Best Skin Illuminator [Reviews And Top Picks]

Do you feel like you can never achieve that perfect summery glow regardless of how many skin products you try out? Your face always looks a tad dull no matter what you do. Well, we have something you should try out. It’s called an illuminator. Skin illuminators are a fairly recent buzz. They are used to give the skin an extra glow and vitality that other products cannot provide.

Illuminators work when light falls on your face. Ingredients used in the product reflect back more light, enhancing certain features on your face. For instance, they can enhance your cheekbones or jawline.

Best skin illuminator on the UK market

Here are the 5 best skin illuminators we found. They are easy to apply together with your usual skin products and most importantly, they work really well at making your face glow.

1. No7 Skin Illuminator in Nude

This nude coloured illuminator gives your skin a natural glow and works perfectly with your foundation. If you want to apply it on your whole face use it as a primer under your foundation. This results on a subtle glow all over your face, perfect for the office and other formal situations.

You can also mix it with your foundation for an even more noticeable glow.

The other option is to apply it on certain parts of your face as a highlighter. Apply it on areas where light reflects easily such as your cheeks or brow. If you are going to out to a party you can even apply it softly on the cleavage or neck.

What I like about it:

  • Reliable UK brand.
  • Easy to use.
  • Gives a nice glow to your skin.

2. Nina Ricci Skin Illuminator Serum

This 30ml bottle of serum is not just for making your skin glow; it also boosts skin cell regeneration for an even smoother and brighter skin.

The serum is very lightweight so you don’t have to worry about looking like an over-oiled bodybuilder. It imparts subtle radiance that blends perfectly with your skin. You can use it underneath your foundation as a primer or use it to highlight specific areas of your face.

What I like about it:

  • Easy to use.
  • Boosts skin cell regeneration.
  • Can be used with other skin products.

3. Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator

This illuminator contains special light-reflecting crystals and photochromatic pigments. When exposed to light, even dim light, the illuminator produces an enhanced glow. Whether you are preparing for a photo shoot, an important event or you just want your face to look radiant at the office, try this one.

The neutral shade works well for a majority of people, lessening any dullness and creating an even skin tone. You can use it on its own to highlight specific features on your face or use it with a foundation.

What I like about it:

  • Great for all skin types.
  • Easy to use.
  • Works well with other products.

4. Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation

This is a two-in-one illuminator. It acts as both a foundation and illuminator. It comes in eight colours including natural, warm almond, bronze, beige and light ivory. So you easily can match the right one to your skin shade.

For instance if you want to reduce the shine on your oily skin while still achieving a radiant look, the Natural Number 50 shade is perfect.

The Luminizer foundation also contains a hydrating ingredient to nourish your skin. So your skin not only becomes more beautiful, it also gets healthier.

What I like about it:

  • 2-in-one. You can use it on its own without having to apply foundation.
  • Different shades available for different skin types.
  • Moisturizes skin.

5. Mii Cosmetics Sublime Skin Illuminator

This is one of the most versatile skin illuminators. For one, you can use it on a variety of skin tones. Secondly, it is ideal for both the face and body. So whether you want to enhance your cheek bones or you want radiant legs, go ahead and indulge yourself.

The illuminator comes in a compact 30ml bottle meaning you can carry it around in your bag for quick applications.

What I like about it:

  • Can be used on both face and body.
  • Ideal for different skin tones.
  • Easy to use.

How to buy a good skin illuminator

There are several factors you should consider when shopping for a skin illuminator. The most important one is your skin tone and type. Most illuminators are designed to work on a wide variety of skin types and tones. They work well for oily skin and just as well for dry skin. They also work great for both light and dark skin shades.

But for the best results, try to find an illuminator that matches your skin, especially the tone. You want the illuminator to blend in with your skin rather than create an uneven tone that looks out of place.

If you have extra oily skin, look for an illuminator that tones down the oiliness without making your skin dull. If your skin tends to get dry, find an illuminator with moisturizing ingredients. The Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation is a good example.

In regards to safety, make sure the illuminator will not cause any reaction on your skin. Check the ingredients list for anything that would cause sensitivity issues. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin.

Finally, get a versatile illuminator. Ideally, it should work both alone and with other products and you can use it on your face or body. This allows you to use the illuminator for different situations. If you are going to a formal event for example, you can use it as a primer before applying foundation. This gives your face subtle radiance.


Q: What is skin illuminator?

A skin illuminator is a make up product designed to give your skin a healthy looking glow. Illuminators are used over the whole face to give a soft, luminous glow, unlike a highlighter which is used to accentuate certain areas.

You can get illuminators in powder or cream form, and you can wear it however you like. Some people like to mix it with foundation for a soft look, or apply it over your foundation to give a healthy looking glow.

There are an increasing number of illuminators on the market, so you can have a little experiment and choose the one that suits you the best.

Q: When should you apply illuminator?

Once you have chosen the right illuminator for your skin type, you need to know how to apply it. You can go for lessons with a professional, or you can search the many videos online that will give you great tips.

Generally, you should apply your illuminator after your foundation, and before you apply any blusher. This is to give you a noticeable healthy glow; if you are after a more subtle effect then apply the illuminator before your foundation.

Q: What’s the difference between highlighter and illuminator?

A highlighter and an illuminator serve similar functions – they are used to make your skin look better. However, highlighter is generally used to highlight areas of your face, like your cheekbones, to make them stand out more, whereas illuminator is used to give an all over, healthy glow to your skin.

Highlighters are usually formulated from light reflecting particles, so that the areas it is applied to stand out more, while illiminator is made from light diffusing particles, so that your skin glows in a subtle way all over, rather than one area standing out over another.

Q: Why do I need a skin illuminator?

To give your skin extra glow. Skin can get dull for a variety of reasons including sun exposure and lack of hydration. A skin illuminator gives your skin a natural radiance to make it look healthy and young.

Q: What are the benefits of a skin illuminator?

It can reduce or even eliminate uneven skin tones, it reduces skin dullness and when used with foundation reduces the appearance of fine wrinkles and acne scarring.

Q: Can I use a skin illuminator with my regular skin products?

In most cases you can. But check the manufacturer instructions for advice.

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