Beauty Battle: Face Illuminators

Welcome to the latest installment of Beauty Battle, where we pit two similar products — one high-end, one drugstore — against each other to see which one reigns supreme. This week, we’re testing two face illuminators: Benefit’s Watt’s Up Soft Focus Highlighter and L’Oreal’s Magic Lumi Highlighter.

Benefit Watt’s Up Soft Focus Highlighter
Price: $30, available at Sephora

The hype: Benefit says this cream-to-powder highlighter turns up the wattage with a delicate, gorgeous champagne glow that’s sure to take any look from day to night—just smooth over cheeks and browbones for a glamorous, luminous sheen.

The application: After lightly covering my face with my Bare Minerals foundation, I glide the illuminator along my cheekbones and continue to dot the area around my eyes and browbones. Then using the soft blender, I sculpt the area until I’m left with a soft sheen of (never cakey) shimmer. The highlighter works really nicely as an under-eye concealer as well, brightening dark circles with a subtle, luminous gleam. I like to finish cheeks off with a peachy blush for a natural, dewy glow that lasts all day.

L’Oreal Paris Magic Lumi Highlighter
Price: Around $14, available at CVS and other drug stores

The hype: L’Oreal boasts that their unique, lightweight formula highlights your complexion and “boosts radiance for a subtle glow.”

The application: On their website the company suggests dabbing the creamy liquid on “dark areas or shadows for instant enlightenment, or along the cheekbones and brow line for a wide-awake affect.” The formula glides on smooth, but doesn’t blend well—in fact, it tends to settle into pores and fine lines and feels cakey.

The verdict: Benefit’s Watt’s Up is highly superior to its drugstore counterpart, and is well worth the extra $15. It lays beautifully under or over makeup, and lasts well beyond eight hours. L’Oreal’s Magic Lumi didn’t really illuminate or conceal imperfections, and left my skin feeling clogged—almost dull.

Photographs by Renata Brito

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