Anyone who’s ever tried to achieve the no-makeup, dewy look knows that a greasy highlighter can sour a skin-care moment really fast. I’m no exception—while I admire the natural glow of a hydrated, perfectly glistening face, I’ve struggled to pull it off myself. In theory, highlighter balms should get the job done, yet few make my face look like the perfectly glazed donut that I aspire it to be. Instead, balms and shimmer-less highlighters have often made me look just plain oily, like I dipped my cheeks in olive oil, or just stepped off the StairMaster.
Which is why if I ever do try to “do the dew,” it’s with Tower 28 Highlight Balm ($18)—one of the only clear highlighters that doesn’t make me look like a greasy mess.
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Packed in a clear, unassuming case, this slick balm is about as “no frills” as you can get. There’s no shimmer, no tint, no scent—it’s a clear salve that, at first glance, kinda resembles pressed petroleum jelly. But one swipe of the stuff is enough to show you it’s not as gelatinous or oily as it appears to be. Instead, Tower28 Highlighter Balm is lightweight and grease-free, leaving skin hydrated and glow-y rather than sticky and sweaty.
The brand behind this magic balm is Tower 28, which, if it isn’t already, should most definitely be on your radar. Founded by Amy Liu in 2019, Tower 28 is designed with sensitive skin in mind, swapping out harsh chemicals for science-backed clean, hypo-allergenic ingredients that are all in accordance with the National Eczema Associations approved ingredient guidelines.
So the reason its highlighter balm isn’t oily? Because there are no actual oils in it. While other highlighter sticks and salves use petroleums or silicones to get that glassy sheen, Tower28’s formulation swaps those irritants for natural, derm-approved alternatives. Instead, you’ll find soothing botanicals, like green tea extract, aloe, and chamomile, which nourish the skin while giving you that effortless, healthy glow.
When I’m feeling dewy (or like my skin needs a good quenching) I tap the highlighter along my cheekbones, blending it seamlessly into my skin. You don’t need a lot—it melts pretty quickly at the brush of a fingertip, allowing for an easy, even finish on your face. I personally love to give a little dab on my Cupid’s Bow and the bridge of my nose, too, but really any natural “point” of your face will do.
Don’t be discouraged from doing the dew—Tower 28 Highlighter Balm is here to help. Other sparkling salves and oily ointments can set you back big bucks, but this heavenly highlighter is less than $20, making it an excellent (and clean) option for getting glassy skin on a budget.
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