I’m not much for makeup trends or the whole contour-thing – my face is slim enough and I would actually love for it to be wider! – but strobing appealed to me as it looked much more natural and not as heavy. And as my skin was getting better, I started to feel comfortable playing with highlighters. I went on a highlight-hunt and ended up buying the Smashbox L.A. Light To Go mini-kit.
Prologue – Why I didn’t get a green beauty highlighter
I know many in the green beauty, as well as all the people in the beauty industry in general, seem to be absolutely in love with the RMS Beauty Living Luminizer. And when I finally got to see it in real life and try it on the back of my hand, I could understand the hype. Yes, it is beautiful, it sparkles just in the right way and gives you that light dew! And the master mixer has been on my wishlist for some time. But the reality is that it’s really expensive for the ingredients that are used. I’d guess it cost about $2 to make that shit up. I’m all for people making a profit, but this is ridiculous… And I always feel like it’s up to us consumers to give a price, and not the other way around.
Not to forget that the RMS Living Luminizer contains coconut oil, which has a high comedogenic rating. I also find it a bit weird for Rose-Marie herself claiming that her products are NOT comedogenic. And though I won’t be using the highlighter where my pores tend to clog up, I would just be extremely sad if I spent that much money and wouldn’t be able to use it. And lastly: it contains beeswax.
But okay, I secretly want it anyway…
So my goal was to find a natural looking highlighter as close to the RMS Luminizer as possible, but with a cheaper price tag, non-comedogenic, and for once, a vegan product. And for your sake, I did look into every natural brand: W3LL People, ILIA, Kjaer Weis, Vapour, you name it! Unless it’s a powder, it either contains coconut oil/cacao butter or has beeswax in it. But I really wanted a cream-based highlighter for dew and easy application.
It got between the NARS illuminator in “413 BLKR” and Smashbox L.A. Lights in “Hollywood & Highlight” – both brands are cruelty-free! And when I saw the mini-kit I thought to myself: I get four for the price of one! You can just imagine who won…
Wearing: Hollywood & Highlight as highlighter; Beverly Hills Blush on the lips; Silver Lake Sunset as blush on cheeks and eyelid; and Venice Beach Bronze below cheekbones.
OBS! Photos/Skin have been retouched for demonstrative purposes.
Smashbox | L.A. Light To Go
★★★★★ – Grade based on kit-size
The Smashbox L.A. Lights kit comes with four of the ~8 shades that are available: Hollywood & Highlight, Beverly Hills Blush, Silver Lake Sunset and Venice Beach Bronze (Discontinued). They go on smoothly and are best blended out with just the tips of your fingers. The original full size comes with a sponge on the bottom to blend the color – but based on reviewers: it’s useless and Smashbox could’ve skipped it making the product cheaper or just given more of the product.
According to Smashbox: The line is inspired by the light from L.A.’s “magic hour” to give you a natural-looking West Coast glow. It’s a multi-purpose tool, where some shades (I wouldn’t say all) work just as great for the cheeks as they do on the lips. Shades range from a subtle sheen to a bright flush. They’re infused with a lightweight, brightening formula that’s supposed to feel like your own skin — only more illuminated.
What appealed to me was their light but still highly pigmented formula. I’ve read some reviewers complaining about it feeling heavy and tacky on the skin? But once it’s blended I can barely feel it on and it has never broken me out during months of use. But this could absolutely be due to skin type: if your skin tends to be very oily, maybe stick to powders.
When you buy kits, you’re always a bit skeptic that you will love and get use of every single product and shade. But the colors selected for the Smashbox L.A. Lights To Go-kit was very well thought out and includes their most popular shades which will suit right for any skin type. I couldn’t be more happy with this purchase, as I’ve gotten use of all four shades on a daily basis!
This is their HG highlighter and is a very close match to the RMS Living Luminizer. It’s just a tiny bit more illuminating and less dewy than the real deal. But it gives a nice natural sheen, that makes your skin look hydrated more than sparkly. It’s easy to use, and could well be almost a dupe to Glossier’s Haloscope (that do contain both beeswax and coconut oil). But again, this one is not as dewy or heavy and would be great for those with a little bit oilier skin who’d like to prefer a stick highlighter.
For some reason, they’ve discontinued this shade, but still sell it together with the mini’s and maybe still found on Amazon. It’s a neutral bronzer, but perhaps going more to red, but gives a very natural bronzed look as you can see from the pictures! It’s got some shimmers and gives warmth to the cheeks. Because of the shimmers, I haven’t found it to be optimal for contouring. Nonetheless, I do like it more than I thought I would, it’s almost a shame that they do not sell it in a big size anymore. As of now, it’s the only bronzer that I own, and so I get much use out of it.
This is my favorite of the bunch and the one I’ll be absolutely – without a doubt – stocking up on the full size! This is my perfect “no-blush-blush”. It’s described as Warm Coral but is a unique shade with the perfect balance of pinks and browns. It’s subtle with a tiny bit of shimmer/sheen and works just as good as a highlighter for some as it does as a blush. It gives your complexion warmth rather than pink flush. It truly lives up to its name and it’s been my go-to blush ever since I got it!
One that’s similar to this one, and that I hope to add to the collection is the color ‘Mulholland Mauve‘. Which is a rose nude, more matte, and a little deeper in color than the Silver Lake Sunset. It’s worth taking a look at if you love this one.
A “peachy pink with golden shimmer”. Smashbox’s version of the NARS Orgasm, maybe? Or it’s more similar to Nars Multiple Riviera, to be honest. It’s a beautiful universal bright pink blush. It’s easy to blend out and tone down but it’s not my perfect shade of blush. I can never decide on whether it suits me or not. It’s just a tiny bit too bright for my complexion at the moment. I do however get use from it, and I like it a lot more on the lips than on the cheeks. The shimmers in this one are barely visible and this blush can be mistakenly taken as being matte. It will be interesting to see how it blends out with my tanned skin during summer.
Hollywood & Highlight, Beverly Hills Blush, Silver Lake Sunset and Venice Beach Bronze Swatch
I haven’t found many if any faults with the Smashbox L.A. Lights Lip & Cheek Colors. These four shades are the perfect ensemble for that laid-back natural beach look many of us want. The application is as simple as (after you’ve done your concealing) drawing lines and then blend with your fingers and voilá, you’re done! This is minimal makeup at its best.
The formula goes on creamy and sets to a very light-barely-there-feeling on the skin, but still giving you a luminous glow that stays for hours. Well, as long as you’re not with your hands in your face, the color won’t fade drastically at the end of the day. In my opinion, it just gets a more natural looking for every hour.
What may be disappointing is that the full-size product, fooling one with their chunky appearance, does not contain much product. But a little does go a long way, and I still got much use of the minis that I’ve been using almost daily.
Get this kit and the sticks on
Have you tried the Smashbox L.A. Lights?
Share your favorite highlighter in the comments below!