquid formula will wipe off your foundation. If you are using a liquid foundation, you can use any form of highlighter as it will blend on top once your foundation dries, though a liquid or cream highlighter will give you the best results. Cream and liquid highlighters often create a bolder or more dramatic look than powders, though powder highlighter is a lot easier to build on the skin.

What to look for in a quality MAC highlighter


Highlighters come with a range of finishes to create a natural glow, a bright shine or anything in between. If you are looking for a natural look to brighten your makeup, a highlighter with a matte or glitter-free finish is a great choice. For a bolder, more dramatic look, select a shimmer or glitter-heavy highlighter.


MAC highlighters are available in a variety of colors and undertones, including rose, gold, bronze and peach. While each color can create a different makeup look, the right selection for you generally depends on complementing your skin tone. Rose, peach and champagne undertones are best for lighter skin tones. If you have a medium skin tone, highlighters with gold undertones are a great choice. For dark skin tones, look for a highlighter in a deep gold or bronze.

How much you can expect to spend on a MAC highlighter

MAC highlighters vary in price based on form, finish and item size. You can typically expect to pay $25-$40 per highlighter.

highlighter FAQ

Where should you apply highlighter?

A. How and where you apply your highlighter will depend on the look you’re trying to create, but as a general rule, apply highlighter to the areas of your face that would naturally catch the light. Apply it above your cheekbones to make your face appear lifted and youthful. Swiping your highlighter down the bridge of your nose can create a more defined or slimming look. If you want to accentuate your eyes to appear more awake, put two small dots of highlighter in the inner corners.

Do you apply highlighter before or after foundation?

A. Powder and cream highlighters always should be applied after foundation but before any setting sprays or powders. Some liquid highlighters will work better if applied before foundation, though this depends on the specific product.

What brush should you use to apply highlighter?

A. Use a fan or tapered brush to apply a powder highlighter for a delicate and buildable glow. Angled brushes are great for more precise control. If you are using a liquid highlighter, a makeup sponge or beauty blender will be a lot more versatile than a brush.

What are the best MAC highlighters to buy?

Top MAC highlighter

Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighter

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Highlighter

What you need to know: This is a slow-baked domed powder with a shimmery finish. It goes on for a natural glow but is easily buildable for a radiant shine.

What you’ll love: It blends easily with your other makeup and will last all day or night. You only need to wear a little to get a lot of shine, so the container will last a long time before you need to replace it.

What you should consider: Even though it’s baked, the powder can be a bit messy to put on.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s and Ulta

Top MAC highlighter for the money

Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter

What you need to know: This pen-style highlighter is easy to use and brightens without glitter. It is lightweight and long-lasting.

What you’ll love: It’s easy to apply exactly where you want it with no wasted product. You can use the pen to highlight directly onto your skin and then blend with your fingertips.

What you should consider: The pen only holds an eighth of a fluid ounce of product so does not last for very long.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Worth checking out

Hyper Real Glow Highlighting Palette

MAC Hyper Real Glow Highlighting Palette

What you need to know: The palette includes three hues of highlighter in a creamy powder formula. The colors are pigmented to give a shiny glow to your makeup.

What you’ll love: The powders are fine and easily blendable. You don’t need to apply much to see results, so the palette lasts a long time.

What you should consider: The product may not last a full day without needing touch-ups.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s and Ulta

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Rachael Millanta writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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