I am a beauty dope. While all my peers were diligently learning how to do a smoky eye or a perfect nude lip, I was busy doing something else, I guess? Most likely conducting weird food experiments with my brother -- the results of which were so terrible, we began burying them in the ground to hide the evidence like the future serial killers we were.
So every time I've seen some clever beauty writer talking about illuminziers, I've brushed off their suggestions as something too advanced for my basic (and I mean preschool level) makeup skill set.
Then I saw this photo of our very own Emily:
I realize it appears that all I do is use photos of Emily in my posts but DAMN. She is literally glowing in that pic. I thought maybe she'd been on a luxurious beach vacation, but when I asked her, she replied: "No, it's Josie Maran's Argan Illuminizer!"
I was SOLD.
Even though I'd never used an illuminizer before, I decided to take the plunge. I, of course, ordered two -- I am a shopping overachiever, after all. I got the Josie Maran cream formula Emily raved about, plus a powder-based one from It Cosmetics, their Airbrush Illuminizer.
Verdict: I LOVE THEM BOTH. But for different reasons! I've recently felt like my skin is looking a little dull, lifeless and dry, no matter how many facials I get or what fancy creams I slather on it. I'm not sure if it's due to creeping death or simple winter doldrums, but a little dose of illuminizer has completely solved the problem. It's a total complexion wake-up.
On days when I'm not going all out to make up my face, I simply slap a dime-sized squirt of the Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer cream mixed 1/2 & 1/2 with my moisturizer. You can also mix it in with your foundation for a super covered, luminous look. It looks terrifyingly shimmery in your hand, but the end result is pure magic.
It's pretty foolproof -- I lazily smear it on without any regard to where I'm putting it, but you're technically meant to apply it to the sides and top of your forehead, the "apple" of your cheekbones, your brow bones, the bridge of your nose and a dab on your chin -- basically all the spots where light naturally hits your face.
The end result is a slightly glowy, fresh-as-a-newborn fawn look without an avalanche of greasiness. I think it's the argan oil -- it soaks in fast and doesn't sit on top of your skin.
You can still see my spots (thanks, adult acne!) and under-eye circles when I wear just the illuminizer by itself, but for some reason it doesn't bother me as much as it usually does, because my face looks happy and hydrated. I also mixed a bit of it in with some body lotion to give my shoulders and arms a little lustre.
A light dusting of It Cosmetic's Airbrush Illuminizing powder at the end seems to add a slight well-rested sheen to my skin that I thought only existed in magazines. I applied it right on top of my finishing powder, as I still want maximum spot coverage -- but I'm not so sure that's how you're really supposed to do it.
A word of warning -- there's a big difference between illuminizers and highlighters. An illuminizer reflects light and give your skin a faint, healthy glow -- without the shimmery element that can make highlighters look too sparkly and shiny. I learned this the hard way, because look at this insane highlighting powder I wore all over my face the very first time I met Emily:
Anything too iridescent or glittery obviously has a tendency to accentuate your pores. The end goal is illumination, not sparkle-ization. You want to look like a dewy, fresh faced kid -- not a sad disco ball without a party to attend.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.