When I began the process of inventorying & sorting my cosmetics collection, I assumed the highlighter category would be a relatively short write-up, but a quick scroll through the photos in this post, clearly shows how wrong that thinking was. Indulging and using highlighters is a rather new fascination for me, and I’ve come to rely on a well-placed dab of this product to add that little extra something to my finished look. Like emphasizing the killer cheekbones I wish I was born with. If only.
While many of the products shown in this post are no longer available, you can use the information provided as a general guide for your future highlighter purchases.
The Creams (and one liquid) – all by MAC, only Shell (far right) is part of the permanent range, as well as the most neutral of this group. The 3 shown here impart the most colour, as far as highlighters go, as well as the highest level of shimmer/sparkle. Easiest format for blending, the warmth of your fingers helps these creams glide seamlessly along the skin – with the liquid applying in an even more effortless manner.
Bearing less pigmentation than the above cream highlighters, the 2 shown here share a similar nude base, although their application and final look is completely unique.
- NARS Copacabana Multiple – the only one in stick format, coolest leaning and more silvery with apparent ultra-fine shimmer
- Illamasqua Gleam in Aurora (reviewed here) – the creamiest & sheerest of them all, champagne toned, most subtle gleam
- MAC Shell Cream Colour Base – drier texture, pale silvery-pink iridescence
- MAC Playmate Pink Glitter Cream (2003 MAC for Playboy Collection) – driest texture, deeper pink hue with visible large golden sparkle
- MAC Sun Rush Lustre Drops (2010 To the Beach Collection) – highest gleam but easiest to blend, a deep golden/copper tone
The Powders (pink hued) – what binds the three of this group together, is that they all share varying levels of pink in their base, which serves to bring a fresh & youthful flush to the skin.
- Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous (reviewed here) – the deepest pigmentation and shine factor, ultra-finely milled powder, most coppery
- Guerlain Cruel Gardenia (reviewed here) – the softest powder with more of a rose-gold tone, sophisticated gleam
- Guerlain Perles du Paradis (full review forthcoming) – palest, sheerest and slightly pink-tinged, superior blending capacity
The Powders (neutral/gold hued) – with some light tan hints in this grouping, along with a few gilded touches, these all share a more easily wearable gleam.
- CHANEL Poudre Lumière Sculptée (2011 Holiday Collection, reviewed here) – the palest toned, most subtle glow, slightly powdery
- CHANEL Lumière d’Artifices Beiges (2012 Fall Collection, reviewed here) – most flesh toned, finely milled, subtle shimmery glow
- MAC By Candelight Mineralize Skinfinish (2009 Warm & Cozy Collection) – most visible shimmer, drier texture, hints of rose
- Giorgio Armani Madreperla Face Palette (2011 Holiday Collection, reviewed here) – most golden, dry but ultra-fine texture
Poudre Signée de Chanel Illuminating Powder (Spring 2013 Collection) has just recently joined my collection, so it hasn’t been fully reviewed yet, but from initial wearing, it imparts an absolutely amazing glow to the skin, exceptionally fine-milled and with subtle golden hints – no visible sparkle. Full review to follow.
The Highlighter/Blush Hybrids – some products seem to straddle the line between purposes; looking like blush but with definitive highlighter overtones, these impart both colour and a gleam – you just need to use a lighter hand in application.
Note that the two decorative MAC products shown were not swatched; I still haven’t been able to bring myself to use them (apart from a tiny touch on one of the palettes) – sounds crazy, but there you have it.
- NARS Orgasm Multiple – creamy finish, most easily blended, peach toned
- MAC Stereo Rose Mineralize Skinfinish – subtle shimmer, fine-milled, rose-gold overall tone
- MAC Marine Life High-Light Powder (2010 To The Beach Collection) – most intense pigmentation, gold only an overspray
- MAC My Paradise Cheek Powder (2011 Surf, Baby! Collection) – most coral hued with a light golden layer (mainly overspray)
The Face Powders – I’ve included these 4 powders in this category, primarily because they each bear too much colour to be used as true face powders of the type meant to invisibly set your look – but rather impart a lightly diffused tone to the skin when applied, more sheen than shimmer.
- CHANEL Rose Merveille Poudre Universelle (2011 Spring Collection) – most visible shimmer of the group, but still quite subdued
- Shu Uemura Luring Powder in Rose (2008 Fall Collection) – deepest tone, some powdery kickback, softest texture of all reviewed
- MAC Tahitian Sand Beauty Powder (2009 Hello Kitty Collection) – most neutral toned, drier texture
- MAC Alpha Girl Beauty Powder (2008 Heatherette Collection) – pink tinged and cool leaning, drier texture
Final thoughts: When I purchased MAC’s Playmate Pink Glitter Cream (from the Playboy Collection) back in 2003, I had absolutely no idea how to use it properly, and so it’s lain languishing in an obscure corner, almost forgotten until I began preparing for this post. My next “real” highlighter was the Copacabana Multiple from NARS, mainly because I had heard/read so many makeup artists raving about it and therefore I added that to my makeup collection as well.
Fast forward a few years later, and while I’m amazed at how many highlighters I presently own, I’ve also realized how much I have come to rely on them, from layering under foundation to provide a luminous “lit-from-within” kind of glow – a great way to wear this product during the day, to adding drama to my upper cheekbones for deeper impact on an evening look, or an overall lightly diffused sheen to provide radiance. And thus, the addiction to highlighters is born …
*Disclosure: Some products provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration