It's finally March, which means warm weather is in sight. Just about the time my dry, flaky skin had given up any resemblance to the way it looked in photos from last summer, my time to shine has come again.
Literally shine, I mean. With the change in weather, matte is out and “dewy” -- my least favorite adjective -- looks are in. That means setting down the pressed powder, enjoying a little of the sheen oil can bring to the cheekbones and nose bridge. I like to dab a little highlighter onto my cupid's bow, under my eyebrows and even into the middle of my forehead.
After months of doing my best Morticia Addams impression — although, who're we kidding, for a goth Morticia was glowy as hell — I'm ready to come alive again. If you're wondering how to add a reflective sheen to your beauty bag, these products are five of my favorite picks.
1. This BB cream will lighten up your whole face.
Here's a product for the girl who loves the sound of the word "highlighter," but fears looking like a shiny lightbulb.
All of Tarte's BB creams are fantastic, but the Illuminating Moisturizer includes a pearly finish on top of the normal creamy texture. Anyone with natural lighting and a steady hand can safely apply it in lieu of regular foundation.
Try out: Amazonian Clay BB Illuminating Moisturizer, Tarte, $27
2. This slick-as-paint shiny highlighter is perfect for nights out.
I like to believe every woman in America has a tiny, sample bottle of High Beam stashed away in a bathroom cabinet somewhere. That's because it's the one sample Sephora can't get enough of. Even if you only make a yearly pilgrimage for your birthday samples, High Beam will definitely be in your bag.
High Beam is popular for good reason. It's bold enough to create highlights that show up on camera, but subtle enough that you can totally mess up the application without ruining your whole day. That's the mark of a quality product.
Try out: High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter, Benefit, $26
3. This cult-status illuminizer is made with natural ingredients.
I never think to buy Josie Maran, but I always regret skipping that aisle later because the products are so consistently above-par. Maran, who focuses on the importance of healthy skin, knows her way around a champagne-toned pigment.
True story: A good friend of mine keeps this illuminizer in her bag for emergency highlight touchups and preaches about its benefits at every opportunity. Made with argan oil, madonna lily and poet's narcissus, Maran's highlighter promises to actually help even out your skin while you're wearing it.
Try out: Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer, Josie Maran, $26
4. This glossy face-topper screams "cool girl."
If you haven't heard about Milk Makeup yet, you either haven't been on the Internet or you walk through New York with your eyes closed. Besides having a print campaign that's plastered everywhere, Milk's mission is a makeup routine that's so easy to put on you won't even know you're wearing it.
Face Gloss is a sticky, gel-like goop, so I only use it on days my hair is safely behind my ears or in a bun. If you can get over the consistency, though, the product looks out-of-this-world incredible used as a cheekbone highlight and under the brows. Think about applying it in a "C"-shape from mid-brow around the outside of the eye.
Try out: Face Gloss, Milk Makeup, $20
5. This gel-like tube doubles as balm for dry elbows and lips.
I'm deeply obsessed with nearly every product girl-power brand Glossier releases -- hello, Boy Brow -- but Balm Dotcom is a particular favorite because of its cute name, convenient packaging and versatility. During the winter, I smear this Aquaphor-like salve all over chapped lips. It's made with beeswax and lanolin, the wax woolly animals like sheep use to lock moisture into their coats. Although a bit sticky, Balm Dotcom stays put for hours.
When warm weather approaches, I apply a dab on my index finger and draw shimmery highlights on my eyelids and cupid's bow. With a price tag this cheap, I can afford to buy at least three and stash them in different purses for makeup emergencies.
Try out: Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve, Glossier, $12