Let It Glow

Two things should be obvious from the title of this post: a) I have a Frozen-obsessed 5-year-old and b) I’m going to talk about highlighters. Unlike primers or blush,  both of which I didn’t really like before making the switch to green beauty, a highlighter was something I could get on board with from day one. In a way, a highlighter is make-up for the lazy: it can be used on a bare face or over foundation, it can contour without Kardashian-level of commitment and it can be used to brighten eyes, enhance cheekbones, lift eyebrows, enlarge lips and give an angelic glow. What’s not to like?! As a highlighter early adopter, I have tried a number of products, both conventional and green, and I am convinced that green beauty offers some of the best formulas and pretties shades of highlighter out there, especially when it comes to the all-stars in this review. 

RMS Beauty Living Luminizer is probably the most famous green beauty product there is. Created by the celebrity make-up artist Rose Marie Swift and hailed by beauty bloggers, green and otherwise, and beauty editors, it is  widely considered to be one of the best highlighters around. It also seems to be the gateway drug for a switch to green beauty, probably because it is so pleasurable and easy to use. Not at all glittery nor too shiny or obvious, it gives a subtle glimmer to the skin. The coconut oil formula means that it applies like a dream: soft, creamy, with a nice slip. The presence of coconut oil does, unfortunately, also mean that the Luminizer might not work for people with extremely oily skin or those with a sensitivity to coconut oil. Like all other RMS products, the seemingly small pot of the Luminizer seems to last forever and good thing, too, because I would never want to be without it. Living Luminizer is my winter highlighter: the creamy formula feels like a cashmere blanket for the skin and brightens winter-dull skin.

From left to right: RMS Living Luminizer, Kjaer Weis Highlighter, La Bella Figura Brazilian Denise, W3ll People Universalist 3

From left to right: RMS Living Luminizer, Kjaer Weis Highlighter, La Bella Figura Brazilian Denise, W3ll People Universalist 2 (all swatched heavily to show color/texture)

Kjaer Weis Highlighter. Kjaer Weis is one of the best established and most luxe green beauty brands around. Created by another celebrity makeup artist, its products are widely acknowledged to work as well as conventional makeup and have some of the most elegant and luxurious packaging around. Surprisingly, Kjaer Weis had not released a highlighting product until quite recently, but that may be because of all the thought and care that went into its creation, because the Kjaer Weis Highlighter is an absolute home run. The Kjaer Weis highlighter has more luminosity than the Living Luminizer, but is not too sparkly and, depending on the application, can be just as subtle. It has the faintest bronzy-lavender tint that looks beautiful on my light olive skin tone; and I have heard that it works equally well on very pale and darker complexions. I also love this highlighter’s texture: it’s soft and creamy, with the perfect amount of slip, yet without a hint of greasiness. I think this is the one highlighter that would work best as an eye shadow: with a heavier application, it creates a subtle, but beautiful tint, which can complement a variety of eye colors. Though this highlighter does not contain coconut oil, it does have beeswax as one of the ingredients (as do all of the highlighters in this review, other than La Bella Figura). I happen to like the effect of beeswax on my skin, but it does mean that this product is not strictly vegan-friendly.

La Bella Figura Brazilian Denise is LBF’s first entry into makeup (the company is debuting its entire, tightly-edited makeup range during A Night For Green Beauty – a major green beauty event taking place in Los Angeles in early August). I was lucky enough to snag one of the few of these made available for pre-sale and since then, it has become an almost daily staple in my beauty routine. The first thing that struck me about Brazilian Denise was its smell: delightfully, delicately old-fashioned, it brought to mind glamorous vanities in silk-draped boudoirs, feather powder puffs and high-heeled bedroom slippers. In fact, the smell was so evocative, that I had to re-read the ingredient list, suspecting shenanigans. Thankfully, the glamorous scent is a product of nothing more, than natural plant waxes and extracts and, better yet, Brazilian Denise has neither coconut oil nor beeswax, making it vegan-friendly and unlikely to cause distress to the sensitive or the oily-skinned. This highlighter has a slightly dry texture. It’s almost half-way between a cream and a powder, though application is incredibly easy (I use my fingers, like with all of my cream makeup) and the product spreads like a dream. It has a lovely, gold color and, I think, the least amount of shimmer out of the four highlighters being reviewed. It gives the skin a subtle glow of burnished gold, like a long-lost pirate’s treasure: warm and lit-from-within. I happened to have also tried (and adored) LBF’s new blush (more on which later), but judging by Brazilian Denise alone, La Bella Figura’s new makeup line will be a fabulous addition to the pantheon of green makeup all-stars.

W3ll People Universalist Colorstick 2 in Moonstone Glow is a mouthful to pronounce, but this might be the most fun highlighter of the bunch. The formula is impeccable (albeit non-vegan, due to the presence of beeswax) and the fact that it comes in stick form means that it’s a cinch to apply. This shade of Universalist (the other shades are more like the clean alternatives to the Nars Multiples) gives a bold, silver glow to the skin. Though it can be applied lightly for a subtle effect, but I would suggest using this baby to bring out you inner Barbarella: bold, brilliant and bad-ass. Moonstone Glow would work brilliantly (no pun intended) under the brow bone and in the corners of the eyes to lift eyebrows and brighten the eyes. Because it is such an intense silver, I am not 100% sure  that it would work for very dark complexions, though I imagine it would make a fabulous eyeshadow.

I honestly could not pick a favorite amongst these four products. Each of these products has something different to offer: from shades to ingredients to application, each is a star in its own right. This is what I love about green beauty today: it is actually possible to be spoiled for choice.

9 responses to Let It Glow

  1. Hi Lola, your site is gorgeous! You must have a knack for design. Anyway, I’ve not tried any of these highlighters, though rms beauty LL has been on my wish list since forever. I’m currently using one from Brija Cosmetics – very affordable and might I say that it looks pretty similar to LL according to your swatch. I think KW will be next to try on my list, coz the swatch looks so pretty! xx

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      Ooh, I’ll check out Brija: always good to have an affordable option! And yes: the KW is faaabulous! It’s the priciest of the four, but the packaging is so gorgeous and it’s refillable, so I figure it’s a justifiable luxury 😉 And thank you so much for the sweet compliment! Makes me so happy that you like the site! X

  2. OH MY WORD! I love the glitter. And all of your highlighter picks. Can’t wait for KW to release the highlighter refill so I can fill up an empty blush compact!

  3. Hey I’ve been working on a highlighter post (did one a while back but new stuff now!). Great minds. Have you tried Ilia? They have 3 colors, all gorgeous.

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      Not yet! It’s been on my list for a while, but with three awesome highlighters in rotation (not to mention the very glowy Studio 78 primer) I figured I needed to slow my roll just the toniest bit, highlighter-wise 😉 Am thinking about their bronzer-type one. X

  4. I love highlighter! I am such a sucker for them. I love the RMS Living Luminizer (obviously!) and I also adore the Ilia Beauty Illuninators- I own Polkadots & Moonbeams and Sway and they are both beautiful. I am saving up for the KW because I need it. I love their products. The W3ll people one looks so good too! Do you like powder highlighters? One I’m obsessed with is from Alima Pure and it’s called Luna, I believe and it’s just beautiful. You can even add a little oil to it to make it liquid 🙂

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      I think it’s clear that I need to get an Ilia highlighter next 😉 I have heard great things about Alima and I like their shadows. I don’t usually go for powder (except to set and to mattify a bit), but a powder highlighter might be fun!

  5. Thanks for the side-by-side comparison swatches! I’ve been trying to figure out which highlighter I want to splurge on so this was really nice.

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