Typing the words polka dots and moonbeams make me feel like I’m introducing two of Jamie Oliver or Gwyneth Paltrow’s children. Or perhaps waxing lyrical about the hippy generation…”it was all polka dots and moonbeams back then…” But no, I’m talking cream highlighter today – and a really, really nice one. I’m here for the Ilia Illuminator. Polka dots and bloody moonbeams.
Ilia have been around, sitting quietly in the background of my beauty radar for a while now. Their packaging doesn’t shout anything too loudly, their marketing doesn’t go viral, but perhaps it should. They call it skincare-powered makeup, and this little blurb from the brand perfectly aligns with my ethos:
We dare to ask how products are made and choose clean, effective ingredients that work. With roots in organic bases, vivid color, and active botanicals. Being mindful that not every natural ingredient is good for the skin, nor is every synthetic bad. It usually requires a combination of both to achieve a truly exceptional product.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you a repeat of what is readily available at Ilia’s own website. I want to talk about one product that I recently discovered and have been clinging to ever since: the Illuminator in the shade polka dots and moonbeams.
I love pearl-toned, balmy highlighters – the kind that look like natural sheen on the skin. I want dewiness and radiance, not shimmer or glitter. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you probably know the RMS Living Luminizer is one unbeatable little pot of magic in my eyes. So how does Ilia’s stick version compare? They’re different.
Ilia’s Illuminator is a small, cream highlighter in stick form. It’s perfectly packaged for travel, and although noticeably smaller in size than say, the Chanel Baume Essential (another fave) it’s perfectly sized for it’s use. How much highlighter can you really get through before those ingredients are past their best? Although its available in three shades, polka dots and moonbeams is my favourite. It’s pearlescent, but not too white, and despite the polka dot part of it’s name, there’s no visible glitter or shimmer particles. It’s gorgeous.
The texture is on the firmer side of things – perhaps not quite as slippery as the Living Luminizer, but this only brings me to another favourite thing about this product: it’s an ideal cream eyeshadow. If you find that your RMS products are all sliding off your eyelids before you screw the lid back on the glass pot, the Ilia Illuminator definitely has a touch more grip meaning your glowy eyelids stay put a little longer. I love the look of a glowing (as opposed to glossy) eyelid and brow bone paired simply with a swipe of mascara and a bright lip. It’s fresh and makes the eyes look bright and awake. Application wise, I tend to swirl the Illuminator stick to my fingertip and then dab it on my eyelid, but it’s perfectly do-able to swipe straight from the stick. Yes, it creases throughout the day as does any cream product, but that’s a small price to pay for having moonbeams on your eyelids.
As a complexion highlight, this is effortless. When wearing foundation, I swirl a little on my middle and ring fingers before pressing it onto my cheekbones, swipe a tiny bit down the bridge of my nose and anywhere else I want some glow. On bare skin, I often go straight from the stick to my cheekbones without the fear of disrupting other base products. The result is natural and beautifying and with a little less slip than the RMS, I find it lasts well throughout the day. The celebrity child name for 2020? Polka dot and Moonbeam, I’m telling you.