My makeup philosophy distilled into a single sentence goes something like this: I will happily forego wearing cosmetics if it means I can sleep in an extra five minutes. In practice, this means swapping out all base products for an 11-step skin care routine. I spend 20 minutes marinating my face in serums and creams each evening so that when my alarm starts blaring the next day, I can splash water on my face and slather on sunscreen while running out the door.
It should come as no surprise that highlighters don’t exactly fit into this equation. When your complexion is still radiant from the mild acid peel you did the night before, why bother putting shimmer over it? I’ve tried plenty of luminizers before—from the cult classic every makeup artist seems to swear by to the geometric pans Rihanna made us all fall in love with—and yes, they’re both as magical as you’ve heard. But, I’ve never felt compelled to add either one to my daily rotation. I only reach for them on the occasions when I feel like channeling a dewy nymph or iridescent mermaid, respectively.
Make Up For Ever’s Pro Light Fusion highlighter isn’t like that. It mimics the look of your skin perfectly, only picture your skin gently bathed in the warmth of a million sunbeams, the softness of a candelabra, or the angelic light of a LuMee when it cooperates. Forget everything you thought you knew about liquid formulas looking more natural. This is a powder, but it’s so finely milled that it seems to become one with your cells the second it makes contact. The brand credits this to something called “Gellyfying System technology.” I cannot tell you precisely what this means, because I have not a single clue, but it results in a powder that vanishes beneath my fingertips. It’s simultaneously dusty and creamy to the touch, and where similar formulas (particularly shiny ones) usually exaggerate any dryness on my skin, this one airbrushes whatever part of my face it makes contact with.
In true, lazy fashion, I apply it with my hands. You can, of course, upgrade this step if you choose—the brand recommends sweeping their Precision Highlighter Artisan Brush #144 in a figure-eight motion for a diffused effect, or packing it on with the flat surface of the same brush for metallic cheekbones.
Having misplaced every brush I used to own, I will continue swiping my middle and ring fingers across the pan, then transferring whatever they pick up to my face. I dot it on the inner corners of my eyes and cupid’s bow, then draw a line down the center of my nose and “C” shapes from my temples to my cheekbones. (To simplify, just observe wherever the light naturally hits your face and trace over it with your fingers.) Then, I quickly go over those areas again with my product-free hand to blend. Start to finish, it takes no more than 15 seconds.
There are two shades in the range: Gold and Rose Gold. Gold is lovely: a soft, coppery color. I, however, only care about Rose Gold—because while it resembles the inside of a seashell in the pan, it somehow contains the ideal balance of warm and cool tones on your skin. The day I first wore it, my former boss shouted my name from the other side of the room to ask which new facial or miracle serum was responsible for my otherworldly glow. “It’s really highlighter? Are you sure?” a friend recently asked me while scrutinizing my profile by lamplight.
Occasionally, I experience a moment of doubt when I pick it up and observe its high-wattage iridescent surface. I still don’t fully understand the alchemy that transforms it from what looks nothing like skin to a soft-focus filter. This is fine with me—I don’t need to understand it. I just need a lifetime supply.
Make Up For Ever Pro Light Fusion Luminizer in Rose Gold, $39, sephora.com
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