Best Pastel Highlighters – Color Highlighter Overview

green and white leafed plantsI am sure that not one of us can say we have never used a highlighter in our lives before; however, have you ever stopped to consider what the history is behind these useful items? The highlighter was developed by a Dr. Frank Honn in the 1960s, and the Carter’s Ink Company produced and gave the trademark Hi-Liter. The highlighters we use to assist us in our studies today have come a long way since the originals were first invented. Now we have highlighters with numerous shapes, colors, and other variations available. So, in this article, we will be showing you the various options and also giving you some reliable recommendations as to the best pastel highlighters available.

Are Highlighters and Markers the Same Thing?

When you use a marker over a given text, it will hide the text as the ink is opaque, but if you use a highlighter you will emphasize the text because the ink is transparent. Markers normally come with black ink but highlighters come in many different color options like orange, pink, yellow, and green. Some of the highlighter brands offer you a range of color options and also give you the choice of different size tips to suit various projects. You may not understand the reason for these types of colors, but when used, you will discover that certain colors emphasize the text better than others. This is why the yellow highlighter is preferred, the text seems to pop off the page as it automatically caches the eye.

The different highlighter colors are also used to highlight different kinds of information, helping you to segregate your information into various topics. This type of technique is a great way to organize all your information so that it is much easier to follow when you refer to it later on. Another amazing option is the fluorescent colors that will glow when it is exposed to blacklight.

Types of Highlighters

Looking for the correct highlighter for your particular project can prove to be a formidable task, as there are so many different types of highlighters on the market today. Some of the highlighters come in distinctive shapes, such as tri-lighters that have three different tips and each tip has a different color. Other highlighters are manufactured with retractable tips to prevent them from drying out too soon. Another type of highlighter is manufactured with wax, which leaves an oil pastel effect on your paper. We will now show you all the different types of highlighters that are available and also learn what they are used for.

Liquid Highlighters

These highlighters form the traditional color highlighter range and come in different colors such as pastel color highlighter range, neon as well as glitter, and metallic color range options. These types of highlighters are wet when you apply them and need a minute or so to dry on your paper to prevent the ink from smudging. Because they are ink-based, their colors seem to be a lot brighter than the other highlighter varieties, and so will stand out more boldly on your paper. Also, they are absorbed into the paper, will last longer, and will not fade easily.

PROS Will shine when blacklight is applied

Lasts longer than all the other pastel highlighter options

Vivid and bright colors

Lots of color options available CONS The ink may smudge if still wet

Unable to remove once applied

May cause bleeding on the paper

Dry Highlighters

Dry highlighters are not the same as ordinary highlighters that come with a felt tip and are ink-based. These pens are dry and not liquid-based and are designed to leave you with a tape-like effect on your paper, very similar to correction tape. Do not confuse these dry highlighters with the dry mark highlighters that are specially designed to be used on thinner paper without damaging it. Some of the other benefits of using dry highlighters are; there is no smearing, leaking, or bleeding on your paper. Also, they will not dry out and do not require time to dry on your paper. They can also be refilled and able to be completely erased.

PROS Refillable

Easy to use

No leaking

Able to erase completely

No liquid CONS Able to erase easily

Not long-lasting

Gel Highlighters

These highlighters are not dry or liquid-based but are manufactured having a gel stick inside them. One major advantage of the gel highlighter is that they will not smudge or bleed on your paper as the felt tip highlighters do. They also do not dry out as the liquid-based ones and they give you a silky matte finish on your paper. A number of the gel highlighters are made with a twist base which enables you to push the gel out of the pen and onto your paper. This option allows you more control over the amount of gel you want to use.

PROS Dries quickly

Amazing color options

Smooth application

More control with application

Does not smudge or bleed CONS More expensive

Might be tricky to use at first

Pastel Highlighters

The color options with these highlighters are softer and they add more colors like blues, greens, and purples. The colors are very similar to those of the gel pens and will also leave you with a smooth effect. The main difference with these highlighters is that they are manufactured using pastel dyes and not fluorescent dyes, which means that they will not be able to glow when exposed to blacklight.

