Glow Getter’s Guide: Difference between Liquid vs Powder Highlighters

Difference between Liquid vs Powder Highlighters
Difference between Liquid vs Powder Highlighters

To Cream or Not To Cream: Difference between Liquid vs Powder Highlighters 

Highlighters are now considered a makeup bag essential for achieving a luminous, lit-from-within glow. But with both liquid and powder highlighter options on the market, how do you choose between the two formulas? Here’s a guide to the key differences between liquid and powder highlighters to help you pick your perfect glow-enhancing product.



Highlighters come in two main formats – liquid highlighter and powder highlighter. Both can brighten up your complexion by reflecting light, but they achieve that glow in different ways.

Liquid highlighters have a creamy, emollient texture that melts into skin seamlessly. Powder highlighters have a silky, powdery feel and meld into skin with a soft-focus effect. While liquids impart a glossy, dewy radiance, powders lend a subtle, candlelit brightness.

From application method to longevity and skin type compatibility, there are several key differences between liquid and powder highlighter finishes. Read on to learn how to choose between these glowing makeup products.


Liquid Highlighter Benefits

Liquid highlighters deliver hydrating ingredients and luminous pigments in one easy swipe. Liquid highlighter formulas blend out beautifully on the high points of the face for a imperceptible wash of radiance. Just a few benefits of liquid highlighter include:

  • Dewy, glossy finish
  • Customizable coverage from subtle to bold
  • Easy to mix and layer with other makeup
  • Applies well on all skin types
  • Longwear formulas available


Powder Highlighter Benefits

Powder highlighters let you buff and blend for a customizable lit-from-within effect. Here’s what makes powder highlighter formulas shine:

  • Soft, candlelit glow
  • Lightweight feel on skin
  • Buildable sheer to intense coverage
  • Smooths over pores and texture
  • Works well on oily and acne-prone skin types
  • Long lasting wear


Key Differences between Formulas

While both liquid and powder highlighters illuminate your best features, there are some key differences between the two formulas:

Texture – Liquid highlighters have a creamy, emollient feel while powders are silky and powdery.

Application – Liquids apply best with fingers or makeup sponges. Powders apply best with brushes.

Intensity – Liquid highlighters allow you to build from subtle to bold metallic finishes. Powders build subtly from within.

Skin types – Liquid highlighters work for all skin types. Powder highlighters best suit oily and acne-prone skin types.

Longevity – Powder highlighter tends to have longer wear than liquid formulas before fading.


Choosing the Right Highlighter for You

With all of the differences between liquid and powder highlighters in mind, how do you choose the right formula for your needs? Here are a few factors to consider:

Desired finish – Do you want a bold glossy glow or subtle candlelit radiance? This will help determine liquid vs powder.

Skin type – Liquids work for all skin types. Powders are best for oily skin types. For normal to dry, liquids are ideal.

Application – If you prefer fingers or sponges, liquid highlighters are easier to use and blend. For brush buffing, powders are ideal.

Coverage – Layerable liquids allow you to customize from subtle to intense illumination. Buildable powders are more forgiving.


Difference between Liquid vs Powder Highlighters
Difference between Liquid vs Powder Highlighters


FAQs About Liquid and Powder Highlighters

Still have questions about choosing between liquid vs powder highlighter formulas? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: What is the best way to apply liquid highlighter?

A: Use your fingers, a damp makeup sponge, or stippling brush for seamless application.

Q: How can I make powder highlighter last longer on my skin?

A: Use a setting spray after applying to extend the wear time. Opt for a baked or waterproof powder formula.

Q: Which highlighter finish looks more natural?

A: Liquid highlighters better mimic a radiant, dewy glow for a more believable lit-from-within look.

Q: Can I layer powder highlighter over liquid?

A: Yes! Apply liquid highlighters first and let them set. Then dust powder lightly on top for extra glow.

Q: What brushes work best with loose powder highlighter?

A: Tapered highlights brushes, small fluffy eyeshadow brushes, and fan brushes pick up the perfect amount of product.


While personal preference plays a role, understanding the differences between liquid and powder highlighters makes it easier to find your perfect match. Just consider your desired finish, skin type, and application method. Both liquid and powder highlighters can make your best features shine bright with a gorgeous strobe of light. Simply choose the glowing goddess formula that suits your needs.


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