Highlighter adds a luminous glow to your skin and shapes it beautifully. And wouldn’t it be great to achieve radiant skin with natural plant-based ingredients?
We’ve made a list of the best vegan highlighters that you can order online. You can find high-quality vegan highlighters in all shapes and forms be it a powder, liquid, or cream.
Our previous favorite vegan face highlighter brand Becca was sadly closed down. But in 2023, you can find many vegan highlighters to easily compete with Becca’s range.
All highlighters below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they are free of animal ingredients and have not been tested on animals.
Best Vegan Highlighters 2023
Here are the best vegan highlighters for every skin. Hopefully, you’ll find your future favorite vegan makeup highlighter here.
- Best Overall: Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer
- Best Universal: Anastasia Beverly Hills Iced Out Highlighter
- Best Powder: Tarte Shimmering Light Highlighter
- Best Cream: Rose Inc Solar Radiance Cream Highlighter
- Best Stick: Hourglass Vanish Flash Highlighting Stick
- Best Liquid: Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops
- Best Palette: Milani Stellar Lights Highlighter Palette
- Best Organic: Ilia Liquid Light Serum Highlighter
- Best Affordable: Wet n Wild MegaGlo Loose Highlighting Powder
- Best For Fair Skin: Ofra Cosmetics Pressed Powder Highlighter
- Best For Medium Skin: Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Highlighter
- Best For Dark Skin: Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Highlighting Balm
- Best For Sensitive Skin: Merit Day Glow Dewy Highlighting Balm
- Best For Mature Skin: Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand
Best Vegan Highlighter Overall
Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer is the best vegan highlighter. It gives the most gorgeous glow while still looking like your own skin. It blends like a dream and you can adjust the intensity from subtle daily radiance to blinding evening glam.
- What we like: stunning glow, beautiful shades
- What we don’t like: not transfer-proof
- What other reviewers say: second skin feel and glow, buildable and blendable, best range of shades for every skin tone from rose gold to deep bronze
Type: liquid highlighter | Shade range: 8 | Key ingredients: mica, olive oil, sunflower seed oil, flower extracts | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, dermatologist-tested, suitable for sensitive skin
Best Universal Vegan Highlighter
If you are looking for a vegan highlighter in one universal tone, we love the Iced Out Highlighter. This vegan powder highlighter comes in an icy white gold shade that looks flattering on most skin tones and makeup looks. It glistens beautifully yet still looks sheer and elegant.
- What we like: the perfect final touch to makeup
- What we don’t like: gold is not for everyone
- What other reviewers say: little goes a long way, subtle and sheer, glistens like snow, doesn’t go best with cool undertones
Type: pressed powder highlighter | Shade range: 1 | Key ingredients: calcium sodium borosilicate, vegan glycerin| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free
Best Vegan Powder Highlighter
Tarte Shimmering Light is our favorite vegan powder highlighter. It’s smooth and pigmented and gives a lovely summery glow. It comes in two beautiful shades. Rose Gold looks amazing on fair skin while Champagne brings warmth and luminosity to tan and brown skin tones.
- What we like: beautiful warm pigment, fine powder
- What we don’t like: not very sheer
- What other reviewers say: buildable, shimmery without being glittery, little goes a long way, long-lasting result
Type: pressed powder highlighter | Shade range: 2 | Key ingredients: mica, Amazonian clay | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, gluten-free, made in the USA
Best Vegan Cream Highlighter
Rose Inc Solar Radiance has the best vegan cream highlighter. It’s so soft and buttery and makes your skin glow from within. It’s also a good vegan highlighter for dry skin as it hydrates the skin with vegan squalane. It makes the skin smooth and plump without feeling cakey.
- What we like: skin looks naturally luminous
- What we don’t like: needs warming up to feel creamy
- What other reviewers say: soft, natural, and blends seamlessly, streak-free result, hydrates and blurs pores, skin-friendly formula
Type: cream highlighter| Shade range: 5 | Key ingredients: sea holly cells, rose extract, vegan squalane | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, eco-friendly refillable case, clean, natural, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, non-comedogenic, synthetic fragrance-free
Best Vegan Highlighter Stick
The luxurious Vanish Flash has been our favorite vegan highlighter stick for years. This highlighter is for you if you seek a luminous, non-glittery glow. It’s very quick and easy to apply and blend. We especially love the Campagne Flash and Gold Flash shades.
