If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you probably know that I’m obsessed with glowy skin. I have three tutorials on glowy skin (summer glow, fall glow and an all-purpose bronze glow for good measure LOL). I also have a post on subtle highlighters and a post about cleansers that’ll get you glowing skin. So, this topic isn’t exactly “new” to the blog. BUT, I haven’t gone into much detail about all the different luminizers that are on the market. Consider this the guide to all the best luminizers for glowing skin. I’m all about that glow and I got the receipts to prove it.
I’m going to discuss these luminizers in order from least to most glowy. I think they’re all pretty different, so you’ll be able to find something that works for you, whether that’s a very subtle glow or a straight up metallic look. The quality and feel of each one is phenomenal, so I feel very confident in calling this post the best of the best luminizers. But that being said, I’m always up to try something new, so if you’ve tried something awesome that didn’t make this list, do tell!
best luminizers (subtle glow)
1. MAC Strobe Cream
Alright so the MAC Strobe Cream is the O.G. of the luminizers. It’s been around for years. I like this because it has a really nice, soft glow. It’s actually a light moisturizer with a subtle luminosity. I used to wear this as an added layer of moisture during the cold New York winters. It has a light fresh scent that fades pretty quickly, and I’ve never experienced any reactions after wearing it. I think this is a really easy, no-fuss way to add just a little bit of glow to your face. If you have normal skin, try using this instead of your normal moisturizer.
2. Becca Backlight Priming Filter
The Becca Backlight Priming Filter is similar to the MAC Strobe Cream because it also gives a subtle glow. But the texture is totally different. This Becca primer has a lighter, more fluid texture. I think this is a really great makeup primer. It’s not moisturizing, but it’ll give a little sheen that will peek through your makeup and make your skin look all glowy. If you have dry skin, this is a perfect thing to add to your makeup routine. Even if you have combination skin like me, this is a nice thing to add if you’re using a foundation that’s really matte and you want to add some life to your skin.
best luminizers (in-between glow)
3. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Champagne Pop
Becca is kind of killing it when it comes to glowy skin. I’ve mentioned the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in the shade Topaz before (like in this bronze makeup edit). But Champagne Pop is a much lighter product, so it’s really nice for adding in select areas to add glow. The main difference between Becca’s powder and liquid products in the “Shimmering Skin Perfector” line is the intensity of the glow. Becca’s powder highlighters are much more intense (which is amazing by the way). For that softer “lit from within” look, I like to either add some of the Shimmering Skin Perfector all over my face (but avoiding my nose) prior to foundation, or I’ll just dab it onto my cheekbones after foundation. It really just depends on if I want all over sheen (which is really good for tired days or during dry, winter weather), or if I just want to highlight a few areas.
One more thing – the Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid comes in a few shades (including a Rose Gold that I’m dying to try), so you have some options for finding the most flattering shade for your skin.
4. Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer in No. 7
I’m not sure how I got my hands on this little tester, but I’m so glad I did because I’d been wanting to try the Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer for a while. It actually comes in 8 different shades, and the one I have here – No. 7, is a cool-toned light pink. The extra is very…fluid, so it’s aptly named. It’s a lightweight, silky liquid that dries down quickly on the skin and doesn’t leave any heaviness or stickiness at all. I think this particular shade is better suited for light skin tones, but the product is really nice. I recommend this for people with combination or oily skin because it’s still relatively subtle and the texture won’t add any moisture or greasiness to your skin at all.
5. Charotte Tilbury Wonderglow
Alright, this is one of my favorite luminizers. While the MAC Strobe Cream definitely feels like a heavier moisturizer, this Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow has a nice, light lotion texture. I love the yellow gold sheen that I can get from this and think it’s really nice to wear either all over the face or just added to certain areas. Because this has a strong warm undertone, it really brightens the face but does so in a natural way. I actually picked this up in January when I went to Toronto for work, but hadn’t really tried it that much. More recently, I went to a Charlotte Tilbury event at Nordstrom and all the sales associates raved about it. So of course I had to test it out again for myself. This is really an awesome product, and I think this is the best all-around luminizer because the texture is really light, but you still get a beautiful glow.
best luminizers (intense glow)
6. NARS Orgasm Illuminator
Leave it to NARS to be all over-the-top, right? I’ve actually had this in the past in the full size version, and I’m so happy that I managed to get this cute mini version. Especially since a little of the NARS Orgasm Illuminator goes a long way. The NARS blush in Orgasm has been a classic for years because it’s just that perfect pink/peach/gold shade that looks so pretty on everyone. This liquid luminizer follows that trend and is super flattering.
My favorite way to wear this is mixed in with foundation because it will sheer out any foundation and add a pretty glow. It has a medium-thick texture that blends nicely into foundation and doesn’t affect the consistency at all. If worn alone on lighter skin tones, this will add a bit of color, so I’d suggest only applying it to the cheeks. But on darker skin tones, you’ll just get a hint of color that will be sooooo pretty, so go ahead and slap this all over your face. As you can see from the picture below, this has a more metallic finish, so I wouldn’t recommend this for very oily skin types.
7. Burberry Fresh Glow in Nude Glow #1
Last I have another sample size – the Burberry Beauty Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in Nude Glow. The texture of this luminizer is very similar to the Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow, but as you can see in the swatch photo below, it has a more metallic finish. Also, while the CT Wonderglow is a yellow-gold, this Burberry Beauty Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base is a more peach/champagne color. Due to the thin texture, this works alone, mixed with foundation or patted in select areas for added shine. The color is super flattering too.
I have a few pictures of swatches in bright sunlight so that you can really see the different levels of shimmer. While I think these are all great (this is a post about the best luminizers after all), I definitely pick Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow and Burberry Beauty Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base as the best because they have a light texture and work alone or mixed with foundation.
swatches of the best luminizers