It seems that illuminating powders—a long-time professional artist staple—are suddenly everywhere. They’re essentially glow-ifiers, not unlike bronzers and highlighters, but much more subtle.

When applied the right way, illuminating powder gives the complexion a lit-from-within, diffused glow, kind of like the flattering look candlelight casts onto any face. And who doesn’t want a little radiance? But despite these products popping up all over the place, there appears to be limited specifics out there on how to use them.

The important thing to know

The important thing to know is that illuminating is different from dramatic. Illuminating powders allow your face’s natural highlights and curves to shine through, whereas with contouring and highlighting you’re really trying to change the shape of the face and features. Illuminating powders aren’t meant for color or coverage, but instead simply to finish, and in some cases, even set a look with a pretty “halo” effect. If applied correctly, they not only reflect light, but capture it in a flattering way, which makes the complexion look softer and smoother (in person and in photographs).

General Application Tips

No matter your skin tone, it’s best to avoid anything with too much sparkle. It can look tacky and even draw attention to wrinkles and imperfections. You can’t go wrong with something that’s basically translucent, with just a hint of pearlized pigment. Generally speaking, you want to put it on after makeup, after blush, wherever light naturally hits the face, like the bridge of the nose, cheekbones, and, depending on your skin type, a bit on the temples, forehead, and center of the chin. A soft blush brush works well. Swirl it to pick up the product, flick or shake off the excess, and buff on in a circular motion.

Dark to Medium-Dark Skin

On darker skin tones, a powder with a little warmth (think peach, gold, or beige) is the way to go to avoid ashiness.

Medium-Fair to Fair Skin

We like a pearlescent shade for lighter complexions—but nothing shimmery. You want it to reflect light just a little bit, but no glitter effect. If you find the right one and use a light hand, you can use it to set your makeup for a dewy finish that’s not at all oily.

Oily Skin

Those with really oily skin may want to avoid illuminator altogether. If you’re constantly battling oil, you’re not necessarily looking for shine. However, because these powders are so much more understated than highlighter, we suggest giving it a try! Use your favorite mattifying, setting powder first and then do a light dusting of soft illuminator over the top. Look for a product that’s ultra light.

We recommend for light skin

Melkior Spring Shine Illuminating Powder is a luminous peachy-white with fine silver shimmer and an intense frosty-metallic sheen. The color is quite pigmented, very potent so you might be careful how you apply it.

It’s very rich, highly pigmented and delivers mostly an opaque color. The texture is soft, feels quite smooth and silky to the touch, applies and adheres well to the skin.

The formula is easily blendable, has no fall-out during the application and feels comfortable and lightweight on the skin.

As a light skin tone, you need to apply  Melkior Spring Shine Illuminating Powder on the top of my cheekbones very carefully. Always apply it with a light hand and try not to load to much product onto the brush (gently tapping the excess) and dab it lightly onto cheeks. You just need a very little amount of product to give me that gorgeous highlight effect and illuminate your face.

This color gives a nice glow, without feeling dry or looking cakey. If you have combination skin type You must be careful with the amount of powder that you are applying because it can emphasizes pores.