When you are looking to develop a unique look that makes you look younger, healthy, and vibrant, there are several makeup options that you can turn to. Everyone wants better-looking skin, but you can have an even better look by giving your face a more defined shape. That’s where rainbow highlighters come in.
Rainbow highlighters make it possible to change the contours of your face without sculpting or physical changes. Instead, you can change how the light leaves your face by carefully applying a highlighter. Some people have been able to create a more youthful face with glowing skin and deeper contours. You can have this look too with the right rainbow highlighters. (See our top picks for The Best Bronzers and The Best Contour Kits that can complement your rainbow highlighters).
UCANBE Kaleidoscope Holographic Highlighter Makeup Palette Kit gives you everything that you need to create the look that you want. The variation in colors combined with a unique formula make it easy to add definition to your face that will help you stand out.
In This Article
The 5 Top-Rated Rainbow Highlighters
|Best Overall||UCANBE Kaleidoscope Holographic Highlighter Makeup Palette Kit||4.5|
|Runner Up||Maybelline Makeup Facestudio Master Strobing Stick Highlighter||4.3|
|Best Budget Buy||FTXJ 25ml Shimmer Liquid Highlighter Makeup||4.0|
|Best Liquid Highlighter||Glitter Eyeliner Liquid Eyeshadow 10 Colors Highlighter||3.8|
|Best Powder Highlighter||TZ COSMETIX - Aurora Borealis 6 Colors Highlighter||4.2|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: UCANBE Kaleidoscope Holographic Highlighter Makeup Palette Kit
UCANBE Kaleidoscope Holographic Highlighter Makeup Palette Kit is our top choice for rainbow highlighters for 2020. It offers the best combination of color variation and color quality that you can find. It comes with nine shades of varying intensity.
The colors are formulated for high-definition and consistency. You can apply a little for a subtle effect or in layers for a more dramatic effect and with so many shades, you can customize your makeup to your outfit or your mood. The color variety blends well into multiple complexions and the powder is soft and light enough to be used as an eye shadow cover, too.
With an overall rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon, and an overall price tag of just $10, there’s plenty to justify your purchase and our inclusion as best overall.
UCANBE Kaleidoscope Holographic Highlighter Makeup Palette Kit Key Features:
- Nine shades to choose from in one pack
- Light, smooth formula won’t accentuate fine lines
- High-definition color options
Our Runner Up Pick: Maybelline Makeup Facestudio Master Strobing Stick Highlighter
Maybelline Makeup Facestudio Master Strobing Stick Highlighter is our runner up pick for rainbow highlighters. It is designed so that you can add definition to your face on-the-go. The applicator follows the same twist-up design used by many lipsticks and other makeup options. It comes in a light and a medium shade so that you have options for finding the right fit for your skin tone.
One of the best features of the Maybelline Makeup Facestudio Master Strobing Stick Highlight is its formula. It is formulated to prevent buildup in pores so that they won’t become blocked and lead to blackheads. That way, your face will stay smooth and healthy even if you wear makeup all day. It spreads on smooth, but with a little extra thickness to make a full and even coat. That way, you get a smooth and full appearance every time.
The formula also uses micro-fine pearls, which can help your skin maintain a healthy appearance. These pearls create a more uniform layer, making it easier to apply a full coating without using too much makeup. This also helps your skin breathe under the makeup so that it stays comfortable throughout the day.
Maybelline Makeup Facestudio Master Strobing Stick Highlighter Key Features:
- Designed to prevent clogged pores
- Small enough to travel with
- Twist-up applicator
- Formulated for sensitive skin
Best Budget Pick: FTXJ 25ml Shimmer Liquid Highlighter Makeup
FTXJ 25ml Shimmer Liquid Highlighter Makeup is our best budget pick. When it comes to makeup and defining a new look, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. There are options that can help you change your look with professional-quality results on a budget. At just $4, FTXJ 25ml Shimmer Liquid Highlighter Makeup can help you do just that.
