But looking at my shamefully large highlighter collection, I realized a couple of things: I gravitate toward cooler highlighters as a general rule, I have some unusual looking highlighters here, and I guess I'm totally addicted to shimmer now.
All of them. Clockwise from top left: Colourpop Monster, Fyrinnae Confidence, Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Stick, Colourpop Butterfly Beach, Rascal Winter's Glow, HelloWaffle Wings of a Fly, HelloWaffle Jelly Bean, HelloWaffle Lavender Cream (powder), HelloWaffle Lavender Cream (liquid), HelloWaffle Awoke at Dawn (powder), Colourpop Sticky Sweet, Becca Champagne Glow palette (top to bottom: Blushed Copper, Champagne Pop, Pearl), HelloWaffle Awoke at Dawn (liquid, HelloWaffle Draw Me Like One of Your French Kitties, Shiro White Chocolate Frog
Most of my highlighters are loose powders, with the exception of the Becca Champagne Glow palette, my HelloWaffle liquid highlighters, and some Colourpop highlighters (two of which are not highlighters on me at all, more like blushes). Loose powder is surprisingly not as scary as it might sound for the glitter-shy. Of course, loose powders only come in the quantity of "a lot" so I probably have enough highlighter to bequeath some to my children. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I've not resolved to not buy any, even post no-buy, until I can put a semi-decent dent in some of these (not counting the Colourpop highlighters, since those are laughably shallow pans).
But in the meantime, I can share my knowledge and swatches with the world (and maybe use some of them up in my quest to make a dent). I usually highlight with a light hand, because I work in a hospital and not everyone is as accepting of my newfound love of shimmer and glitter, and I'm already pushing it with the tragus ring, but all of these could easily be used with a heavier hand and built up a little more and still look naturalish (purples glows don't really look that natural but you can almost fool people into thinking so). I can't speak for how they might look on deeper skintones - I think a few of them could work, but there are a few here that are decidedly white based and best suited for fair skinned people.
My favourite highlighter formula is HelloWaffle's powder formula (which I tell you as they go on a hiatus until October...but you could probably find some in destashes if you looked hard enough). It's light, easy to blend, and has a really natural glow. Even when you're sporting silvery lilac shimmer on your cheekbones.
The one I've been using most lately is Rascal Cosmetics Winter's Glow, which I got in the Indie Memory Box. I partially keep using it because I took it on a trip and got a ton of the powder stuck up above the sifter when I forgot to close it, and I'm trying to use up the excess powder, but also because it's a subtle, work-appropriate colour even if I happen to load it on one morning.
The newest highlighter formula in my collection (and also the newest out) is HelloWaffle's liquid formula. It's more of a mousse, with a light airy texture. A little goes a very long way with this stuff, though I kind of just want to coat my face in it and see how it looks. I'm still playing around with it, but it blends really well and it's just so pretty.
I've divided them into the loose colour families. This has had the effect of showing me exactly how many pink-leaning highlighters I have. I definitely tend toward cooler-toned highlighters, though I hesitate to say I'm cool-toned. To be fair, I don't really know what tone I am. I've been saying neutral-leaning cool and I'm sticking with it.
Top: Becca Pearl, bottom: Shiro White Chocolate Frog
The two pure white highlighters I have are Becca Pearl (from the Champagne Glow palette) and Shiro White Chocolate Frog. Pearl is more of a pure white, while White Chocolate Frog is more silvery in tone. I find Pearl to be more subtle and White Chocolate Frog is a dramatic highlight. It can be blended out to be subtler, but it's never going to be subtle shimmer.
Left to right: Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Stick, HelloWaffle Awoke at Dawn (liquid), HelloWaffle Awoke at Dawn (powder), Fyrinnae Confidence, HelloWaffle Wings of a Fly, Rascal Winter's Glow, Colourpop Monster
I find pink highlights look the most natural on me, even though the ones that I have range from natural-looking (Winter's Glow) to not even a little bit natural (Colourpop Monster).
Fyrinnae Confidence looks quite similar to HelloWaffle Wings of a Fly, which surprised me. I find the Fyrinnae to be a little too powdery. I really love Monster, but it's already starting to pull away from the pan edges, so I've been trying to double down on using it up. It bugs me at how they don't really last - but is it worth to look for a dupe that will actually survive a year when Monster isn't that expensive? I don't know. It's also a pretty unique colour.
I'm not a huge fan of the Clinique Chubby Stick. I got it as part of a Sephora point perk, and it's okay. But nothing special. I won't purchase once I've finished the small amount of product in there.
I need to try out Awoke at Dawn in liquid form as a blush, because I feel like it would work.
Left to right: Shiro The Last Unicorn, HelloWaffle Lavender Cream (powder), HelloWaffle Lavender Cream (liquid), HelloWaffle Jelly Bean
While I do love pink highlighters, it's purples that I reach for - they're just so pretty and unnatural and I don't know, I've just always loved purple. The Last Unicorn is a beautiful silvery purple, striking like my other Shiro highlighter. I have to be ready to make a statement when I wear it. Or just not having any important meetings scheduled at work.
Lavender Cream, in both liquid and powder, is a subtler purple shimmer. It's more of an every day highlighter - less in your face and a soft lilac shimmer. Jelly Bean is in the same wheelhouse.
HelloWaffle Draw Me Like One of Your French Kitties
I just got HelloWaffle's Draw Me Like One Of Your French Kitties, so I've worn it all of once, but look at that blue shift. It's magical.
Becca Champagne Pop
I like Champagne Pop (the second from the Champagne Glow palette) more in theory than execution. Half the time I think that it's too warm and/or dark for me, the other half I think it looks stunning. I don't know.
Highlighters that are better as blushes
Top to bottom: Colourpop Butterfly Beach, Colourpop Sticky Sweet, Becca Blushed Copper
So all three of these are billed as highlighters but I use more like blushes. I knew that Colourpop Sticky Sweet was most definitely going to be a blush - a shimmery glowy purple blush - and Becca Blushed Copper (the last of the Champagne Glow palette) was also going to be a blush - I use a stippling brush with it, because I find it to be very pigmented. Butterfly Beach was darker than I thought it would be, but I guess that's what I get for picking it on a whim.
I am a highlighter convert. It's clear. No more am I about matte skin. I need shimmer.
I'm going to end this post with a picture of the tiny cannon I found at a very odd park in town today, even though it has nothing to do with highlighters. There were two benches, a mysterious fountain thing, two tiny cannons, and a big square stone with 1902 stamped on the side, at the corner where the road split.
This place is odd.