FYI, These Glow Moisturizers are Blindingly Illuminating

Best Illuminating Moisturizers

We independently select and review the products we recommend. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our affiliate links below. Learn more about how we review products and our sources of information.

Honestly, I can’t relate at all when people say stuff like “My mama taught me this makeup trick when I was 11”. Sis, my mom would hide my makeup until I was 19! And sometimes, it wasn’t even makeup but amazing skincare! That’s how I got creative and discovered some of the best illuminating moisturizers to fake naturally glowing skin.

In case you’ve never used one before, here’s the gist. An illuminating moisturizer is a face moisturizer that has a visibly glowy finish. It’s used to hydrate the skin while giving it a lit-from-within glow.

Moisturizers with a dewy finish can give you that wet, shimmery skin. They make you less dependent on foundation, help you out for a no-makeup day in the summer, and give you healthy and youthful skin in the winter.

Any moisturizer will refresh your look because hydration instantly revitalizes the skin. But the difference between a regular moisturizer and an illuminating one is the visible and long-lasting luminous finish that doesn’t disappear into the skin.

And that’s what this round-up is about. And don’t think that luminous skin is all they have to offer. Dig in and check out some amazing, radiance-boosting moisturizers for instantly glowing skin.

Best Illuminating Moisturizers

Below are the best illuminating moisturizers you can get your hands on.

1. Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Skin Perfector

Best For Aging Skin

Dior Capture Totale Dream Skin Perfector - Best Illuminating Moisturizer

First off, this is skincare first, glow second. The texture is thicker than a face serum but way lighter than a daily moisturizer. It’s made with niacinamide to brighten the skin. And it contains plant-derived antioxidants to care for the skin. In terms of its finish, it has a very subtle radiance to it.

So this is perfect for aging skin when you want something natural-looking and with skincare benefits. It’s pink and runny and absorbs very easily. It contains fragrance but doesn’t have a noticeable scent. And it moisturizes and adds luminosity without the grease. You can also use it as a foundation primer for radiant base makeup.

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, vitamin C, vitamin E
Key Benefits: Hydrates, blurs out skin texture, doubles as a primer
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Contains fragrance

2. Erborian Glow Creme

Best Shimmery Finish

Erborian Glow Creme - Best Illuminating Moisturizers

This multi-tasking one deserves all your attention. It’s a moisturizer, a luminizer, and an illuminating primer. It’s all you need to put on your bare face in the morning and nothing else.

It has the over-achiever niacinamide and licorice to support the skin barrier and brighten up the complexion both instantly and in the long run. The cream is super lightweight and the radiance looks so natural and healthy.

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, licorice extract, squalane
Key Benefits: Hydrates, leaves skin incredibly glowy, doubles as a primer
Size: 1.5 oz/45 ml
Good To Know: Contains fragrance, dermatologically tested

Related: Erborian Glow Creme Review

3. Tata Harper Illuminating Anti-Aging Moisturizer

Best Natural

Tata Harper Illuminating Moisturizer

The formula of this cream is just as incredible as its finish. This is the perfect moisturizer to incorporate into your preventative or actively anti-aging skincare routine. Because it’s infused with amazing antioxidants that directly target age-related skin issues like wrinkles, fine lines, dullness, and dark spots.

From honey to shea butter and aloe, and from safflower seed oil to mango seed oil, the cream is as nourishing as it is illuminating. It also has hyaluronic acid in different molecular sizes to thoroughly replenish the skin. It’s great for plumping up the skin and reducing the visibility of lines both in the long and short term.

Key Ingredients: Rose water, honey, diamond powder
Key Benefits: Plumps skin, hydrates, subtly illuminates
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Clean formula, cruelty-free

4. Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream

Best For Dry Skin

Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream - Best Illuminating Moisturizer For Dry Skin

Made with antioxidants like ginseng, algae, and green tea, this rich cream gives you long-lasting moisture and glow thanks to its sustained release delivery system. Additionally, it has hyaluronic acid and squalane to boost hydration for dry skin.

The rich cream is a little thicker than your regular moisturizer which locks in water for visibly plump and bouncy skin all day. It leaves a silky feel on the skin and keeps your face glowing so that you can fake that post-workout glow without the workout.

Key Ingredients: Green tea, ginseng extract, rice extract, algae
Key Benefits: Moisturizes, repairs, protects skin from free radicals
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Contains fragrance, cruelty-free, non-comedogenic

5. MAC Strobe Cream

Best For Oily Skin

MAC Strobe Cream - Best Illuminating Moisturizer For Oily Skin

Listen, I flirted with a MAC employee throughout my college years just to get 50% off on products. I’m not sure they do that these days. But there was no way I could afford this back then. Even though I replaced my Studio Fix Foundation with different ones, this one product is close to my millennial heart and is still a favorite. This is an illuminating moisturizer/primer. And it comes in different shades.