The best feature about FTXJ 25ml Shimmer Liquid Highlighter Makeup it is easy to mix with other makeup options. The liquid formula makes it easy to mix with other makeup options, including non-liquids. There are four color options to choose from, each with a slightly darker shade for different skin tones and base colors.
One thing that you will love about the FTXJ 25ml Shimmer Liquid Highlighter Makeup is that it has an easy-to-use applicator. It is a specially, designed applicator that has a reservoir tip. This makes it easier to place individual drops without spilling. It gives you better control of how much you use and where you place it. That way, you get the best results every time.
FTXJ 25ml Shimmer Liquid Highlighter Makeup Key Features:
- Eyedropper applicator
- Liquid formula mixes easily with other makeup options
- Layered effect lets you build a more intense look
- High-density ultra-refined pearls prevent buildup and improve coverage
Best Liquid Highlighter: Glitter Eyeliner Liquid Eyeshadow 10 Colors Highlighter
Glitter Eyeliner Liquid Eyeshadow 10 Colors Highlighter is our best liquid highlighters pick. When it comes to versatility, this set gives you the most options with high-quality highlighter colors. There are 10 color options in the set that give you full vivid colors and a sparkly metallic finish.
One of the best features of Glitter Eyeliner Liquid Eyeshadow 10 Colors Highlighter is its formula. It is water-infused so that it spreads on smooth and dries quickly. The included brush applicator lets you draw precise lines or cover larger areas quickly. Once dried, the highlighter stays in place and won’t smudge.
Another feature that you will like is its weight. It is formulated to be lightweight. You will be more comfortable throughout the day since your makeup won’t feel heavy or sticky.
Glitter Eyeliner Liquid Eyeshadow 10 Colors Highlighter Key Features:
- Separate containers
- Brush applicators
- Vivid metallic colors
- Applicator makes precise lines
Best Powder Highlighter: TZ COSMETIX – Aurora Borealis 6 Colors Highlighter
TZ COSMETIX – Aurora Borealis 6 Colors Highlighter is our best powder highlighters pick. Powder highlighters tend to have a lighter feel and texture since they are made with a light powder rather than a heavier liquid. This TZ COSMETIX – Aurora Borealis 6 Colors Highlighter gives you six powder highlighter colors with a unique color palette.
Each color palette includes light pastel colors that rub on smoothly. They work well as accent colors to give your face an added contour with shadowing. The subtle differences between the different colors let you customize your look for your needs.
One of the best features of the TZ COSMETIX – Aurora Borealis 6 Colors Highlighter is the smoothing effect of the powder. Rather than changing shape with the lines of your face, the powder spreads over them and helps smooth them out. That way, your face looks smoother and younger. It works particularly well on older faces.
TZ COSMETIX – Aurora Borealis 6 Colors Highlighter Key Features:
- Powder formula smooths fine lines
- Creates a duochromatic glow
- Works on all skin tones
- Won’t clog pores
Who Should Buy a Rainbow Highlighter
Anyone that is looking to add some contouring to their face should buy a rainbow highlighter. Contouring can make your face look younger and more vibrant. Plus, it gives your face a more dynamic look, which is sought after for its appeal. Rainbow highlighters give you more variety when trying to create contouring, which is important for finding the right shades and textures for your face.
Anyone who regularly wears makeup should also consider getting a rainbow highlighter. In many cases, finding the right look for an event requires variety and options in your makeup arsenal. Rainbow highlighters can offer a lot of versatility, which will come in handy when creating new looks.
Important Features to Consider
When choosing a rainbow highlighter, there are several important features to consider. Here is what to look for in a rainbow highlighter:
- Price. The price of your rainbow highlighter is important because of how often you will use it. Prices can vary widely and choosing an economical option may be better if you use your rainbow highlighter often.
- Container size. How much highlighter is included in the container. Highlighters come in many sizes and amounts, and how often you use it can determine what the best choice is. Some come in travel size containers while others are better left at home.
- Color. The color of the highlighter. Most highlighters come in a medium or bright color with metallic or pastel finishes. The color determines the finished look as well as how it responds to your skin tone.
