I tried the viral Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer highlighter and this is why I wasn't convinced

As a lover of all things dewy, I put Selena Gomez's Rare Beauty highlighter—the Positive Light Liquid Luminizer—to the ultimate test...

Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer in shade Enlighten/ in a pink template with light pink semi circles with a check-print overlay
(Image credit: Rare Beauty/ Sephora)
My Imperfect Life Verdict

It's a lovely shimmery, subtle highlighter but sadly its pay-off and application let it down...

Reasons to buy
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    Buildable formula, it can go from a subtle shimmer to a pin-point gleam

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    Serious value for money, it will last you for months

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    Gives your skin a subtle, dewy gleam when applied correctly

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    More on the glittery side, so can travel around the skin

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    A little goes a long way, meaning caution when applying is a must

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    Does not last all day

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    Lifts off makeup underneath *cry*

When it comes to celebrity beauty lines, one in particular has TikTok weak at the knees—Selena Gomez's Rare Beauty has reached cult status, so I, of course, couldn't resist putting her sell-out Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer to the test. Here are my honest thoughts on the viral Rare Beauty Liquid Luminizer as a lover of dewy, glass-like skin.

As far as the 2023 beauty trends go, we're all still enamored with achieving natural-looking, dewy skin—hence the popularity of trends like the Clean Girl aesthetic and 'cloud skin', which encompass glowing, natural no-makeup-makeup. From orb highlighting to 'glazed' foundation looks, it's safe to say our love for the glow truly knows no bounds and it's even started creeping into our manicure preferences thanks to the likes of Hailey Bieber's glazed donut nails.

Most of the products that have reached viral status on TikTok are heralded as the ultimate glow givers—like the Drunk Elephant bronzing drops, the e.l.f Halo Glow Filter, and of course, the Rare Liquid Highlighter.

So, as someone who is forever chasing the radiant skin look, I gave one of Selena Gomez's own makeup must-haves a try...

A beauty writer's honest review on the Rare Beauty Highlighter Positive Light Liquid Luminizer

So, before I jump into my review of these bottled dew drops, let me first debrief you on my skin texture, tone, and makeup preferences, so you can get a feel for how this highlighter might work for you.

My skin and makeup preferences

I have pale, cool-toned skin—so when it comes to my highlighters, I tend to opt for pearly, opalescent, and champagne tones as these seem to work best with my skin and don't leave a cast in certain lightenings. Texture-wise, I have combined skin, though it's more on the dry side near my eyes and nose. Like most people, my skin gets oilier as the day goes on, so I look for makeup products that still look pretty—even when my skin gets slightly greasier. 

When it comes to my makeup routine, I keep things pretty simple. I apply a glow filter (usually Charlotte Tilbury's Flawless Filter), followed by a non-comedogenic foundation—to be specific, our in-house beauty editor's number one rec, the Armani Luminous Silk foundation—before then adding concealer where I need it and powder. Then comes the mascara and brow gel before I finish off with blush and highlighter.

For me, blush and highlighter are my favorite products. I must confess the sunkissed blush trend still has me in a chokehold, so I am very generous with my blush—and as for my highlight, I prefer cream and liquid formulas.

My previous rotation consisted of Charlotte Tilbury's Beauty Light wand in "Pillow Talk" and Glossier's Haloscope in "Moonstone". So, how does Rare Beauty's Positive Light Liquid Luminizer hold up?

How to apply the Rare Beauty liquid highlighter

How you apply the Rare highlighter (or any highlighter) is down to your personal preference really, but as a guideline, you want to aim for anywhere light would naturally hit. So your cheekbones, nose bridge and tip, your cupid's bow, and the inner corners of your eyes. You can also apply it to your brow bone and forehead. 

As for tools, you can use a highlighting brush or damp beauty blender—but personally, I think using your fingertips is the best way to achieve that glass-like gleam.

As a little goes a long way with Rare's liquid highlighter, I'd recommend applying a small amount to the back of your hand first, rather than using the doe-foot straight onto your face.

Rare Beauty highlighter formula

I'll first preface my Rare Beauty highlighter review by saying that this highlighter is really pretty. I tested out the Rare Beauty highlighter "Enlighten" shade, which is a pearly, champagne shade and seems to sell out every five seconds. Rare is also very generous with the product size—much like the viral liquid blush, a little goes a long way and for just $25 (£26), you get a bottle that will last you for months.

Formula-wise it's also a good product—it's a cruelty-free makeup product, vegan, paraben-free, and suitable for sensitive skin. Plus, it's got some skin-loving ingredients, including botanicals like lotus, gardenia, and white water lily, which help to soothe and nourish your skin, for that lit-from-within effect.

Now, onto whether I think it's worth it hype...

Rare Beauty highlighter experience

I really, really wanted to like it. I've been looking for a good liquid highlighter for some time now, but I'm afraid to say this luminizer just isn't it for me. Now, with every product review/recommendation—much like we're seeing with the TikTok de-influencing trend—this is just my experience. Perhaps it just didn't agree with my skin type or product combos and would work completely differently for others...

That being said, I expected big things and was left feeling a bit disappointed. I applied it to the tip of my nose and nose bridge, along with my cheekbones and cupid's bow and while the initial shimmer was pretty, it didn't give me the radiance I was expecting. 

Looking at myself in the mirror, in natural lighting, I was craning my head up and down trying to photograph its dewy effect to not much avail. I also tried a few different applications, with a beauty blender, a brush, and my finger—but in every instance, I found the shimmer-pay off a little underwhelming.

Here's how the highlighter looks on my skin in natural lighting (please ignore my giant chin zit, thank you):

Beauty writer, Naomi Jamieson wearing the Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer in shade Enlighten/ in a pink template

(Image credit: Future / Naomi Jamieson)

And here's the highlighter looks with flash:

Naomi Jamieson wearing Rare Beauty's Positive Light Liquid Luminizer in Enlighten/ taken with flash/ in a pink template

(Image credit: Future / Naomi Jamieson)

Rare Beauty highlighter results

It's described on Rare's site as a "dewy, buildable glow" and while it's definitely initially dewy, it did not seem to last and I found it difficult to apply. Don't get me wrong—there was a pretty gleam there, but after a while, it seemed to melt away.

As mentioned, I tried lots of different application methods, but for me, I found the formula slightly unforgiving. It also committed the ultimate highlight sin...it disrupted my blush underneath. Rather than finding a complimenting gleam atop my rosy cheeks after finishing my full face, I found that a portion of my blush had been wiped off completely, leaving a pale streak—even though I had applied the highlighter lightly with my finger. A big no-no for me.

Through my testing, I found the best way to apply it was with my ring finger, after popping the product on the back of my hand first. This ensured I wasn't applying too much and did leave me with a pretty, subtle shimmer.

My verdict on the Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer

So, would I recommend this Rare liquid highlighter? I think if you love a glittery glow, this highlighter would work for you—it's definitely shimmery. However, if you prefer a more glassy look that will last all day and not budge, you might want to give this one a miss.

If you're a makeup beginner, you may also find this product slightly frustrating, as applying too much can prove disastrous for your underlying base.

It's by no means a bad highlighter, it does the job but it just didn't wow me. And while the shade is really pretty and can definitely be mixed with your blush and foundations for an all-around glow—I sadly won't be retiring my Glossier Haloscope anytime soon. Sorry, Selena!

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.