Makeup Tips for Radiant Skin Using Luminizers

Discover how to use Skin Luminizer (aka illuminator, highlighter, shimmer) in your natural makeup kit, to create beautiful, radiant skin that feels weightless and gives off a healthy, effortless, dewy glow.

Close up of luxurious silver jar cap reflecting watercolor painted cherry blossom artwork


In drawing and painting, chiaroscuro is the use of light and shade to create form and the purpose is the same in makeup: that’s why luminizers were invented.

Essentially what a luminizer does is help refract light, using mineral dust, which softens and highlights certain areas. When applied lightly, it can contribute to creating a dewy makeup look with a healthy skin glow.

Let’s call it a movement

You see, luminizer is not a real word in the real world. Luminizer, just like concealer, is a word in the world of cosmetics. Maybe if we rewrote history as herstory, it would be! ;)

If you are obsessed about makeup, those are two products you probably know and love.

SAPPHO’s luminizers are made with organic waxes and oils mixed with ethically-sourced minerals, enriched with vitamin E, and poured into small glass pots. We do not use animal products for all the obvious reasons; however, and in this case it also became a matter of increased performance.

Vegan SKin Luminizer pot and red box packaging scattered over cherry blossom painting

The art of creating dewy skin

The look these days is dewy dewy dewy: light reflecting minerals in waxes and butters help to “blur vision” and so, can help to soften problem areas, fine lines etc. especially on camera. However, it can also do the opposite if applied to the wrong areas.

The dewy skin makeup trend is gorgeous; however, it can be a real struggle for people with problem skin or who prefer a long-lasting base. Many of the “faux foundations” like skin tints are oil-based and deteriorate over time, as the day goes by. Some even say skin tints can melt off in hot or humid weather as well. They look great on someone with perfect skin but can actually highlight so-called problem areas on people with irregular skin texture or oily complexion.

SAPPHO’s Essential Foundation is made to provide long lasting coverage and is ideal for those who prefer to place shine and sheen strategically instead of all over.

Our Skin Luminizer does not break down as quickly as shimmers made using mostly oils as a base: we do this by including organic waxes in the formula, also effectively replacing beeswax which is often found in natural makeup products.

Radiant Black skin model with natural face highlight created using SAPPHO Skin Luminizer

Here’s how to apply luminizer on your face for radiant skin :

To begin application, it is easier to start by warming up the luminizer on your finger. We recommend taking a little product out of its pot, with a makeup spatula, or the bottom end of a brush – always using a clean tool instead of dipping your nails into it – and placing it on a finger or the back of your hand to rub and soften the product. Then, with your fingertip, you can place your illuminator strategically, knowing that will not break down the makeup underneath or slide off your face halfway through the day. Some prefer to use a brush to apply luminizers, that works well too.

A popular makeup artist tip for concealer application, you can mix your concealer with a touch of luminizer if you want extra light refraction for camera. However, for makeup beginners, it can be best to keep to the usual placements, keeping in mind that makeup placement for face shape is important.

1. Choose a color

SAPPHO offers 3 tones of luminizer: light, medium and bronze.

All can be used on the face, or body (for example on shoulder bones), and even double as cream eyeshadow.

Three open skin luminizer pots showing shades Light, Medium & Bronze for all skin tones and two red recyclable box packaging

Light is a bright, pearlescent shade, great for fair skin tones (example for SAPPHO foundation it would suit shades Bryce to Rachel.) It also reflects more, perfect to create a stronger, more pronounced highlight for all skin tones, from deep to fair!

Medium is a champagne shade, ideal for light to dark skin tones (spans the gamut of Rachel all the way through to Tracey.)

Bronze is a rich copper-bronze that looks best to highlight mid tones, golden and caramel skin (in Essential Foundation, that’s Jennifer through to Margot.) 

2. The usual placements

Luminizer Application Face Chart with placements indications on a redhead fair skin model

Top of cheekbones:

Placed at the top of where the cheekbone rounds. Starting near the ear and blending up, working toward the apple, will impart a beautiful soft glow that lifts the cheeks. Makeup Artist pro tip: do not bring it too close to the nose or onto the apple of the cheek.

Middle of forehead:

This creates form and adds softness to the face. Pro tip: if you have a very large forehead make sure to concentrate the sheen in the very middle and be very subtle, keeping a light touch.

Down the nose:

This creates form and length. Pro tip: if you happen to have a long nose, it may highlight that, so this might be one to skip.

Bow of the lips:

The purpose here is to add plumpness to the lips, for a little seduction or je ne sais quoi.


This also brings out form. Pro tip: place the luminizer a bit higher on chin if you have a long face shape.


You can use it just under the arch as a highlight and to bring out form. Pro tip: use the luminizer just above the arch as well, to “lift” the brow.


A light touch at the inner corners of the eyes can help brighten the area and bring a soft balance to smokey eye makeups or winged eyeliner looks.  

Bonus! Eyeshadow:

Using an eyeshadow brush, place it on the inner 1/3 as an eyeshadow, blending with deeper color eyeshadow(s) from the outer corner, in the crease and as eyeliner. Pro tip: you can use any of the 3 tones, and the bronzer tone is especially amazing!

Beauty that gives back

To add to these already spectacular organic makeup products, when buying a Skin Luminizer you are helping to support two immensely important local programs for inner-city youths through art.

Partial proceeds from the sale of our luminizers go to Vancouver-based UNYA’s Overly Creative Minds program for Indigenous youths and the Eastside Culture Crawl’s Studio 101 program.