Let There Be Light

June 25th, 2014

June 25th, 2014

Dewy, luminous skin is the look du jour this summer.  But if you need some help in the radiance department you’re in luck, as we’ve done the hard work and found the best crop of highlighters and illuminators going.  Just to clarify, highlighters are intense and should only be used on cheekbones and brow bones to sculpt the face.  Illuminators can be worn alone or mixed with foundation or moisturizer to brighten the complexion.  Ready, set, glow!

Illuminating primers are one of the best ways to impart a subtle radiance to the face, without anyone twigging that you’re wearing anything.  We have a few favourites – for this warm weather we love Ark’s Anti-Aging Skin Protector SPF30 Primer (£36).  A skincare/make-up hybrid, you don’t need to worry about flashback despite the high SPF, just the gentle glow it gives to the skin.  Then there’s Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfectors (£33), subtly tinted moisturisers which make a great light base or primer.  With SPF20, ultra-fine mica particles to reflect light and a whole host of antioxidants thrown into the mix, this super light crème is a dream to work with.  For a rocking budget version, we heartily recommend the L’Oreal Lumi Magique Primer (£9.99). Amazing both as a primer and dotted on as a highlighter, this pearlescent liquid looks intimidatingly pigmented, yet disappears into the skin easily to leave a beautiful luminescence.  Plus it smells like cocoa – always a bonus in our books!

Ark SPF30 PrimerBecca skin perfectorL'Oreal Primer

The Revlon Skinlights (£11.99) have recently been resurrected – thank goodness!  They are a range of beautiful, affordable illuminators which contain just the right level of sheen in very skin-like shades.  Infinitely wearable and subtle, this thin liquid formula comes in four colours, which look equally beautiful catching the light when tapped along the top of cheekbones, creating the impression of brighter, whiter eyes adorning the eyelid, or mixed into your base for an instant, all-over glow.

REVLON PhotoReady Skin Lights in Bare Light

The latest addition to the Beauty Balm clan is one which shares very few characteristics to the others.  The Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balms (£23) are more of an illuminator than a traditional BB cream, due to their lack of skin-imitating pigmentation.  It’s something of a crossbreed product, a smoothing, blurring primer with a touch of illumination thanks to the high-tech pigments which diffuse light.  It comes in two shades and an SPF20 to boot, while also promising to improve skin over time and use.  Sign us up!

UrbanDecay BB

For an all-in-one boost of instant radiance, you can’t go wrong with Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow (£38.50).  Anti-age elixir crossed with complexion-enhancing light diffusion technology, this stuff is like liquid sleep in a bottle thanks to the unique Fluorescent Core Light Diffuser.  Stipple on over make-up for a golden glow, or use alone to perk up the complexion.  Charlotte knows her stuff, and this makes even the dullest skin look positively radiant.

CT wonderglow

The INGLOT AMC Face & Body Illuminator (£11) comes out thicker than most of the products mentioned thus far, though it does sheer out nicely when you work it in.  Coming in a range of seven shades – from pearly white to warm pinks and shimmering bronze – this oil-free formula adds a noticeable sheen and works well as both highlighter and illuminator for any part of the body.


If your kit is crying out for a solid, suit-all highlighter in a great texture, might we direct you to Benefit’s Watts Up! for £24.50.  A spot-on champagne colour to suit just about every skintone, it’s also got a handy sponge built into the other end for quick blending out.  A long-lasting cream-to-powder formula in a handy twist-up stick, you can’t go far wrong with this one.

Watts Up

Those who prefer powder textures to work with might like theBalm’s Mary Lou Manizer (£16), which has a complex colour that is highly flattering – part champagne, part flesh tone, part pale honey-bronze, it makes a fantastic eyeshadow as well as a great face and body highlighter.  Use a light hand, however, as it is very metallic, unless you’re after a high-sheen editorial look.


Tom Ford Illuminating Highlight Pens (£40) are some of our favourite pen highlighters.  The eight shades are split into four coloured, illuminating concealers, and four more traditional highlighter shades, all housed in the luxuriously beautiful packaging we have come to expect from Mr Ford.  They are well-pigmented, and a little goes a long way.  Ideal for precision work, the formula should last you a good eight hours, and are hydrating rather than drying to the under-eye area.

Tom Ford Highlight pen

We love the Kryolan Illusion Palettes (£25), especially Emotion, for its eye-catching sheen and range of skin-suited colours.  Dab these lightweight creams onto lips, eyes, cheekbones and décolleté to create amazing bone structure.  With five beautiful shades in one this palette is both amazing value for money and slim enough to be easily toted around in your kit.

Kryolan Emotion palette

Want to avoid any tell-tale shimmer of a traditional highlighter or illuminator?  Reach for an oil – Terry Barber showed us how to warm a small amount of oil between the hands to warm it, before pushing it into the skin to create the natural, luminous sheen that was all over the MAC ‘On Reflection’ looks for the A/W14 catwalks.  NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil (£17) works perfectly, with dry oils absorbing almost instantly yet leaving behind a natural glow which many other products overshoot.




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By Deborah Murtha

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