It Takes Less Than a Minute to Fake Great Lighting All Day

This little trick is basically like an auto-enhance button, but with makeup.
Publish date:
April 15, 2016
mac, Dior, Laura Mercier, illuminators, highlighter, primer, tinted moisturizer, hacks, Too Cool For School, IPKN

If you Google anything related to "flawless face" or "no-makeup makeup," you're likely to find several tutorials involving numerous steps, generally incorporating several complexion products, tools and blending techniques. I'm not saying they're wrong because, honestly, there are several roads to Rome, if you know what I mean. But since we are being honest here, I gotta say, I'm a really lazy in a rebellious way when it comes to "no-makeup makeup" because the name itself implies little to no work. Like, I could work on the weekends, but why would I?

That said, I find that more and more, I'm reaching for these light-diffusing and scattering makeup products to blind everyone from my un-retouched face, and they take the most minimal effort with even less margin for fucking up, which is right up my alley. God forbid I mistake my beautyblender for a hot cocoa garnish, it's nice to know that my fingers will blend just fine on their own.

So, not to get too wordy about this allegedly idiot-proof makeup trick — it's basically like tapping that little auto-enhance wand on your phone (or photo editing app), but on your face.

There isn't really a huge As-Seen-On-TV factor of a before/after here (and personally, I find before/afters backhandedly tacky in many ways) but the magic of combining a bit of an illuminator in your tinted moisturizer, BB cream, foundation (whichever you choose for the coverage you want) is that the reflective micro-specks scatter and diffuse light so uneven areas are masked via a trick of the light. Seriously, this took me less than a minute and provided such better coverage without added layers.

But now for the thing most of you want to know anyway: what are these illuminators I speak of?

IPKN Radiant Primer: This is great because it has SPF 15, which makes this a very good smear-and-wear product if you're in a real pinch. It has a really silky texture that's more hydrating than other traditional primers (which can feel silicone-y) but still light-feeling.Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer - Illuminating: This stuff rules, hands down. It's basically what I said in one product (but if you already have tinted moisturizers and illuminators that you like, you can create the same/similar effect) plus SPF. It's pricey for sure, but the tubes are pretty large, and the effect is worth it, in my opinion. They come in five colors, but it's a sheer formula so they adapt pretty well. Too Cool For School Pearl Dinoplatz Bay Invasion Highlighter: Never mind this strangely politically charged name, this product is billed as a highlighter/primer, so it's down to spot-highlight as well as go all over your face, kind of like what I did here.MAC Strobe Cream: The genesis of "strobing" is named after this MAC product. It's a lightly moisturizer illuminating cream that has the teeniest microshimmer particles (that are buildable) to give skin that wet look.Dior Glow Maximizer Primer: This is an infuriatingly perfect illuminating primer, given its price ($42). Splurge territory, but not unattainable, honestly. I do wish the tube was bigger, though. Unlike the other illuminators that have a pinky-pearl finish, this one is more of a golden-pearl, making it even more broadly skin-tone friendly. I bought this at the duty-free airport shops on the way home from Rio De Janeiro this winter because I had some Brazilian Real to burn, and the exchange rate was basically just throwing my money away. So obviously, I threw it at makeup.

Obviously, you can go ahead and conceal stuff you want to conceal over this, but this is just one of those #hottip #quicktip schemes that's been working for me big time, and who would I be if I didn't share that with you guys? A jerk, that's who.

  • What are your express beauty tips?
  • Does anyone else find the term "hack" really annoying and overused? This is makeup, not The Matrix!