I’m going to start this out by fully admitting I’m a sucker for illuminators. If it says it’s going to make my skin look fantastic and glowy, I’m going to buy it – or at least try it. The truth is though, finding one I really like has been hard. Sometimes they just make my skin look oily and shiny – yuck. Some can look cakey, others just not very real-life (in case you were not aware, my skin is NOT naturally glittery). I have found some powder ones I love (I will get around to reviewing those sooner or later), but finding a cream or liquid one has been really tough.
Here’s the thing about ILIA’s Polka Dots & Moonbeams. It’s not your average illuminator. When I swiped it the first time, I didn’t see anything and was sad. So I swiped some more, still nothing. Very sad. But then, I happened to move my arm and then the light caught it and there it was! Some glimmer and shimmer (hey, that rhymes!). I was intrigued.
Usually illuminators and highlighters are very in-your-face about it (or at least, the ones I have tried). RMS Living Luminizer is one of these. While I like it, a little bit is all you need and you definitely see it. Something like that is more for a night look, and not something I would wear everyday, or even every week (perhaps I should get out more).
ILIA’s is very discreet, it is a true “glow” (as Spirit Beauty Lounge describes it). The official description from ILIA is “subtle highlighter, adding dimension and vitality to the skin.” And I 100% agree.
Below is a swatch on my arm when I did the multi-sticks. The illuminator is at the bottom. On the left is straight facing inside. You can kind of see the illuminator on the left part of my arm where the light hits it, otherwise it’s not really noticeable. In the middle is my arm at an angle, you can see it a bit more. On the right is in the sun outside and you can see it much better.
So as you can see, this is pretty subtle. I have to say though, I really love it. I can put some above my cheekbones and on the arch of my eyebrows and you really don’t know it’s there. Then the light hits it right and my skin just looks glowy. Not oily, not glittery, just true glow.
Because it is subtle, it also makes it hard to goof up. I can swipe here, swipe there and I’m out the door! This is a definite plus when I’m in a rush in the morning before work.
The texture of this is kind of thick, similar to the multi-sticks. It’s best to apply it in small amounts using short strokes, similar to the blushes.
Unfortunately, I found powder doesn’t do too well on top of it. I tried to use this like an eye primer, to give my normally dark undereye circles some glowiness, but my go-to eye concealer (Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar) just looked cakey on top. I found the same to be true with blush. Sooo, I apply this on top of blush/foundation/concealer or whatever it may be and it works great. Much better on top of powder than below it.
As for lastability, this does very well. I think it fares slightly better than the blushes, but it’s hard to guess because it’s so subtle anyway. I wore this to work and kept checking it throughout the day. I’m fairly certain the women I work with must think I’m bizarre for staring at myself in the mirror while tilting my head at various angles. Because you can only see it when the light hits it, head-tilting was a must. All in the name of the blog and beauty! I put it on around 6 a.m., around noon I could still see it just fine and around 4 p.m. when I leave work it was a bit faded but still there. Pretty impressive!
Now for the best part, the ingredients! Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Beeswax (Cera Alba)*, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Manihot Esculenta (Tapioca) Starch*, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Tocopherol Acetate (Natural Vitamin E). May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide (Ci 77499, Ci 77492, Ci 77491), Red 7 Ci15850, Red 28 Ci45410, Yellow 5 Ci19140. *certified Organic Ingredients.
I love all of those organic ingredients. Looking at them, they are a bit different than the multi-sticks. The first two ingredients of the multi-sticks are sunflower oil and castor seed oil, whereas this product’s first two are castor seed oil and sesame seed oil. Now, because we don’t know the percentage of these, it could be the castor oil amount is very similar in both, but the fact that castor oil is first will make a slightly harder/thicker product (why it’s almost always used in natural/organic lipsticks) whereas sunflower oil is much thinner. Sunflower oil is pretty light, perhaps lighter than sesame, but I find sesame oil has a drier finish. So overall, the illuminator will have a slightly thicker, drier feel than the blush. This also could be why it lasts a bit longer (in my experience). Overall, awesome ingredients and organic too!
ILIA does not disappoint. I love the tinted lip conditioners, lipsticks, blushes and now the illuminator! I took advantage of some Earth Day sales and bought this and the Femme Fatale lipstick in full size. Yay for sales! And honestly, yay for Ilia! If they come out with a full makeup line, I will be in *serious* trouble…
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.