Best Liquid Illuminators: Top Product Reviews (2018 Update)

Updated 5 years ago

As we all know, bringing out the glow on your face has been one of the highlights of 2017, and this glow game is still going on strong this year. A good liquid illuminator can help to visibly brighten dull and fatigued skin as well as adding radiance to your complexion to mimic healthy, glowing skin. Its versatility and liquid consistency also means it can be applied in multiple ways to customize the intensity of the glow you are looking for. This makes it a worthwhile investment to your beauty arsenal as you choose between a dewy, soft glow for work or a full-on glam look to wow your date. So to help you achieve an impeccable glow-from-within look, we have round up the best liquid illuminators below.

Our Top Picks: 9 Liquid Illuminators To Get Your Glow On

NYX Professional Makeup Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator

A star product when it comes to giving your face that healthy, subtle glow. This illuminator is a crowd favourite among users due to its multi-tasking abilities as a moisturizer, foundation or highlighter. Its lightweight consistency ensures the liquid glides on smoothly onto your skin while drying down quickly to provide long-lasting luminosity.

L'Oreal Paris Makeup True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer Highlighting Lotion

This Lumi Glotion is infused with Glycerin and Shea Butter to hydrate the skin while giving your face an all-over candle-lit glow. Reviewers of the product love it for delivering what it claims as they observed instant radiance on their skin after using the lotion. It is an amazing perk-me-up to revitalize lacklustre complexion by giving it a soft, ethereal radiance.  

NARS Illuminator

If you are looking for an understated but youthful glow for your complexion, look no further than the NARS Illuminator which contains more shimmer than sparkle. This product contains light-reflecting pigments to add a flattering sheen to your face without being over-the-top. Users raved about its ability to give them a natural glowing look when applied underneath makeup or worn alone. A little goes a long way so do remember to squeeze out a pea-sized amount when using it.

Maybelline Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter

Strobe your way to a radiant glow with this illuminator that goes on silky-smooth and makes application a breeze. It has micro-fine pearls and is easily buildable which allows the user to control the intensity from a natural, subtle glow to a glam-up shine depending on your mood or occasion. Reviewers gushed about how the product blends like a charm while its pigmented coverage blessed them with a warm, subtle radiance.   

Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator

Users praised this beauty for giving them the perfect amount of luminosity without excess shimmer. Makeup artists even called this their go-to illuminator! It works amazingly as a highlighter alone or mixed with your foundation to achieve a glow-from-within look. With a velvety texture, this illuminator goes on smoothly and blends easily without looking greasy. It also has a decent staying power of five to six hours of wear, making it the ultimate addition to your makeup squad.

Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer

This high-end product definitely lives up to its quality as it is formulated with Argan Oil, Madonna Lily and Poet's Narcissus to keep your skin hydrated. Moreover, its high-performing crystals infused with multi-colored luster pigments helps to effortlessly brighten up your look while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and blemishes. Become an instant glow goddess with its shimmery undertones. However, it does have more sparkles to it so use this with a light touch on days when you just want a spot of radiance or go full-on glam for a girls’ night out.  

Benefit Cosmetics High Beam Liquid Face Pink Highlighter

Even though it’s called a highlighter, the Benefit High Beam is also used as an illuminator given that you can mix a few drops of it with your foundation to give you a soft, luminous complexion. Its iconic packaging is reminiscent of a nail polish bottle and delivers a universally flattering baby pink shine without too much glitter. Users like it for giving them a natural, dewy glow without highlighting pores or dry patches. So if you are looking for something that is not too OTT, try this one!

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter

This Skin Perfector does exactly what it says as it reflects light perfectly without too much glitter while its ingredients like antioxidant vitamins help your skin to look its best. It goes on smoothly and is easily blended without looking caked on or sinking into fine lines. Furthermore, reviewers adored its ability to give them a natural, fresh glow without looking too shiny.

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting

Its long-wearing luminosity lasts up to 12 hours which makes it great for transitioning straight from daytime wear to date night. Enhanced with Raspberry Leaf and Vitamin E, it hydrates and protects skin to provide a soft, candle-lit glow without looking dry and cakey. You can look forward to having a brighter and more radiant complexion with this one.

