MAC Strobe Cream Review and Dupes

mac strobe cream review and dupes
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Calling all the broke and beautiful – we know how pricey makeup can put a dent in your wallet, so get ready to glow on a budget! Highlighters are the most stunning makeup items out there. There’s nothing like that crystalline shine on your cheekbone and sleek shimmer on your nose. Many brands have begun to mass-produce some gorgeous highlighters, MAC is one of the pioneers.

But how many of us can afford the MAC Strobe Cream? The tube is pricey and definitely not in many makeup lovers’ budget. Luckily, we’ve got some brilliant and rich dupes for the MAC Strobe cream. Besides our favorite NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator, we’ve other cheap highlighters for you to check out!

MAC Strobe Cream Review

MAC Strobe Cream is a hydrating illuminator that adds a soft glow to your skin when applied. Smoother than powder highlighters and less intense than other formulas, MAC’s strobe cream comes in 5 different colors to give you the glow you’ve been dreaming of!

The best part is that it’s super hydrating yet gentle on your skin. It doesn’t have a heavy greasy feeling– the formula is light and easily settles on your skin. Customers of all ages love how smoothly it glides on their bare skin and foundation.

MAC Strobe Cream Dupes

Too broke to buy MAC?

Don’t worry – we know all about this!

Luckily, you don’t have to blow your paycheck on the MAC Strobe Cream. We know how pricey makeup can get, especially high-end brands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t own your own amazing strobe cream. There are tons of dupes out there that deliver the same finish and results!

NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator

Our Favorite

Super lightweight and highly pigmented, the NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator is available in four warm and stunning colors! It’s a great dupe that adds color and brilliance to your skin when applied. The liquid formula is super versatile and is great with your foundation and primer. It even applies well on your eyes and lips when used solo!


  • It’s super cheap – so who’s complaining?!
  • A little goes a long way so all you need is a few drops.
  • The formula is long wear.
  • It’s great to mix in with foundations and primers!


  • It’s more glittery than shiny.
  • It’s not great for daily wear; some customers find it too intense.
  • It’s not super bendable.

Where To Buy It: Target, Amazon

L’Oreal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer

Light as a feather and with a pearly tint, L’Oreal Magic Lumi Light infusing Primer is a gentle formula. It sinks right into your skin and goes well with foundation and other liquid and cream formulas. Adding a luminescent glow to your skin, this primer adds a shine to your look, making it look dewy and fresh. It keeps your skin moisturized and holds your makeup in place!


  • It’s great for dry skin.
  • It’s great for light skin tones.
  • It makes your foundation look dewy.
  • It doubles up as a highlighter and primer.


  • It is not great for oily skin.
  • Some clients complain it leaves a white sheen, which offsets their foundation.
  • Has too many glitter particles – yikes!

Where To Buy It: Amazon

Rimmel Insta Strobing Highlighter Illuminator

These pigmented strobing creams are our second favorite dupe! Available in three colors, Rimmel Insta Strobing Highlighter Illuminator is becoming a quick favorite amongst the dupe-hunters for its thin and smooth formula. It adds the right kind of hydration and a brilliant shine that’s as consistent as the MAC Strobe Cream!


  • The formula is great for all skin types.
  • It’s great to mix in with liquid and cream makeup.
  • It has a brilliant and natural finish
  • It’s great to create dewy looks.


  • The formula isn’t long-lasting.
  • It’s better used as a mix-in than on its own.
  • Some customers found the formula to be weak and invisible!

Where To Buy It: Amazon

City Color Cosmetics Glowing Complexion Illuminating Cream

City Color Cosmetics Glowing Complexion Illuminating Cream is a lightweight formula that has up to 10 hours of long wear and glides on the skin! It’s being hailed as one of the best affordable strobing cream dupes. Customers love the gentle shimmer and sparkle it adds to their looks! A little goes a long way and customers love how it mixes well with primers and foundation.


  • The formula is super smooth.
  • It’s bendable and great for daily use.
  • The formula mixes well with liquid makeup.
  • The formula is pigmented, shimmery and less glittery.


  • Some customers complain it’s pretty cakey.
  • The formula is too light and needs to be supplemented with a powder highlighter.
  • It has a very potent fragrance.

Where To Buy: Amazon

Botanics All Bright! Radiance Balm

The Botanics All Bright! Radiance Balm delivers a dewy and soft glow to your skin when applied. Customers love how it adds natural luminescence to their complexion when mixed in with moisturizers or primers. Some fair-skinned customers love its softness as a highlighter. The formula is also great and packed with hydrants to keep your skin healthy and plump.


  • It is great to mix in with moisturizers, foundation, and primers.
  • It works great as a primer.
  • It helps to create dewy looks.
  • It makes dull skin look healthy and bright!


  • It is not great as a standalone highlighter or strobing cream.
  • The formula isn’t very pigmented – it’s more like a moisturizer!
  • It is definitely not great for those with oily skin!

Where To Buy: Amazon


Seen as the queen of highlighting, the MAC Strobe Cream is definitely a treat if you can get your hands on it. There’s nothing like it – the formula is perfect for skins of all kinds and there are no clear or large glitter particles that can offset your look. It’s smooth, looks great when applied on its own, and also mixes in with liquid makeup for an added oomph! Thanks to the pioneers of dewy makeup, the strobe cream has become a big hype and customers are opting for liquid illuminators over powdered ones.

Anyway – if MAC is going to put a dent in your budget, fear not, you’ve got the NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator. It delivers almost the exact same results! It’s also affordable, which is great for those who wear highlighters daily, and the formula is great to work with, too. The other dupes we’ve listed are also pretty brilliant, especially the Rimmel Insta Strobing Highlighter Illuminator if you’re looking for a big shine!

If primers are more your thing, then choose the L’Oreal Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer or mix some of the Botanics All Bright! Radiance Balm to your foundation. You’ll get a dose of hydration, a base to hold your makeup in place and not to mention a shiny, dewy and beautiful glow!

Frequently Asked Questions

There have been tons of questions about strobe creams ever since MAC came out with their creation. What’s the deal with them and why should you try them out?

How Do You Use MAC Strobe Cream With Foundation?

You can go about this in two ways. First, you can mix a few drops of this formula into your foundation for an all-over dewy and illuminated look; you can follow through with your contour and blush and see the difference – your makeup will be popping!

Or you can dab a few dots and buff it in using your fingertips or a damp beauty blender for a luminous look. You can finish it off with a powdered highlighter to make it pop or keep it low-key and natural on its own.

What Is the MAC Strobe Cream Used For?

The MAC Strobe Cream was invented to make lackluster skin look radiant and more alive. It’s used to reduce dullness and is packed with vitamins and green tea to add a boost of radiance to your skin from the inside and out.

In other words, the strobe cream is multipurpose. You can mix it into your primer for a hydrated base; mix it into your foundation for a brighter look, or use it alone as a soft highlighter if you’re not feeling the uber shiny ones.

Can You Wear Mac Strobe Cream On Its Own?

The MAC Strobe Cream is one of the most versatile products in the market. You can definitely use it on its own to add a natural glow to your face.

Dab a few dots of it on the tip of your nose and cheekbones after you’ve applied your moisturizers and serum, put some mascara on your lashes and a tinted lip balm and you’re good to go!