- What we like: easy to use, great non-glittery glow
- What we don’t like: it’s expensive
- What other reviewers say: very easy to apply and smooth to blend, flattering shades and glow, looks great on cheeks and eyelids, good staying power
Type: cream highlighter stick | Shade range: 5 | Key ingredients: mica, synthetic fluorphlogopite| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, talc-free, non-GMO
Best Vegan Liquid Highlighter
Cover FX has the best vegan liquid highlighter to mix in your moisturizer or foundation. It has the perfect balance of shimmer and glow. It sinks into your skin seamlessly. Go with silver, gold, bronze, pearlescent pink, or holographic, these shades are all impressive.
- What we like: mixes best with moisturizers and makeup products
- What we don’t like: dropper malfunctions
- What other reviewers say: very versatile and looks amazing when blended in a face cream, best replacement for Becca’s Liquid Luminizer
Type: liquid highlighter | Shade range: 7 | Key ingredients: jojoba esters, sunflower seed wax, mimosa flower wax| Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, mineral oil-free, talc-free
Best Vegan Highlighter Palette
Stellar Lights has been our most cherished vegan highlighter palette for years. You can use it to contour, bronze, and highlight the cheekbone. All 3 shades are flattering and blend like like a dream. Being oil-free and breathable, it’s also the best vegan highlighter for acne-prone skin.
- What we like: sculpts and highlights at once
- What we don’t like: only one shade option
- What other reviewers say: beautiful result, colors blend well and go well together, rich in pigment, nice shimmer, looks good on both fair and tan skin tones
Type: pressed powder highlighter | Shade range: 1 | Key ingredients: mica, talc, synthetic fluorphlogopite | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, oil-free, paraben-free
Best Organic Vegan Highlighter
Ilia Liquid Light is the best organic vegan highlighter. It’s made with organic botanicals and marine actives that protect the skin from UV light and environmental stressors. It leaves a dewy glow and comes in 3 beautiful soft shades of gold, rose gold, and pink pearl.
- What we like: gentle organic formula, luminous glow
- What we don’t like: the exact organic content not specified
- What other reviewers say: very sheer and luminous, hydrating for dry skin, can pill on makeup, not heavy, you only need a little amount
Type: gel highlighter | Shade range: 3 | Key ingredients: algae, marine actives, mastic | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, organic, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free
Best Affordable Vegan Highlighter
Wet n Wild MegaGlo is our favorite affordable vegan highlighter. You’ll get a beautiful shimmery glow for only 7 dollars. The loose powder is very fine for a natural, blended result. A little powder goes a long way. We also love the shades, especially the light gold one.
- What we like: best inexpensive highlighter
- What we don’t like: can look too glittery
- What other reviewers say: blinding glow, shimmery and pigmented, also works as an eyeshadow, melts into the skin well
Type: loose powder highlighter | Shade range: 5 | Key ingredients: synthetic fluorphlogopite, silica | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, fragrance-free
Best Vegan Highlighter For Fair Skin
Ofra offers the best vegan highlighter for fair skin. Be it Pillow Talk in soft pearl pink, Rodeo in universal champagne tone, Glazed Donut in frosty white pearl, or Cloud 9 in pink and peach duo-chrome – these powder highlighters bring some life and subtle color to pale skin tones.
Ofra is also 100% vegan, so you can see their highlighter collection for fair skin here. Just tick the skin type filter to ‘Fair’ on the left and find the best shades for your complexion.
- What we like: best-looking pearlescent shades
- What we don’t like: has some fallout
- What other reviewers say: beautiful bright shine, blendable, pigmented, soft formula, long-wearing, non-chalky, Pillow Talk and Rodeo praised for light skin
Type: pressed powder highlighter | Shade range: 40 (including collabs and limited editions) | Key ingredients: mica, silica | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, eco-friendly refillable case, paraben-free
Best Vegan Highlighter For Medium Skin
Murumuru Butter Highlighter is our favorite vegan highlighter for medium skin tones. This vegan highlighter has 2 gorgeous shades for tan skin and olive skin: Champagne and Rose Gold. Both have strong bronze and golden undertones for warmth and radiance.
