Alternatives to Glitter for Grown-Ups

Rachel Krause
Alexis Mabille: Backstage - Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture F/W 2011/2012

Photo: Getty Images

Everyone likes to get a little bit of sparkle on from time to time, and while we yearn for the days where we could slap on sparkly shadows and metallic lipsticks without a care in the world (as in, when we were 12), we’re definitely fortunate that we can still let our inner radiance shine in a more subtle way. These products don’t have the disco ball properties of our youth, but we love them for their luminizing, light-reflecting results that are still totally grown-up.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder ($45,
This powder promises the effect of a “personal lighting technician,” and while we’re inclined to say that’s a bit overreaching, we can vouch for its transformative results when dusted on skin as the final step in your makeup routine. There’s nary a sparkle to be found in any of the six shades, but each of them gives off a soft, candlelit glow that still exists in nature.

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector SPF 25+ ($41,
The word here, again, is “luminescent,” and this versatile product—it can be used as a primer or a highlighter, or mixed with foundation or tinted moisturizer to add radiance—certainly delivers. The name says shimmery, but the sheer, pearly finish is opalescent, natural and super-flattering.

Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat ($41,
This cult-favorite highlighting pen has many uses, each of which results in a “lit from within” radiance that immediately brightens and luminizes the complexion, whether it’s dabbed into dark circles or tapped along cheekbones for a glow that reflects light without looking like you have anything on your face at all. Choose a shade lighter than your skin tone and blend well for an instantly rejuvenated complexion.

NARS Illuminator ($30,
For something with a bit more potency, this multifunctional liquid highlighter can be diluted with foundation or used alone for a gleamy, incandescent glow. There’s reflective shimmer to be found in this formula, but it’s super-concentrated, so you can use just a pea-sized drop for a more subtle, decidedly grown-up shine.

Read more: The Best Highlighters for Gleamy, Gorgeous Skin

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