Let's get one thing straight right from the start: The Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting is a very good, though pricey, fragrance-free highlighter for all skin tones and types, but it's not the multi-tasking anti-aging wonder the claims may lead you to believe. But perhaps the oddest claim is that this creamy fluid "never looks shimmery," even though it most certainly does, even when applied sparingly!
Granted, the shimmer effect is on the subtle side compared to several other highlighters that have crossed our desks, but it's there, and the glow it produces, which, OK, could be considered "candlelit skin"-like definitely add shine. Of course, to some extent the shine this product leaves depends on how much you use, whether you apply it alone or mixed with another, non-shiny product, and how oily your skin is.
Housed in a tall, cylindrical component, The Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting is dispensed via a pump. Initially creamy, it thins out as you blend, setting to a soft matte (in feel) finish that doesn't leave skin feeling coated or the least bit greasy; this layers easily with skincare or makeup.
Note that because the formula sets rather quickly, you should blend immediately or you'll risk ending up with a more concentrated, and potentially undesirable, amount of shimmer. This tip doesn't apply if you opt to add The Celestial Skin to other products, like non-SPF moisturizers or foundation, that allow more blending time before they set.
Although this shimmer liquid is only offered in one shade (a soft, light golden bronze) it's universally flattering and sheer enough to work on almost any skin tone. It shouldn't look ashen on dark skin but those with very light skin may find the color too golden for their complexion. Of course, you can mix The Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting with your foundation or moisturizer to further soften the color and diffuse the degree of shine it leaves behind.
As for this product's claim of being a primer, it's soft matte finish does support that, and makeup is easy to apply over it; however, traditional primers don't leave a sheen on skin, so if that's not what you want all over your face, think twice about using this as a primer.
The brand also claims that The Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting is a skin treatment and "foundation developer." We have no idea what the latter claim means—that one is new to us. The only thing we can surmise is that the sheer golden tone can help "develop" a too-neutral shade of foundation into one that has healthier-looking warmth.
As for this being a skin treatment, well, it isn't. The tiny amount of two plant extracts, mannitol and vitamin E (tocopherol) likely isn't enough to supply an antioxidant benefit—don't toss your antioxidant serum in favor of this liquid highlighter! Still, the addition of those ingredients can be considered a step above what many liquid highlighters offer—if only the amounts were a bit more!
Summing up, Kevyn Aucoin's Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting comes pretty close to giving you a candlelit-glow effect without resorting to obvious glitter or strong shimmer. It absolutely adds shimmer to skin, but the shine effect is subdued, and can work when used sparingly to highlight key features. Equally adept whether applied on its own or mixed with other products, this liquid highlighter's main drawbacks are its overstated multi-tasking claims and the fact that it sets quickly enough to make precise, near-immediate blending a must if you opt to apply this alone or dab it over other makeup. Otherwise, it's worth considering regardless of your skin tone or skin type—assuming your budget extends to its price point, of course!
Kevyn Aucoin was arguably one of the most iconic makeup artists of the 20th century. A self-trained, highly sought celebrity makeup artist and best-selling author, his work appeared regularly in countless fashion magazines, as well as his monthly column in Allure. Not surprisingly, his work has influenced countless makeup artists and YouTube beauty vloggers—whether they know it or not—and at the time of his passing in 2002, he had just launched a small range of products under the Kevyn Aucoin brand. Although Aucoin left us far too soon, at least his products serve to compliment his lasting legacy.
Today, the Kevyn Aucoin brand continues with his motto that anyone should be able to experiment with makeup and feel beautiful while doing so. The brand's range of unique products reflects the emphasis on makeup’s role in our lives as more than just utilitarian—it should be enjoyable, accessible, fun, and the outcome always rewarding. The approach is enhancing one’s self-esteem rather than using makeup to cover up what you or others might perceive as unattractive.
Thus, the products themselves are something of an experience to use—from their packaging (beautiful) to their focus on perfecting skin and mix of basic to bold color options. This line isn’t for those who think of makeup as a chore!
The price points are higher, to be sure, but there are also quite a few exceptional and unique standouts that allow this brand to nicely distinguish itself in a sea of makeup artist-fronted lines. There are some shortfalls here and there, but overall, it is a range that is well worth experimenting with should you happen upon a Kevyn Aucoin counter at your local Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus. (Note: Kevyn Aucoin is sold online at a number of beauty sites, from Sephora to Beautylish.)
For Beautypedia, we have chosen some of what we feel are Aucoin’s best products along with those that are OK, but for one reason or another may not be worth the expense.
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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