We all love a bit of a glow, and whether you prefer a subtle dewy aesthetic or making your face as reflective as a literal mirror, highlighters and illuminators are the way to achieve it. Here’s a selection that work particularly well, and most importantly, are cruelty free, meaning no animals were harmed in the making of your very lit look.
RMS is head and shoulders above many natural makeup brands on the market right now in terms of functionality, packaging, ingredients, transparency and quality. Their Living Luminizer has been a cult favourite of makeup artists for years and the creamy white product is renowned for its ability to look like actual skin yet somehow glowier and healthier. The Magic Luminizer is a recent addition to the RMS range and is a champagne version of the Living Luminizer with a less oil heavy ingredient list. Because of this, I would say that the Magic Luminizer is better for acne prone, pale skin types while the Living Luminizer would stand out better on darker skin tones. Magic Luminizer is my all-time favourite natural looking highlighter, as it looks equally as good in broad daylight as it does in dingy nightclub lighting.
Charlotte Tilbury’s brand is known for its finely milled powders and her Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder is a favourite of mine for its ability to set and mattify makeup in an almost invisible way where you really cannot detect any trace of powder on the skin. Likewise, Bar of Gold is a delicately fine powder highlighter that really lifts dull, tired skin and according to the blurb on the website will make you look like a Bond girl. While I didn’t transform into an exceptionally hot fictional film character, the pure gold pearls and smoothing emollients contained in the formula provided a super imperfection blurring and radiant glow. Plus, the packaging is very dramatic, resembling an actual bar of gold, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than overly dramatic luxe looking makeup packaging.
Natural makeup brand Crop’s Baked Sculpting + Perfecting Powder is a half powder and half highlighter duo that’s a very handy day to night makeup item to keep in your bag. Use the powder half when you’re getting a bit oily throughout the day and then if you’re heading out post work swipe on some of the highlighter. It sort-of reminds me of Mac’s Mineralise Skinfinish highlighter, which was a long-time favourite highlighter of mine before I gave up using brands that test on animals. This is a much paler and pink coloured highlighter compared to Mineralise Skinfinish but has as much pop and staying power, just make sure you use it sparingly if using it during the day.
Nars are generally ace at creating highlighting, multi-use products, their infamous The Multiple being the best example of this, but their Illuminator isn’t given enough credit in my opinion. While this is also available in three other shades including that much hyped peachy gold Orgasm shade, Copacabana is by far and away the most useful colour to purchase. It can be used as a cream eyeshadow, patted over your lips, cupids bow, cheeks and brow bone to add the perfect sheen and can even be mixed with your foundation if you’re really after a super high wattage look.
Hourglass is known for the lit-ness of their products, and no, I don’t mean that it in the cringey slang ‘fiiiire’ like way, but more in the actually ‘lit within’ way. They really nail the subtle, glowy vibe that everyone secretly wishes they woke up with, and this extremely flattering highlighter is one of their top selling products for good reason. It’s perfect as a very natural, sheer everyday highlighter but can easily be amped up for a more glow heavy night time look. In saying that, don’t mistake this highlighter for a product that will give you that disco-ball like sheen that’s popular with Youtube stars and Instagram gurus a-like – this is a natural, chill highlighter. The annoyingly cool girl of highlighters, if you will.