- What we like: warm summer goddess glow
- What we don’t like: the shades can break in pans
- What other reviewers say: wonderful shimmer, soft and buildable, lovely cocoa scent. Champagne looks beautiful on skin tones with yellow undertones
Type: cream to powder highlighter | Shade range: 5 | Key ingredients: murumuru butter, cupuacu butter, tucuma butter | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, dermatologist-tested, clinically-tested, hypoallergenic
Best Vegan Highlighter For Dark Skin
Black female-founded brand Danessa Myricks happens to have the best vegan highlighter for dark skin. The Hot Water shade in bronze shimmer illuminates black and brown skin and gives deep skin gorgeous warmth and hydration. It has a stunning glass-like finish.
Other vegan highlighters that look great on dark skin include Milk Bionic Glow Highlighter in Luminous Bronze, E.l.f. Baked Highlighter in Apricot Glow, Rose Inc Solar Radiance Highlighter in Rich Copper.
- What we like: extraordinary glass-skin finish
- What we don’t like: not very pigmented
- What other reviewers say: gorgeous wet finish that looks like healthy skin, also works as a vegan body highlighter, softens the skin, long-wearing but a bit sticky
Type: creamy balm highlighter | Shade range: 6 | Key ingredients: jojoba seed oil, candelilla wax | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, black-owned business, clean, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, gluten-free
Best Vegan Highlighter For Sensitive Skin
Merit Day Glow Highlighting Balm is the best vegan highlighter for sensitive skin. It uses gentle, natural ingredients and it’s free of over 1300 potential irritants including fragrance. It has a sheer, natural finish and it hydrates the skin with vegan squalane and olive fruit oil.
- What we like: natural skin-like glow, irritation-free
- What we don’t like: too faint for some
- What other reviewers say: looks like the skin glows from within, is fresh and dewy, blends well, non-irritating, Rose Gold looks great on cool skin tones, too rich for oily skin
Type: creamy balm highlighter | Shade range: 3 | Key ingredients: vegan squalane, olive fruit oil, phytosterol, amino acids | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, clean, natural, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free, mineral oil-free, fragrance-free, free of over 1300 potentially harmful ingredients, safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin
Best Vegan Highlighter For Mature Skin
Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Beauty Light Wand is the best vegan highlighter for mature skin. It leaves a natural hydrated glow, making the skin look smooth and blurred. It’s like your skin glows from within. What’s best, it doesn’t settle in lines, wrinkles, or pores.
- What we like: skin looks smooth and radiant
- What we don’t like: one tube runs out fast
- What other reviewers say: healthy glow, nice tint, goes on smoothly, doesn’t pronounce wrinkles or textured skin, you can remove the sponge tip if you prefer, cakes if you apply too much
Type: liquid highlighter | Shade range: 6 | Key ingredients: silica, polymers, sensorial oil | Features: vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, SLS-free
Best Vegan Highlighter Brush
Fenty Beauty’s Brush 120 is the best vegan highlighter brush. The vegan makeup brush has an excellent shape that hugs the cheekbone and leaves a natural, blended result. We also like that it’s made with super soft synthetic bristles that work with both cream and powder highlighters.
Best Vegan Highlighter Brands
If you are looking for more vegan highlighter options, these are our favorite vegan highlighter brands. The companies below are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, so you can browse their highlighting makeup with good conscience.
What Makes A Highlighter Vegan?
A highlighter is vegan if it’s free from animal-derived ingredients such as lanolin or carmine. Vegan highlighters are also not tested on animals or contain any ingredients tested on animals.
The typical ingredients that make a highlighter not vegan are:
- Squalane: a moisturizing agent from shark liver oil (can be also vegan)
- Lanolin: emollient from sheep’s sebaceous glands
- Carmine: red pigment derived from crushed insects
- Guanine: shine agent from the scales of fish
- Beeswax: waxy emollient produced honeybees
Instead of red carmine, vegan highlighters use plant-based colorings from red and purple vegetables. Vegan micro-pearls and natural minerals like mica crystals are used for adding shimmer instead of fish-based guanine.
