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Forget applying cakey layers of foundation, concealer, and powder in the quest for perfect skin. These days, there's a new, high-tech way to get a flawless look: Try a skin-enhancing cream or powder. Read on for everything you need to know about these products.
How they work: Skin enhancers (also called illuminators or brighteners) are creams, liquids, and powders that contain microscopic light-reflecting particles. When applied to the skin, these particles act like tiny mirrors that reflect light, thereby making skin glow and diffusing light away from problem areas.
What they can do: Illuminators can highlight areas of the face, making your skin look brighter and more awake; add shimmer; take the emphasis away from problem areas (like dark circles or pigmentation spots); and make skin look poreless.
What they can't do: Give coverage like foundation or concealer; protect skin from the sun; make up for years of sun damage and skin neglect.
How to choose them: The most universally-wearable illuminators have a warm, golden or peachy cast to them. Avoid illuminators with a blue cast, which can look unnatural and harsh on some skin tones. As far as formula goes, stick with powder if your skin is oily; or try liquid or cream if skin is on the dry side.
How to use them: Brighteners work best when used sparingly. Makeup artists recommend applying a brightener to already-highlighted areas of your face, such as the tops of your cheekbones, above your eyebrows, along your jaw, and at the outer corners of your eyes. Be sure to blend well.
To try: Revlon Skinlights Face Illuminator Loose Powder ($13.99), L'Oreal Translucide Naturally Luminous Loose Powder ($9.49), Physician's Formula Beauty Spiral Brightening Compact Foundation ($9.95), Benefit Moon Beam ($18)