L'Oreal's True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator is the brand's entry in the liquid highlighter category, and in many ways, it has a lot to offer. Unfortunately the inclusion of an iffy amount of alcohol lowers the overall rating (without that ingredient, however, it easily would have earned high marks).
True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator comes in a squeeze tube with a twist-off cap. There are three shades offered, and each tube is colored to correspond to the shade inside. The product itself has a liquid-gel texture that's easy to blend into skin. The formula is versatile enough to be worn on its own as a highlighter, or mixed into your favorite foundation or concealer for an all-over glow (the liquid is gel-like enough that it won't change the texture of your foundation as a more fluid formula might).
The three shades we mentioned above are called "Golden," "Rose," and "Ice." Golden is a bronze shade with copper shimmer; Rose is a warm rose-gold shade with slight gold shimmer; and Ice is a pale pink with silver shimmer. Though all the shades do appear to have sparkle, once they're blended into skin the overall effect is a luminous glow instead of obvious glitter. Though L'Oreal says each shade is designed for a specific skin tone, (Golden for warm, Rose for neutral, and Ice for cool), that doesn't limit their wearability; it mainly depends on which color you think looks best on you (and all the colors are attractive)!
True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator wears well throughout the day without fading, and does indeed make skin look lit from within instead of shiny or greasy. Most of the ingredients are standard cosmetic pigments, emollients, and preservatives, and are fine for skin.
The only downside is that this contains a potentially iffy amount of alcohol denatured. It's the fourth ingredient on the list, and you can even smell a bit of it when you apply this. Though the inclusion of alcohol is why this has a texture that dries so well and doesn't fade, high amounts of alcohol can cause skin damage, especially with daily use. See More Info for additional details.
Were it not for this one misstep, L'Oreal True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator would have earned our highest rating. But, because the amount of alcohol could dry out skin, it's a gamble for skin. For alternatives, see our Best Luminizers & Highlighters section.
Alcohol-Based Makeup Products: Alcohol helps ingredients like retinol and vitamin C penetrate into the skin more effectively, but it does that by breaking down the skin's barrier—destroying the very substances that keep your skin healthy over the long term (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012 and Journal of Hospital Infection, 2003).
A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). 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).
The ultimate in luminosity. L’Oréal Paris introduces its first liquid highlighter specifically crafted to highlight key features or illuminate all-over. Designed in Golden, Rose, and Ice shades that flatter every skintone from warm to neutral to cool. Golden Illuminator enhances peachy or yellow tones in warm skintones. Rose Illuminator enhances yellow, peachy, pink or blue tones in neutral skintones. Ice Illuminator enhances pink or blue tones in cool skintones.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3, Crosspolymer, Acrylamide/Sodium, Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Isohexadecane, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Dipropylene Glycol, Tin Oxide.
L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance
Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.
Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.
L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor—if there are any at all.
L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.
The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.
Unfortunately, despite the brands’ enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit.
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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