May 22, 2020 at 06:30PM

Just like many other beauty lovers in the world, I am on a never-ending quest to achieve the ultimate glow. You know exactly the kind I mean. The kind where the skin looks naturally bronzed in only the places that the sun would actually hit it. It’s a complexion that’s dewy, radiant and generally healthy. And although it’s true that almost everyone longs for skin that looks as such, I really have dedicated a huge amount of time and money into finding exactly how best I can achieve such faux glow. From bronzers and highlighters to tanning drops and moisturisers, I have tried them all.

From my experience, I have gained one, very important key finding, and that is this: While mimicking a sun-enhanced glow might seem like a hassle and expenditure you don’t want, there is absolutely no excuse to shortcut the process and step outside on a springtime day sans SPF. And trust me on that one. I have learned the hard way. After spending many of my teenage years sizzling myself silly in a bid to get a golden tan, my complexion is now plagued with irreversible sun damage. My forehead is crepey and my nose and cheeks are covered in pigmentation.

Wearing Erborian CC Dull Correct and Lumene Watercolor Bronzer

After years of testing and trialling every single bronze-boosting, glow-giving and radiance-ramping product that has come my way, I think I have finally settled on what makes the perfect formula. Sure, powder bronzers are great, but they lack a certain radiance. Highlighters deliver glow but tend to require a little more warmth. If you ask me, the ultimate glow boosters are cream or liquid formulas that carry some sort of bronzing pigment or glowing sheen but deliver maximum hydration at the same time. 

Since adopting these sorts of formulas and incorporating them into my daily beauty routine, I have received so many “Have you been away?” comments. Well, I can now officially announce that I have cracked the faux-glow code.

Worn either alone on no-makeup days for a bronzing boost, underneath makeup for glowing radiance or mixed in with your favourite base, keep scrolling for all of the glow boosters that are guaranteed to get you all of the compliments.

Buff in a few dots of this around the hair line and underneath the cheekbones for the most natural-looking contour you ever did see. Formulated with Arctic spring water and very subtle pearlescent pigment, it leaves the prettiest dewy finish. 

When this first came out, some people chose to describe it as a foundation, but I can’t help but disagree. This clever skin tint is composed of 75% water but also contains other moisture-boosting ingredients such as natural tamarind extract for ultimate plumped-up hydration. Using encapsulated pigment, the lightweight formula leaves skin looking unbelievably glowing and bronzed. It’s unlike anything else you’ll try, both in formula and results. It’s one of my most-loved products by a mile. 

One of the few products in this roundup that doesn’t contain bronzing pigment, this hydrating cream primer is seriously luminous thanks to light-reflecting mineral pearls. Beyond that, though, it also contains Centella Asiatica (cica) to help soothe and calm skin to make it appear healthy and plump. 

When I first got my hands on this new product from Oskia a few weeks ago, I was absolutely blown away. Proving wonderfully that makeup can come with skincare benefits too, this bronzing serum contains bakuchiol (nature’s favourite retinol alternative) along with super-hydrating hyaluronic acid and niacinamide for a plump, radiant finish. Plus, the tint itself uses adaptive tone technology so it looks just as great on just about everyone. 

They say that this illuminating cream can be used in a number of ways, but I think you see the best results when you use it underneath foundation. It just adds an element of glowing life into skin that I can’t quite describe. 

This is one of the very first skin tints that made me realise that you really do need a liquid formula to achieve true sun-kissed perfection. Light-reflecting, bronzy and radiant, when worn underneath foundation, this serum is pure gold. 

I don’t know why, but I have never been a huge fan of the idea of tinted moisturisers. Something about them seems counterproductive. This cream, however, is totally different. Not only is the cream itself packed full of vitamins and essential oils to help tackle the signs of ageing and fine lines, but it also has a reddish-based tint that just seems to energise tired skin. I like to think of it as hardcore skincare, just with an added benefit. 

This booster from Nars is a total unsung hero. Not only does it give a beautifully subtle sheen to the skin, but it also, as if by magic, manages to blur and correct skin texture and pigmentation all at once. I can’t get enough. 

The thing I love the most about this self-tan? The way that the gel formula leaves skin feeling cool, refreshed and looking unbelievably healthy and dewy. 

This gel booster is at its glowy best when combined with one of my absolute fave facial SPFs of all time, Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF 45.

I can’t believe that it took me so long to discover this. Having been a fan of the body version for years and referring to it as my quick-fix body makeup, I was overjoyed when I discovered St Tropez does a version for your face too. Not only does it perfect skin straight away with a beautifully radiant tint, but it also acts as a gradual tan in the long run. 

When I first received a sample of this, I wasn’t convinced. The idea of a tanning brand (a very good one, mind you) venturing into makeup didn’t sit right with me. However, being the good beauty editor that I am, I gave it a go. That day every single one of my friends complimented me on my skin and a few even went on to buy it themselves. It’s glowy, hydrating and gives the most incredibly bronzy finish. I couldn’t love this more. 

When I first suggested my boyfriend give this tinted moisturiser a go, he laughed in my face. However, when he saw how subtle and genuinely real the results looked, he soon came crawling back. It’s now a household favourite. 

While the majority of the products in this list give a natural finish, if you like your makeup to pack more of a punch, these super-pigmented and glowy drops are for you.

When it comes to primers, Smashbox knows what’s up. This super-glowing primer contains vitamins B, C and E to deliver the most naturally glowy skin ever. 

This stuff is pigmented. Unlike other boosters, I wouldn’t recommend using this one on its own.However, when mixed in with moisturiser or serum, it gives skin the juiciest of bronzed finishes. 

Full of antioxidants to protect the skin, not only does this tint/moisturiser hybrid deliver powerhouse skincare ingredients, but it also contains illuminating minerals and pomegranate extract to impart a natural-looking glow. 

If you’re a fan of natural beauty products, this bronzing tint is definitely one to add to your shopping list. In fact, I’m no natural beauty aficionado and even I love this stuff. Personally, I think it looks wonderful when worked into the skin on its own on no-makeup days. 

Okay, fine—this one is technically a bronzer, but its watery, dewy finish puts it so far above any other that I’ve tried I couldn’t possibly leave it out. It’s like a holiday in a compact. 

Somewhere between a highlighter and a bronzer, dot this shimmering liquid to the tops of cheekbones in the summer for an amped-up bronzy glow. 

Next up, I’m a beauty editor and this is my daily beauty routine from start to finish.

Author Shannon Lawlor | Whowhatwear
Selected by CWC

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