Review | Estée Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator

Do you remember the original Idealist Skin Refinisher from Estée Lauder? I was a fan of Idealist when it first launched many years back and had used up more than a bottle.

So when I read about the new Estée Lauder Even Skintone Illuminator (S$100/30 ml; S$150/50 ml), my interest was piqued. Not only does it assure users of skincare benefits (it promises to diminish blemishes, reduce flakiness, lessen redness and correct skin tone), this product is also marketed as a face brightener.

The brand sent me a press sample to try and the first thing that struck me was that as a makeup product, this works because it warms up the complexion almost immediately. The difference before and after use is rather obvious on my face, thanks to its micro light-reflectors.

What’s good is that the product doesn’t have garish shimmer particles. Instead, the warmth and radiance of this pearlescent oil-free serum not only gives the skin a natural and healthy-looking appearance, it also imparts a soft focus effect, thanks to its micro-pigments formulated with the brand’s Triple-Optic Technology.

Like Idealist, there is the signature citrus scent with a tangy edge that lifts my olfactory senses. In addition, this product offers the same tactile and visible smoothness that the original serum imparted. Do note that the silky texture is due in part to the ’cones that are in the formula.

Housed in a sturdy bottle in Estée Lauder signature mint green and gold, this product is dispensed through a hygienic pump. A pump or two is enough for my needs.

My post-partum skin has seen its fair share of stress, so I was happy to discern an increased smoothness and an almost-flawless finish in my base makeup when I used this as a base on two occasions. Of course, this cannot be entirely attributed to the illuminator but it was the only new product I’d introduced to my makeup looks on those days. It’s good as a primer – I really like how its satiny texture preps the skin for makeup (just keep it away from waterproof foundations/sunscreens – the formula doesn’t seem to mesh well with those).

It has a drawback, though – being a facial illuminator is all well and good but I only wish it contained SPF, so that no additional sun protection product is needed.

With my post-partum hormonal fluctuations and the variety of skincare I am currently using besides this, it’s hard to evaluate fairly its skincare benefits. Nevertheless, if it’s anything like its predecessor, I am reassured, having seen results with Idealist previously. Do note that Idealist doesn’t work for everyone, so it’s best to try to obtain a sample from the counter before buying. Makeup Alley has mostly positive reviews of this product, while Paula Begoun has written an excellent review of it that analyses the ingredients and their efficacy.

Do visit the Estée Lauder Singapore Facebook Page to be updated on Estée Lauder’s latest products and promotions.


  • Kris Ong says:

    Hi, I am intrigued by this product as well. How do u apply it? As a skincare (before moisturiser and SPF) or makeup (after skincare)?
    If I only use this on bare skin, do I need a makeup remover to cleanser after? I mean /i know its high tech and all but its very confusing.

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Kris,

      I use it on its own on bare skin and use a powder foundation with SPF over it. That way, I don’t negate its skincare benefits. Some days, I use it with moisturiser and a sunscreen, if I just want its illuminating properties. :) I’d used a makeup remover because it does contain shimmer particles.

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