Because the color shading is lighter with these pens, you may find that you need to apply them more than once to reach the desired effect. Another advantage with the pastel highlighters is their bleeding capability, and due to their lighter colors, many book illustrators use them for shading and coloring.

PROS Very versatile

Long-lasting similar to the traditional highlighters

Blends beautifully

Soft colors CONS Shows up much lighter than neon highlighters

Will not shine if a blacklight is applied

What Are the Best Pastel Highlighters?

Now that you have a better idea of what all the different highlighters are and how they work, you may want to go and buy a set for yourself. However, trying to select the right product can be difficult as there are so many brands to choose from. So, we are now going to take a look at a few brands to see what highlighter set is just right for your project.

Best Overall Highlighter Set: STABILO BOSS Original Highlighter Pastels

The STABILO BOSS is a well-trusted and professional brand of highlighters and the liquid pastel highlighters are no exception. These are the same size and shape as their set of neon-color highlighters; however, they have also incorporated an anti-dry-out feature. This feature helps to keep the pastel pens from drying out if you forget to replace the cap after you are finished. This feature can keep the pens moist for about four hours without drying out.

STABILO BOSS Original Pastel Highlighter, 6-color Set The soft, fashionable pastel colors will give your work a subtle but stylish look.

The two-line widths, 2mm + 5mm – ideal for highlighting texts of various sizes as well as for drawing lines of different thicknesses. Water-based ink, completely harmless to health. View on Amazon

The STABILO pastel highlighter sets are water-based and, therefore, safe to use even for the kids. This set comes in six amazing pastel colors including creamy peach, pink blush, mint, and lilac haze. So, if you are after a good quality pastel highlighter set, then this is the one for you. The highlighters are also very reasonably priced. STABILO guarantees that this pastel highlighter set will meet all your highlighting needs.

PROS Well trusted brand

Non-toxic and water-based

Reasonably priced

Easy to use

Anti-drip pen tips CONS Can bleed through thinner paper

Can smudge as it is a liquid highlighter

Exceptional Pastel Highlighter Set: LUPI LUPI ZEBRA Midliner Pastel Highlighters

The ZEBRA MIDLINER Pastel Highlighters are made by LUPI LUPI in Japan and comes in three separate packs of five very cool color shades each. Why is the MIDLINER set of highlighters so special? They are very versatile and can be used for highlighting as well as writing and drawing because of their special tips. These tips can be used to draw thick lines with one end of the pen and finer lines with the other end.

For a very favorable price, you get a large range of amazing pastel variations that are suited for all of your fun projects. To add to this these highlighters will not bleed or smudge through your paper. It is a very high-quality product and can be used by students, in the office, for various projects, and different arts and crafts. It is a well-known brand that gives you effective results with a wide variety of color shades.

PROS Very versatile

15 different shades

Dual tips

Reasonably priced

Does not bleed or smudge CONS Some of the colors are slightly too dark to be used as a highlighter pen

Cannot be used for coloring

Erasable Pastel Highlighter Set: PILOT FriXion Light Pastel Highlighters

Pilot manufacturers are the company that invented these amazing FriXion pastel highlighters, which have the distinctive characteristic of being able to erase the ink using heat caused by friction. It comes in a set of six soft color shades that will highlight your print without any fluorescent bright colors. Each highlighter pen is equipped with an eraser head that can easily erase the ink without damaging your paper. The eraser head does not wear down and never leaves any crumbs behind, it is as if you never made a mistake at all.

PILOT FriXion Light Pastel Collection Erasable Highlighters, 5-Pack Highlight softly and erase cleanly with Pilot’s unique thermo-sensitive ink formula.

No wear or tear so you can erase and re-highlight without damaging books or documents.

The chisel tip makes soft, pastel marks and erases cleanly every time. It’s also great for bullet journal spreads. View on Amazon

There is one disadvantage of this highlighter and that is you cannot erase the ink using an ordinary eraser. The formulation of the ink in the FriXion pastel highlighters is thermosensitive and only reacts when the heat is applied. This happens when the eraser head produces heat from the friction on your paper. You need to be careful as the pastel color ink will become clear if the temperature rises to a certain heat. If the eraser head on your pen does not work properly, you can remove the pastel ink by applying heat from a hairdryer or heater over the area you want to erase.

