A Hollywood Makeup Artist's Guide To Body Illuminators

When it comes to body shimmer, there's a fine line between looking like an A-list actress on the red carpet, and a disco ball Halloween costume. But even if you apply it like a pro, or use the wrong formula, you've got a one-way ticket to Showgirls country.

On the flip side, if you apply the right illuminator like an expert, you can achieve luminous, radiant skin that glows and glows. To break it down on how to get it right, we called on Carissa Ferreri, Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez's longtime makeup artist, and the mastermind behind the lit-from-within skin in this tutorial.

Ahead, Ferreri shares her favorite formulas, with tips and tricks of how to use them like a pro.

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Know Your Glow
For times when you want to glisten in the most subtle way, Ferrari suggests this kit staple. "It looks like nothing, but makes the skin glow," she says. "Apply your body lotion, then pat this onto your collarbone and on the top of the shoulders."

Shimmer Level: None
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, $21.00 Buy
Get A Leg Up
Applying highlighter down the front of the legs is one of the oldest tricks in a makeup artists' book. "It makes the eye think your legs are longer than they are," Ferrari says. You can use any of the highlighters in this slideshow for the effect — just be sure to blend well. But Benefit's classic formula makes it completely foolproof. Dab the puff into the balm and run it down the front of your legs. Easy, peasy.

Shimmer Level: Low
Benefit Bathina Take A Picture It Lasts Longer, $30.00 Buy
Cover Your Bases
If Ferrari had to pick just one formula for her kit, this would be it. "It's sort of like a body butter and it smells amazing," she says. "It has a ton of shimmer, so start small, and mix it half and half with lotion for your arms and legs." Once you get a feel for the shimmer, create a softer ratio that will work on the chest and neck.

Shimmer Level: Medium
Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Illuminizing Body Butter, $32.00 Buy
Stick With It
Nervous about applying a DIY mix of lotion and highlighter? "Sticks are great for the body because you can select exactly where you want the shimmer to go, and it's hard to overdo it," Ferrari says. Her trick? Aim for bones — the collarbone, shoulder bones, shin bones, and cheekbones — then blend into skin with your fingers.

Shimmer Level: Medium
e.l.f. Cosmetics All Over Color Stick, $1.00 Buy
Nice And Easy
For those that want a quick, mess-free application, Ferrari also calls Charlotte Tilbury's formula a favorite. "The applicator is really great," she says. "It rolls on, so you can really control where it goes, plus the formula isn't too shimmery." Her tip: Roll it on, and then before it dries (this is important!), pat and blend it into skin with your fingers.

Shimmer Level: Medium
Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body, $65.00 Buy
This Estée Lauder illuminator comes with a dropper, which is great for controlled application. This illuminator doesn't create a bold, chrome highlight — making it a good option if you're looking for a subtle glow.

Shimmer Level: Low

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Summer Glow Illuminator, $32, available at Sephora.
Double Duty
Another favorite of Ferrari's is Prtty Peaushun's lotion, which also provides temporary firming benefits. "It's best to start slow," she explains. "You can blend this over the entire area you want to highlight full strength, or feel free to dilute it with lotion so you're not too glow-y."

Shimmer Level: Medium
Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion, $39.00 Buy
Or Try...

Traditional body illuminators can make you shine brighter than a diamond — but that's not always the goal. This Say Hello To Sexy Legs formula is lightweight, but effective, leaving behind a subtle glow that will convince everyone you just left a Victoria's Secret summer shoot.

Say Hello To Sexy Legs Tinted Glow Gel, $38, available at Sephora.
Possibly one of the easiest two-in-one body products out right now, the scrub formula that made Frank Body famous is now glittering with sparkles and shimmer. Inside the bag you'll find a physical, exfoliating scrub that's infused with illuminating flecks. Once rinsed off your body, you'll be glowing brighter than a unicorn.

Frank Body Shimmer Scrub, $19.95, available at Frank Body.
Get Creative
Pro tip: You don't need to buy formulas specifically designed for the body. "Sometimes I mix a little bit of Nars Orgasm or Blkr into body lotion when I'm in a pinch," Ferrari says. The former is great for darker skin tones, while the latter works on fair complexions. The ratio she prefers is anywhere from a small dab to 50-50. Massage it into skin, then you can go full strength over just the collar and shoulder bones for more impact.

Shimmer Level: Medium
NARS Illuminator in 413 BLKR, $30.00 Buy
NARS Illuminator in Orgasm, $30.00 Buy
Glow With Nature
Believe it or not, Ferrari often highlights with pure coconut oil, which is subtle, and won't leave the skin sticky. Just dab on and go. You guessed it: again, focus on your bones (collar, cheek, shin, and shoulder).

Shimmer Level: None
RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream, 70g, $18.00 Buy
This coconut oil-infused skin illuminator by Kopari is hydrating and gives skin a hit of flattering shimmer. You can use it for an all-over, non-greasy glow, or you can also apply it directly on your cheekbones or browbones as you would a highlighter.

Kopari Coconut Body Glow, $42, available at Sephora.
Fair Warning
Looking to warm up your pale skin? "This one has a bit of tint so it gives you some color, but don't worry, it's subtle," Ferrari says. Just rub it in like lotion, but don't focus solely on the legs. "I use it on the arms and chest, too," she says.

Shimmer Level: Low
Votre Vu Silk Stockings, $34.00 Buy
Know Your Tools

While most body illuminators can be tapped on with fingers, a big brush will cut your application time in half — especially when working on the body. Use this palm-sized tool to sweep liquid or powder highlighter onto your shins, collarbone, and shoulders for a natural-looking glow.

Becca The One Perfecting Brush, $49, available at Sephora.
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