Essence's Pure Nude Highlighter Creates a Fresh, Natural Glow

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Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter on neutral wall background


What We Like
  • Affordable price point

  • Creates a natural-looking glow

  • Easy to apply

What We Don't Like
  • Only one shade option

Essence's Pure Nude Highlighter is an affordable option that creates a gentle, natural-looking glow ideal for everyday wear. The product blends easily, and its compact format is perfect to take everywhere.


Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter on neutral wall background


We put Essence's Pure Nude Highlighter to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

The seasons have a tendency to drastically affect our skin, and mine is no exception. In the colder months, my skin is drier, which is almost lovely because I'm less likely to have clogged pores and unwanted breakouts on my face. However, I do miss the glow that comes with being outside in the sun all day. I actually enjoy a hint of sweat throughout the day—I appreciate when the natural oil of my skin takes over my glow. 

On days when my glow isn't happening naturally, I have to work for it. I use hydrating oils in my skincare routine, but once the oil soaks into my skin, the shine is gone. I’ve been looking for a subtle highlighter that can get me through the drier times, so I can get a glow that makes me feel forever young and allows my skin to shine in the best way.

When my editor assigned me to try the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, I was excited, as it was winter and I really could use that extra glow. Truthfully, I think the best time to try glow-enhancing products is when your skin is on the drier side. When my skin is more oily, the products aren't always as necessary because of the natural oils already on my skin. Highlighters and dewy finishes do the most for me when my skin is dry, and I know a product is good when it gives me the glow I'm looking for in this state.

Searching for a boost of radiance? Keep reading for my full experience with the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter.

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Best For: All skin types, especially darker skin tones and drier textures.

Uses: A highlighter that adds an extra boost of radiance wherever and whenever you need it.

Byrdie Clean? Yes

Price: $5

About The Brand: An affordable brand for all things beauty, Essence was founded in 2001 by Christina Oster-Daum, who wanted to create an affordable, high-quality beauty brand. Starting in Germany and making its way to the United States in 2008, Essence is now sold in 50 countries.

About My Skin: Having a dry moment

If you’ve read my other Byrdie reviews, you know my skin has many moods. Sometimes it’s oily, sometimes it’s sensitive, and sometimes it's experiencing breakouts, but today it’s dry—just dry. I’m not mad that my skin is in a drier phase, as it gives me a break from some of the acne and clogged pores I have when it's oilier.

When looking for makeup products, I try to make sure everything I use enhances the health of my skin. Dry skin can quickly look cakey or fatigued, so I try to avoid both outcomes as best as possible. Going into trying the highlighter, I was hoping it could give me the glow boost I want without any of the potential drawbacks.

How to Apply: Blend into the high points of your face

When I received the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter, I noticed it was a baked powder formula. I usually use cream highlighters when my skin is dry, so to compensate for this one being a powder, I wanted to ensure my skincare regime was on point. I prepped my skin using a combination of serums and creams that protect my moisture barrier. Then, I used concealer in strategic spots instead of applying foundation all over. As mentioned, when my skin is drier, I try to be more conservative with the amount of makeup I put on. 

In my opinion, the best way to apply a baked powder highlighter is with your fingers. I placed my index finger into the product and immediately noticed how smooth it was—the formula almost felt creamy on my fingertips. I gently applied the highlighter onto the high points of my cheeks, forehead, and nose. The product smoothly melted into my skin and created an instant glow. I didn’t need to layer much highlighter to get my desired look.

The Results: A subtle, natural-looking glow

Byrdie writer Celeste Polanco wears Essence Pure Nude Highlighter

Celeste Polanco

The Essence Pure Nude Highlighter had a gorgeous result, providing a nice glimpse of gold that complemented my skin's warm undertones. Know that this isn’t the kind of highlighter that’s going to give you a dramatic, reflective glow—instead, it's more subtle, as if it’s coming from your skin naturally. I enjoyed the way this highlighter subtly enhanced my skin, and was pleasantly surprised by how well it wore throughout the day. I’m comfortable with a natural-looking glow, so I didn’t feel the need to retouch as the day went on. My glow was light, fresh, and youthful, which was just what I was looking for.

The Value: An affordable, effective find

It doesn’t get much more affordable than the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter. At just $5, it's at a drugstore price point, which I wouldn't have guessed based on the impressive quality. It's truly one of those drugstore finds that's so good, it even outperforms some of the more expensive options out there. If you're in the market for a new highlighter, this one is budget-friendly and sure to give you the glow you deserve.

Similar Products: You've got options

Fenty Beauty Diamond Bomb: If you like to shine bright like a diamond, try the Diamond Bomb highlighter ($40) from none other than Rihanna. Available in three shades (we're partial to Cognac Candy), this 3D formula will give you an elegant glow with a crystalline touch. It's also buildable, so you have plenty of control over how radiant you want to look.

Makeup Revolution Highlight Reloaded: If you’re looking to stay on a budget, then try Makeup Revolution's Highlight Reloaded in Raise the Bar ($7). This highlighter has a silky formula that will provide you with intense pigment for a glowing finish that shines bright on darker skin tones. It's available in six shades total, so you'll be sure to find one that works well with your complexion.

Final Verdict

I thoroughly enjoyed the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter. Although it isn’t as intense as I anticipated, I enjoyed the subtle, golden glow it provided, and it's an especially great option for medium to deep skin tones. If you’re in the market for an affordable, quality highlighter, I would purchase this one immediately.


  • Product Name Pure Nude Highlighter
  • Product Brand Essence
  • Price $5.00
  • Weight 0.24 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Mica, Octyldodecanol, Boron Nitride, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Magnesium Stearate, Isopropyl Isostearate, Dimethicone, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Silica, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).

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