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How to: Use an Illuminator Correctly and Glow Like Never Before

Tue, 11 December 2012 4:03PM

Some cosmetics need to come with a 77-page manual tacked their backside, right? But those pretty little tubes and tubs can only house so many instructions, and who’s looking at the fine print when the pretty palette inside is so darn distracting?

For me, illuminators are such cosmetics. They are shiny and bright and oh-so-alluring, but mastering their use sends me into a right spin.

But what-the-heckle? Summer is not even two weeks old and already ladies from the Gold Coast to Geelong, along with Hilary Duff, are luminous and lovely, which has inspired me to finally perfect the illuminator, pronto.

I’ve done some investigative research, read the labels thrice, spoken with some well-versed beauty colleagues and feel I can finally shed some light on how to use illuminators.

Allow me to share…

Illuminators can be used to contour areas such as cheekbones, cleavages, and brow-bones as they play off light. When light hits a brighter surface it gives it depth, so stick or pen illuminators are best for this precise placement.

An illuminator is not a foundation. Covering your entire face with it will only have you mistaken for a Christmas bauble. Instead, it’s a complementary product to your base, so start with your normal tinted moisturizer or foundation. Then look into the mirror and where light hits, is where you want to accentuate glow and highlight. This is generally under the brow bone – to define the arch, subtly on top of the cheekbone to enhance the sharpness and down the bridge of the nose.

Always blend well. A good illuminator is one with no start or finish.

Always have an illuminator colour-matched at counter. It shouldn’t be the exact same shade as your base, or it will disappear entirely. And it definitely should not be darker, as you are creating a highlight, not a shading effect. Go for pinker tones. As a general rule soft pink or light gold colours work for most.

The right match should disappear into your base and skin, leaving only a hint of luminosity when it catches the light. If you have oily skin and feel this only highlights the problem, try using a translucent powder over the top so the light still gets through, but is not as shiny.

If, however, you are just looking to get a golden glow, a powder, cream or liquid variety of illuminator is best. To use these correctly, mix with a moisturizer to diffuse.

Illuminate your world with these bright buys:

  • Benefit Girl Meets Pearl, $53, department stores
  • ModelCo Luminosity Shimmer Stick, $32, ModelCo
  • Mememe Angels with Halos, $29.95, MeMeMe
  • ck one Color Skin Illuminator, $35, Myer
  • ELES Mineral Illuminator, $69.75, ELES
  • Nude By Nature Soft Focus Illuminator, $22.95
  • Estée Lauder Ideal Light Brush-On-Illuminator, $50, department stores
  • Clinique Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator, $48, Clinique

Do you use an illuminator?

What are your tricks for perfect placement and the best blending?

ecb x

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22 Comments

  • Posted by: anitas.artistry Master Fan // Tue, 11 December 2012 04:57pm

    I receiving Girl Meets Pearl in the post from their website
    Can’t wait to try it out!

  • Posted by: lovefashionangel Master Fan // Tue, 11 December 2012 05:08pm

    Ive used watts up and its ah-mazing! I am convinced this will be even greater. I cant believe how natural hilary’s glow is, it hardly looks like shes wearing any… just totally and completely natural.

  • Posted by: louweeez Master Fan // Tue, 11 December 2012 11:00pm

    St tropez skin illuminator in rose is my number one illuminator, I use it everyday, my second is st tropez skin illuminator In violet…. It’s perfect, no glitter or sparkles just illuminating prettiness :)
    http://www.sttropez.com.au/skin_illuminator_50ml.html

    So good it is, I bought the gold one to give to my olive skin toned best friend and now she loves it too. My boyfie’s mum even bought one!

    Ever since Eliza mentioned it on primped, I have been using it ever since…
    http://primped.ninemsn.com.au/blogs/blush-hour/sneaky-little-ways-to-look-feel-like-a-million-bucks-when-its-gross-outside

  • Posted by: daylight dancer Master Fan // Wed, 12 December 2012 10:08am

    Ive never really used a illuminator before but im looking forward to trying and practicing.

  • Posted by: misschris Master Fan // Wed, 12 December 2012 06:04pm

    I love benefits watts up or high beam for my illuminating purposes. I like to use it on the bridge of my nose, Cupid’s bow and the top of my cheekbones.

  • Posted by: Britty1 Master Fan // Wed, 12 December 2012 06:46pm

    Becca Illuminators are spot on. Beauty addicts – you need this product in your makeup library!

  • Posted by: wittyusername Enthusiast // Thu, 13 December 2012 01:09am

    I just can’t seem to get illuminator correct. It looks ineffective or obvious so these tips are going to be helpful.

  • Posted by: Sparkles17 Master Fan // Thu, 13 December 2012 10:18am

    I use the Natio illuminator and love placing it on my brow bones seems to open up my face and look brighter.

  • Posted by: emily // Thu, 13 December 2012 10:41am

    Nars Illuminator in copacobana is incredible! It lasts forever and is so easy to blend!

  • Posted by: DebstarDesigns Master Fan // Thu, 13 December 2012 03:17pm

    I love using an illuminator. I like a gently dab a lil on the tip of my nose, chin and cheeks for a hint of glow!

  • Posted by: diva89 Master Fan // Fri, 14 December 2012 05:18pm

    i dont use illuminator often

  • Posted by: catn2kittens Master Fan // Sat, 15 December 2012 07:18pm

    LOL I am so grateful for this article, I bought an Australis highlighter 6 weeks ago and haven’t opened it because I realised I had no idea how to use it!

  • Posted by: trinsette Enthusiast // Sun, 16 December 2012 09:28pm

    Definitely Nars powder in Albatross. Perfect application (for blush and bronzer too) with Nars brush #27, Yachiyo Kabuki brush. I sometimes use the eyeshadow Edie for something softer too.

  • Posted by: bluebird Master Fan // Mon, 17 December 2012 02:11pm

    I like Benefit’s High Beam and Napoleon Perdis Blush Patrol has a highlighting shade but YSL Touche D’Eclat is great for under eyes and on my cupids bow where it’s more difficult to blend a small amount for a natural finish.

  • Posted by: beautiful87 Master Fan // Mon, 15 April 2013 07:21pm

    i have the one from benefit and it’s great, i love it

  • Posted by: cookiesandcream Devotee // Wed, 24 April 2013 09:18am

    i need to get myself some illuminator

  • Posted by: beautiful87 Master Fan // Fri, 17 May 2013 07:49pm

    Hilary Duff is so cute :)

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Thu, 30 May 2013 07:44pm

    Hilary is gorgeous, hard to believe she is a mum. I have not heard of this brand before, packaging is very pretty.
    Illuminator is nice to wear on occasion, not something I wear daily.

  • Posted by: Erin-1312272625 Master Fan // Mon, 3 June 2013 08:59am

    I use Benefits High Beam but I’ve been interested in Girl Meets Pearl for a while now!

  • Posted by: Erin-1312272625 Master Fan // Mon, 3 June 2013 09:00am

    Girl meets pearl looks interesting!

  • Posted by: aliasam47 Master Fan // Thu, 8 August 2013 01:12pm

    Hilary looks absolutely beautiful, what a perfect look. I’ve got a revlon illuminator in peach

  • Posted by: Ellen // Tue, 11 November 2014 02:30pm

    Revlon, photo ready, skin lights.
    Face illuminator. 200 pink light, Claire rose.
    -$29.95.
    It’s the best one yet.

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