A Single Swipe of Ilia’s Illuminator Stick Makes My Dehydrated Winter Skin Look Dewy and Bright

Photo: Getty Images/svetikd
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Maybe one of my most "why am I like this" habits is filling my gigantic Hydro Flask to the brim with water, and then forgetting to actually drink it. Not only am I, you know, dehydrated and thirsty by 3 p.m., but my skin visibly loses its luster. I'll look tired, the makeup I applied the morning will just sit on top of my skin and start to flake, and my face will feel so dry, it'll literally hurt to make any kind of facial expression. There's not a whole lot that can substitute chugging the water you need throughout the day (I'm working on it!), but I've learned you can kind of fake looking like you did.

This involves Ilia Illuminator, an "instant pick-me-up" in a tube. It's a highlighter that you can glide onto your cheeks, temples, underneath your brows, and over the bridge of your nose (during the summer, I'll apply some to my collarbone, because why not). Rich with organic shea butter (a lightweight but potent moisturizer), orange peel wax (an ingredient that helps soothe dry or itchy skin), and avocado (more moisture), this highlighter-skin-care-hybrid gives you all dew in the most naturally lively way possible. Decadent and creamy—but not heavy or oily feeling—the Illuminator is the ideal amount of illumination for me.

"I wanted to create a highlighter that worked for all ages. This Illuminator makes you glow in the right way and brings life back into the skin," Ilia founder, Sasha Plavsic, says on the brand's website.

The Illuminator comes in four different shades of glow: Cosmic Dancer (gold), Summertime (bronze), Polka Dots and Moonbeams (pearl), and Stella by Starlight (Rose Gold). During fall and winter, I use Polka Dots and Moonbeams—they add a subtle shimmer and brighten up my whole face. I save Cosmic Dancer and Summertime for warmer months (but you do you!). All the shades are gorgeous, but what makes the Illuminator a real winner in my book is that it actually stays put until you wash your face.


This stuff is so good, it even hid all evidence of the jet lag I experienced on a cross-country work trip last week. Not because it hid the dark circles under my eyes, but because people were too busy marveling at how "lit from within" I looked (I'm not complimenting myself, a friend actually said that, I swear) after a six-hour flight to a city that's about 30 degrees colder and considerably drier than where I live.

Hundreds of other customers are with me on this. "This is the best highlighter I’ve ever tried. You can layer to have a more intense highlight or go light and natural. It looks like a real dewy look, not like makeup," one person wrote. Another said, "LOVE this product ! Really adds a beautiful touch to brighten your face! Received lots of compliments!"

So, if you're looking for a way to add luminosity and brightness to your face, you should A. drink your water (consider this a reminder, you're welcome), and B. get yourself this highlighter—trust me on this.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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