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The Best Drugstore Highlighter: Essence Pure Nude Highlighter


So my last blog post was a little heavy on the “self development” side of things, and while I love writing the more thought provoking content, I knew when I started my blog, I wanted to focus on things I love, like fashion and beauty. And so, today, with that in mind, a lighter post is coming at ‘ya, giving you the scoop on the best drugstore highlighter I’ve ever tried: The Essence Pure Nude Highlighter. 

We’ll get into a full review of this drugstore makeup gem. Plus, I’ll tell you how I use it for the best results. 

And, if you’re interested in drugstore makeup, be sure to check out this list of all the best drugstore makeup that I think every woman should try out. It’s an extremely comprehensive list, and it will take all the guess work out of trying to pick out the best drugstore makeup. Because, trust me, I get it: drugstore makuep can be overwhelming.

In fact, when I first went on the hunt for a drugstore highlighter, I couldn’t find anything I liked. Everything was too sparkly, or had a weird color pigment to it. No thanks.

It wasn’t until I happened to look down on the bottom shelf at the drugstore, far away from where all the other makeup is stored, that I happened to see the Pure Nude Highlight sticking out.

Hallelujah! I hit the jackpot of drugstore highlighters!

From then on, I’ve been loyal to this highlighter, and I plan on continuing to sing its praises until everyone has given it a try for themselves.

Okay, that is enough of me talking. To start, let’s chat about some of the basics of the Pure Nude Highlighter, so that we’re all on the same page.

**Also, please note: this post contains some affiliate links, meaning I make a small commission if you choose to purchase through one of links. But don’t worry, I only recommend things I truly believe in. Thank you for supporting Hustle and Hearts.

** *Please Note: This post specifically focuses on the Pure Nude Highlighter. There is also the Spacelighter (purples tones), Cosmolighter (green tones), and Sunlighter (bronze tones) from Essence. 


essence pure nude highlighter review

What Is The Pure Nude Highlighter? + Details

The Essence Pure Nude Highlighter is a drugstore makeup find, currently price at $4.49 on Ulta.

It’s a baked formula, which is what helps to give it an ultra-smooth and silky texture (you have to feel it for yourself to really understand just how silky it is).

While, in the package, it might not look like it gives any sort of glow or highlight, once you try it out for yourself, you’ll see why this is such a popular highlighter, especially amongst those who prefer a more natural makeup look (we’ll discuss the finish in more detail below).

The product comes packaged in a relatively basic container. There’s no mirror, and there’s no brush included, but I actually love this. Because really, how often do you use either of those things anyway? We all likely have our own makeup brushes and mirror, and don’t need to pay extra to get them with our makeup, right?

In addition, the other thing to know about Essence is that none of their products are ever tested on animals, which I think is a real highlight of the product (pun intended lol).

If you haven’t had the chance to discover this highlighter for yourself, you can find all the details on Ulta’s website (plus check out those 600+ five-star reviews!)

And now, if we’re all on the same page, I’m going to give you my personal review of the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, and why I think it’s such an awesome beauty find, especially for the drugstore makeup enthusiast.

Also, keep in mind: this is a product that I have used consistently for close to two years. I have used it for everything from “no makeup” makeup days, everyday makeup, beach makeup, and I’ve even snuck some in for a New Years makeup look. It’s an extremely versatile and wearable product, no matter what the occasion, and I have a lot of experience with it.

Let’s get into the review!

Don’t forget to sign up for Ebates to get CASHBACK on your online purchases. Stores like Amazon, Ulta, Sephora, Walmart, and Target are all part of the program. You sign up for FREE and instantly start earning money for basically doing nothing except making the purchases you were already going to make. If you shop online at all, you should be using Ebates. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table. Learn more about Ebates here. And if you’re Canadian, like myself, you can still  try out Ebates here.

What Makes The Essence Pure Nude Highlighter So Good? (THE PROS)

1) It gives a natural glow

Probably the biggest reason for why I love this drugstore highlighter so much, if you also love a natural glow, I know the Pure Nude Highlighter will become a staple in your makeup routine.

It gives a soft pretty sheen to your makeup, but it’s not overly showy, and it’s great for when you’re looking for a more natural makeup look. Just a light dusting on your cheekbones of this basic highlighter will make your skin look glowy, fresh, and oh-so-vibrant.

In addition, you’ll also likely find that the product gives your cheeks more of a sheen than a glittery highlight. Not greasy, though! Just that perfect dewy look that is so popular in the beauty world right now.

Also, keep in mind that it is definitely a buildable highlighter, meaning you can start out with as a little or as much product as you want, and you can adjust it to suit your preferences.

But, for ladies who like natural, fresh makeup, this highlighter is an absolute must.

RELATED: Simple Tips To Help You Achieve A Natural Makeup Look

How I personally like to apply to Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Now, like I said, this highlighter is definitely much more well-suited for someone who enjoys a more soft and natural makeup look.

And so, for application, I personally just use a very light dusting of the product.

