The Best Complexion Brightening Products EVER

Much to my delight, it’s really starting to feel like fall. Or at least, the California version of fall. I love it! But it can have a negative effect of making one’s complexion look a little…dull. So I thought I’d share my top picks for the very best brighteners out there. 

Benefit Eye Bright – $20, available at Benefit Cosmetics, Sephora, Ulta

Benefit Eye Bright is a magical little chubby pencil in a pale pink color-correcting shade. I get this annoying bit of redness at the very outer corner of my eyes (where my upper & lower lids meet) probably from rubbing since I have allergies. :\ This pencil is a GODSEND for making that disappear. I just scribble a little bit on any areas of darkness or redness around my eyes, and pat/blend with a finger to warm up the product and help it meld with my skin. It can be used before concealer (which I recommend, because if you color correct before you conceal you’ll always find you use less concealer!), or after concealer if you’re looking a little haggard at the end of the day. I thought the price was a little steep but my pencil has lasted a LONG time as it doesn’t take much (much less than you would think) to get the job done.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind eraser concealer magical wand doohickey with a long name – $10ish, drugstores

Yes, it has an extremely cumbersome name. Yes, the packaging is kind of weird – it has a fuzzy little ‘nubbin’ end that you’re supposed to use to apply the product. However. That fuzzy nubbin actually does a pretty bang-up job of blending the concealer! There are several skintone shades of this concealer and a pinkish brightening shade. I use the pinkish one on my undereye area. I don’t have a whole lot of dark circles going on (praisethelord AMEN) so often this is all I need for a little quick ‘perk up’. I can always touch up later with the Benefit Eye Bright if it’s gonna be a long day. The texture is really light and extremely easy to blend, and like with *all* concealers, a little goes a long way.

Any matte eye shadow the color of your skin – $??, someplace

For example’s sake I put Stila Chinois shadow ($20 at Sephora/Ulta/Stila/other places) as it’s the perfect example of an eye shadow that is the same color as my skin. But Alyson, that shadow is off-white! Yeah, I know. I’m really pale. Any matte shade that matches your skin will do. I also like Wet ‘n Wild Creme Brulee for this. But what is “this”? Oh just about everything. If you want to just look more alive, apply a matte shadow like this all over your eye area. It covers up any discoloration on your lids ASAP without having to put forth the effort of actual eye makeup. Having a shadow like this on hand is also useful for fixing boo boos in your eye makeup, and setting your under-eye concealer. 

ELF Complexion Perfection Powder – $3, Target, ELF

ELF’s budget-friendly products are certainly tempting, but can they really hold their own against high end products? In this powder’s case, YES. I’m happily dusting my way through my second compact of this magnificent mosaic powder. It’s a somewhat translucent tinted powder in four colors – yellow and green to correct redness, pink to brighten, and blue to correct sallow tones. I just take a big ole’ fluffy brush and swirl it in all of the colors and dust it all over my face. If I am looking particularly blotchy and red, I can easily put the brush on just the yellow/green side for some extra help in areas where I need it. I use this before any concealer or foundation or primer etc. I always use LESS of whatever cover-up I was going to use if I color-correct with this first. Less product = more natural looking face. The texture is very silky and smooth. It never looks ashy or chalky. You can’t really see it on your skin. You can just see the difference it makes. It’s a pretty bomb diggity product that I highly recommend to anyone. AND IT’S ONLY $3!!!!

MAC Strobe Lotion – $31, MAC/Nordstrom/other department stores

MAC Strobe Lotion is the “big guns” so to speak when I want to look really bright and glowy. It’s a pinkish white pearly liquid filled with delightful diffusing pigments and iridescent pigments designed to make you look awesome. Unless you’re oily skinned in which case you might look like a greasy disco ball. But I have dry skin, so it’s epic win for me. To tone down some of its sparkle you can mix it in with foundation if you please. That’s also just a really easy way to apply it and make sure you have an even ‘coating’ of sparkleness. Wet ‘n Wild used to make a much cheaper dupe of this called St. Tropez (?) and why they stopped making it I WISH I KNEW. I want it back. :( But luckily a little bottle of Strobe Lotion goes a long way (because if you used a lot of this, you’d look ridiculous).

SO. There you have it…my top picks to look bright as … something bright. What are your top brightening product picks? Do you like these “top picks” type posts? If so, which should I do next? :)


  1. Completely disagree with you concerning the ELF powder. It’s probably fine for super pale skinned people but no one else. It makes me look like a talc covered ghost.

    • Alyson says

      That may be true…I haven’t used it on anyone who is darker than maybe NC20. However there’s a couple of new colors– it now comes in cool, warm, and shimmer. The warm shade looks darker than the cool shade. If anything the warmer tones might be less ashy looking. However, the ashy issue can also be solved by blending more and using it under foundation rather than on top.

  2. It’s funny about the ELF powder – it seems like people either love it or hate it. That’s interesting you apply it first, I would’ve worried it’d get cakey/product-y looking but sounds like it does the opposite. I have a sephora jumbo pencil dupe for eyebright (that’s been discontinued) and I agree, it’s amazing how much of a difference such a subtle product can make

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.