Thank God for highlighter. We love a natural glow, duh. But the way a few swipes of shimmer on your cheekbones can instantly give your face dewy, otherwordly dimension — well, you can’t beat that. As with any makeup product, highlighter is not one size fits all. If you’re very fair-skinned, many highlighters are too dark for your complexion. If you’re a brown babe, they can be too light and give more Ashy Larry than glowing goddess vibes. 

The good news is the makeup industry is far more inclusive now than it was even less than a decade ago. There are more gorgeous highlighter options for brown-skinned people than ever before. And the shades go deep — you can absolutely find something rich-yet-iridescent enough to make your skin beam. 

Of course, there’s the business of selecting the right highlighter. It comes down to a few crucial factors: the finish you want, your skin type, and your preferred application style. New York City-based makeup artist and beauty expert Jaleesa Jaikaran shares, “My best tip for highlighter is figuring out what your preference is: do you want it to be bold and blinding? Or subtle and simple?” Finely-milled highlighters look more natural while chunky glitters or chromatic shades give a bolder effect.

If we’re talking undertones, a general rule of thumb for the melanin-rich is to stick to warm hues. Los Angeles-based makeup artist Ernesto Casillas recommends looking for shades of gold, bronze, copper, and champagne. “If you want to go bold, pink and purple are flattering as long as the undertone is warm,” he advises. “Skip colors that lean blue or silver as this can appear too icy on the skin.” 

Now that the experts have laid the foundation, get into some of the best highlighters for dark skin tones recommended by the pros — and a few that we love, too.

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