When my addiction to beauty blogs started, and I was nonstop binge-watching YouTube makeup tutorials, strobing was extremely popular. Strobing — heavily illuminating the high points of your face, where light naturally hits, for an all-over glow — amazed and mystified me. In seconds, a good highlighter can turn a sunburn into a sun-kissed look, or a pasty winter face into a luminescent one. I can’t even count how many highlighters I’ve purchased, swatched, and sampled since. So I hope you’ll trust me completely when I tell you that the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter is like nothing I’ve ever seen.
New as of this year, the Flawless Filter isn’t a traditional highlighter, nor is it an illuminating primer. It’s instead what Charlotte’s team deemed a “complexion booster.” What is a complexion booster, you might ask? Honestly, I’m still not sure. And it seems like shoppers aren’t sure either because it seems only makeup artists and some beauty diehards are acknowledging just how magical this product is. But odds are that if you’ve tried it, you love it, because this product looks great on traditional highlighting zones like the cheekbones, brow bones, cupids bow, and tip of nose, but it’s also spreadable and lightweight enough to wear virtually anywhere. The sheer, glowy concoction comes in seven shades, so you can find a match that looks most natural on your skin (for reference, I’m a shade No. 3). Put it anywhere, and it will make you radiant. Charlotte actually calls this “J.Lo in a bottle.”
Because it can go anywhere, it might take a few tries to find your sweet spot for how to use it. Everyone has a different way: When I talked to makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes (seen wearing it in the Insta image above), she said she likes it best on the high points of her face, underneath a lightweight foundation for a really natural, lit-from-within effect. But my best friend Lili swears by the Flawless Filter’s coverage and radiance to act as the perfect under-eye concealer. Me, I use a tiny amount and spread it all over. It’s like a golden base for my skin, and I’ll go in and spot conceal any blemishes or hyperpigmentation afterward.
Even if you’re not necessarily a highlighter person, this is a great way to start. Avoid areas that get oily (for me, that’s the forehead), but otherwise, mix this into your routine, anywhere on your face, to get that warm springtime glow.
More glowy Strat-approved products
Rio and Katie Jane Hughes both love Glossier’s Haloscope. Hughes picked it as her favorite highlighter all around, citing “that balm core with the light, not-super-shiny highlight on the outside.” Rio agrees: “I smash my face in it.”
Strat writer Lori Keong likes this elixir, which was originally mixed for the royal Korean family. “Conventional wisdom tells you that all-in-one products don’t work, but this hybrid product — a serum, toner, and oil — keeps my skin feeling refreshed and supple without looking like I just slathered my face in canola oil. While at a party recently, I was crammed onto a couch with two pals when one of them studied me at close range and commented, ‘Your skin looks really glowy today.’”
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