NARS Super Radiant Booster, that comes in just one shade, promises to suit every skin tone - so we put the cream highlighter’s claim to the test on six different women
“One shade suits all” isn’t a phrase we’re used to seeing in a post-Fenty Beauty landscape. While Rihanna’s powerhouse, launched with 40 foundation shades two years ago (now expanded to 50), wasn’t the first to include such an exhaustive selection, it certainly made “beige, beiger and beigest” base offerings look like something straight from the Stone Age. Now, with a new 50-hue line-up of Fenty Beauty concealers – not to mention Morphe’s 60-strong Fluidity foundation – one-size-fits-all feels as archaic as peel-off nail polishes.
That’s why when the new NARS Super Radiant Booster, £25, landed at Stylist HQ, there was an audible gasp when we discovered the highlighter’s shade variety wasn’t just limited… but totally non-existent.
‘Isola Rossa’ is billed as a “universal rose gold shade that flatters all skin tones.” The formula itself sounds just as fabulous as you’d expect from a François Nars creation, promising to “amplify skin’s illumination with a pearlescent glow” and deliver “full-powered, full-on radiance.” But the idea of the same glimmering cream highlighter working for every skin tone cast some doubt.
“It usually takes me a while to find a highlighter I really like – lots are too silvery for my skin tone,” comments Stylist’s beauty writer Hanna Ibraheem. “As a redhead, I’ve always been scared of highlighters looking too yellow against my complexion,” adds deputy production editor Jenny Tregoning.
“Rose gold seems to have the incredible ability to complement most skin tones. In a world where cooler radiance enhancers can tend to make darker tones ashy, the rose (not pink), gold blend works beautifully to bring radiance. For cooler tones, the blend works to bring a warm radiance without ruddiness,” explains Jane Richardson, NARS Global Artistry Director.
In a bid to put the claim to the test, we asked six women to see how the Super Radiant Booster fared. The verdict? A resounding thumbs up across the board.
Ava Welsing-Kitcher, junior beauty writer
“For me, the shade is perfect – a rose gold that isn’t too pink or too golden. It picked up both the peach and gold tones in my skin, and was really flattering. The texture really sank into my skin.”
Hanna Ibraheem, beauty writer
“I’m a big fan. The pigmented formula blended into my skin seamlessly, using just my fingers, and created the perfect dewy finish that looked natural against my skin tone. Embodying the age-old cliché ‘a little goes a long way,’ it’s an easy route to glowing skin.”
Jenny Tregoning, deputy production editor
“This is definitely more glittery than the highlighters I generally use but it gave a surprisingly natural look, while the rose-gold colour blended well with my freckly complexion. I’m sold.”
Aletha Davis, special projects executive
“I found the highlighter required a little blending and I wasn’t 100% on sure on the rose gold tint at first. But after wearing it for a few hours, I really liked it. I’d definitely try it again with a full face of make up. I think it would look great.”
Megan Murray, digital writer
“I really liked this. It was soft to the touch and easy to use, smoothing on evenly and not sticking in any places or coming up too bright. I liked the subtle golden glow and can see how it would adapt to any skin tone, and also any event. It feels like the kind of highlighter that would take you from a Saturday stroll to some evening drinks.”
Amber Ascroft, freelance beauty editor
“I usually prefer sheer liquid illuminators and was worried this would look too golden against my complexion. But I was totally wrong - it has more of an apricot tone that warmed me up while making me look brighter and more refreshed.”
And it’s not just the colour that’s versatile but the ways you can apply the glow-giver, too. Our testers targeted it directly onto high points like their cheekbones, Cupid’s bow and the inner corners of the eyes. For a more subtle gleam, apply it before foundation or mix the two together for an amped-up shimmer effect.
Read on for our pick of more one-for-all wonders worth trying…
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Champagne Pop
Officially one of the best-selling highlighters of all time, this boasts countless loyal fans. While at first glance, it might appear more suited to fair complexions, it’s neither too warm nor too cool and a great alternative to NARS’ newbie if you prefer powder textures to creams.
MAC Eye Kohl in Prunella
Make-up artist Kenneth Soh, who’s worked with the likes of Naomie Harris and Jenna Coleman, says this aubergine-toned eye pencil works for all complexions and eye colours. Described as a “shimmering black-eyed plum,” we find it’s dark enough to add definition while making eyes look brighter and more vibrant.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire & Ice
MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick is often hailed as a fail-safe choice but this more affordable, creamy red boasts similar powers of flattery. The epitome of “an oldie but a goodie,” it was launched in 1952 but still has the same orange undertones that add zing and vibrancy to all complexions.
Bobbi Brown Blush in Pale Pink
While the shade name suggests this blusher’s appeal might be limited, we’ve seen it look incredible on a multitude of complexions. If you’re fair, it’ll add a rosy flush while lending a vibrancy to black skin. It’s totally matte (but far from flat) although if you prefer a shimmering formula, check out the cult NARS Blush in Orgasm, £24 - we’re yet to see it look bad on someone.
Images courtesy of brands