RMS Beauty's Living Luminizer has been a cult fave amongst makeup artists, celebrities, green beauty gurus and highlighter fans ever since it was launched in 2009.
I've been on the fence about it for just as long.
While it does impart a dewy, glowing sheen, its pearly-white tone tends to pop a lot more on warmer, darker skin tones. Plus, the oil-heavy ingredients list means it stays pretty wet, not really drying down. When I layer it on top of other makeup, I'm suspicious about it melting everything else away.
That's why, when I heard about the brand's new Magic Luminizer, I was sold.
They swapped out the white mica for a peachy champagne pigment, which I knew would match my skin tone better, and give me a more natural, believable highlight.
And the ingredients list was reshuffled, with fewer oils near the top. Maybe this product could still impart the fresh glow of its predecessor without disturbing my carefully placed makeup underneath?
The Ingredients and Texture
Here's how the two products compare, ingredients-wise.
Living Luminizer, which contains white mica, has an incredibly short, simple and natural ingredients list:
Ingredients: *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI77891, Mica CI 77019] * Certified Organic
Magic Luminizer is also all-natural, only a little more complex:
Ingredients: *Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Mica, *Cera Alba (Beeswax) (Cire d’abeille), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, *Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Tocopherol (non-GMO), *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Silica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77499. * Certified Organic
You can see that the mica pigment has been bumped waaaay up the list, and a few more healthy oils have been added in, with some silica near the end. Castor oil, which I believe is largely responsible for the sweaty glow quality of Living Luminizer, is found in a much lower concentration in Magic Luminizer.
I was surprised to discover that this simple ingredients list reshuffle was enough to drastically change the consistency. Magic Luminizer still melts into your skin, but it actually dries down!
This left me with some important questions. With so much mica in it, would Magic Luminizer look more shimmery and metallic than natural and dewy? And if it dries down, would it stay looking glowy and dewy all day?
Living Luminizer vs. Magic Luminizer
As you can see, Living Luminizer is whiter and very translucent, acting more like a shimmery gloss than a traditional highlighter. For the swatch above, I put a generous three fingerfulls of it on my arm.
Magic Luminizer, on the other hand, has champagne mica and much more of it. For my swatch above, that's a moderate two fingerfulls on my arm. Its reflective qualities come from its mixture of oils and the extremely finely milled mica particles. This is a much more reflective highlighter than the extremely subtle Living Luminizer, but it still has that dewy, moist quality to it that is so rare in other highlighters.
How To Apply Magic Luminizer
Brush or Fingers?
I find it applies beautifully this way, and truly disappears into the skin, leaving behind a natural-looking glow. I couldn't imagine applying it any other way, even though my Wayne Goss brushes are crying for me to use them more often.
Where to Apply
Magic Luminizer should go where the light would naturally reflect off your skin—on the high planes of your face. I avoid those places that make me feel like a greasy disco ball when I catch my face in the mirror around 2pm, like the sides of my nose, my cheeks and my forehead. My favourite places to highlight are:
- Cupid's bow
- Inner corners of the eyes
- Brow bones
- Nose bridge
- Centre of the eyelids
I personally don't hit all of these highlight points every time I do my makeup. If it's a no-makeup day and I want to feel a bit more dewy, I might do everything. But with a full face of makeup, I'll only hit the top five, and sparingly at that.
When to Apply
I've tried applying Magic Luminizer in a couple different ways.
- Over finished makeup: First, I applied it over a finished face, after putting on my setting powder and setting spray. It applies perfectly, even over powders, without disturb your makeup or pilling. In full light, it gives off a strong dewy pop to my cheekbones, reflecting light at all angles.
- Under blush and powder: I also experimented with applying it near the beginning of my routine, after spot concealing and before blush and setting powder/spray. I pick it up on a finger, spread it to both ring fingers, and just dab it where I want it. Then, I apply makeup elsewhere, leaving it a minute to set. I've found I can apply blush and face powder over this with my ultra-soft Wayne Goss brushes and they don't disturb the Magic Luminizer.
Which is my favourite way to wear it? Surprisingly, under blush and powder. Since Magic Luminizer's reflective quality shines through setting powder and spray, it gives me a lit-from-within glow that I love.
The Staying Power
When I first started using this product, I checked on it compulsively during the day and was convinced that it had terrible staying power. You won't believe this, but I realized… the opposite is true. Magic Luminizer actually has GREAT staying power, but it gives such a natural, believable glow that it tricked even me into believing that that was just my skin and not the product!
It also passed my dewiness test. With this, I get a dewy and healthy glow all day long—it never dries down to a shimmery metallic. This is the exact effect I was looking for. I want lived-in, moist, fresh skin and makeup without oiliness, glossiness or glitter. It delivers.
That said, I was a little worried that it might lead to breakouts. I have sensitive, acne-prone skin, and coconut oil is often classed as comedogenic. But if anything, I've experienced fewer breakouts when using this product. It also doesn't highlight my pores. I find that powder and stick highlighters tend to skim over my pores, leaving tiny specks of non-highlight in a sea of glorious highlight. Magic Luminizer doesn't do that because it melts right in. Thank you, coconut oil!
In case you couldn't tell, RMS Beauty's Magic Luminizer is now my HG highlighter, and it had to triumph over many top contenders to earn that slot. (Think: Ellis Faas Glow Up and Pat McGrath Skin Fetish, to name just two from my collection.)
What makes Magic Luminizer unique is that it gives me the imperceptible, healthy, EASY highlight that I've been searching for, with all-day staying power and no breakouts. But it still dries down, and allows me layer over top of it.
Where To Buy
Have you checked out Magic Luminizer yet?
What's your favourite highlighter?