Wonderglow Instant Soft Focus Beauty Flash is marketed as "a cross between an anti-age elixir and a complexion-enhancing light diffuser." While the formula contains some skin-beneficial ingredients, such as sodium hyaluronate and peptides, they are included in too low of an amount to have much benefit—and more importantly, they are accompanied by a wafting amount of rose-scented fragrance, which can have potentially negative repercussions for skin (see More Info). Where Wonderglow shines, however, is as a lightweight, luminizing fluid to enliven skin with a "flash" of radiance.
Whether you use Wonderglow as a primer, luminous highlighter, or as a mixer with your liquid foundation, the silky texture is fluid enough to layer or blend seamlessly, yet it isn't so thin or runny that it gets all over the place. Once blended into skin, the glistening champagne hue sheers out to translucent golden shimmer that catches the light and highlights skin in a noticeable, but not glaring way.
As for Tilbury's claim that it's "powered by a breakthrough fluorescent-core light diffuser that cleverly steals UV light from its surroundings and re-emits it as skin luminosity" that's complete marketing jargon (do you really want to steal UV light anyway?), but regardless, Wonderglow really does make skin glow in an attractive way. We were also impressed by the imperceptible dry down of the finish—it isn't greasy, nor is it mattifying, just somewhere compatibly in between so all skin types can use it.
The bottom line: Strictly speaking as a luminizing fluid, Wonderglow works beautifully, but skin would fare better if the formula didn't contain so much potentially irritating fragrance, (and instead was concentrated with higher amounts of the beneficial ingredients so it could live up to its anti-aging claims). That makes it tricky to rate, but the balance of pros and cons net merely an average rating—and at this price point, you should expect better!
Check out our Best Face & Body Illuminating/Shimmer Products list for options that don't share this products considerable drawbacks.
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Water, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polysilicone-11, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Silica, Mica, Squalane, Titanium Dioxide, Nylon-12, Isononyl Isononanoate, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Potassium Aluminum Silicate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isohexadecane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 40, Hydrolyzed Viola Tricolor Extract, Caramel, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Disodium EDTA, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Nylon-12 Fluorescent Brightener 230 Salt, Sodium Hydroxide, Iron Oxides, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lactate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Coco-Glucoside, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyvinylalcohol Crosspolymer, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Tocopherol, Plumeria Rubra Flower Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Nicotiana Sylvestris Leaf Cell Culture, Citronellol
*Note: This ingredient list is taken directly from the product packaging.
Charlotte Tilbury At-A-Glance
Charlotte Tilbury’s journey into creating her own makeup line began back in her teen years when she discovered the transformative power of makeup. Fast-forward several years and celebrity clients later, Tilbury made a name for herself as a makeup artist who epitomized the glamorous beauty of the supermodel era in the 90’s. Along the way, she became a consultant for beauty brands, and eventually decided to create her own line of makeup and select skincare products in 2013.
One of the strong suits of Charlotte Tilbury’s makeup is her take on color. The woman knows her way around flattering a complexion and making features pop, and you can see that in her shade range. That doesn’t mean you won’t find some misses along the way, but as a whole, the line offers an impressive selection of color.
Tilbury’s skincare, on the other hand, doesn’t fare quite as well. Between the use of jar packaging and some highly fragranced formulas, skin is left compromised (see individual reviews for details).
In no small way Tilbury’s years of painting beautiful faces has helped shape what her makeup line is today. If you don’t mind the $$$ factor, it’s worth taking a look at the standouts which earn our highest rating.
Strengths: Excellent color selection; natural-looking foundation and concealer.
Weaknesses: The iconic Magic Cream comes in a jar; some highly fragranced formulas.
For more information about Charlotte Tilbury, call 646-828-7431 or visit www.charlottetilbury.com/us
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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