But the glow is really subtle. So you don’t see a streaky shimmer but a pearlescent fluid. If you have oily/combination skin, it doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to glowing without the grease. This oldie but goodie doesn’t magnify pores. And it manages to turn oily skin into dewy skin. It’s filled with antioxidant-rich green tea, brightening vitamin C, and hydrating hyaluronic acid.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, grape extract
Key Benefits: Provides skin with antioxidants, primes skin for makeup
Size: 1 oz/30 ml
Good To Know: Contains fragrance, non-acnegenic

Related: Best Tinted Moisturizers for Oily Skin

6. Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturizer

Best For Wrinkles

Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturizer - Best  Illuminating Moisturizer For Aging Skin

This one is the most luxurious of all with the most elegant glow. It’s not as super visible as a highlighter, but it has a subtle, faint luminosity that gives you that glow from within. The cream has all the moisturizing goodies like shea butter, jojoba oil, and squalane that give the cream its rich texture.

It also has vitamin E and vitamin-rich plum oil. This one is a bit on the pricier side, but the ingredients are heavier than the luminosity. That’s why this is perfect for aging skin that needs glow not to magnify wrinkles but to subtly blur them out.

Key Ingredients: Acerola cherry, plum seed extract, squalane, apple extract
Key Benefits: Moisturizes, brightens, has a seamless glow
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Contains fragrance

7. Loreal True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer

Best Drugstore

Loreal True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer - Best Drugstore Illuminating Moisturizer

Seriously, this one doesn’t have a match when it comes to drugstore illuminating moisturizers. The glow is too affordable to pass on. The moisturizer comes in 4 different shades and has the potential to replace your foundation.

Made with shea butter and jojoba esters, the creamy luminizer brightens up your skin. And it gives you a more uniform complexion that’s glowing and radiant, making it the most budget-friendly illuminating moisturizer.

Key Ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin
Key Benefits: Works like a liquid highlighter
Size: 1.35 oz/40 ml
Good To Know: Fragrance-free

8. Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer

Best Tinted

Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer - Best Tinted Illuminating Moisturizer

This glow moisturizer is a scientific mystery! It has no apparent tint whatsoever but somehow it adapts to your skin color and gives it a natural coverage with a healthy glow! It’s packed with amino acids and vitamin E to moisturize the skin and has a silky texture that leaves the skin soft and smooth.

It’s unbelievable to get coverage out of something so white, but it doesn’t matter! Because this illuminating tinted moisturizer proves that you don’t have to sacrifice skin care for the sake of looking good; this one gives you both!

Key Ingredients: Amino acids, vitamin E
Key Benefits: Moisturizes, warms complexion with a tint
Size: 1.35 oz/40 ml
Good To Know: Contains fragrance

9. Origins Ginzing Glow-Boosting Gel Moisturizer

Best Gel

Origins Ginzing Glow-Boosting Gel Moisturizer - Best Illuminating Moisturizer

This is the lesser-known member of the whole Ginzing Collection. Origins has this moisturizer in cream form and in gel form. But this glowy finish option is the most fun to use! It’s made with skin-energizing caffeine, ginseng extract, and moisturizing squalane and hyaluronic acid.

And it has this almost peach tint to it. With its heavenly citrus smell, lightweight consistency, easily absorbing texture, and radiant finish, you’re going to love it no matter your skin type!

Key Ingredients: Caffeine, ginseng extract
Key Benefits: Hydrates without clogging pores
Size: 1.7 oz/50 ml
Good To Know: Vegan

So these are some of the best illuminating moisturizers out there. If you’re not sure about illuminating moisturizers, keep reading to learn what else you can use to get the same results.

How else can you illuminate and moisturize?

Illuminating moisturizers or glow moisturizers may seem frivolous, especially considering the price of some of these products.

But there are other products, and even some hacks, you can try. So you don’t have to go out of your way and get an illuminating moisturizer just to have moisturized and glowing skin at the same time.

For example, there are both oil-based and oil-free moisturizers out there that have a dewy finish. So all skin types can benefit from them.

A good example of this is Ole Henriksen C-Rush Vitamin C Gel Moisturizer. It’s not a cosmetic product, but it does have a cosmetic advantage all thanks to its dewy finish.

Similarly, there are face serums, especially vitamin C serums, that exceed expectations. A good example of this is Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum.

If you feel like you might as well get a proper face serum if you’re going to spend that much money for the sake of glow, try it and thank me later.

Also, some SPF moisturizers, especially the ones made with chemical SPF, have a naturally radiant finish. I love Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Moisturizer SPF 30 for this.

Moreover, there are illuminating tinted moisturizers. They have a leg up on BB and CC creams because they’re the closest to illuminating moisturizers. They warm up the skin with that tint, boost moisture, and make it glowy too.

Want coverage & skincare? Get yourself a foundation alternative that can do both!


Scroll to Top