3 luminizers for glowing skin

kimberlyloc's favorite luminizers

Though I can be pretty minimalistic when it comes to building my everyday makeup look, one product that I seem to use almost every day is luminizer, which the Kim from several years ago would have written off as a frivolous, unnecessary product.

Boy was that Kim wrong.

Luminizers help attract and reflect light from your skin, giving it a radiance that helps you appear more awake and glowing — traits that this night owl loves to see come to life on much-too-early Monday mornings.

These three luminizers are my go-to products for bringing back a little life to my skin. Which ones have you tried?

kimberlyloc's favorite luminizers

The Balm “Mary-Lou Manizer”

the balm mary-lou manizer

{I purchased The Balm’s “Mary-Lou Manizer” at a random Walgreens in Chicago for $24.}

So, The Balm isn’t exactly a green / clean brand, but its Mary-Lou Manizer highlighting powder scores a “1” on the EWG Skin Deep Database and does a wonderful job of delivering a brightening sheen to my temples and undereye area.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Mica, Isoeicosane, Polyethylene, Boron Nitride, Polyisobutene, Ptfe, Silica, Synthetic Wax, Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491).

I like to sweep this onto my skin using my Real Techniques Setting Brush, which is the perfect size for applying a small amount of luminzer (you don’t need much!).

The Balm’s “Mary-Lou Manizer” is definitely my go-to, everyday luminizer because on most days, I use a mineral powder foundation and mineral powder blush and can blend this a lot easier.

Jane Iredale Golden Shimmer Face and Body Lotion

jane iredale golden shimmer face and body lotion

{Jane Iredale sent me a sample of its Golden Shimmer Face and Body Lotion. It costs $32 for a 1.7-ounce bottle.}

New this season, Jane Iredale’s Golden Shimmer Face and Body Lotion is a gorgeous peachy-shimmer liquid that can easily be mixed in with your daily SPF and/or liquid foundation for a hint of glow and flush of color.

I love that this luminizer is made for face and body and applies like a lotion; I use it on my chest and shoulders when I’m going out for the night and baring some extra skin.

I also like to massage it into my forearms for an additional shimmer that picks up the moonlight.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Aqua/Water/Eau, Coconut Alkanes (And) Polysilicone 11, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Pectin, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Sambucus Nigra (Elder Flower) Extract, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (And) Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (And) Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil. [+/- (May Contain) Mica, Iron Oxides (Ci 77489, Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Red 30 Lake (Ci 73360), Red 6 Lake (Ci 15850)(Aka 201)]

For daytime, I stick to using it on my face mixed in with my liquid foundation, and I go very easy on it (you need maybe 1/4 of the squiggle I photographed above).

Sometimes I’m a bit more deliberate about where I apply it — think temples and cheeks — if I don’t want an all-over shimmer. This is definitely a fun one to experiment with this summer!

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer

rms beauty living luminizer

{I purchased RMS’ Living Luminizer for $38 from Birchbox way back in the day.}

Easily the most famous luminizer in the green beauty world, RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer has been in my makeup kit for more than a year, but I must say, it’s taken me a loooooong time to develop warm feelings for it.

As an oily-skinned gal, I struggled with getting this ultra-wet, coconut oil-based luminizer to stay put and not look greasy.

I’ve learned to dab it on using my ring finger and only pat it in where I absolutely want some shine, or else risk appearing slick instead of sleek.

Here’s the full ingredients list:

Organic Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic Cera Alba (Beeswax), Organic Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI77891, Mica CI 77019]

I tend to stick to keeping RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer near my undereyes and tops of the apples of the cheeks, but sometimes I get adventurous and add it to my Cupid’s bow and even dab it into the middle of my bottom lip to add some dimension and fullness to my kisser.

So, these are the top three luminizers in my makeup kit, and I rotate all of them in and out of my routine.

However, if I had to choose just one (no beauty blogger ever has to choose just one, though!), I’d say that my favorite is The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer. I’m just kind of partial to powders.

What are your favorite luminizers? Have you tried any of my top three favorites? Tell me in the comments section below!



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  • asti

    I love love skin luminizers, they really give that little sum’in-sum’in to the face! My favorite is also the one by the balm because of its powdered formula! So far, I really have troubles with luminizers in cream formula despite having dry skin. I am also trying to like living luminizer but it’s just too sticky on my skin and my cheekbones are more on the reactive and easily-congested side than the rest of my face. I’m sure this does not happen to everybody else though! But I have to say the ‘barely-there’ shimmers in rms is so beautiful! Have you tried Ilia’s one? it’s in a drier creamy form, but I have not made up my mind about it yet. Shimmers are a bit chunkier than rms but still pretty subtle.

    • You got that right! I love that I am not the only one to use The Balm :) The ingredients are fine and the packaging is so.damn.cute.

      I also agree on the sticky factor of the luminizer … it’s a good one to use if you don’t have a really made-up look and don’t mind a bit of slip. Does it clog your pores on your congestion-prone skin? I haven’t tried the Ilia luminizer … think it might be a go for someone with oily skin? Have you tried Vapour’s / how does it compare? (Vapour’s was *too* dry for me).

      Love seeing ya in my comments section, lady! xx

  • The Jane Iredale product sounds amazing! x

    • I hope you get a chance to try it! :) xoxo

  • I’m partial to powders too, as much as I’d love to try RMS’ living luminizer or any of their cream blushes, I know it won’t stay put on my oily skin. However, I do love un cover-up, complicated much? ;) I’m intrigued by Jane Iredale’s shimmer lotion, I’d most likely use it as a body lotion, since my skin has been acting up lately. Have you tried Vapour’s trick stick highlighter? It looks drier than RMS.

    • Yes, the Jane Iredale lotion is so neat! I realllly like it on my arms / chest / shoulders … so lightweight and sexy :) I *have* tried Vapour’s stick highlighter (I had a small sample with an order), but it was a bit *too* dry … it was difficult to blend. Sigh. Consistency is key!

  • Kaylin

    I broke out in tiny whiteheads around my eyes when I tried a sample of Living Luminizer. I was so bummed! I once saw Spirit Demerson comment that such problems could be related to not cleansing the skin deep enough to remove the product, which is definitely a possibility since I was just using Kahina’s cleanser at the time. I’d like to give it another shot now that I know I’m using a thorough enough cleanser (Blissoma’s gel cleanser-LOVE) but I’m nervous!

    • Were they whiteheads or was it milia? That can happen if your skin is way too congested, which coconut oil and heavy creams can do to some people (which is why I’m crazy careful about what eye cream / serum I use!). That said, if you’re prone to congested pores, the powder may be better for you and just use the Living Luminizer on the Cupid’s bow and lips! Good luck!

      • That’s exactly what coconut oil did to my eyes when I tried it as a makeup remover. Haven’t had a problem with the Living Luminizer though!

        • Oh man, wow! I use coconut oil to remove my makeup at night and have never had a problem. Skin is so complicated. Glad RMS is treating you well!

  • Erin @ The Grass Skirt Blog

    I have been wanting the Mary-Lou Manizer for ages it seems! I need to finally buy it already.

    The Grass Skirt

  • Man, I feel like Living Luminizer is on everyone’s highlighter-picks lists! It looks gorgeous — and my skin is already loving the idea of a formula that’s too slick for most. It’s been seriously eating up moisture recently >.<

    • I will have to swatch it on my skin and share via Instagram for you to see!

  • Okay, completely off topic but that girl on the The Balm packaging always makes me think of Taylor Swift. She looks like her, right! Now, back on topic, three lovely picks, they all sound great!

    • Ha, good eye! I agree. How cute and funny :)

  • anita
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