- Material. What the highlighter is made out of. Highlighters come in liquids, gels, and powders with different benefits for each type.
- Application process. How you apply the rainbow highlighter. Most highlighters come with an applicator and you should make adjustments with your fingers after you apply it.
- Additives. Makeups and special ingredients mixed into the highlighter. Some highlighters are formulated to remove common problems like parabens. Others have additives mixed in like coconut butter for a different feel and effect. You can also find ones with other makeup options like bronzers mixed in so that you need fewer individual makeup options.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is rainbow highlighter and how does it work?
A rainbow highlighter is a type of makeup used for creating lighting effects like contouring. It is applied to the body so that it creates a lighter area in contrast with darker spots. This makes it look like there are more substantial curves than what is there. Rainbow highlighters work by applying a reflective coat to brighten an area.
Where do you apply rainbow highlighter?
You can apply rainbow highlighters just about anywhere, although it is mostly used as a face and shoulders makeup for exposed skin. The key to putting on rainbow highlighter is that it won’t be rubbed by clothing or anything else. Rubbing can actually peel it off. Rainbow highlighter is used to change the way light leaves your face so that you can create more defined features. You can also do this on your shoulders as long as they are exposed, especially around your collar bone where there is a natural change in depth and shape.
How do you apply rainbow highlighter?
There are several ways to apply rainbow highlighter and it mainly depends on what form it is in. Liquid and jelly highlighters are often applied using a squeeze bottle top (if it comes in a tube) or an eyedropper applicator (if it comes in a jar). This gives you precise control over how much is applied and where it goes.
For higher precision, you can use a liquid or gel highlighter with a brush applicator (similar to a nail polish brush. This lets you draw exact lines that you can shape later. Other highlighters come in solids and hardened gels (like lipstick) that you rub on. These options give you a greater level of depth control and often are the smoothest to apply. Powders also use a brush and create the lightest application possible.
Once you apply the starting point with an applicator, most people use their fingers to blend it or shadow it into place. This will give you the most naturally-looking results. Plus, it is much easier to create the look that you want with your fingers rather than an applicator.
Are bronzer and highlighter the same thing?
Bronzer and highlighter are not the same, although they can be used together and some highlighters contain a bronzer. Bronzer is used for a more subtle skin change to make it seem warmer and sun-kissed. You use a bronzer to make your skin look healthier and livelier without changing its shape or its shade to a large extent. Bronzer can be used to shadow areas and make them a bit darker, but it won’t work as well for contouring.
Highlighter is used for contouring, giving your face the look of a different shape by increasing the contrast between the light and the dark areas that naturally occur because of your face’s shape. Highlighter often makes your skin brighter and more reflective to create light areas where bronzer is used to make your skin look livelier while creating darker areas. Many people use them together for a more complete look. Some highlighters have a bronzer already mixed in for a more elaborate effect.
Other Rainbow Highlighters We Reviewed
We looked at 20 other rainbow highlighters. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best rainbow highlighters, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option to finish your look. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.
If you are looking to give your face a shine or contouring, try this Almay Make Them Jelly Hi-Lite Highlighter Makeup. It comes in a small container that won’t take up much space in your makeup drawer. It comes in two different hues so that you can change the texture and color of your face. The jelly formula spreads evenly for better results. Plus, it is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic for long-term health and comfort. This highlighter mixes seamlessly with other types of makeup for a combined effect and can be layered for a more detailed and prominent effect.
- Available in two styles
- Works for all skin tones
- Can be mixed with other makeup options
- Fragrance-free formula
If you are going for a sparkly finish, try this HP95 8 Colors Jelly Gel Highlighter Make Up. It comes in eight color options that are formulated to work on any skin tone. The container makes it perfect as a gift and you won’t have to worry about this highlighter working for the recipient. This highlighter has a sparkly metallic finish that can be used to accent eyes and contour faces. It is formulated to be waterproof so you don’t have to worry about it washing off during the day.