In particular, I like to focus the product down my nose, onto the high points of my cheek bones, and underneath my brow bone.

For the inner-corner of my eyes, I’ll use something with a bit more of a pop since I don’t tend to wear a lot of eye makeup, but for my face, I like to keep it more subtle with the highlight. To me, a blinding highlight on the cheeks is always a bit much, especially for the everyday.

And so, with that in mind, that actually brings us to one of the other major reasons for why I love this highlighter so much…

2) You can simply use your fingers for application

I know that might not be the most “pro” thing to do when it comes to makeup application, but anything that I can do to make makeup application easier, I’m all for it.

I’ll simply swipe my (clean!) finger into the product and tap a little onto the high points of my cheeks, then down my nose, and onto my brow bone. No brush necessary!

This is great for travel, or for throwing in your purse when you want to touch up your makeup on-the-go.

If you also like makeup that is quick and easy, this highlighter will come in handy.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide To Easy Makeup For Hectic Mornings

essence pure nude highlighter

3) It’s an insanely good price

Okay, probably the biggest selling point of this product is the price.

On Ulta, you’ll only pay $4.49 for this gem. 

Yes, you that correctly: this highlighter will cost you less than $5, which is pretty wild.

In fact, keep in mind, even if you don’t end up liking the product, it’s not such an investment that you feel like you’re losing out (this has definitely happened with some of my more pricey Sephora purchases).

And, not to mention, I really don’t think you’ll be unsatisfied with the convenience and easy application of this product. I’ve never met anyone who was.

If you’ve got $5 to spare, I highly recommend giving the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter a try.

4) It doesn’t feel cheap

Speaking of price, I should also mention that in no way does this highlighter feel cheap.

I’ve tried other pricey foundations from Sephora, like Two Faced’s Candlelight Glow, and for the everyday, I would much rather put on the Pure Nude Highlighter.

Not only do I think this product compares to those pricey products, in a lot of ways, I actually think it’s better.

I like the finish better, yes, but it also just doesn’t feel any cheaper than those pricey products, and if I have can get a highlighter that feels the same, but is a $20 difference in price, I think I’ll go with the less expensive option. Wouldn’t you?

5) It’s a highlighter that will last you

In that same vein, this is a product that’s going to last. You’d have to be using a whole lot of highlighter to go through this quickly.

Plus, again, if you’re a fan of that natural makeup look like I am, chances are, you won’t be using a ton of product, and you’ll easily be able to rely on this product for a full year.

Yup, it’s that good.

6) It’s amazing in the heat (and stays on!)

If you read my most on my beach makeup routine, you’ll know that I like to apply a little highlighter for an extra boost of glow when I hit the beach.

While I know not everyone is into the idea of wearing highlighter when on the beach, I absolutely love the Essence highlighter for the beach because, at $5, I’m really not too upset if it washes off in the water, and it’s so easy to apply before heading out. And, even if I want to reapply on the beach, this product makes it so insanely easy.

7) Did I mention the price?

Sorry, I can’t resist: don’t forget about that $5 price tag, because honestly, it’s not often that you find makeup that works this well at this price point.

why the essence pure nude highlighter is the best drugstore highlighter

Are there any negatives to the Esssence Pure Nude Highlighter? (THE CON)

When it comes to issues with the Pure Nude Highlighter, there’s really only thing I can think of…

1) It’s NOT a blinding highlight

As mentioned, this is not a bold highlighter. If you like a blinding, “in-your-face” highlight, this is not the product for you.

Other than that, if you like experimenting with makeup, I can’t think of any other reason why everyone shouldn’t at least give this product a serious try.

To conclude, thoughts on highlighter…

I know that highlighter is not necessarily for everyone.

I also know that for those who do like highlighter, there’s a bit of a tendency to overdo it (again, just my opinion).

Personally, I feel that the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter is the perfect compromise between adding a bit of an extra glow to your skin, while also simultaneously keeping things relatively natural and easy-to-wear.

At the end of the day, though what highlighter you use and how you like to apply it is totally your call, but if you’re looking for one that is an amazing price, gives a natural lit-from-within glow, and doesn’t have any weird sparkle in it, the Essence Pure Nude highlighter was made for you.

Because, trust me, you don’t need to go full Champagne Pop to get a glowing highlight (if you watch beauty YouTube videos, you know what I’m talking about). Just a light dusting on your cheekbones of this basic highlighter will make your skin look glowy, fresh, and oh-so-vibrant.

Has anyone ever tried the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter? What did you think? I would love to know. If you haven’t yet, pick one up today. I’ve got a strong suspicion you’ll love it just as much as I did.

Oh, and if you found this post helpful and want to share it or save it for later, please feel free to use this image on Pinterest. It is always appreciated 🙂

the best drugstore highlighter





  1. I found that the Elf Brow Kit is a great dupe for the Anastasia brow kit. Also the Revlon Matte lips are good. I couldn’t find a good enough high lighter.

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