Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Instant Soft Focus Beauty Flash

September 3, 2014


Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow ($52 for 40 ml/1.4 fl oz, made in Switzerland) is a luminous liquid highlighter. It’s designed to have multiple uses. You can wear it under, over, mixed in with foundation or just by itself. It’s a golden beige illuminator with very fine micro-pearl reflecting particles that give the skin a spotlight glow. I am a huge fan of glowy face products, but rarely find illuminators I feel comfortable wearing all over the face under foundation (I won’t wear Armani Fluid Sheers or NARS Illuminators all over the face). With Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonderglow, I find it adds a really nice brightening effect to give my skin that glow from within look in a subtle way. I have olive medium skin and find it hard to find liquid highlighter that have a true beige, gold or yellow undertone. Most of them have some kind of champagne or pinkish pearl tint, which I like, but sometimes I need variation. Some sites describe this as a primer, I prefer to use it as an all over illuminating base to add a glow, but not necessarily prime the skin.



Wonderglow is a liquid highlighter with a medium texture. It’s easy to blend but not completely fluid which is nice because it’s very easy to control. You can apply without having to worry that it will run off the back of your hand, brush or face. I like to squeeze a little onto my hand and then apply all over with a foundation brush. Close up to try and show the multi-dimensional pearly quality.



Swatched straight from the tube and then blended:


Swatch comparisons to some other illuminating products:

  • Tom Ford Skin Illuminator in Fire Lust
  • Armani Fluid Sheer 10
  • Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Sunkissed
  • By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serum in Apricot Glow
  • Koh Gen Do Beige Illuminator IL01 (review)
  • NARS Illuminator in Hot Sand (review)


Applied straight from the tube:




I am really happy with the Wonderglow from what I’ve tested. I suspect it works well for me because I’m right at the medium skin tone where this is a really good match for me (I use Tom Ford Traceless Perfecting Foundation in Bisque 04 and am a Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet in Beige 30.
I’ve used this both as a base under foundation (applied over moisturizer) and as a highlight to add a dewy glow on top of foundation as well. Both work really well for a subtle effect that is still noticeable. I like to use it under blushes too. I like that it has a texture that stays dewy for a little bit so you can work it into the skin and blend. Some highlighters are either too dewy or dry too fast. This one dries nicely after a few minutes and doesn’t budge on my normal skin. There is a slight floral rose scent but it’s very subtle and fades after a few minutes.
I do think Wonderglow is pretty pricey a $52 but it’s a really nice product and I’m pleased. I haven’t tried her Magic Cream yet so I can’t compare this to it, although I am interested to find out how they both compare (or differ).
You can find Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonderglow in the US at Nordstrom, Net-a-Porter, Bergdorf Goodman and

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  • Anonymous

    Hi sabrina, can you do a review on the rouge louboutin nail polish? =]

  • I would love to know if any of the illuminating products you own work really well over foundation without disrupting it. I find often when trying illuminating fluids over my foundation they seem to break down the coverage. Or they seem to dissolve the foundation. If you know of one that will give me a J-Lo glow without disrupting my foundation let me know. Thank you! I love your blog!

    • Hi Jaime, I think it depends what kind of foundation you're using. I usually apply foundation and set with powder, then add a bit of illuminator on top but sometimes this can look bad if you're using a something super matte (it will cake).

      I've found if I use any of the Chanel foundations and set with Dolce & Gabbana Powder Foundation, Les Beiges 20 Powder, Koh Gen Do Loose Powder, or NARS Reflecting Powders these will create a good set.

      I will dab a liquid highlighter on top of the cheeks, dab either with fingers and pat or use a foundation brush. I find NARS Illuminators work well (love Hot Sand and the 413 BLKR) or Koh Gen Do.

      If you absolutely cannot use liquid, try Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. Luminous Light and Radiant Light are really nice (but if you have dry skin you may need a dewy base underneath).

      Hope this helps!

  • I loved this review read it top to end! The swatches comparing is so useful as I'm new to liquid highlighters, excellent point of reference. I also inquire like Jaime as I also have the same issue with my foundation.

    • My answer to Jaime above 🙂 What kinds of foundation and powder are you using? Also which highlighters have you used which dissolve your foundation?

  • Anonymous

    Hi Sabrina! Thank you for all of your wonderful and thorough reviews and photos! I am pretty fair with yellow undertones and everything oxidizes on me, so I generally don't care for makeup that has a gold cast to it. Do you have any recommendations for a product similar to the Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow that would be more neutral in its illuminating tone? I apologize for having to post as "Anonymous" but Google Account has changed and it posts my full name otherwise. Thank you – Nina R.

    • Hi Nina, I really like By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums, I think you might like the pink one or white one. There's a yellow one #3 which I swatched above, it's yellow but doesn't oxidize. They have this lovely pearl quality. #1 or #2 might work for you (Space NK and Barneys will be having their gift bag events soon):

      Also if you like something similar to MAC Strobe Cream but not quite as flashy and something that won't settle into fine lines, I've been loving Edward Bess Pearl Perfector (review soon).

      Hope this helps!

    • Anonymous

      A belated thank you for the suggestions! I just ordered Edward Bess' Hair Hero, the concealer, and one of the lip tints. I am waiting for your review of the Pearl Primer so I can see how it compares to others in your fabulous photos. I like MAC strobe cream, but it's not love as it's a bit too pink. And the Chanel Illuminating Primer tends to give a "less than healthy" cast to my already fair complexion. Nina

  • Amanda

    Sabrina, thank you for reviewing this! I absolutely love your reviews and trust your opinion 100%. I've been looking for a glow giving something, although I think this maybe isn't good for my fairer, pinkish skin. What do you think? Also, I've been obsessing over the Cle de Peau foundations but cannot decide on which to order. Is the silky one your favorite? And do you have a color suggestion of their concealer for YSL BR30, Chanel Beige Rose 22, NARS Mont Blanc skin? Amazing review and pics (again)!!

    • Hi Amanda, I'm still testing a few CdP samples or the Radiant Fluid. I prefer more coverage so I bought the Silky Cream but they are all really very good. The regular Cream is also very nice. I'm not familiar with the colors of foundation you use so I can't add any input on shade matches, have you checked the Beauty Professor? She has really helpful shade guides on the Cream and Radiant formulas.

  • Oh, goodness, just what I need…I have my Charlotte Tilbury order coming tomorrow (just meant to order an eyeshadow palette, but couldn't resist Filmstar Bronze and Glow, a lipstick, a gloss…) and now I need to place another one!

  • Hi, Sabrina. How do you think about TOM FORD fire lust? Does fire lust have multiple uses too?

  • Hi Sabrina,

    You have such a beautiful collection of illuminators! Charlotte Tilbury seems to fill in a nice niche of its own with its yellow base. It doesn't seem sparkly as a fluid, but you can really see the shine in the blended out swatch 🙂

  • They're all so beautiful that I don't know which one I would buy… Chanel and Armani look really beautiful.

  • This is so stunning, and the colour selection is amazing! The red toned one is so interesting, I'd love to see it on the face!

  • This just made me want that By Terry and NARS Hot Sand a thousand times over. O___O

  • How do you think the Wonderglow will work on fair skin?

  • I love the comparisons you've made – I really need to try this!