This time of year my skin feels like it lacks natural luster so I rely on illuminators and soft nude shimmers to fake that glow-from-within. Today I’m sharing my favorite go-to’s along with thoughts on a few new items I’ve been testing to get that soft glow. Picks include items for nails, lips, cheeks and eyes. When it comes to shimmers I like to mix them in for one to two areas of the face with color rather than wear champagne shimmers all over the face, otherwise it’s just too much. I like using these as a cheekbone or very soft brow bone highlight too in order to add dimension.
First up are pale shimmers for the lips. I am always a huge fan of those soft pale shimmers for the lips but can’t always pull them off easily. I have medium pigmented lips with olive skin so often times pale shimmers make me feel like I have white lips. Two I’ve discovered that work for my lips include Rouge Dior Baume in Star and Lipstick Queen Ice Queen. Both have that lovely translucent quality with multidimensional shimmer to prevent these from looking too frosted.
Both look similar in photographs on my lips but I think they are different enough to justify both. The Rouge Dior Baume in Star has a cooler-toned quality and is sheerer. Lipstick Queen Ice Queen looks lighter in the photos but it has a higher level of frost which reflects more. It has a mix of silver and gold particles which makes it a good layering lipstick. I have a slight preference for the Lipstick Queen because the shimmering quality is really pretty. If you are anti-shimmer for lips, you may find it too frosty.
For the nails, I’ve been obsessed with Rescue Beauty Lounge Bubblegum Punk for a fun multi-colored shimmer frost. It has an ultra smooth finish even though it’s on the sparkly side. I can never resist pale shimmers for nails, but some are hard to work with if they are frosts. Marc Jacobs Beauty has released two new Hi-Shine Enamored Nail Polishes. Blanche was released last fall. It’s a metallic soft white which I found took some extra effort to make work. Being a metallic I found brush strokes visible with two coats, but they disappeared a bit with the third coat. I have yet to find a good white shimmer that is streak-free. This one is pretty good if you are patient. Milk is a new addition to their Runway Shades. This is an iridescent beige that flashes pink and opal. I adore these kinds of colors but I know some women find the colors like this difficult to work with on their skin tone (something about the beige makes the skin look sallow). Milk flashes enough iridescent shimmer to prevent the beige base from dominating. I find it very wearable.
For highlighting, there are a number of multi-tasking products for eyes and cheeks. I love a good shimmer that gives a glow without looking frosty. I know everyone has different preferences for what degree of shimmer they are comfortable wearing so I’ll give a summary ranking of what I think is the most subtle to the most frosted.
First up are creamy ones. NARS St. Lucia Multiple is the latest from NARS (currently a Nordstrom exclusive, available at all NARS counters in March, review here). It’s a multi-purpose creamy twist up stick. On me it gives a natural glowy soft pink highlight to the cheeks and eyes. On fairer skins this will probably give you more color and look more blush-like.
My holy grail cream highlighter is Edward Bess All Over Seduction. He has two shades, Sunlight is the paler one (shown below) and Afterglow is a bronzey version. Both are incredibly natural and glowy. The texture blends in beautifully with the skin and the shimmer is finely milled. If you’re afraid of shimmer I highly recommend you check these out because it’s impossible to overdo and looks amazing on everyone I’ve seen it applied on.
One of the newest illuminators I’ve been testing is the Chantecaille Liquid Lumiere Anti-Aging Face Illuminator in Sheen (I received this as part of the Net-A-Porter holiday beauty box but it’s available separately). At first swipe I found the shimmer in this one to be on the high side but after playing with this I found it blended out to a soft smooth veil of shimmer. It does have more shimmer than Armani Fluid Sheers or the Edward Bess Sunlight but it is still very wearable. The pigment and shimmer is intense but it’s concentrated so you only need a tiny amount. A little goes a long way. If you’re one of those beauty lovers who is in search of a liquid highlighter that won’t disappear on the skin once you blend it this is a good one to look into. I’ve dabbed it on top of the cheekbones or eyes (after foundation/powder) and it doesn’t disrupt your makeup base. Check out the review on Best Things in Beauty to see how the colors look once blended properly.
For additional highlighters, my go-to powder highlighter is from Hourglass. The Ambient Lighting Palette (review here) goes with me on all trips. I use the full size versions at home and take this palette with me for on-the-go or on vacations. The palette came out after the individual ones were released, so I have some duplicate colors. If you’re new to these powders, I hands down say go for the palette. There is a good amount of product so it will last you a long time and it’s super convenient to use and carry with you.
I used to use the Kevyn Aucoin Celetial Powder in Candlelight a long time ago when it had the larger compact packaging. I liked it but didn’t love it. Several have recommended I check it out again claiming it reached holy grail status for them. I like the new compact packaging and the powder is lovely but I don’t love it. I find it a bit too pale for my medium-olive skin. That being said if you thought the Hourglass Luminous Light was too shimmery or glowy I recommend the Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight because it is a notch down in the shimmer intensity. If you prefer neutral to cool-toned highlighters then you will really like Candlelight. I have friends who are on the fair side (Chanel Beige 10 or MAC NC20) and they swear by this one.
Last but not least, I think the NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows in Himalia and Dione are the best shimmers on the market. It has a really good blendable cream texture. The shimmer/frost is high on this so your mileage may vary. Full review here. If you don’t have a lot of the colors you may want to check out the NARSissist Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette. I already own 5 of the 8 shades so I’m having a hard time justifying a purchase since it will result in a lot of dupes for me.
What do you like to use to get a nice glow in the winter time?
The Lipstick Queen Ice Queen, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette, Rescue Beauty Lounge Bubblegum Punk Nail Polish and Chantecaille Illuminator were provided as press samples for review consideration. All other items purchased by me.