Liquid VS Powder Highlighter: Pros & Cons

Highlighter should be a staple in anyone’s makeup bag, especially as it adds that final dash of sparkle to your makeup look. If you want your skin to look radiant, it’s crucial that you know how to apply highlighter accordingly.

But, you might be wondering… which highlighter do I use?

Well, there’s two types of highlighter to choose from: liquid and powder. Whether the former or latter is right for you depends on a few factors that we will discuss in this blog. 

Don’t stop reading because we’ll go through the pros and cons of these two types of highlighter!

Liquid Highlighter

A liquid highlighter is simple to use, and you can even use your finger to blend it onto your face! These usually come in a tube or tub form, so you can easily tell them apart from powder highlighters. 


  • Ideal for a glossy or dewy finish
  • Perfect for normal to dry and mature skin
  • Typically easier to blend out
  • No need for a brush – a clean finger will do


  • Sometimes less pigmented (meaning that you have to apply more product for more pigment)
  • Potentially not ideal for summertime where you’re likely to sweat more
  • Can make oily skin types look more oily and greasy

Powder Highlighter

Meanwhile, powder highlighter will usually require a brush (we suggest using a fan brush) to use, with just one swipe being enough to cast a beautiful glow. Power highlighters are, without a doubt, the more popular option between the two, but they also come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. 


  • Usually very pigmented (you only need little product for each application)
  • Ideal for combination and oily skin types
  • Lifespan is extended compared to their liquid counterparts
  • Often more complex in comparison to liquid highlighters (has different pigments that create a multidimensional sheen)


  • Requires a brush (this is a con because this means that you need to properly maintain your brushes – clean, replace, etc.)
  • Sometimes too pigmented (it’s possible that you might only want a little bit of a glow…)
  • Needs more blending – if you’re someone with little time to apply makeup, then it can be bothersome if you don’t properly blend your powder highlighter (you could end up with a unflattering bright streak across your cheekbones)

What about Cream Highlighter?

Some of you are probably confused and wondering whether we’ve just forgotten about cream highlighter. This type of highlighter usually comes in the form of a stick, and can be dabbed onto the face using the stick (or your finger). 

While cream highlighters are different from liquid highlighters, we’d like to point out that their pros and cons are likely to be similar.

Which One to Pick?

When it comes to whether liquid highlighter or powder highlighter is the best choice for you, it’s ultimately up to your own preferences and skin type. You might even switch between different types of highlighters depending on the season – liquid highlighter for autumn and winter, and powder highlighter for spring and summer.

Nevertheless, now that you know each of their pros and cons, the choice is in your hands!