What Do Skin Radiance Boosters Really Do? We Asked an Expert

Victoria Moorhouse
Radiance Booster


The skin care beauty genre as a whole is filled with terms that generally trip you up. Insert a not-so-common ingredient, peptide, or acid in front of the term “peel” or “exfoliation” and you might be left scratching your head. We’ve covered brighteners and lighteners (there’s a difference), but when a new product landed on our desks not too long ago, we were presented with yet another phrase to unpack—”Radiance boosters.”

The product that really got us thinking came by the way of MAC Cosmetics’ Lightful collection, so right away we assumed it had something to do with bringing some kind of amplified glow, illumination, or brilliance to the complexion.

The product in question is a dual-chamber bottle—the Lightful C 2-in-1 Tint and Serum With Radiance Booster—that separates a serum and a tinted serum, both of which hold these radiance-enhancing capabilities.

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MAC isn’t the only brand who’s taken their own to create a beauty buy with this phrase in the name. Dr. Dennis Gross has a liquid radiance booster dropper that is meant to be added into your beauty products, while Embryolisse formulated a product that is said to concentrate radiance to your complexion, while even making your pores appear smaller with specific ingredients like witch hazel.

light What Do Skin Radiance Boosters Really Do? We Asked an Expert

So what exactly do these skin care gems do? When it comes to MAC’s latest formulation, it’s all about evenness of tone and texture. “What makes it special is that it does a few different things. When you put it onto the skin, you see an overall evenness to the skin. It’s helping to improve evenness and texture,” says MAC Cosmetics Senior Artist, Regan Rabanal. “It imparts a soft, stain finish to give a radiance boost.”

Most of this is due to the ingredients that both the serum and the tinted serum are made with.

Rabanal explains that, over time, the ingredients improve the quality of the skin and boost the radiance of the skin. “Vitamin C is something that will fluff off dead skin,” says Rabanal who also mentions that ingredients in the formulation works to diminish the appearance of “any sort of previous mark.” This includes acne scars, freckles, and age spots. “[It] helps to reduce that depth over time,” Rabanal says.

The first step is to use about two pumps of the serum on clean skin, which can be used as a natural-looking primer to minimize the appearance of any imperfection. “[With] serums, you always want to make sure you apply it to the bare skin so that all the ingredients really make an impact,” says Rabanal. This is basically your skin’s opportunity to soak up the nutrients without anything blocking it.

“This really isn’t a moisturizer, however it does hydrate.” If you have super dry skin, use a moisturizer over this product and follow-up with your SPF. For dryer areas around the eyes, Rabanal suggests using an eye cream because it has a great “surge” of moisture.

If you want to even out your complexion and get rid of any redness or blotchy pigment—Rabanal says to take about a nickel-sized amount of the tint and spread evenly on your skin, which will mimic the coverage you get with a BB cream.

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So really what you’re getting is a blurring, smoothing, and toning benefit when you use both the serum and tint together, which will brighten and bring out the skin’s natural radiance.

“Is this a skin product or is it in the foundation product line-up? It’s in both categories but focused more towards skin because it supports the trend of having beautiful, natural skin, as opposed to having full foundation matte coverage,” says Rabanal who notes that “natural-looking” skin is always huge on the runways. We were there for the Fall 2015 shows, and we have to confirm he’s right.

We’ve been using it, and if you’re interesting in working towards a glowing complexion with a dewy finish—without the heavyweight feeling of foundation–it’s a win.