- Attractive container
- Available in eight colors
- Works on any skin tone
- Sparkle metallic finish
UOKNICE 6 Colors Jelly Gel Highlighter gives you an easy to apply highlighter that is easy to travel with. It comes in a unique diamond-shaped container that is small enough to travel with. That way, you can always have it with you. It comes in six metallic colors that layer on smoothly for added contouring. It spreads on evenly so that you don’t need to create thick layers for a full and lasting effect. Each color option has a light sparkle that accents curves and features. Plus, the color choices help you stand out in a group setting.
- Comes in six colors
- Unique case design
- Easy to travel with
- Vivid metallic colors
Many people choose the EDDIE FUNKHOUSER Luxlight Glow Drops Liquid Highlighter Makeup because it is easy to apply. On its own, it creates a soft glow that can be layered to increase the effect. It mixes with other liquids smoothly for a faster application without changing the effect. This highlighter is made using cruelty-free methods and is made without many of the leading problem ingredients across the industry. Plus, it has a well-designed ball-drop nozzle on the bottle that makes it easy to apply in small or large amounts with precision.
- Layers smoothly for a more intense effect
- Brightens your complexion
- Paraben, gluten, and GMO-free
- Ball-drop nozzle makes it easy to apply in small amounts
If you need a small, travel-sized option, check out this Fengzhicai Long Lasting Unicorn Highlight Concealer Liquid Foundation. It comes in a small 0.5 FL. Oz. bottle that fits in pockets and makeup bags easily. It has an eye dropper applicator so that you can apply it in small amounts down to a single drop. If you need to reapply on the go, it is a great option to have with you. This highlighter is often used at home, but it is formulated to give you professional-quality results.
- Eye-dropper applicator
- Formulated for professional-quality results
- Small bottle is easy to travel with
- 0.5 FL. Oz. per bottle
This Maybelline Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter is formulated to create a strobing effect, which changes in the light for better contouring. You can use it to brighten specific parts of your face for contouring, but it also mixes well for an all-over effect. the container small and fits in makeup bags with a strong sealing lid. There are a variety of shades available so that you can find the best option for you.
- 0.67 fl. oz.
- A wide variety of shades
- Strobbing highlighter
- Mixes easily
You can try the New Too Faced Mystical Highlighter Drops for a high-quality finish. Too Faced has a long history of providing high-quality products and this new one gives you a better finish. Its eyedropper applicator makes it easier to mix it precisely with other makeup options. However, you can use it on its own for effective contouring. It is formulated to last throughout the day without washing off or smudging. You get a gentle sparkle finish that can contour and highlight key features on your face.
- Long-lasting formula
- Mixes with other makeup options
- Sparkly finish
- Eyedropper applicator
For a more detailed look, try Niceface Contour Make Up Brighten Shimmer 3D Highlighters. It is formulated to layer so that you can build up a new look. In small amounts, it creates a light 3D sheer effect on your face’s features. When you layer it on, it creates a more detailed liquid metal 3D effect, which is great for developing a unique look. It has a brush applicator so you can apply it with precision to the right areas. This highlighter uses a thicker concentration of bronzer and refractor particles to give you a full and smooth appearance with very little makeup.
- Brush applicator
- Weightless formula
- Formulated for strobing
- Layered liquid metal finish
This 3 Color Makeup Unicorn Luminous Shimmer Glow Kit Highlighter Powder Palette gives you six powder highlighters that rub on smooth for a light texturing and contouring effect. The kit contains bright pastel colors with a silver metallic shine that create a soft but noticeable effect. Powder highlighters are lightweight and breathable to keep your face in better health. Plus, having six colors in one case makes it easy to make adjustments or change your overall look regularly.
- Available in bright colors
- Light metallic pastel colors
- Applied as a powder
- Six colors in one case
This 6 Colors Highly Pigmented Glow Kit Makeup Powder Palette Face Illuminating Highlighter & Bronzer is designed to spread on evenly and prevent caking and uneven applications. There are six metallic color options in each pack, which are formulated to mix together for a layered effect. It is made of a finely grained clay powder that absorbs the oils from your skin to prevent streaking and to improve its attachment. That way, it won’t wash away or smudge throughout the day.
