The ommorphia Beauty Vault: Highlighters – creams, powders & hybrids

Highlighters - opener


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.

Highlighters - creams

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.

Highlighters - Creams 2

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.

Highlighters - creams swatches

The breakdown:

  • 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

Highlighters - pink powders

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.

Highlighters - pink powders swatch

The breakdown:

  • 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

Highlighters - neutral powders

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.

Highlighters - neutral powders swatch

The breakdown:

  • 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

Chanel Illuminating Powder

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.

Highlighter-Blush hybrids

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.

Highlighter-Blush hybrids swatch

The breakdown:

  • 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)

Highlighters - face powders

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.

Highlighters - face powders swatch

The breakdown:

  • 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 …

Highlighters - closer




*Disclosure: Some products provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

26 Responses to The ommorphia Beauty Vault: Highlighters – creams, powders & hybrids

  1. BooBooNinja says:

    Thanks for sharing giving a look into your highlighter vault. Your collection breathtaking! I used to have Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, but sold it because I couldn’t bear to use it and felt guilty for spending so much.

    At the moment, I’m happy with my MAC Beauty Powder in Too Chic. I’ve been curious about liquid highlighters and think Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone is the one (unfortunately, my local Sephora doesn’t stock Becca and I’d like to swatch it first). Oh… let me take back my previous statement. I *used to be* satisfied with Too Chic as my only powder highlighter, but the new Hourglass Ambient Powders are making me all drooly.

    • BooBooNinja says:

      Oops! Sorry for the typos. I really ought to proofread my comments!
      I also meant to ask you if you were interested in the Hourglass powders.

    • Eugenia says:

      Glad you enjoyed the peek! 🙂

      Too bad about your Cruel Gardenia; the only 2 products I own that I have not used, are the MAC limited edition compacts, and I’m not happy that they’re just sitting there unused; I believe that when you plunk down good money for a product, you absolutely owe it to yourself to use & enjoy it. After all, there will always be something newer & better that will come along, trust me!

      I’m looking forward to checking out the Hourglass powders as well!

      • BooBooNinja says:

        Agreed! It’s weird how we think things are “too beautiful” to use. It’s like saving the good china for good occasions. Beauty is meant to be shared.

        I’m a fan of the “lit from within” look. Do you have any application tips to achieve that, particularly with powder products? I’d think it would be easiest to get the effect by layering a liquid or cream product under foundation; however, I don’t wear foundation. I’m curious how you do it. 🙂

      • Eugenia says:

        “Beauty is meant to be shared” — truer words were never spoken! 🙂

        As to that “lit from within” glow, there are a number of ways; since you don’t wear foundation, the key is in finding a highlighting product that is extremely fine milled and not too shimmery (as well as no large sparkles), which you could apply to the high points of your face (I primarily like the tops of cheekbones; anything else usually seems a bit unnatural & can come off as greasy-looking) then follow up with a light dusting of face powder, or barring that, your blush. You could also mix a bit of a liquid highlighter with your daily moisturizer for an even subtler glow, although that will be basically an allover kind of look, as opposed to highlighting. Hope this helps!

  2. Latoya says:

    Since I just bought my first powder highlighter, I’ve been playing around with it, and I think I actually prefer a more pronounced look! I always love the look of the girls who just naturally have that glow, but honestly…on me that ‘natural glow’ ends up looking like a whole lotta nothing. This is going to sound supremely egocentric, but I think I already have it naturally? So, what I need is something with extra POW to really give me a boost. …or I could be totally crazy. Either or. In any case, I loved looking at your collection Eugenia, they’re all so darn pretty!!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Toya! Of course you have that natural glow thing going on – you’re beautiful AND young, lol! It’s gals like myself of a “certain age” that need a little boost every now & then! 🙂 Extra pow? Well, offhand, the gelée types that Estée Lauder produces, sound about right to me for that kind of impact!

  3. olivia says:

    So many highlighters yet so different in color, texture, and design that you really need them all and should not feel guilty having them!

  4. I have much sadness for selling Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous & the Chanel holiday one last year. 🙁 But luckily, I’m past the highlighter collecting stage. The few I have aren’t being used much though they are pretty to look at! Your vault is amazing. I want to live in it, LOL!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Liz….too bad about your purge, but as they say: there’s a reason for everything! Now you can reassess your cosmetic needs from a fresh angle!

  5. Linda says:

    Love this post! Are these Guerlain pearls different than the Meteorites? I’m wanting to get some of these after wanting them since forever! I love that Illamasqua Aurora too, and well a bunch of the others as well. I had to smile when I read that you could not bring yourself to use those 2 MAC powders, I’m the same! Especially that sea horse, I would keep forever and just take it out and look at it once in a while!

    Thanks, Eugenia!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Linda!

      These are Guerlain Météorites – they’ve been given a name, I’m guessing to go with the collection. They also happen to be my first of this kind, and like you, I’ve been wanting to try them since forever, but always held off – I really can’t get over the effect they impart on the skin… I’ll be going more in-depth when I post my review.
      The MAC powders taunt me; on the one hand, I want to use them, if only to get my money’s worth, but on the other hand, I’ll probably kick myself if I mar their beauty! Drives me nuts, I tell you!

      • Linda says:

        Did you have one of those Estee Lauder Bronzey/Highlighter, that powder gelee I think they called it with the wavy lines on it? (That probably all sounds crazy) I see they are coming out with a new blush in the powder gelee form for 2013, looked like a beautiful effect by Temptalia’s photos!

      • Eugenia says:

        I actually do have the product you’re referring to; it’s called “Shimmering Sands” and I included it in my bronzer review of a few posts ago! I’m looking forward to checking out the new EL collection and seeing what this blush is all about!

  6. Laura says:

    A wonderful collection and review! I need to have my illuminator handy for everyday use and often think that it’s my ‘stranded on a desert island’ makeup item.
    I would love to add an Illamasqua highlighter to my collection but have no idea where these can be purchased close to Toronto?

  7. I love this post! Highlighters are my new favourites. I can’t wait for next month (my birthday) so I can spoil myself with some birthday gifts, like the Guerlain perles!

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