High-end Highlighters: Are they worth it?

Are high-end highlighters worth the often extortionate cost? Here’s a comparison.

The prices of the highlighters I am going to compare, and links to buy them are below.

M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish, Soft and Gentle: £25.50
Out of five?: ♥♥♥♥
Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost, Ice Cold: £25.50
Out of five?: ♥♥♥♥
Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost, Eclipse: £25.50
Out of five?: ♥
Sleek Makeup Highlighting Palette, Solstice: £8.00
Out of five?: ♥♥♥♥/♥
MUA Vivid Baked Highlighter, Golden Lights: £3.00
Out of five?: ♥♥♥
MUA Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter, Ice Sparkle: £3.00
Out of five?: ♥♥

Each of these highlighters, bar one, performs well in its own right, and the ratings depend much on personal preference. I’ll go through each, with swatches, and let you make your own mind up on whether the more expensive highlighters are worth it in comparison to the cheaper ones.

M.A.C Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle. 

As you can see by the notable dent in the highlighter, this used to be one of my favourites. Especially on more tanned skin, this highlighter is beautiful. It’s not metallic or slick like most of the highlighters nowadays – and I do love that look – but it’s a timeless product, great for many different ages as it doesn’t highlight fine lines or pores as much as many other highlighters do. I’ve had this for quite a long time, and I don’t think I’m anywhere near hitting pan, so I’d think of this as a short-term investment! Whilst I think, for a single product, it has a high price point, I do think it can be worth it.
Total rating: ♥♥♥♥
Pigmentation: ♥♥♥♥
Longevity: ♥♥♥/♥
Shine: ♥♥♥♥

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost in Ice Cold. 

These photos cover both of the Jeffree Star highlighters, but need to be talked about in their own right. Inconsistencies galore!.
I’m taking the Ice Cold highlighter as the most reliable product, as that is from his original line. It is great for very pale people, but I believe turns out ashy on darker skin tones, and doesn’t look that great. However, he offers a load of different colours in this range, so it’s worth taking a look!
This product can be applied too heavily, and tends to highlight fine lines a lot, so be careful if you’re a little older. The texture of the Jeffree Star Skin Frost’s are like no other highlighter I’ve felt – they feel soft and chunky, almost gritty, and when you swatch it much of the product stays on your hand.
Ice cold is the opposite of M.A.C’s soft and gentle, in that it is a bright, glowing highlighter, and unless with extreme caution, shouldn’t be used to try and get a ‘natural’ glow.
Jeffree’s highlighters are huge and come with about 50% more product that most pans. For that reason, it’s worth considering the price a little more easily, alongside remembering that Star’s brand is indie, and isn’t in stores so must be ordered online.
Total rating: ♥♥♥♥
Pigmentation: ♥♥♥♥♥
Longevity: ♥♥♥
Shine: ♥♥♥♥

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Skin Frost in Eclipse (Collaboration with Manny MUA)

This product is an absolute flop for me. Unfortunately, the texture and payoff isn’t the same as the Ice Cold skinfinish, or from what I’ve heard, the other shades in the original line. There’s a conspiracy or two about why this was so different (look it up!), but overall, the only conclusion I’ve come to is that I wish I’d ordered a different shade!
The texture is soft again, and clumpy, and doesn’t transfer onto the skin very well at all. It feels really odd, very gritty, flaky and dry.
Here’s a couple of images I’ve used in an attempt to show you what I mean:

I find this product almost unusable, and while it would have been fine if it had cost the same as drugstore prices, this is really £25 down the drain! A real shame, because I’m a hardcore fan of Jeffree Star products. I keep this anyway, and attempt to use it every so often. If anyone has had a positive experience with this product, let me know!
Total rating: ♥
Pigmentation: ♥
Longevity: ♥/♥
Shine: ♥/♥

Sleek Makeup Highlighting Palette in Solstice.

This palette, as you can probably tell by the way I’ve hit pan on two of the shades, is one of my absolute favourite highlighters, and the one I use most often. It comes with the orange and purple toned shades – the texture of which is to die for. (Dry and incredibly finely milled). The top left shade is a cream, and the bottom left is a yellow/golden toned light highlighter. It’s a different texture to the other two, and I don’t use it as often just because of that.
The right two are blinding, though they do highlight pores and fine lines. This palette is great for lighter skintones, and I believe Sleek does some appropriate for deeper skin tones too. I really would recommend this product, and the price definitely isn’t bad for four highlighters.
Total rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Pigmentation: ♥♥♥♥♥
Longevity: ♥♥♥♥
Shine: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥!

MUA Highlighters

For the sake of simplicity, I’ve bunched these two together, as I find MUA (and Makeup Revolution, though I know they’re not the same brand) to be very consistent with quality.
Their highlighters are not the best for longevity, but really give a strong fight in regards to their pigmentation and shine. As you can see in the photo, both products stand out on the skin. Neither are glittery or chunky, and the product feels smooth during application.
There are a load of different shades for highlighters in both Makeup Revolution and MUA, and I find they seem to make products for those wishing for a subtle glow, and those looking for something out of the ordinary (see the icy blue in the photo).
I rated that one lower above, as I don’t think it’s wearable, but the product itself is great. They have products seemingly suitable for a variety of skin tones, and most of the highlighters range between about three and five pounds. Incredibly well priced! So here’s the rating for Golden Lights:

Total rating: ♥♥♥
Pigmentation: ♥♥♥♥
Longevity: ♥♥♥
Shine: ♥♥♥♥

Overall, I think high-end highlighters can be worth the price. However, they’re not necessary. There’s nothing outstanding that you can find it one of the more expensive highlighters that you cannot achieve similarly with one from the drugstore. Out of all of these, my most used product is the Sleek palette, which should show you my thoughts on the matter!
If you can’t afford high-end products, don’t worry. Drugstore makeup has made leaps and bounds in recent years and is starting to challenge the quality of those with more ridiculous price tags. You are not missing out!


– Lauren.



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