- Six colors in one case
- Waterproof and smudge-proof formula
- Colors mix evenly together
- Creamy feel
The Axcv5 Rainbow Highlighter Contour Powder Palette (Highlighter Powder) gives you a full rainbow look with a single application. It comes in a small compact with a specially-made brush that you can use to apply all of the colors at once. It is formulated so that you won’t need much of the powder to create a full look. It is formulated to last all day and washes off easily with a daily face cleaner.
- Comes in a small compact
- Comes with a rainbow brush
- Thick formula for easier application
- Long-lasting formula for all-day use
The Limited-Edition Spellbound Glow Rainbow Highlighter by Tarte is designed to work with brushes and can give you four color options that work on any skin tone. They offer a soft contouring effect that you and customize by mixing colors. This highlighter is made using Amazonian Clay with a non-chalky formula. That way, it spreads on smooth and lasts for hours.
- Four colors in one compact
- Made from Amazonian Clay
- Non-chalky powder formula
- Works best with magic wands brush set
This MAKEUP REVOLUTION Unicorn Heart Blushing Hearts Triple Baked Rainbow Highlighter gives you five pearlescent pastel colors to choose from. They come in light shades so that each color creates a light effect. They are triple-baked, which smooths the powder in gives it a longer-lasting hold. It also makes a great gift since it comes in a unique heart-shaped box.
- Unique heart-shaped compact
- Triple-baked for smoother color
- Pearlescent pastel colors
- Five colors in each pack
The Pacifica Beauty Ice Baby Hydrating Highlighter, 0.25 Ounce is a healthy alternative to other highlighters. It is formulated without parabens and phthalates, and it is 100% vegan. The powder has a velvet texture and is infused with coconut water for a creamier feel.
- 100% vegan
- Cruelty-free manufacturing
- Velvet texture
- Infused with coconut water
This Shouhengda Rainbow Powder Shimmer Highlighter can make highlighting much easier. It is filled with six colors that you can apply simultaneously using a long brush. Its non-uniform filling method gives you a more blended finish once applied.
- Available in a light and dark palette
- Man-made and hand-made
- Shipped in a small compact for easy traveling
- Non-uniform filling creates a more mixed look when applied.
Too Faced Diamond light Multi-Use Diamond Fire Highlighter spreads on with a silky finish that you can use to contour your face. It is made out of powder pressed into a solid diamond shape. It comes in an attractive container that you can keep. It has a translucent color but gives you a wet, sparkly finish to contour your features.
- Pressed powder
- Holographic look
- Attractive container
- Silky finish
The Beauty For Real Blush + Glo 2-in-1 Blush + Highlighter Stick gives you a wide area pen-style applicator so that you can easily spread the highlighter over the area. Each pack comes with a double-sided pen that houses two colors. It is paraben-free and made using cruelty-free processes.
- Water-resistant formula
- Double-sided pen applicator
- Two colors per pack
If you need an on-the-go applicator, then try the Beauty Rules Highlighting Stick, Iced Pink, 0.21 Ounce. It gives you a chubby retractable applicator that you can use to reapply your highlighter when you are out. It rolls on smooth so that you won’t have to spend a lot of time in front of a mirror. It has a creamy texture and has a natural glow. It is made using healthy ingredients and manufacturing processes to improve your face health.
- No fragrance
- Filled with antioxidant vitamins
- No GMO or corn
- On-the-go applicator
You can use the NICEFACE Shimmer Highlighter Stick to create a full and thorough contoured look with little makeup. It glides on smooth using the flat-topped applicator. There are two color options for more versatility. Plus, it is formulated to be waterproof so that it is long-lasting.
- Creamy texture and look
- Twist-up applicator
- Flat-topped applicator stick
The trèStiQue Highlighter stick is designed to be used on-the-go. It has a three-step application process and there is an applicator sponge built into the case. It helps you blend it with other makeup options so that you get a seamless and smooth look. There are two color options available that can help you find the right shade for your skin tone.
- 100% vegan
- Three-step application process
- Small portable design