For making the highlighter creamy and moisturizing, vegan brands have many plant oils and emollients to choose from. Common picks are vegan glycerin, olive-derived squalane, and jojoba seed oil. Compared to lanolin, vegan emollients are also less comedogenic.
While the popularity of vegan highlighters seems to be rising, numerous highlighters on the market are still tested on animals or contain weird animal-based components. To be sure your highlighter is vegan, prefer products with a certified vegan label.
What To Look For In A Vegan Highlighter?
The best kind of vegan highlighters can make your skin glow from the inside out, not drown it in glitter. Prefer vegan highlighters that leave a naturally radiant finish and are infused with some healthy oils and botanicals.
If you have dry skin or mature skin, your vegan highlighter should also include some moisturizing ingredients and come in hydrating cream form. For oily skin, lightweight vegan powder highlighter formulas are a better choice.
For combination skin, we like vegan liquid highlighters and gel highlighters that offer some mild hydration without clogging pores. A good vegan highlighter for combination skin is Saie Glowy Super Gel Dewy Highlighter.
For acne-prone or sensitive skin, less is more. Make sure your vegan highlighter is non-comedogenic and free of harsh parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes fragrances. If you have allergies, you might also want to avoid gluten and soy in your highlighter.
It’s also important that your vegan highlighter matches your skin tone. The general guidelines for picking the right highlighter shade are the following:
- Fair skin: cool pink, purple, and pearl tones, cool champagne
- Medium skin: warm peach, gold, and champagne tones
- Dark skin: deep bronze, copper, deep champagne, rich rose gold
For a natural result, choose a vegan highlighter that is two shades lighter than your skin color. But remember that no makeup rules are set in stone. Pick a highlighter that you like best and feel beautiful wearing. That’s all that matters.
How We Review Vegan Highlighters
We review vegan highlighters by testing them out on our skin. Here are the main criteria we rate vegan highlighters by:
- Ingredients: The cleaner and more skin-friendly the vegan highlighter formula, the better, chemicals like parabens are needless in a highlighter.
- Blendability: A vegan highlighter should not sit on the skin but rather melt into it and blend with other makeup products, that’s the only way it can look natural.
- Finish: The best kind of vegan highlighters leave a radiant finish that is not fake or glittery, the more skin-like the finish, the better.
- Shade range: We value vegan highlighters that offer something to every skin tone and undertone, from pearly pinks to rich bronze and copper.
Why Trust Us
At Vegan Avenue, we list the best vegan highlighters through personal experience, extensive online research, and peer recommendations. None of our reviews has been incentivized by the company or retailer.
FAQ About Vegan Highlighters
Highlighters can be vegan but some are not. The typical ingredients that make a highlighter not vegan are animal-derived carmine, guanine, and lanolin.
100% vegan highlighter brands include Rare Beauty, Ofra Cosmetics, Cover FX, E.l.f., Milk Makeup, and Hourglass.
The most popular vegan highlighter is Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer.
The best selection of vegan highlighters is available on Sephora, Ulta, and Amazon.
The best place to shop for plastic-free vegan highlighters is on Etsy. Among others, we like the zero-waste River Organics Highlighters. You can also check some plastic-free vegan eyeshadow powers that can double as a highlighter.
The following Fenty Beauty highlighters are vegan: Diamond Bomb All-Over Diamond Veil in How Many Carats and Cognac Candy; Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick in Rum, Sinamon, Starstruck, Champagne Heist, I Scream, Crown’d, and Truffle Spark; Liquid Killawatt Fluid Freestyle Highlighter (all shades).
No. Smashbox X Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector is not vegan and contains carmine from insects.
We hope you found your match from our favorite vegan face highlighters.
A good vegan highlighter both highlights your best features and your good heart. Thanks for caring about animals and the environment by choosing vegan makeup.
The variety of vegan highlighters in 2023 is pretty impressive. From vegan highlighting powders to creams and liquids, there is that perfect highlighter for everyone.
In the future, we’d love to see more vegan highlighter pens and pencils. Sadly, the KVD Beauty Metal Crush vegan click-pen highlighter was discontinued.
We’ll keep our eyes open for new vegan highlighters and vegan highlighter brands. If we find more great products, they will be added to this list.
See also: Vegan Blushes