Having heard so many people raving about this product I decided I should actually invest in some and give it a go, so a couple of weeks ago I gave in to temptation and bought the iconic Charlotte Tilbury Wonder Glow.
Since I’ve always had a thing for highlighters, luminizers, all things glowy & sparkly, I was really excited to be putting this product to the test. With all the rave reviews I was expecting good things.
Wonderglow Instant Soft Focus Beauty Flash is marketed as "a cross between an anti-age elixir and a complexion-enhancing light diffuser." While the formula contains some skin-beneficial ingredients, such as sodium hyaluronate and peptides, they are included in too low of an amount to have much benefit—and more importantly, they are accompanied by a rose-scented fragrance, which can have potentially negative repercussions for skin. Where Wonderglow shines, however, is as a lightweight, luminizing fluid to enliven skin with a "flash" of radiance.
On first impressions I was totally in love with the packaging, as I am with all Charlotte Tilbury products. She knows good branding and packaging, and who doesn’t love a pop of rose gold? It’s all the rage these days! But now down to the product itself.
The scent is floral, at a guess Rose, but I think it might be a bit strong for those who don’t like scented face products. I personally love the smell - but if you don't like cosmetics that 'smell' then I suggest you don't invest in this product.
Whether you use Wonderglow as a primer, luminous highlighter, or as a mixer with your liquid foundation, the silky texture is fluid enough to layer or blend seamlessly, yet it isn't so thin or runny that it gets all over the place. Once blended into skin, the glistening champagne hue sheers out to translucent golden shimmer that catches the light and highlights skin in a noticeable, but not glaring way. The first time I applied it I found it to be quite glittery which was definitely not the look I was going for, however, after putting my foundation over it, the glitter effect fades and you are left with a fresh faced look - which was exactly the look I was hoping to achieve.
In terms of the effect it gives your skin texture, in all honesty it doesn’t give anything. It doesn’t smoothen my skin like other primers. Also, I’m not convinced it holds my makeup very well either, and I only wear primers for the purpose of holding my makeup in place for as long as possible, so is it a great primer? Errrr.... No.
BUT. And there is a big but here. It is a fabulously, gorgeous brightening product. My skin definitely glows when I wear it, and also has a much fresher look about it. According to Charlotte Tilbury, the product contains a florescent core light diffuser which ‘steals UV light from its surroundings‘. Now whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but I certainly have noticed my skin looking brighter and more dewy each time I wear it. I’m sure you all know by now any product that brightens the skin gets a major thumbs up from me and this is certainly getting a thumbs up so far.
The bottom line: Strictly speaking as a luminizing fluid, Wonderglow works beautifully, but skin would fare better if the formula didn't contain so much potentially irritating fragrance, (and instead was concentrated with higher amounts of the beneficial ingredients so it could live up to its anti-aging claims).
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).