Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
It's time to revive your skin for spring. When you want to brighten your complexion, try highlighters and illuminators to spotlight and accentuate the high-points of your face. The result is a pretty, fresh-faced look with a subtle sheen that will make you look runway ready.
Terence Taylor, a makeup artist with Laura Mercier at Bloomingdale's in San Francisco, recommends starting with an illuminating primer for an overall light and glow. Where you choose to apply your highlighter is up to you. Think about the features you want to brighten up. For an easy highlighting technique, simply sweep the highlighter in a half moon shape from your temple to the high points of your cheek. You can also highlight under your eyebrow on the brow bone, down the bridge of your nose to add length and definition, on the center of your forehead, on your chin, and above cupid's bow to make your lips more full and pouty.
There's a whole new crop of highlighters these days, from creams to easy-to-use sticks to powder formulas. Most have a touch of shimmer to better reflect the light, so you might try an illuminator practice session if you want to avoid a crazy case of sparkle face at an important event. Below, we've collected some of the best options to help you fake your way to radiant skin. Budget time at your favorite beauty supply to figure out which one works best for you.
The Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight is a new, easy-to-use cream highlighting stick. Thanks to light-reflecting optics, your skin will have a subtle sheen. The cream formula also makes it long-wearing, a major plus in our book. Buy it at Bloomingdales for $21.
Hourglass' Ambient Lighting Powders are known for their flattering, soft light. Each of the six universally-flattering colors mimic light sources such as candlelight and morning light. The powder formula is housed in a sleek, mirrored compact. Purchase for $45 at Hourglass.
NARS' Copacabana Multiple Stick is a cult beauty classic. This sheer color features glistening pearl with sheer silver pearl accents that easily blend on the skin to create a sheen where ever you want it. The great thing about the Multiple Stick is that you can use it anywhere. (Pro tip: try it over a lipstick for a shimmery finish instead of lip gloss.) Pick it up for $39 at NARS.
Benefit's High Beam and Sun Beam are aptly dubbed "liquid sunshine in a bottle". The highlighter comes in a bottle with brush (just like their famous Benetint) and can be blended in lightly with your fingers. A little goes a long way for a healthy looking glow. Choose High Beam for fair to light complexions and Sun Beam for medium to dark complexions. Buy it for $26 at Benefit.
Laura Mercier's Face Illuminator Powder features a soft rose gold shimmer. The powder goes on light and is perfect for highlighting or an overall healthy glow. Purchase it for $42 at Sephora.
Lancome's Le Duo Contour and Highlighter Stick recently launched to help us contouring newbies. The dual-ended stick —available in five shades— works just like a lipstick. Simply glide on the cream highlight and blend with your fingers or a brush. The opposite end lets you contour and define your features in the same manner. Buy it for $36 at Nordstrom.
The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector is a creamy powder luminizer that features multi-toned pearls in shades of gold. It enhances the skintone and leaves you with a pop of radiance. There are five different shades to choose from. Buy it for $38 at Sephora.
Laura Mercier's Foundation Primer - Radiance is a light, creamy gel in a universally-flattering pearl tint. Use a small amount over the entire face to create a illuminating finish. The primer also adds soft, subtle highlights to the face. Pick it up for $34 at Sephora.
To boost your overall complexion, use Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base. This primer is a moisturizing base that can be used alone or under your foundation or powder. There are two shades to choose from Rose and Champagne. Rose brightens up complexions while Champagne corrects redness. Buy it for $37 at Clarins.
For a brightening glow, try the new Clinique Turnaround Daytime Revitalizing Moisturizer. This moisturizer feels super lightweight and contains optics that boost skin tone for an overall glow. The moisturizer comes in two shades: Rosy Glow and Golden Glow. Purchase for $38 at Sephora.