Over the past couple months, I’ve reviewed a LOT of skin tints, tinted moisturizers, highlighters, primers, illuminators… the works. And as a result, the DMs and blog comments have added up: “how does this one compare to that one?” What’s the difference between X and Y?” I feel badly for confusing you all, but I like to give you all options! So today I thought it would be helpful to round them all up to do a big compare/contrast.
Giant Guide to Highlighters & Skin Tints
If you take one thing away from all of this detail, it is that you probably only need one item per category. It is literally MY JOB to thoroughly test all of these things and review them for you. But if I were not in this industry (and didn’t have access to so many brands sending me PR samples to test!), I would probably have one illuminator, one tinted moisturizer, and the Drunk Elephant bronzing drops. (Amid the confusion, people have been asking about those. They are totally different – they’re bronzing drops, which you can mix into any of these products, for a “just got back from vacation” kind of glow.) I also make sure one of the two products has SPF in it!
My two favorite combinations would probably be:
- Supergoop Glowscreen + Milk Sunshine Skin Tint (or)
- Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow + Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint!
ALSO – don’t forget about the big Sephora Sale! Today, it opens to those with VIB status and you can shop through 4/29! Most of these products are included.
OK let’s start out with illuminators!
These go on before your tinted moisturizer/makeup. After moisturizing/skincare, I apply one of these, all over my face!* If forced to choose a favorite right now it would probably be Glowscreen, though I do genuinely love all of these so much!
(*You’ll notice I stuck the Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter off to the right as this one is a little different than the others. More info on why below!)
Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow (no SPF)
This one is the first illuminating primer I ever tried and I remember being so enamored with the results. You just look so radiant and glowy! I would say that coverage-wise it’s between the Saie and the Glowscreen. A medium amount of glow! Sometimes I will also pat a drop or two on my temples after makeup.
Supergoop Glowscreen (spf 40)
This is probably my favorite product I’ve tried all year. It just makes you so glowy and pretty and it has SPF so you don’t need much else. I sometimes skip makeup altogether (most of the time now during quarantine) but with tinted moisturizer over it you just look perfect! Out of all of these products, this has the MOST glow, which I love. I want to be as dewy and radiant as possible. (Read my full Supergoop review!)
Saie Glowy Super Gel (no SPF)
This one is the most lightweight, and also the most subtle! The biggest question I get is how this differs from Glowscreen and I would say that with Glowscreen it’s obvious you have something on your face whereas with this one you can’t really tell. You just look like maybe you worked out or are extra radiant. So I’d say pick this one if you want a more natural glow! (Read more about this one here.)
Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter (no SPF)
Again, I don’t use this one as a primer. You totally could, but it’s pretty pigmented and could be a LOT on your whole face. It has a sponge like applicator that I like to drag along the high points of my skin (temples, bridge of nose, cupid’s bow, brow bone) and then blend in with a BeautyBlender! Also, this comes in shades… each of the other products comes in one universally flattering shade. I wear shade 2 in Flawless Filter.
And then we move onto our tinted moisturizers.
Again, you only just need one! If I had to pick one favorite right now it would probably be the Milk tint, just because of how easy it is to apply and how hydrated it leaves my skin!
Beautycounter Dewskin (I wear shade 2) and the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint (I wear “bom bom”) are probably the most alike. They both have mineral sunscreen in them, so they’re both a bit more opaque – the mineral sunscreen makes them a little more full coverage by default.
I included the Ilia Serum Foundation (I wear “Tavarua”) because I use it like a tinted moisturizer… it’s really pretty and sheer. I like this one over Glowscreen since it doesn’t have SPF.
And at the sheerest ends of the spectrum are the KOSAS Face Oil (full review in this blog post – I wear shade 4!) and the Milk Sunshine Tint (full review here – I wear shade “medium!”). The KOSAS is more like skincare – it really does feel like a face oil, but it does not have SPF. It was my fav for so long but now I use the Milk one more, probably bc it’s less messy if we’re being honest. The Milk one also has SPF 30. A lot of you complained that you didn’t like the packaging here but I actually really love it! I roll a little bit on to each section of my face and then blend in with a BeautyBlender.
Lastly, the bronzing drops! These are an ultra concentrated bronzer. You can skip makeup and just add a drop to your moisturizer (it mixes nicely with Bader!) OR add a drop to your tinted moisturizer or illuminator!
Really hope this was helpful! If you have any further questions leave ’em in the comments!
Photography by Carter Fish.