High End vs Drugstore Highlighters

Today I have a few of my favourite highlighters, both high end and drugstore. I’ll compare and swatch them, as well as providing my thoughts on how they perform and the quality of the product itself; allowing you to decide for yourself whether the extra expenditure on one of these high end highlighters is really worth it, or whether the more affordable highlighters out there are just as good.


L-R First row: Colourpop’s Super Shock Higlighter in Lunch Money, W7’s Glowcomotion Highlighter, The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer, Wild About Beauty’s Creme Eyeshadow in 01 Olivia and Bobbi Brown’s Highlighting Powder in Pink Glow.

When I was trying to accurately portray the colours and reflectiveness of these highlighters, I had a bit of trouble. So I’m going to spam you with lots of photos in different lighting, at different levels of blending as such just so you can get an idea of what these highlighters actually look like.


In descending order; Lunch Money, Glowcomotion, Olivia, Mary-Lou Manizer, Pink Glow.

Here we have some heavy finger swatches of the highlighters in descending order down my arm (I have them in descending price order also). Obviously flash has been used, and it doesn’t really represent what they look like in real life. The only reason I really kept this photo was to show you what all the undertones of the highlighters were, as it’s clearer when they’re under intense light and heavily swatched. But in reality, they are much more subtle and the finishes are slightly different; Pink glow for example, rarely ever comes off as such as rose gold colour, unless you of course have swirled your finger heavily in the pan and then swiped it right over your cheek bone (I tend to go in with a very light hand usually, and go from there).



In descending order; Lunch Money, Glowcomotion, Olivia, Mary-Lou Manizer, Pink Glow.


Here I have taken the photo in natural light, and blended the left side of the highlighter swatches with a finger. As you can see they appear quite different from the photo above, and provide and more natural looking finish, as they do in person.

The first three highlighter are always natural looking for me, and it’s very difficult to go overboard.

The later two however, can be a little trickier, though have the potential to achieve a nicer finish – I’ll go into this below for the individual products.


Highlighters in same order, just in less direct natural light.


Highlighters blended out with a Sigma F35 tapered highlighter brush (I used flash so that the definition between where each highlighter swatch begins and ends is clearer).

So! Down to the nitty gritty!


Lunch Money

Colourpop’s Super Shock Higlighter in Lunch Money – £6.

  • Pros: In my top two alongside Pink Glow (I know, they’re pretty different), and they work well together as well. I just love the natural finish and easy application. It never looks powdery or un-blended and looks great built up or subtle.
  • Cons: I don’t think there is any!




W7’s Glowcomotion Highlighter – £7.

  • Pros: A great dupe for the Mary-Lou Manizer, a lovely natural looking brush that applies well with fingers, highlighting brush, and fan brush.
  • Cons: Needs to be applied in thin layers to avoid a chalky finish; adding a little at a time is the best way to apply this I’ve found (as is most highlights)




Wild About Beauty’s Creme Eyeshadow in 01 Olivia – £13.

  • Pros: A great option if you’re pale and want to be able to pack on the highlight without getting the dreaded ‘stripey highlight’. But for the price, I prefer to go for the Colourpop or Glowcomotion.
  • Cons: Dries out easily, even though in sealed container. Can collect Vaseline-like residue on surface, making the product apply patchily. Also gathers on any textured areas.



Mary-Lou Manizer

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer – £20.

  • Pros: Procides a soft champagne/honey toned glow, finely milled, no chuncks of glitter. Can be built up. Very skin like.
  • Cons: Kickback in the pan, and also when applied. Can have a powdery and almost crumbly application to the skin, similar to eyeshadow fallout (perhaps due to % of mica content). This can be rectified by either using a finger to swirl in the pan and then work into the skin, or alternatively, using very sparing amounts on your brush of choice and building up to the desired amount of opacity.



Pink Glow

Bobbi Brown’s Highlighting Powder in Pink Glow – £35.

  • Pros: Finely milled, most natural looking as long as you’re light handed. Versatile, can be used as a blush or blush topper if used a little heavier. Gives a natural glow and has so many different tones in it that it compliments, warms and brightens the complexion; I suspect it would be flattering on most skin tones.
  • Cons: If not applied with a very light hand (or tapped on the skin lightly) then the colour can create a distinct stripe on the skin for those of use with fairer skin tones. It can be made to work though, and when it does work it is hands down my favourite of the bunch.


So there we have it! If I were to pick one to repurchase it would easily be the Colourpop highlight, they’re such good quality for the price, and I can get six of them for the price of my next favourite, Bobbi Brown’s Pink Glow.

What do you think? Do you have any highlighters you can’t live without? Let me know!

Until next time,

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