The Gloss Report: Illuminating products

28 January 2015
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The Gloss Report – Illuminating products

With daylight hours minimal and summer holidays a distant dream, we all need a helping hand to achieve that extra bit of glow. Luckily the beauty world now has solutions aplenty to this age old problem (and were not just talking a swoop of bronzer). The market is crowded with products claiming to give the healthy, dewy glow from primers and creams to sticks and powders, which product came up trumps? Click through to find out...

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Benefit Watt’s Up Soft Focus Highlighter

Price: £24.50

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Feedback: “In classic Benefit style, the packaging of this highlighter is impressive, with a bright metallic purple casing and gem-shaped lid that really makes it stand out. It has a twist-up highlighter on one end and a soft sponge applicator on the other - both a decent size, which is refreshing as so many others seem to be thin and spindly meaning it takes longer to apply. The cream-to-powder finish of this champagne-coloured illuminator is what makes it so great to use, however; simply swipe directly onto cheekbones or brow bones and you’re left with a delicate sheen of a pearly-golden glow. The sponge applicator is handy for blending but personally I prefer to use my fingertips - if you’re not careful it’s easy to drag the skin which is not ideal, and the only downside I can see. A foolproof tool of subtle lighting for a brighter, healthier looking complexion - Benefit nailed it.”

Score: 9/10

Reviewer: JJ

3 / 9

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana

Price: £22.50

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Feedback: “I’m a total sucker for any product that claims to sculpt away my sallowness into a model-esque mug - especially during the winter months when we could all do with a little lift and glow. Unsurprisingly this NARS illuminator was somewhat of a showstopper and delivered unparalleled levels of radiance. Testing out the creamy, pearlised shade of Copacabana, this heavenly highlighting liquid can be used to brighten up bare or makeup’d skin - you can even add a touch to your foundation for an all over glow - personally though, I thought it looked best when lightly applied to the brow and cheekbones, along with the decolletage (for a more dressy occasion). Beautifully iridescent and truly long-lasting, it gives skin a gorgeously dewy glow - the kind that looks like money can’t buy - accept you can…”

Score: 10/10

Reviewer: KR

4 / 9

MAC Strobe Cream

Price: £24.50

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Feedback: "Subtle, illuminating and glow-inducing, this tube of instant radiance made for the perfect early morning wake-up-call for my snoozing skin. With it currently suffering from a case of the mid-winter blues, the cream’s versatility was extremely good at brightening my sallow complexion thanks to a universally flattering combination of pearlescent particles, a dewy finish and a surprisingly hydrating texture. The ideal pick-me-up for an all-over shot of health for day, think of it as a touch of rave-worthy night time strobing for manipulating, mastering and finding your perfect light."

Score: 10/10

Reviewer: AM

5 / 9

No 7 Instant Radiance Highlighter

Price: £9.95

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Feedback: "As a fan of Clinique chubby sticks (and any other easy peasy crayon product for that matter) I was keen to try No 7’s mega highlighting pen. I applied the product directly from the bullet to both my cheekbones and browbones and blended using my fingers which gave my skin a much needed glow. The product went on super smoothly without a hint of stickiness and the colour is a lovely champagne toned pink with just enough shimmer to catch the light (glittery is a no-no in my books). I wouldn’t say the product had the most long-lasting power but its handbag size and fuss free application means on-the-go top-ups couldn’t be easier - plus, for this price who’s complaining?"

Score: 8/10

Reviewer: EB

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Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

Price: £22

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Feedback: “Although a lightweight balm like consistency this product from Clarins succeeds in giving an extreme hit of moisture to the skin and instantly brightens dull and tired skin. It smelled incredibly fresh making it a great morning pick me up in the and I loved how it restored radiance to my January skin. I prefer to only use it when the skin needs an extra boost as opposed to everyday so that it has maximum impact.

Whether you use after your moisturiser or alone, I found the balm gave a perfectly smooth canvas for applying makeup and definitely helped in giving it a bit of extra staying power. A product that truly deserves its cult status.

Score: 10/10

Reviewer: SM

7 / 9

Chanel Le Blanc de Chanel Multi-Use Illuminating Base

Price: £33

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Feedback: "Any product that masterful makeup artist  Mary Greenwell  rates gets plenty of love from me even pre-testing, and the quintessentially elegant packaging makes me proud to display it on my dressing table (not shallow at all…). I’m a huge fan of Chanel foundations, so had high hopes for a silky, lingerie style makeup base to match. I can’t say that I was disappointed- it slips onto skin and blends very easily, creating a soft, even canvas for makeup. While it claims to have moisturizing properties, you’ll still need to wear your regular day cream to keep skin plump and hydrated, but where this primer/illuminator hybrid excels is in somehow simulatenously mattifying and creating a glow. There’s no sparkle or powdery residue- just a light, veil-like finish that anchors foundation in place. Given the price, it would perhaps be nice if the bottle were more geneous in size, but that’s pretty much my only qualm."

Score: 8/10

Reviewer: AH

8 / 9

Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash Primer

Price: £38.50

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Feedback: “Much like the rest of her products, Charlotte Tilbury’s beautiful rose gold and marsala packaging makes it hard not to expect big things from Wonderglow – and boy, it did not disappoint. Multipurpose and effective, it can be used as a base under foundation, over foundation as a highlighter or on its own for a boost of radiant after moisturising. I tried it all three ways and once the creamy textured primer sunk into the face, I was pleasantly surprised with how glowing and healthy my skin appeared.

“And it doesn’t end there. The makeup maestro, who is known for her miracle blends and inventions, has added advanced skin-boosting ingredients to make your makeup work that little bit harder. Infused with a fluorescent core light diffuser to promote luminosity, collagen-boosting peptides to improve skin elasticity and soft-focus ceramic microspheres to disguise wrinkles, the possibilities with this product truly are endless.”

Score: 10/10

Reviewer: HI

9 / 9

Smashbox Luminizing Primer

Price: £25

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Feedback: “Unfortunately I did not get off to a good start with this product. As I opened it, off puttingly, a teaspoon of oil spilled from the tube where the product had separated!  However,  once I applied the product itself it was  actually really lovely.  It smoothes into the skin beautifully and leaves skin feeling super silky with a soft glow and subtle shimmer.

The directions for use suggest this product be worn underneath foundation however I would warn that some thicker foundations may cover its glowing properties completely.  I used with a lighter coverage CC cream and found the duo were a match made in heaven. Best for olive or darker skin tones this primer definitely helped enhance my overall complexion and gave it a much needed holiday glow!

Score: 8/10

Reviewer: FD