Clinique Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator

This lightweight and highly-pigmented illuminator is great for everyday use where you can layer underneath your foundation to give an all-over luminosity. It is easily blendable and has decent lasting power which makes your glow stay on all day. Its oil-free formulation also ensures a hydrated complexion without any greasiness, making it suitable for those with oily skin.

Liquid illuminators are a great instant radiance booster for your skin without too much fallout compared to powder forms. So grab one of these today and start customizing your own glow!

Illuminators: For A Dewy, Subtle Sheen

What are illuminators? Are they the same as highlighters? To clarify, illuminators are similar to highlighters for giving you that luminous glow but they are definitely not the same. So before you hesitate purchasing an illuminator because you think your highlighter can cover all bases, let’s look at some of the key differences for these two glam products. Firstly, illuminators provide a subtle glow to your entire face which makes it great on days where your skin looks dull or tired. Conversely, highlighters only provide an intense sheen to strategic points of the face that you want them to shine - think brow bones, cheek bones, the bridge of your nose, and cupid bow. Secondly, application methods are slightly different for the two products. Illuminators can be mixed with your base products such as a foundation or a primer to give an overall glow. On the other hand, highlighters are more intense in shine and shimmer, so they are normally used as one of the last steps of your makeup routine to spotlight the high planes of your face.

How to Use A Liquid Illuminator

As mentioned earlier, liquid illuminators can be used differently as compared to a highlighter. Due to its multi-tasking abilities, an illuminator can be worn in three different ways:  

  • Mix With Other Base Products: due to its serum-like consistency, it is easy to mix a few drops of your liquid illuminator with other base products such as foundation, primer or moisturizer. The transformed mixture can then be applied all over your face for a soft, luminous glow.

  • Worn Beneath Foundation: some people may prefer to apply the illuminator first before following up with a foundation to achieve an overall dewy complexion with a touch of radiance.

  • As A Highlighter: dab the illuminator onto areas that you want to have a noticeable glow such as your cheekbones, brow bones, bridge of the nose, cupid’s bow and the inner corners of your eyes.
  • As A Body Shimmer: if you are wearing a sexy outfit and want to add a bit of body glamour, you can consider mixing a few drops of the illuminator to your body lotion before applying onto your décolletage and shoulder tops to give it a flattering shimmer.

Choosing the right illuminator for your skin tone:

  • Fair Skin Tones: go for an iridescent pearly or icy-silver undertone to brighten up your complexion without making you look washed out. Avoid using illuminators with warm or red undertones as these may make your glow look unnatural.
  • Medium Skin Tones: try out warmer shades like peach or gold undertones as these will compliment your skin tone to achieve a perfect sun-kissed complexion. Tip - since your skin tone is naturally suitable for a bronzed look, break out your bronzer and golden eyeshadow to bring out the golden goddess in you!
  • Darker Skin Tones: to ensure the glowy sheen shows up well on your skin, look for highly pigmented variations of rose gold, bronze and champagne shades. Avoid frosty shades as these will make your complexion look ashy.

When applying an illuminator, always remember that less is more! After all, you don’t want to end up looking like your face got dunked in a bucket of glitter. However, if you did apply too much illuminator, don’t worry. You can easily tone down the shimmer by applying a thin layer of foundation on top.

Light Up Your Life With A Liquid Illuminator

There are variants of illuminators available - cream, powder, liquid. Yet, the reason why you should try out a liquid illuminator is due to its watery, serum-like texture which makes it easy to blend with other base products for an even glowy complexion. Its versatility also means that you can use it as a moisturizer, primer or highlighter, thereby cutting down the number of steps in your makeup routine which makes it an ultimate time-saver too. Moreover, liquid illuminators will minimise the fallout during application compared to powder alternatives hence preventing product wastage while giving you the perfect amount of shimmer. With all that said, it’s time to get your hands on one of the liquid illuminators so you can get your glow on!