Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Hello and welcome! Today we are going to talk about one of the professional make-up artists' favourite cosmetics: the illuminator! As the name says, the purpose of the illuminator is to illuminate! It is the great responsible for creating points of light on the face and leave the skin with a brightened aspect. In addition to highlighting the beauty of the make up, this miraculous little product has a number of advantages! In the guide below you will get to know all of them, and better understand the importance of illuminator in makeup finishes.

Firstly, the most important

  • The illuminator is a beauty product that has the purpose of highlighting strategic points of the face through satin pigments and brightened.
  • The most recommended points to apply the illuminator are: above the cheekbones, in the corner of the eyes, in the nose, below the curve of the eyebrow and in the cupid's bow.
  • As well as many other cosmetics, you should find illuminators in different textures: creamy, liquid, powder and even solid

Best Illuminators: Our Picks

Buying guide

The perfect make-up is composed of several steps, and the illuminator is one of those that cannot be missing. It ensures the ideal finish to the skin and also highlights strategic points of the face. In the guide below we will address the topic in more depth, as well as explaining all the advantages of this product.

Foto de uma mulher jovem, séria, de cabelo preso e com uma das mãos no pescoço. Ela está maquiada e usa iluminador na parte superior das bochechas.

The illuminator is the perfect tool to brighten and highlight some points of the face. (Source: Pixabay/ Pexels)

What is an illuminator and what are its advantages?

Very wrong who believes that only the foundation and concealer are the protagonists at the time of making the skin of dreams. Among the many products that are involved in this process, is the illuminator. It is nothing more than a satin and brightened pigment, used to illuminate the face, highlight the features and ensure a younger look to the skin. The illuminator, in fact, ensures a special glow to the make-up, and is also a great combination for those who like to do contouring, since it highlights a lot the features that were contoured.

Another interesting advantage is that this product can be used in various points of the face, and even in other parts of the body, such as in the neck or even on the legs. It can be found in different shades, from the darker ones, which guarantee a more bronzed look, to the lighter ones, which are great to make points of light! In general, it is a product that is worth the investment and it is easy to use, right?

Where to apply the illuminator?

Luckily for us, there are several places on the face where you can apply the illuminator and create points of light. And you can even apply it in all these points in the same makeup, just don't overdo it!

  • Above the cheekbone: one of the points where the effect is most amazing! Abuse of the illuminator in the small bones above the cheekbone, especially if you have done contouring. It refines the face and highlights the smile.
  • In the corner of your eyes: Great for highlighting your look. If you are using eyeshadow, you can apply more, if not, be more careful, ok?
  • On the nose: To ensure a slimmer nose effect, trace a straight line that starts just below the union of the eyebrows, and goes to the tip. It works!
  • Under the eyebrow arch: Another technique that opens and highlights the look, but only under the arch and not the whole eyebrow.
  • In the cupid's bow: The cupid's bow is the "V" that is in the upper part of the lips, just below the nose. The illuminator at this point makes the contour of the lips more evident and increases the mouth.

Finally, you can also apply your illuminator on other parts of the body, such as the legs - with caution!, in some special situation, or even on the bones of the neck, to highlight the so-called soap dishes.

What are the types of illuminators?

Like most beauty products, you will find illuminators in different textures. It is important to understand that in some cases, it is better that you use a specific type of product, and to make this clear, we will talk more about each one of them.

Powder illuminator

The powder illuminator is one of the most used, after all, it is the most versatile. You can apply it on absolutely all the desired points, since its texture is fine and easy to be manipulated. It adapts well to all skin types, and its only drawback is that it is possible that a small part of the powder may come off over time, but this is practically imperceptible and does not negatively affect the make up!

Liquid illuminator

The liquid illuminator is a great choice for those who like to give an overall glow to the skin, and mix it with the foundation or even with some moisturizer. When applying it alone, be a little more careful, because it can get a little stronger compared to the powder version.

Creamy illuminator

The creamy illuminator is usually found in a stick format, much like a lipstick. When using it, you should be careful not to mark the skin too much, and therefore, it is recommended to spread it with a brush right after application. Another important point is that creamy products are usually not a good choice for people with oily skin, but if this is not your case, you will probably like the result.

Solid illuminator

The solid illuminator is the one in the format of a pencil, but it has an almost exclusive function: it serves to illuminate below the eyebrow arch. In this specific region it works very well and is a great choice, however, it should not be used in other areas of the face. The fine tip is not able to supply and illuminate extensive areas such as the cheeks, for example.

Powder Liquid Creamy Solid
Where to apply Any region Any region Below the arch of the eyebrow
Skin type All skin types If mixed in the foundation, all skin types, if alone, only normal or dry skin Only normal or dry skin All skin types
Intensity Medium High High Medium

How much does an illuminator cost?

It's no news that in the universe of cosmetics the values are super tied to the brands, right? And that's exactly what happens with illuminators. It is difficult to make an estimate, because you can find both extremes: both the most expensive and the cheapest. In general, the average cost of a good quality illuminator is between $ 30 and $ 80, however, in the case of highly renowned brands, you can find options for more than $ 100.

Where to buy an illuminator?

With the popularization of beauty products, today is super easy access to the most varied cosmetics, which is great news for those who have a busy routine. In shops specializing in the beauty trade, you should find more variety. In this case, we can indicate Sephora, Época Cosméticos, The Beauty Box and the own units of well-known brands, such as MAC, Quem disse Berenice, Maybelline, Natura, O Boticário and Contém 1g. Some drugstore chains and even department stores, such as Lojas Americanas, also offer some illuminator options. And, finally, you also have the option of buying online, on sites like Beleza na Web, Amazon, Buscapé, Mercado Livre and the brands' own e-commerces.

Foto de uma mulher negra, com cabelo afro, brincos grandes e maquiagem chamativa. Ela está em um local com fundo preto e usa iluminador dourado no rosto.

The illuminator is universal and looks great on all skin types. (Fuente: Bestbe Models/

Purchase criteria: how to compare the models of illuminator

Illuminators are beauty products that do not offer many difficulties to the buyer, however, as we always talk around here, we like to make it easier and tell you everything you should notice at the time of your purchase.

Below, we will explain it to you point by point so that no doubt remains.

Ideal shade

Illuminators can be of various colours and can have different intensities of brightness. There are rosy, pearly, and darker, earthy tones. In the summer, for example, it may be nice to use the darker options in the bones of the face to give a bronze look, but if your goal is to create points of light in the eye area, opt for pearly tones. Women with lighter skins end up doing better with illuminators with a silver background, while women with darker skins look great in shades with a golden background. Despite the tips, the use of the tone is not a rule. Each makeup requires a specific production and you will always have several possibilities within a single makeup.


When the subject is makeup, durability is a question that should be taken into account. It is important that you buy a product that can withstand an entire day of work, or an entire night of partying without major problems. Although some women have the habit of going to the bathroom for the famous retouching, this practice should not be necessary! Keep an eye on the durability of your product, and opt for those that guarantee hours and hours without letting you down, see?

Contact with the skin

We must be doubly careful with everything that deals with our skin, as is the case with makeup. Before you buy your illuminator, do a simple test by applying the product on the back of the hand, so you can observe any discomfort or possible irritation. It is very important that the chosen product is, before anything else, safe, and leaves your skin free of risks, ok?

How much you can use

Illuminators have the advantage of having a good yield. As it is not a product that you apply in large quantities, it is possible that you will use yours for several months! However, if you are addicted to the product and never stop using it in your daily make up, we recommend you the powder or stick options, because they are less susceptible to waste and yield more.

(Source of the highlighted image: Dids/ Pexels)

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