Hair & Beauty

8 of the Best Illuminators

By Bree Nowland - 13 Aug 2015

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If you are yet to embrace the world of illuminators, allow us to enlighten you… Illuminators are no longer just cake-y, frosty or super-sparkly powders, illuminators come in many different forms; liquid, crème, loose powders, pressed powders—the choice is yours! No matter which form is at your fingertips, there are countless reasons why no woman should be without illuminator.

From creating the ultimate covetous dewy-glow, controlling where the light reflects on your face, highlighting your best features (or sculpting your worst) to reviving your dull winter skin—there are few things the ultimate illuminator can’t do. 

A killer illuminator is an absolute essential if you are going to try your hand at strobing; and don’t expect to achieve the perfect contour sans illuminator, either!

Dial up luminosity and get ready to embrace the far more radiant you; we’ve Urban Listed the latest and greatest illuminators to get you glowing in no time.

#1 The new cult-fave

It’s any wonder that this au-naturale little pot of joy (or light, for that matter) has achieved cult status; it delivers the most natural looking dewy-glow. Made up of only four (completely natural) ingredients, think coconut oil, rosemary extract fused with Vitamin E and light reflecting shimmer. It’s absolutely fail-proof—simply apply with your fingers to where the light hits your face. In case you weren’t already sold—did we mention it’s the highlighter of choice for the likes of Miranda Kerr, Karlie Kloss and Gisele Bünchden? Gor-ge-ous!

RMS Living Luminizer is available from Mecca.

#2 The subtle champagne shimmer

The Dom Perignon of liquid luminisers; a perfectly fitting comparison seeing that our favourite shade of this product is a pearly champagne hue. Champagne is the most universal illuminator shade, there’s no skin type or tone that a touch of champagne doesn’t complement. Giorgio Armani’s Fluid Sheer illuminator is designed to be blended with foundation and delivers the ultimate boost of luminosity. 

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer available online

#3 Faultless liquid-light

Liquid-light, what’s not to love!? Liquid illuminators are some of the most versatile around. ModelCo’s Luminosity Shimmer Whip is a silky, creamy fluid in a glistening pearly bronze hue that suits every skin tone—perfect to mix in with other liquid complexion enhancers (think BB cream) for a subtle radiance boost and just the right amount of shimmer.

ModelCo's Luminosity Shimmer Whip available online.

#4 The perfect pearlised-pink highlighter

The secret to a warm, dewy, rosy glow. Benefit’s High Beam highlighter creates one of the longest lasting, glowing flushes. The nail polish-like liquid makes it easier than ever to ‘spot’ highlight—think enhancing brow bones and the bridge of the nose.

Benefit High Beam available from Benefit stores and online.

#5 The ultimate all-rounder

Enriched with mineralised pearl-pigments and super-powered botanicals—whether your face is looking dull or dehydrated, MAC Strobe Cream is your saviour. Think 10-hours sleep and revitalising green-juice cleanse in a bottle. Wear alone to brighten and moisturise the skin, mix in with your foundation or tinted moisturiser for added radiance or highlight areas you want to brighten by applying on top of makeup.

MAC Strobe Cream available from MAC.

#6 The (faux) facial in a bottle 

Think of how you’d expect your complexion to appear post the most luxurious facial; then imagine you can achieve that look with just one product. Bobbi Brown’s Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm delivers a burst of hydration thanks to the likes of lychee extract, caffeine and shea butter. It’s also finely fused with radiance-boosting pearls—perfect to apply after your skincare regime to wear on its own or to apply over your favourite foundation and concealer duo for instant illumination. 

Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm available online.

#7 The one to achieve the most believable lit-from-within glow

You’d be struggling to find a beauty editor or beauty blogger who’s eyes don't light up when you mention Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting powders. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder mimics the most flattering light—think the ultimate #selfie lighting—and then imagine it’s yours on demand. The Diffused Light shade is a gorgeously glowing golden shade that has the subtlest shimmer.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder available from Mecca.

#8 One for the contour-fiends

Mastered the contour (go, you!) and want to showcase your skills at every given chance? Well, best you invest in a product that allows you to create dark and light. Tom Ford’s Shade & Illuminate epitomes that of a luxe glow. Sculpt your face with the darker shade; then embrace those areas you want to make pop with the lighter shade; an incredibly sheer crème that’s perfect to brighten and boost only your best features. Magic!

Tom Ford Shade & Illuminate available online

Picked your favourite illuminator from our cream of the crop? For tips on how and where to apply your beloved new light-in-a-bottle, check out our tutorial on strobing.

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