I used No7’s Skin Illuminator in my No Foundation Makeup Look a couple of weeks ago; it gave my skin a beautiful sheen with just the right amount of pearlescence. Because – let’s face it – some of these illuminators are almost too pearlescent to work with in any kind of sensible way. At least, they’re OK once you’ve bunged a foundation on top, but you couldn’t go out in them without some form of tempering down. You’d look like the inside of a seashell. (I’m thinking of you, Dior Glow Maximiser and Laura Mercier Radiance Primer!)
The No7 Skin Illuminator takes a softly-softly approach to adding radiance to the skin – it’s a believable, fresh dewiness rather than the OTT shine that you might use on cheekbones and beneath brows to add drama to the face. It’s not as full-on as the primers mentioned above and so gets a bit lost underneath full-coverage foundation, but for perfecting bare skin it’s just wonderful.
It has a lightweight, silky feel and although it isn’t especially moisturising, it leaves skin looking as though it has been thoroughly buffed with a nourishing face oil. If you did want to use it with a foundation then it works very nicely mixed in – equal parts if you’re not fussed about sheering out your coverage – or patted on over the top. Though you have to be careful with the patting, because you can get a bit out of your depth if you use too much product or start disturbing the makeup base beneath… If it’s specific highlights you’re after on top of your foundation I think that MAC’s Strobe Cream is always a safe bet, or a powder that you can lightly dust on with a feathery brush.
No7’s Skin Illuminator is quite similar to Clarins’ Instant Light Radiance Complexion Boosting Base, I think, though Clarins have theirs in three shades and No7, so far as I can see, just have the one very neutral tone. The Clarins is more of a comprehensive primer in that it seems to very slightly blur and conceal minor imperfections as well as adding radiance – I’ll admit that to wear the No7 on its own you’d want your skin to be looking very, very good! I must do a comparison between the two – I’m frantically testing my way through a whole drawer of primers at the moment, so will add these to the list.
You can find the No7 Skin Illuminator in “nude” at Boots here – it’s £12.50 for 30ml. The Clarins is £24 for 30ml and they usually have good stock at Escentual.com. Note on application, for both: if you’re not adding something on top then don’t apply the illuminators to the tip of your nose. I have, above, and it definitely makes things look more…bulbous.