Why they work: finely ground ingredients such as mica, malachite and mother-of-pearl catch and diffuse light reflected off your skin. The eye is tricked into seeing smooth beautiful skin, while flaws such as an uneven skin tone or dark under-eye circles are less noticeable.
Who makes them: most large cosmetics companies now carry at least one product with light-reflecting powers and some offer complete lines, such as Inner Light by Aveda and Revlon’s Skinlights. You can also check out products from Almay, M.A.C, Smashbox, Lancôme, L’Oréal Paris and Yves Rocher.
Where (and how) to use them: This depends on the type of product you choose (see below), but the bottom line is a face full of shimmer doesn’t look good on anyone, ever. Pick a product that makes one feature shine, such as your cheekbones, or use a product as a base and balance it with matte textures elsewhere.
Primer: can be on used its own as a makeup base or mixed with your foundation for a slightly pearly finish.
Foundation: offers the benefit of coverage plus some shimmer. It also helps even out your skin tone. As with regular foundation, it can be used all over or just on the places you need it (for example, the T-zone). Blending is a must for a flawless finish.
Concealer: unlike typical concealers, this is best for under-eye circles, rather than blemishes. Some products come with applicator brushes or sponge tips, but you can also use your ring finger to pat on thin layers.
Powder: use it in place of your translucent powder. TIP: for a natural, sun-kissed look, brush it on where the sun brightens your face: forehead, cheeks and chin.
Highlighter: can be used to add touches of light to specific areas of your face. Blend along the tops of your cheekbones or on the apples of your cheeks, under the brow bone and on the forehead. Just don’t apply to all of these places at once – one or two shimmery touches are enough.