I’ve been using RMS living luminizer for what seems like years – it was one of the first new makeup products I bought after I read The Book. I think I’ve used it nearly every single day since then. But I’ve noticed that one of the things that has changed about my product buying habits since going clean is that I’m more adventurous, and more tempted to try new things. I’ve had my eye on Ilia for a while, and finally took the plunge and bought both shades of illuminators. Let’s compare and contrast.
To begin, both brands are very clean and have never caused any problems for my skin, which is pretty picky about what goes on it. The cost is pretty much the same, and both feel high-end to me, in performance and packaging. So, what’s the difference?
RMS Living Luminizer: This product contains coconut oil, which my skin loves, though I know others feel differently. I’ve heard some say they are nervous because it can be easily overdone for daytime looks. The up side is that you only need a tiny bit of product for a big effect, so the cute little pot really lasts. And, if you do accidentally apply too much, it’s easy to fix. Just wipe any excess off your fingers and keep patting your skin gently until it tones down. Its creamy consistency and packaging make it very easy to scoop out and mix with other products for DIY creations. I especially like it applied to eyelashes (sans mascara, of course) and if I press into my lashes it gets to my lids as a nice highlighty liner/shadow too. I also love it on lips and collar bones. The effect is kind of silvery, and works well for my pale olive skin. It doesn’t stay on full force all day, but there’s always enough left to make a difference by the time I’m removing makeup at bedtime.
Ilia Illuminators: No coconut oil here, so that may be an important point for some. It comes in a stick, which in some ways makes it easier to apply. The consistency is much firmer and drier than RMS, and it seems to stay put longer, though it’s more of a challenge to apply to eyelashes. On the other hand, I like this consistency better for brightening under the eyes. One huge plus is that it comes in two different colors. Polka Dots & Moonbeams is the most similar to RMS, though the effect is much more subtle and I’ve found it impossible to overapply by mistake. The color is more beigey/neutral too, so if RMS is too silvery this may do the trick. The other color, Sway, is an incredibly subtle bronze. It looks very dark in the tube, but it is quite soft on. I can practically do a whole look with these two colors. Just some sunscreen and powder as a base, and between PD & M and Sway my eyes, lips and cheeks look polished without looking at all made up.
The swatches are a pretty heavy application, to get them to show in the photo. I tried to do a fade with Sway, so you can see it can be darker or more subtle. Bonus points if you know what my tattoo says.
My conclusion? Don’t fight, girls. You’re all pretty. I’ll keep buying both brands.
What are you using to get your glow on?
Friends! If you’ve read the book or hung out here for a while you know we’re fond of oils, and coconut oil in particular because it’s an amazing and cost-saving multitasker that has lots of qualities to recommend it.
It’s a rich moisturizer, it’s cheap, it’s versatile, it’s antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial, has a decent amount of antioxidants, and it smells like baked goods. What’s not to love? Well, some stuff.
You can get it at any good health food store in the cooking oil section, just be sure to spend the extra buck or two to get raw, organic, virgin coconut oil. Now, without further ado: Here are the 10 specific things I’ve tried it for, with honest assessments of how that worked for me:
1. For cooking at high heat. Coconut oil has earned itself a bone fide health halo, which you can read about here. Because some oils are not safe at high temperatures, I’ve swapped in coconut for a lot of my roasting, and some frying. I have tried and liked it in the oven for potatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussell’s sprouts, carrots, asparagus, broccoli rabe, red onions and other veggies, too. I’m not fond of how it tastes with eggs or mild-tasting white fish—but it’s great with salmon.
2. As a cheekbone highlighter. Sweep a little on top of makeup (sounds weird, go with it) and leave it alone. It looks like your skin but glowier, which is why Rosemarie Swift, of RMS Beauty, uses it in her amazing Living Luminizer, “Un” Cover Up, and Lip-2-Cheek pots.
3. To shave my legs. So good! You get a real close shave and don’t have to worry about moisturizing after.
4. As a deep-conditioning hair treatment for my totally wrecked ends. There’s a reason lots of conditioners use coconut oil: According to this study, coconut oil is better able to penetrate the hair than is mineral oil (shocking!) and sunflower oil—which is good news because I’ve been dealing with a little heat damage over here. Because I don’t want to cut off the damage—I’m liking my hair long right now—I’ve been trying to get the ends looking OK as I grow it out. Knowing full well there is no way to physically repair fried ends (I even confirmed this with a cosmetic scientist named Colin, who isn’t a clean guy, but he’s nice and he’s smart) I’ve been loving this method: once a week, I sleep with a handful of coconut oil in my hair. I rub it in, comb it, pile it in a loose bun on the top of my head, and call it a night. In the morning I shampoo and it seems to make a big difference in the look and feel of my ends.
5. To take off my eye makeup. Put a little on a cotton ball or a piece of toilet paper and sweep it over your eyes gently. It even works on waterproof mascara.
6. As a personal lubricant. Saucy! Let’s be brief: It totally works by yourself or with a buddy, but it’s not compatible with condoms (oil + latex = babies).
7. As a face moisturizer. I do not like this. I’ve read about acne-prone women who have used it to great effect because it’s naturally antibacterial, calming, and moisturizing, but I won’t put coconut oil—or any product that contains it—anywhere near the part of my face that breaks out (hi, chin). I tried the oil-cleansing method when we were writing the book and I got the absolute worst cystic acne ever which, yeah, yeah, might not have been the oil’s fault, but did I want to wait another month to find out? Hells no.
8. As a body moisturizer. See above (shaving). I recently met my friend Jessica at yoga and before class started she yanked up her pant leg and told me she’d been using coconut oil on her whole body. How’d they feel? So soft. So! Soft! And the smell doesn’t linger, for the record.
9. As a day-time hair tamer. Cute on your ends but I wouldn’t put this on the top of your head, especially if you’re blonde, because it looks really, really greasy.
10. Gluten-free and vegan baking. It’s a staple. It tastes really good and, it seems to me, is the only thing that can mask the chalky taste you get with most gluten-free baking. (Mmmmm Babycakes.)
What am I missing? Or what have you tried and loved—or hated?