PROS Reasonably priced

Reliable brand

Eraser head included

Ink can be erased CONS You may see the ink appearing lighter when the weather is warmer because of the ink’s heat sensitivity. However, you can reverse this process by placing the document in the fridge

An ordinary eraser will not erase the ink

Fashionable Highlighter Set: STABILO Swing Cool Pastel Wallet Highlighters

These cool STABILO Pastel Highlighters are slightly thinner than the thicker highlighter shapes on the market. They have been designed with a non-slip grip that allows you better control when using. They also have two different line widths that the slanted tips provide. With these, you can draw different line sizes when drawing or writing with them.

Another great advantage of these cool highlighters is their drying time. You can leave the cap off of these STABILO pastel Highlighters for around four hours without worrying that the ink will dry. They come in six delicate pastel color shades and give you a matte finish. These cool highlighters are guaranteed not to bleed through your paper and come in a slim pocket-size packaging that is very easy to transport.

PROS Slim pocket-sized carrying sleeve

Many color shade options

Tips are double-sided for drawing thick or thin lines

Long-lasting cap-off ink design CONS Colors can appear much lighter than what you expected

What to Consider When Purchasing Your Best Pastel Highlighter Set

We have just shown you all the best pastel highlighters on the market, now it is up to you to go and make a choice as to the best pastel highlighter for your project. Here are some helpful tips to help you make the best choice.

Range of Colors to Choose From

This aspect is important, as you will soon discover that each brand of pastel highlighters has a huge selection of different color shades. As all of the pastel highlighters are supplied in sets, it makes it easy for you to try them out at home until you have found the right set that meets your requirements. Remember, not every pastel highlighter set is used for highlighting. You also have sets that are best used for blending, illustrating, or writing. The next thing to consider is if you prefer the gentle pastel highlighters or the bright neon colors.

Size and Shape of Tips

Before you run off to the shop to buy your highlighter set, you first need to establish your purpose for using them. Several brands have various-sized tips and others even have multi-tips to make the pens more versatile. There is also the option of dual tips that enable you to do shading using the thicker end of the pen, and finer more delicate lines when using the finer tip-end of the pen. When you consider the different tip widths, they will reveal what task the highlighter is best suited for.

Formulation of Ink

When choosing your highlighter set, this factor is important as the ink formulation will indicate if the ink of your pen will smudge, bleed through the paper, or dry quickly. Also, you have other highlighter sets that have water-based ink which takes longer to dry, but is also non-toxic and safe for kids to use, and is easy and quick to wash off of your skin or any other surface. There are also brands of highlighter sets that contain water-resistant compounds that will prevent the ink from smudging.

Budget and Brand Names

Whenever you buy something, there is the tendency to consider brand names you are familiar with and quality you can trust, and with highlighter sets, there is no difference. There are many dependable brand names that you trust, and which have demonstrated to you their reliable quality, but are also reasonably priced.


We have now provided you with most of the highlighter options, so you should now look forward to your studies and paperwork. With all of these different highlighter brands and color options, you can now try them out and enjoy yourself. Hopefully, you will find that pastel highlighter set that suits your particular need.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Brand of Pastel Highlighter is the Best?

Many pastel highlighter brands are affordable and of good quality, but some of the best brands are Pilot, J Burrows, and Stabilo.

What are Pastel Highlighters?

These highlighters fall under the range of more refined colors, but will not glow when exposed to blacklight, and do not come with fluorescent or neon colors that are bright. Because these highlighters have gentler color options, they are used more for blending, highlighting, and layering of colors used for illustrations and many other creative art projects.

What are the Highlighter Set Options Available?

Similar to all the other stationery items, highlighters also offer a couple of different options for you to choose from. The two most familiar types are the neon-colored and fluorescent highlighters which come in brilliant bright colors like pink, yellow, and orange. Then you also have the more refined color options found in the pastel and gel highlighters.

What is the Difference between Pastel and Gel Highlighters?

Pastel highlighters are liquid-based made from pastel-colored dyes and can easily bleed through or smudge your paper. Gel highlighters however are manufactured with gel filler which can give you better control as to how much ink you want to deposit onto the paper.

Leave a Comment