Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter
Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter adds glowing dimension that glimmers from every angle. If you want luminosity that lasts morning to night, this delivers. The one downside is the inclusion of an iffy amount of alcohol, as we'll explain in a minute.
A little goes a long way with the liquid-cream formula that you dispense from its squeeze tube package. It blends smoothly into skin and sets to a luminizing (but not greasy or glittery) finish that resists fading.
Available in shades of Light (iridescent pink), Medium (nude glow), and Deep (golden shimmer), each can be sheered out or intensified depending on how you apply it. The colors can also work beautifully as eyeshadow.
Now for the sole downfall. The reason Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter doesn't earn our top rating is due to the potentially iffy amount of alcohol denatured. It's the fourth ingredient, and unfortunately, high amounts of alcohol can irritate and dry out skin, especially when used daily (see More Info for additional details).
For a product that you may be only using occasionally and likely not applying all over, it's less concerning, but we have to note the potential risk is still there. (Thankfully, Maybelline did not include fragrance, which would have upped the likelihood of irritancy.)
For alternatives, see our Best Luminizers & Highlighters section.
- Makes skin appear luminous instead of glittery or greasy.
- Liquid-cream texture blends smoothly.
- Stays put throughout the day without fading.
- Small but good mix of shades for different skin tones.
- Contains an iffy amount of potentially drying alcohol denatured.
When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we're referring to denatured ethanol, which you'll most often see listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat, denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.
When you see these names of this type of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question they irritate and cause other issues for skin. No way around that, these types of alcohol are simply bad for all skin types.
These types of volatile alcohols give products a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it's easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn't lead to negative long term outcomes!
Consequences include dryness, erosion of skin's protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.
The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from alcohol can lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. Alcohol can increase oiliness because of the irritating feeling it creates, so the immediate de-greasing effect is eventually counteracted, prompting your oily skin to look even shinier.
We are often challenged on this information based on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, July 2007, pages 74-81 that concluded "alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing…" The only thing this study showed is that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash containing sodium lauryl sulfate. Think about it this way: If you test to see whether or not you'll get burnt by a flame or slowly boiling hot water, you will quickly get damaged by the fire. You will eventually be damaged by the slowly boiling hot water, it will just take longer, but burned you will be.
There are other types of alcohols, known as fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be exceptionally beneficial for skin. Examples you'll see on ingredient labels include cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol. All of these are good ingredients for skin. It's important to discern these skin-friendly forms of alcohol from the problematic types of alcohol.
References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41-49
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1-16
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542-551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360-366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179-190
Master Strobing Liquid Illuminating Highlighter adds radiance and dimension to the face for the ultimate glow.
Maybelline New York At-A-Glance
Strengths: At least one excellent product (if not several) in almost every category; many excellent foundations; superior mascaras; inexpensive makeup brushes; some terrific concealers, powders, blush, and lip color options.
Weaknesses: Lips balms tend to be a letdown; a few of the Great Lash mascaras are surprisingly average compared to other Maybelline formulas.
Maybelline is one of the best-known and most recognized mass-market makeup lines in the worldit's available in 90 countries. Throughout its long history, which began in 1915 when T. L. Wilson founded the company and named it after his sister, Mabel, and Vaseline (which he combined with coal dust to concoct a mascara for her), the company has prided itself on bringing innovative products to the marketplace. L'Oreal purchased the company in early 1996, and that's when things really started coming together for the Maybelline brand.
Specializing in a large selection of lipsticks, nail polishes, and mascaras, there is a lot to love from this drugstore brand. Many of their foundations are exceptional, and their powders, several mascaras, pencils, matte-finish concealers, and Superstay Lipcolor collection impressed us by offering a high degree of quality for their inexpensive price point.
Maybelline's latest urban image is a positive step, as many of their latest launches have been innovative without resorting to "been-there, done-that" gimmicks. Smart shoppers will note the similarities of a few of Maybellines formulas to products from high-end brands that are also owned by parent company LOreal. That just goes to show conscientious shopping can really save you moneywithout sacrificing quality or performance.
For more information about Maybelline New York, call (800) 944-0730 or visit their interactive Web site at www.maybelline.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.