There’s a deep, dark section of the internet (2009 Facebook albums) where you will see the highlights of my highlighting fails. The streaks across my cheeks could be used to light a landing strip for a red-eye flight from Heathrow– it was a very bright look. I didn’t take heed of the fact I needed an illuminator that meshed with my warm undertone and instead seemed to only want to counteract this with ice white highlighters. To be fair to me, the choice back then was so limited. The formulas were mostly powdery and catered to very limited skin tones, let alone undertones as well.
Luckily, now there is a lot more choice and better textures to play with too. I do prefer a liquid illuminator over powder as I find them easier to apply in a rush; they tend to be subtler and you can multitask with them. I have been known to mix mine with matte foundations to give more radiance and apply to my limbs when they are lacking any glow. Below are my absolute go-tos for deep skin tones.
Ok, yes it’s a moisturiser but this gives the most natural radiance if you’re having a no makeup day. I sandwich it between my serums and SPF when I’m not doing anything fancy in the day but also might pop to the post office or coffee shop, you know the vibe.
Like the soft pinch liquid blush from the brand, you only need a little dab of this on your cheekbones for a dewy glow. There are 8 shades to pick from but Reflect and Captive are gorgeous on deep skin tones.
A lot of the time, especially in summer I’ll just use this as my one complexion product as it gives a great all-over radiance and evens out the skin. The shades are stretchable and I use 6.5 but if you just want to use to highlight, pick up a shade lighter.
Patting this into your cheekbones and down the centre of your nose is a quick way to liven up a dull complexion. The shade peach is the best for medium to deep skin tones.
If you have dry skin you can apply this all over as a base for a dewy finish. Personally, I use it blended over my cheeks and the bridge of my nose for a bronzy glow.
Probably my favourite powder illuminator right now because the formula really melts into your skin and the shimmer swirled in isn’t chunky like dry textures can be.
I’ll swipe this bronzer on the tops of my cheekbones when I’m not rocking a foundation to liven up my skin tone (especially in winter) but you can apply over foundation and it won’t drag your base. It really gives that ‘lit-from-within’ look.
Both shades of this illuminating gel work for dark skin and I actually opt for the Starglow shade which is the paler of the two. The texture is so lightweight you can apply over makeup, as a primer or mix with your foundation.
You know when skin is so glowy it looks almost wet, this is what Skin Dew gives. Use as you choose but I pinpoint highlight with it as my final makeup step and buff out with a brush.
This is a really pigmented illuminator so you only need a little pat on your cheeks for a big difference. I love to use this particular illuminator on my legs too– the sheen is unreal.
This really pigmented highlighter is on the verge of being OTT if you swipe it straight on. I rub on the tips of my index finger and then apply to my cheekbones. Cognac diamond is my go-to shade.
The creaminess of this illuminator makes it a dream to blend on top of your base. The colour Sun Goddess is perfect for enhancing deep skin tones. Next, the best nude lipsticks according to beauty experts.