11 Purple Highlighters You Can Actually Afford

by Sebastian Zulch

As a lover of any beauty product even remotely alien-esque, unconventional colors in face makeup thrill me. That's why I quickly fell in love with the iridescent lavender powder trend. Luckily, more affordable purple highlighters are available than ever before. But while I love the beautiful lavender-hued powder in Pat McGrath's Skin Fetish set, for instance, there are plenty of worthy purple-tinted duplicates to try out for a little less of a splurge.

Though I previously thought purple highlighters were the unicorn of cosmetics — something I probably told myself to justify buying such an expensive product — I quickly discovered that I was wrong. There are plenty of powders and highlighter sticks that deliver the same touch of lavender luminosity without the luxury price tag (products like Milk Makeup's Holographic Stick are a personal godsend). Whether you're an alternative beauty maven or prefer more neutral, minimalistic looks, purple highlights are adaptable to any aesthetic.

Even if searching "purple highlighter" doesn't bring up much in your search results, don't be afraid to expand your exploration to lavender blushes and even face glitters. The bolder in the better, IMO. So join the forces of lavender beauty mavens everywhere, and check out these budget-friendly options.

1. Slick & Purple

Holographic Stick, $28, Milk Makeup

This, IMO, is the holy grail of lavender highlighters. The stick glides on smoothly without drying me out or making my skin feel oily. Its lavender meteorite powder-infused finish looks nothing short of intergalactic, and leaves my cheeks smelling like mango butter.

2. A Lavender Frost

Skin Frost in Lavender Snow, $29, Jeffree Star Cosmetics

One of my greatest alien aesthetic inspirations is body positive beauty blogger Ushshi Rahman, who introduced me to this amazing creation. The highly-pigmented powder makes my cheekbones pop without any overwhelming glittery residue (though there's no such thing as too much glitter).

3. Deep & Dark

Highlighter in Sticky Sweet, $8, Colourpop

One of the boldest purple powders I could find, this highlighter is also arguably one of the cheapest you can get for such high quality. For a subtler lavender glow, check out Colourpop's Hippo Highlighter.

4. Roses Are Red, Violets Are Perfect For Cheekbones

NARS Christopher Kane Illuminating Multiple Blush in Violet Atom, $17, Beauty Encounter

With this violet illuminator stick, it's way easier to spread the highlighting love to your lids than it is with the wider Holographic stick. Plus, you can even let your lips in on the action if you feel so inclined. Full-face inclusion is truly the beauty of NARS' sticks.

5. A Touch Of Cosmic Color

Urban Decay Afterglow Eight-Hour Powder Highlighter in Aura, $26, Sephora

Dust this lavender-toned pink highlighter over cheekbones for an eight-hour alien beauty queen glow. Plus, the name of the shade evokes the cosmic energy of Lady Gaga's ARTPOP single of the same name.

6. Metallic Highlights

Purple Rain Highlighter, $13, Etsy shop PrettiesforYourFace

If you're looking for a product with a metallic finish, check out PrettiesforYourFace's Purple Rain highlighter. Generally speaking, Etsy is a great place to find niche beauty products fit for any unicorn-loving maven.

7. An Alien's Favorite Loose Powder

Anna Sui Loose Face Powder in Purple Lucent, $45, Beauty

Though this product is pricier (albeit still less expensive than Skin Fetish), it's worth it for the luxury touch of shimmery lavender it delivers to your cheekbones.

8. A Bright Idea From A Reliable Brand

Bright Idea Illuminating Stick in Lavender Lust, $8, NYX Cosmetics

Since NYX is forever my favorite budget beauty brand, I was thrilled to see that it, too, hopped aboard the lavender highlighter trend. Check out its version of violet luminescence on a stick for just eight bucks.

9. Think Outside The Box

MAC Powder Blush in Full Of Joy, $23, Macys

Layering a nude highlighting stick beneath some purple blush is another great way to achieve alien cheeks at a lesser cost. Brands like MAC have great lavender blushes to experiment with.

10. Baked & Budget-Friendly

Makeup Revolution Highlighter in Pink Lights, $5, Tam Beauty

I present to you the cheapest (and perhaps most shimmery) lavender highlighter on the market. And since this powder is baked, you can expect higher pigmentation and easier blending.

11. Glitter & Glow

Make Up For Ever Glitter in White Violet 4, $15, Sephora

Feeling creative? Love a good alien aesthetic? Try out lavender face glitter either on your cheekbones alone or layered over your fave highlighter. And if you dust some of this over the top of some lavender highlighter, you'll get the ultimate dancehall look with a touch of '90s nostalgia.

If you're looking to transform yourself into a purple-tinted goddess without breaking the bank, consider investing in one of these cool lavender highlighters. Trust me, alien chic doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

Images: Courtesy Brands