Complexion and radiance are my favourite topics to cover when it comes to makeup. On dark skin, in particular, a flawless base topped up with an illuminating product is my favourite thing to see and replicate. I remember vividly that I would sit at my vanity table, sing along (badly) to my favourite '90s and early '00s R&B playlist and spend most of my routine illuminating my skin. After plenty of years of practice, I'm now an expert.
As I craved the lit-from-within, just-seen-my-facialist complexion, glow products were the only thing that would elevate this desired look.
These radiance-producing products are my go-tos for either an evening out or creating a natural and healthy glow. And they're beauty-industry musts to complete any red carpet look. Celebrity makeup artist Adam Burrell, who highlights the faces of Winnie Harlow, Jourdan Dunn, Ava DuVernay, and Jennifer Hudson, is one of my favourite makeup artists who's particularly adept at this look for dark skin.
He confirms, “When it comes to highlighting, I tend to go for creams and liquids over powders because to me they give the realest glow. Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops are great, and there’s a range of colours to suit all skin tones. Candlelight is gorgeous on darker skin tones, and I like to press it on the tops of the cheeks as a last step. Sometimes I use a clear balm like Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Balm in Clear, which is a lightweight highlighting and hydrating balm, to give your skin the most beautiful natural glow.”
Whether on the skin, mixed with my foundation, added to the high points of the face, multi-layered or my own cocktail mix, I have run the gamut of glowing beauty products for dark skin. It's by far the product I own the most of in my makeup bag, so I've narrowed down the best of the best. Keep scrolling to see which glowing products for dark skin I recommend.
BEST GOLDEN GLOW
Radiant, long-wearing, natural and healthy-looking, the Glow Booster is an all-rounder for achieving the highly coveted lit-from-within-glow. Formulated with a jojoba complex, Hydraglow, that strives for deep nourishment and a dewy finish, this Glow Booster is the answer to many prayers. As the weather gets warmer, this booster will be your go-to, your ride-or-die.
This has seen me through many nights out, parties, events or even the quick “I need a little extra on the face today.” As a baked illuminator, this is packed with pigment, finish and colour, resulting in an overall infusion that you can’t resist.
BEST ILLUMINATING BASE
This strobe cream goes with everything. It is the perfect illuminating base that allows for the skin to radiate no matter what products are placed on top. Applying a small amount with my foundation and blended together with a brush before blending into the skin will create the most perfectly lived-in glow.
Recently, I have enjoyed the feeling that gel formulas have left on my skin. Inspired by Marc Jacobs’s love for coconut water, this dewy highlighter does everything it says on the tin. Applied under my foundation or mixed with my primer, this beauty product flatters dark skin with a golden-peach finish that leaves a complexion looking and feeling nourished.
BEST SKINCARE/MAKEUP HYBRID
If there is anything I love more than skincare, it's skincare that's combined with great makeup, and Tom Ford’s primer is the ideal fusion of the two. Neutralising, energising and brightening, this primer brings the complexion to life. Brightening the skin’s undertone, diminishing signs of dullness and fatigue as well as helping to neutralise the appearance of discolouration whilst enhancing the skin’s natural radiance, this primer is a must-have for your beauty arsenal.
BEST PEACH-BRONZED GLOW
I have been after a peach-bronze highlighter in a compact powder form for a while and have tried other products that just haven’t made the cut. In the latest collection from MAC, this highlighter is a step above the rest that offers a radiant and well-defined finish. Multi-reflective, sculpting and gorgeous on black skin, this bronze beauty is a quick add, as it's only on the shelves for a limited amount of time.
BEST LOOSE HIGHLIGHTER POWDER
Featherlight, the Jaclyn Hill loose highlighters are impactful, beautiful on the eye and for every skin tone. Pink is usually a shade I shy away from on my skin, but recently I have found how pretty it is on dark skin and how it softens the complexion. This powder, therefore, targets two elements—the need for radiance and the need for softening—and both of these agendas I am completely on board with.
BEST HIGH IMPACT/FULL GLAM
For those wanting high impact, full glam and the ultimate strobed glow, then look no further than this highlight palette. When it comes to shades, I personally adore Bronzed Sands for its depth and richness. It is these pigments and hues that make dark skin look beautiful as if it has been kissed by the Arabian sun.
MUA Ernesto Casillas who works with Ryan Destiny to name a few mentions, " For those deeper complexion beauties who tend to lean on the oily side, I would prefer to use a powder illuminator, I sweep a golden bronze shade only on the parts that I want to glow, such as the cheeks, temples and down the nose."
BEST GEL-BASED FORMULA
One of the first to bridge skincare and makeup, Kevyn Aucoin continuously nails products, and the face and body laminator is another star product. There is nothing worse than having all the glow on the face and none on the body. For the perfect spring and summer companion, this illuminator will turn the Kira Kira app into ancient history.
BEST SHEER RADIANCE BASE
This base includes the three things that I love the most: skin, sheer and radiance. It's the best at turning a dull complexion into a radiant one in a matter of seconds. It's a 55% water-infused primer that applies easily, hydrates instantly, and leaves a glass-skin effect. A perfect base to start applying your makeup.